A New World Order

29th March 2020

It’s taken me a while to reconnect with this blog and think again about my running story. It was never meant to be an open ended diary, I’m not that good a writer and my story is not that interesting. From the outset I saw it as a motivational tool, much like a food diary. The act of writing my training progress down would force me to address the need to progress and apply good practice.

So, just at the point when I was confident in my readiness to tackle the marathon the world turned upside down and everything changed. It’s really difficult to think about the marathon now, even with a revised race date I just can’t seem to bring the same focus to my training. I’ve been working from home for two weeks, the kids have been home for a week and the idea of continuing in this way for three months is impossible to imagine. I’m worried for elderly parents, as a freelancer I’m worried about work over the summer and seeing the emergency NHS Nightingale facility being put up makes this all horribly real. I just can’t seem to focus on anything more than 10 days in the future.

But, in these strange times there have been some positives. I live in a close of about 20 houses and while I’ve always been on friendly terms with immediate neighbours for the rest I probably wouldn’t even know their names. Now we have a WhatsApp group and a community spirit to share information and delivery slots and I know people’s names! Honestly, a lifetime of living in London has not prepared me for this, it’s like living in the North.

OK, this is nominally a training diary so let me catch up with that. I’ve ditched the VLM training plan, for the next couple of months I expect to just tick over with a variety of training approaches and pick up again in August with longer distances.

My last week of training included an extended club run and a parkrun, both of which seem very alien to me now. I also had yoga and spin sessions at the gym. None of those are available now so flexibility and inventiveness will be the order of the day from now on.

Curiously, since the lockdown the weather has been wonderful and I have been able to make the most of my one piece of outdoor exercise per day but I have also prepared to replicate gym work at home. Over the last few months I have dabbled with home made strength work and yoga sessions but I’m now taking these more seriously and setting aside a specific time slot to work through a full session either with an online trainer or at least follow a set of complementary exercises. I have also managed to invest in a very nice turbo trainer to hook my hybrid commuter bike into.

Since 17th March I have completed 6 runs, sometimes with my wife or son but often on my own. Ranging from 5km to 14km in distance, these have totalled 55km.

I have dusted down the family bikes and got out yesterday for the first time this year. On my rather heavy mountain bike I managed a 20km loop over a rather hilly route. I expect to extend this in future.

I have had two sessions on the turbo trainer. This piece of equipment is new to me but following a couple of challenges when putting it together it proved very easy to set up with my bike and get going. In fact the whole family has enjoyed using it and as a group we are racking up the miles. For both sessions I set up a laptop to watch the final couple of episodes in the new Picard series and settled back for an hour or so. I tried to build in a profiled session with periods at a higher gear and others at a greater RPM. I think these have gone really well and I feel I put a lot of effort in. Assuming I set up the £9 cycle computer correctly I have completed 39km over the two sessions.

The other consideration has been weight and, frustratingly, since lockdown I have lost a little. I am not getting my 5km daily walking commute, with the deferment of the marathon I have started drinking again yet I have somehow dropped a couple of pounds. I think this points to rather more snacking at work than I previously admitted to. Also, with the uncertainty of food availability I am being a little more parsimonious with my eating at home.

I’m not sure how often I’ll update this blog over the next few weeks but I will continue training and as and when my focus returns I expect to get back to regular updates.

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