I have had two recent realisations:
1) I am only doing two runs a week (running to and from the gym doesn’t count as it’s such a short distance). Only two!! Ok, so the runs have recently each been 22-23km but still – it’s only two (ONLY TWO). This makes me feel like a fake or not “really a runner”, whatever the definition of a runner is.
The reason I am only doing two (only two!) runs a week is that with the kind of distance I want to put in, I find myself getting very injury prone when I do more. The knees start to creak a bit more and the shins ache. (Old age, my girl, old age) And hence I am going to the gym twice a week. Gyms suck, by the way. They are noisy, airless places with too many people fighting to sweat on equipment that doesn’t take you anywhere. I look at the runners on the treadmills and I want to go and evangelise to them about how amazing, and so much better for you, running outside is. This is an urge I have so far managed to resist, as I suspect that I would quickly get thrown out… But gym, I have found, is the best way for me to put in a session, similar to running, but in a low impact way. As in – I still hope it has an impact on my fitness, just not on my knees. This brings me to realisation number
2) What I have been doing at the gym lately has really been having a positive effect on my running. I do start the runs with heavy, achy legs but as I warm up I get faster. Almost, in fact, fast! I find the pace relatively easy to keep up and I can find strength where the legs should have none left. (As a side note; do you find that if you start a run and you feel bleugh and tired and like your legs are jelly, that you end up having a really good run in the end? I always know that if I feel like shit in the beginning – just not like I need one – I turn out to run faster or further than before)
My gym routine at the moment is doing an hour on the Step Mill (or Power Mill) and then an hour on the lateral elliptical (30 min forward, 30 min reverse). This last equipment is brilliant (it just sounds idiotic)! You remember how I bitched about the equipment change at the gym? Well, this is one of the new fangled things, and man – it buuuurns. It is the lovechild (or demon baby) spawn from an elliptical, skating and stepper. And you can do (if you CAN do, I can’t. Not for long anyway) all this in a squatting position – my legs have actually been stiff after a workout on it (unheard of). And the Power Mill makes me sweat in buckets. It is disgusting. Dis-gus-ting.
So the gym workouts are justified, I suppose. But nothing beats that moment when I strap on my rucksack and run home from the gym with the wind in my hair (if not in my sails anymore at that point). I guess I still am a runner.