Man, if anyone had told me fifteen years ago that even a mild runner’s high was better than being drunk, I’d have come out of University a superhuman athlete, asthma or not. Recently I’ve been using short solo runs (I mean really short – 15 minutes will do the trick) as an anti-depressant and it’s really making a difference to how I feel through the rest of the day after running and the day after.
Right now, I do have some performance problems. A month ago, I went on a cycling trip that did some damage to the calf muscles in both legs. It wasn’t even a long cycling trip, but the conditions were pretty bad, with strong wind and some demanding uphill stretches putting too much strain on those muscles. The next time I went running, after skipping one group training, my legs didn’t cooperate at all, and they’re unreliable even now. Tonight’s training wasn’t too bad – my legs were sore but at least they worked, and I’m almost back to the level I was at before last year’s foot problem.
Yes, you could say I break easily.
I am making more of an effort to pace myself, though. One thing that’s turned out to be useful is that list I made a while ago of things that I do and don’t like about running. When I posted it, I didn’t mention two things that I added in the "dislike" column a week or so later: warming up and stretching. Hate them. Necessary evil, but evil nonetheless.
What I do with that list is use it to make sure I don’t avoid those things or skimp on them. I need to warm up even though I just want to get some mileage behind me; I need to stretch afterwards. I need to do dynamic exercise and strength training, and I need to get used to running in hot weather.
Last weak, trainer Marzena mentioned that it’s quite possible to be sweating from the outside temperature and not have warmed-up muscles, so I’m also paying more attention to that. I’m going to train in long trousers until it really becomes unbearable, just to make sure the legs are properly warm. I’ll sweat more, but once I’m adjusted to it, it’ll make more of a difference on those really hot summer days when I do switch to shorts.
I got a starting number for the 4 Mijl van Groningen. It’s one of the very highest, meaning I won’t be allowed to start until just before sunset, probably. My aim this year will be to keep myself from seriously hurting myself throughout the summer and run the distance in less than 30 minutes. I may take part in some other events in the run-up, but the 4 Mijl will be the year-to-year comparison event for me.