31/05/2016 07:57 BST | Updated 28/05/2017 06:12 BST

Training Starts Tomorrow


In last week's post, I alluded to the fact that I had signed up to do a 10k run. In fact, I more than alluded to it - I outright stated it. And I'm ashamed to say that it wasn't strictly true. In fact, what I had done is challenge the editor of a well-known running magazine to a race. I mean, you can probably see the flawed logic already.

Mainly since, as it transpires, said editor has a 10k PB of circa 40mins. Oh, hell.

This I found out several days after misguidedly penning a tweet suggesting the aforementioned competition. I don't entirely recall the wording, but I suspect it probably mentioned something about my certainty that I could nail it, him, and anyone else who stood in my path to 10k glory. I am highly competitive. I may have mentioned that before.

The morning after the tweet before, I had a neatly composed email in my inbox, politely requesting my 10k PB. As if I had one. As if I took running seriously to know my time (ok, I do take it seriously. But 28 years of competitiveness has taught me not to time runs. Call it self-defence - you can't plod badly, you see - win win). I mean, I did the marathon in 3hr40, but with four years and a considerable motivational dip since, it doesn't really translate.


I decided something had to be done to re-capture my form, so I enlisted the help of a someone much bigger than me who - if all else failed - could perhaps scare me into shape.

Training Day One, we planned to meet at 3pm to run Hyde Park. My chosen trainer (for the purposes of this post let's call him Hugo. No particular reason why) had already cited a calf injury, shoulder pain and chronically bad trainers. It was now basically impossible for me to stop / slow down / complain with any dignity. He was injured and poorly equiped. In my brand spanking Geox Nebula and jazzy Fabletics, Parajumpers & Varley gear (I'm great at looking the part. If only that was the hard bit...) I had no excuse. What a cunning little fish.


So we started. Now. I like to think I am a good runner - a guy friend once said I looked "strong" on the treadmill (for all I know that was a euphemism, but I've clung to it as some sort of optimistic mantra). But Training Day One threw all manner of doubt into the equation. I mean, to begin with, I felt pretty good. The sweat was fierce, but my legs quickly adapted to a comical trot beside Hugo's giant leaps (not even kidding - he was practically lunging. I felt like a daschund trying to keep up with a great dane).

But. It was hot and muggy. And that is my main excuse. Sole excuse, really. We made it an embarrassingly short distance before I basically melted on the spot and refused to keep going. I needed to cool down. And maybe stick my head in the Serpentine. (I refrained, just so you know).

Three to four slightly awkward minutes later, I suggested we start again. Hugo refused - that's not how he works. I vaguely mumbled something about interval training. He scoffed. We walked in not-quite-amiable silence.

Thing is, after circa five years training with the army, I have an inbuilt aversion to "best effort" style workouts. Quite frankly, I like to feel some degree of pleasure (or at least the odd moment of not hating during my training.

The moral of my story? I'm not so sure I have one. I guess at least I know now to try a different method next week. Perhaps I'll drag Hugo to Barrecore. Oh man that would be funny.

Or maybe I should just buy some swankier kit - Ivy Park, anyone?