Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Doctor, doctor, I keep thinking I'm a moth...

'Ah, you want the psychiatrist, just down the corridor'
'I know that, but I saw your light was on...'

I got down to my longest run of the campaign so far (16 miles cross country, through the slush that typifies the Great British Winter, in an average of 10:13 min miling for a heartrate of 70.5% of maximum, thanks for asking!) and it got me thinking of the psychology of being out for a long time while operating at low intensity. Just how do you break it down into manageable chunks?

I know that some people view it in the same way as eating an elephant (one bite at a time) but I have long been a fan of breaking it into a few shorter runs; this is something that I discovered at IM Germany where the marathon is a four lap affair; thus the run was 4x 10k plus the finishing chute, which is psychologically pretty straightforward.

I suppose that wondering how to break down a long run into manageable chunks is in itself a technique for breaking down a long run into manageable chunks, but if you ponder this too hard, it will cause a breakdown in the space-time continuum, form a black hole and wipe out all existence in the universe faster than you can say 'who let the marmoset drive the Large Hadron Collider?' Messy, very messy.

So what was my radical discovery? Er, nothing very original, really; I ran three of my different, shorter routes, connected up with small additions as necessary. Thus, 16 miles became 3x 5.something mile loops and all was well. I finished feeling strong and ready for another marathon or so on top.

Naturally, this will be no use during the Severn Challenge; I reckon it's going to be a case of running (a word I use in its widest context) from one checkpoint to the next and letting the overall mileage take care of itself. Pass the elephant, I can eat a whole one!

In other dramatic news, I can finally reveal that I shall be running the Severn Challenge for SSAFA Forces Help. If you'd like to donate, there's a handy button over there on the right and another one at the bottom of the page; thank you kindly for your support!


  1. Well if you've got checkpoints, how far apart are they? They give you the same xx amount of runs of xx amount of distance in the same way that IM Germany is 4 x 10k (so is Copenhagen which was quite useful for me not being confused for the following year). The JW Ultra is 3 x 10 mile runs and so on and so forth.

    Although, sometimes this method is broken down into a different strategy if you are running in company (has Dave entered yet by the way?) because then it's a strategy of only telling the fish tank joke once 45 mins and other such nonsense to pass the time.

    Do your route combos take you back past home? That would be an unmanageble strategy for mices because we'd just pack up and go indoors for a Mars bar instead of carrying on....

  2. OOOoooooohhhhhh. You've set up the just giving page :-D. Good show!!!