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  • Writer's picture Irina

Facts and FAQs - Part II, Running Habits

Doug's shadow @Devil's Dyke today, Jan 17, 2021

Sun, glorious sun!! I’ve always been a sun worshiper, and although I have mostly embraced the UK weather, I can’t help but smile when we get a sunny day in the middle of winter. We are lucky living where we do; we see a lot of the sky every day, and it is often spectacular probably because we are so close to the sea, but have lots of hills as well?

View from our house on a summer's evening. Timeless beauty.

It was the sun that got me out today (Sunday, January 17th), just couldn’t resist it and I enjoyed every minute of being out. Especially following yesterday’s run in the rain and bitter cold wind with feet soaked from the endless puddles on the river path. I did try avoiding them to start but soon gave up – it was pointless.

I digress…. Back to the facts. Running ones this time.

The exercise routine

I am currently running at least 4 times a week and I also do weights, high Intensity and stretch classes. I know it’s quite a lot but I enjoy it massively. It gives meaning to my day, especially now, and it’s so rewarding to see how the different types of exercise complement each other and make me stronger.

Fitting everything in is a bit of an issue and it does mean less sleep or missing out on other things, but it’s my choice and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I run Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Saturday and/or Sunday and that’s also when I do the weights or stretch classes. I then do all the high intensity/impact workouts on the non-run days. It’s a delicate balance and I tend not to vary the schedule. Sticking to the plan keeps me focused and reduces the risk of excuses creeping in.

The time of day

I am definitely an early morning runner. The few times I’ve tried evening runs… well you can ask Doug what happened then. It wasn’t pretty. Running in the morning means a very early start, around 6am. My lovely Doug usually brings me a cup of coffee in bed and at that point, I know life is worth living. Running before work just sets me up for the day, feeling positive, strong and ready to go. Most of the time at least…

On weekends, I tend to get out later but still relatively early. Just get it done and get on with the day, is what I say to myself. Or just do it before you get hungry for breakfast.

The distance and the routes

I run a minimum of 40km per week, gradually fighting my way up to 50km. This week I’ve managed 45km!! It freaks me out ever so slightly to think that when I run the marathon I’ll run my weekly distance in one go. But then, I think September is still far away and I am able to breathe again.

The distance of each run depends on my mood, time available and how I am trending against me weekly distance target. Runs and moods go hand in hand and affect each other to achieve miracles or epic fails. Given a choice, I prefer visualising a route rather than a distance. This helps me mentally. It also implies I prefer running familiar routes. I need to be in the right mindset to try a new route.

I mix up flat runs, hills and undulating ones. A few of you asked me about this word (it was in the first post). In the context of running, undulating means up and down. I love hills and they teach me important lessons every single time. They really build character not to mention they do wonders for stamina and pace. I will be talking more about hills, glorious hills in the future.

The pace

My average training pace is just under 6’ per km. In other words, it means I can run 10km in approximately 58:12, but who’s counting hey? Faster if it’s flat, slower if it’s hilly. Curious to see what I could achieve in a 10k race, but that will have to wait as there’s no races on for the foreseeable future…

The weather

I run regardless of the weather. This is a new thing for me. Margarita, my life-long friend, is also a Greek woman living in the UK. She has been here for many, many years. She gave me some wise words of advice when I moved over. She said, stop thinking about the weather and comparing it to Greece. The weather is the weather and you just get on with it. Plan your days regardless and adjust your clothes accordingly. As simple as. So now, I will never postpone a run because of the weather. If it’s raining I get wet, if it’s cold I put on an extra layer and gloves. Job done and I’ve got Margarita to thank!

The ground

I am bit fussier when it comes to terrain. I am a road runner, though not as fast as the actual road runners (beep beep). I cannot emphasise enough how much I hate off-road tracks, running in the woods, on grassy, muddy paths anything that isn’t either concrete or light gravel or solid ground of some sort. Again, Doug and Liz can tell you a few fun stories on my off-road attempts. It did not start or end well. I do admire people who can, though, like Doug and Liz. I feel I am missing a trick and maybe this is a challenge for the future. No promises…

The company

I am a lone runner. I need to be alone to find my zone and lose myself in my thoughts. Also, who am I kidding, I want to be free to turn around and go home earlier than planned and run at my own pace, meaning slow down if I wish to do so. I do however realise, that running with others helps my running and is actually quite enjoyable and bonding and the only way to see people these days. So yes, it is a fact that I am a solo runner but I lately I feel I need both. Another topic to revisit and explore further.

This is my routine. Every day. It doesn’t always come easy and it doesn’t always feel good. There are days I feel I can move a mountain and others where I feel crushed under one. But I don’t give up. I put one foot in front of the other and I move forward. That’s my strategy for the marathon as well…I leave you with a quote from Martin Luther King, and a promise for more thoughts on quotes next time.

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

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Jan 27, 2021

Yes, weather is never a problem and won't change your normal hours or sleeping patterns. Unless you live in Greece and want to run outdoors in July... :). I love your writing and think you deserve a lot of credit for this massive commitment. I am joining your fan club!


Jan 20, 2021

Lovely post and great photos Irina. Very inspiring.


Jan 18, 2021

Sorry....just testing.


Jan 18, 2021

Wow! So inspiring! Thank you Irina, it is a pleasure knowing you....


Jan 18, 2021

I am so proud for you. Love you.

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