My new sho’t left running route

Ever since I can remember, I’ve started my weekday afternoon & Sunday morning long slow distance (LSD) runs heading up the same road every time. It’s a nasty pull which is around 1.3km long. By the time I reach the top, I’m grumpy and the average pace on my Garmin has shot up to over 9mins/km. It’s always the worst part of my run but for years now, I’ve convinced myself that it’s “good to do uphill training” and that at least the run home is “all downhill”.

But when I received my May running schedule from my Coach, I needed to factor in an 8km route so I decided to run a different way. Instead of going all the way up, I turn left at the first main road and sort of run the route in the opposite direction. The biggest benefit is that I don’t start my run huffing and panting and vloeking the run. Yes, I do still encounter some hills and yes, I’m still hitting that downhill on the way home. But I guess mentally I don’t start my run feeling like I’ve got such a huge mountain to conquer before I start.Route change

Why I never thought of it before is beyond me. I think we easily fall into a rut. We often think what we’re doing is the best thing. We don’t like to change. It’s too difficult to think up something new so we just go with the flow.

The biggest lesson is that in life, there are always big mountains to climb. They’re often at the beginning of our journeys. But there’s always more than one way over that mountain and yes, sometimes, an easier more fun way too! Find it!

It’s serious now.

I finally have one! A training programme from my running coach for the month of October. It feels like I’ve entered the big league now as I arrive at the running track checking out what my (I) pace or my (T) pace is for the session along with all the other runners. This is new for me because I’ve always been the kind of runner that just goes out and runs. (and then gets home disappointed at my pace).

But after almost two months of structured training, it’s finally sunk in. In my pre-Coach Dave days, every time I ran, I never had a plan as to how fast or slow I was going to run. My pace was either slightly faster that 8 mins/km or much slower than 8 mins/km. A structured programme cuts it up differently. There’s Easy, Threshold, Interval and Race pace and details as to when to run which pace on which days.

Happy Pace

There is a sense of relief having a programme too. Not only does it give me set distances to stick to each week, but for a change I know the difference between a quality track session and an easy Sunday run. Because there is a difference.

The track work forces me to give 110% effort and learn to run at the required training paces. I’m improving my aerobic capacity, conditioning my body for longer runs and increasing my overall performance without risking injury. An easy run is to get precious time on my feet but resisting the urge to run faster than I should.

The tricky part is getting my body to be familiar with the different paces – am I running too fast? Am I going too slowly? Because right now, without looking at my Garmin, I don’t know. Baby steps, right? Ha, and I thought running was just running! Silly me!

(Image credit: