Well, here it is: my official CHAS t-shirt and I am so proud to be wearing it! Isn’t it lovely?
I won’t be running in it on race day as I have a lighter, more fitted top I like to wear but I shall be wearing it over the top until the race starts and also wearing it pretty much everywhere I can between now and then (I won’t be running in crocs, either!). I have a pack of CHAS balloons, too, for the event so I shall be looking for a willing volunteer or two to create as much fun and chaos with those as they can!
Of course, my lovely new shirt is all about publicity for the charity I’m supporting but its arrival has got me thinking a bit about running accessories in general. I am not going to criticise people who love to buy all the gear as I believe anything that encourages exercise and healthy living is a good thing – each to their own. However, I am not a ‘stuff’ person and that applies to running gear as much as anything else. I’ve run in the same basic kit for five years, replacing only socks and shoes as they wear out. I carry a tissue and tiny pot of lip balm in my pocket and wear suncream if the weather demands. That’s it. I don’t have a hydration pack and only carry a water bottle if the weather is hot; I prefer to hydrate well before and after a run. Ditto fuel – no belt of gel packs for me, just a good breakfast of stewed fruit, oats, mixed seeds and Greek yogurt. I’ve never worn earphones (we don’t have one of those music thingummies anyway), I’d rather listen to the sound of the birds – and hear traffic when I run on the road. I do let this song play round and round my head at times when I’m struggling though, the rhythm seems to match my running pace and the words remind me to be brave (I also quite enjoy the irony of the ‘we won’t run’ line!) King and Lionheart
I don’t have a Garmin or similar device to tell me all about myself, either: I know many runners swear by them and I wouldn’t dream of dismissing them out of hand when I haven’t even tried one, but really they don’t appeal. For a start, I don’t normally wear a watch so I don’t like the idea of having something strapped to my wrist while I run. I don’t care about time: my runs take me as long as they take. I am a slow plodder and that’s the way it is. Anyhow, it’s hard to make sense of timings here as most runs involve a lot of hill climbing. I don’t need GPS to help me find myself as I usually know where I am and have a good idea of how to get home. I love maps so I’m happy to use one to work out distance and elevation. As for heart rate, steps, calories, pace, daily goals . . . oh, whatever.
My challenge is to run 13.1 miles or 21 kilometres and quite honestly all the technology and trendy gear in the world is not going to help me. What I need to start with is a good training plan. Having found several possibilities, I felt myself sliding into a slightly catatonic state at all the terminology: easy, tempo, interval, fartlek, threshold, recovery, progression, cross-training . . . help! I am so blessed to live with an incredibly talented runner who thankfully has a very pragmatic view of race training and – even more importantly – of me.
He quickly discarded most of the programmes I’d found, choosing this one from Bupa as being the most appropriate because it focuses on distance, rather than strength and running styles . Half Marathon Training Programmes The point is I am not after a good time (actually, I’m not even after a mediocre time), I just need to know that I can go the distance and as Roger says, if you want to run miles then the best way to do that is to run miles!
So, this is it. My official 12-week training starts on 19th June with a 30-minute ‘easy’ run. Okay, I think I can manage that. As for the next eleven weeks and six days, we’ll see. What I do know is that I am hugely lucky to have such a great personal coach and support team behind me; in the end it will be love, determination and grit – not kit – that gets me round that lake! 🙂