For this week only I thought I would break down the new schedule day by day

Day 1 – Rest Day

Scraping the ice off the car windscreen more regularly brings home the reality of the impending cold months ahead. Although I do think I can take on a lot of the evening runs in the cold, there will be times when it would be too icy, possibly snowy and my cycling attire is not up to British Autumn, let alone a Winter. Time to join a gym methinks. Westminster Lodge’s newly opened gym seemed a likely first pot of call and to cut a boring story short, I joined.

Day 2 – Recovery run

The schedule had today as a recovery run, a bit of an oxymoron if you ask me. However, a 40 minute gentle jog up Holywell Hill into town, down to the Batchwood roundabout and back up to King Harry Lane, was actually quite enjoyable. I can’t imagine this state of joy will continue into the winter.

Day 3 – Cross training

My first trip to a gym for a few years was an interesting change from the solitary pursuit of winter evening exercise. Not that I was there to make friends or socialise, especially as the majority of users were hard wired into mp3 devices or absorbed into the latest doomful episode of Eastenders on their display screens. So when in Rome! Out came my own archaic iPod to block out the whirling of treadmills and the grunting and puffing of the individuals on them with the only playlist I have ever created. All that was required was 60 minutes of cross training, which breezed by with the help of Pink Floyd and Barry White. Incidentally no one should under-estimate the power of Barry White’s music, he almost single-handedly helped me through the pain of tiling my shower room at Upper Heath Road 15 years ago.

Day 4 – Threshold runs

On a full action-packed schedule to celebrate my 51st birthday it was good to get my first solo attempt at Threshold runs out of the way early. Following a 15 minute gentle jog down to Verulamium I embarked on my first 80-85% effort run for 3 minutes brought to an end with a 90 second recovery period. This ‘controlled discomfort’ became more unpleasant with each of the three following repetitions, but the end was met with great relief before the very gentle jog home, not made easier by it being uphill. Thankfully the rest of the day was an absolute joy, so thank you Sue for making this a very special birthday.

Day 5 – Steady undulating run

Whether it was the exertions of the threshold runs yesterday, a busy birthday, moving up to 5-6 training sessions a week or even a successful 10K last Sunday, but today I was totally shattered and couldn’t bring myself to do anything more strenuous than a walk to Tesco’s at lunchtime.

Day 6 – Cross-training or cycling

The rest held me in good stead, so on a crisp cold Saturday morning I took myself out early on the bike down the Alban way, which had recently been resurfaced, to Hatfield. Across the new business park to Coopers Green Lane, through Symonds Hyde to Sandridge and back home along Sandridgebury Lane. It took just over an hour and I arrived home with slightly frozen fingers and toes.

Day 7 – Long run

Preceding a long run on Sunday morning with a party containing all our old alcohol-dependent friends from Upper Heath Road was never going to be ideal. However, once the early porridge had settled down I embarked on a run around the Gorehambury estate. I had been talked out of completing a 90 minute session last night by some people in the know, citing it as far too early to be doing that sort of nonsense. I cut it down to 75 minutes and even had to walk one of the steeper bits due to some of last night’s counter-productive behavior.

Recently I bought a selection of isotonic gel’s to try out as I believe some of them can be quite sickly while running, so it would be good to find ones I can work with. So 60 minutes in I got stuck into a lovely peach flavoured number and it was OK, despite the huge effort required to access the fluid from the impregnable packaging it came in. The last thing I need is wasting valuable energy with frustrated tearing actions and colourful cursing every 20-30 minutes with an inanimate object.

Distance run since last entry: 16.14 miles
Accumulative distance run: 140.77 miles
Distance cycled since last entry: 15.53 miles
Accumulative distance cycled: 110.77 miles