Monday, January 14, 2013

Embrace the Headwind

There are 59 days left until the Tel Aviv half marathon. Training has begun in earnest and I have already survived successfully completed my 12k and 14k long runs. I have also completed two hill training sessions which is two more than I did in 2012.

The Tel Aviv half is pretty flat, according to their website, but I forgot how much I used to love hill training so I'm adding it to my schedule whether I need it or not.

As for training for running by the Mediterranean Sea, running in temperatures that a Canadian doesn't normally experience in March, and running through layers of history, I'm hoping my trusty Pelham Road route will be enough.

On Saturday, it was unseasonably warm. I'm talking 9 degrees when I headed out at 8:30am and 15 degrees by lunch time. I wasn't quite ready for shorts but I did shed two thick layers as well as my gloves and my toque in favour of a thin top, bare hands and a running hat.

It was warm and very windy. I could have come up with a 14 kilometre route that weaved its way through city streets and kept me relatively sheltered from the wind but I didn't. I put a pretty high price on quiet roads, few intersections and rural scenery. My Pelham Road route gets me out into the country within 3 kilometres and keeps me there as long as I want. For a 14km run, that means I have 3k of city running, 8k of countryside and then 3k of city running to get home again. Every week from now until March 15th, I get to add 2km of country running.

The only problem with my beloved route is that it is pretty much out and back. I can vary it up a little bit and go out one road and back another but it doesn't change the fact that I run into a headwind for 6 to 10 kilometres and then I'm pushed home for the same distance.

I used to dread the first part of the run. The first 5k of any long run is always the hardest for me and plodding into a headwind never makes it any easier. That is, until I did two weeks of hill training and remembered how much fun it is to push your body into a discomfort zone and feel yourself getting stronger.

So, on Saturday morning, when I woke up and saw the trees blowing outside the bedroom window, my brain immediately seized on the positive. "Yay - you get to do a wind resistance training run today!"

When I headed out I embraced the wind and my laboured heart rate and my slower than normal pace. I was doing resistance training! It is pretty interesting to see how a little positive thinking can turn a hard workout into something enjoyable. And, after seven kilometres, when I turned around to head back, I was actually a little disappointed. The wind was now pushing me down the road and my resistance run suddenly became an easy long run.

I used to push through a headwind so I could enjoy a tailwind on the way home. On Saturday, I pushed through the headwind and loved it. I used the tailwind to try to increase my pace a bit and had fun with that too.

AND my blood sugar started at 6.4 and ended at 4.8 thanks to a gel and a handful of raisins before my run. No mid-run BG checks, no lows, no highs.


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