A workout to get back in the swing

I left the apartment Wednesday morning hoping I could convince myself to do some kind of hard effort. I started my warmup in the direction of Prospect Street, knowing that if I ended up on either side of it – Deering Ave. or Stevens Ave. – I had a good spot to do some hill repeats. I ended up my warmup on the Stevens Ave. end of Prospect and took a few minutes to do some dynamic warmup exercises and to talk myself into doing a little bit of work.

I had skipped doing any type of workout for most of the month of March. I threw in a couple of progress runs, but mostly I just tried to build my mileage a bit and not hate running.

But you know what? That is freaking boring. Don’t get my wrong, I’m happy to be logging some mileage, especially while we are still in a pandemic, I am still a few weeks away from being eligible to be vaccinated, and I’m trying to stay home as much as possible to keep from getting sick and getting other people sick. I don’t leave the house unless I have to. Those 35-50 minutes I get out of the house to run, even if I’m just going for a jog, has helped me hang on to the edge of sanity.

Still, I feel better as a runner and in general when I am pushing myself, even just a little bit. So Wednesday morning I did indeed talk myself into running some hills. The first rep, I wasn’t so sure how it was going to feel, so I did a hard 30 seconds. My breathing was a little labored, but I felt OK, so after a minute and half of recovery, I did 40 seconds on the next rep. I took a little effort to get my legs turning over, but again, it felt OK, so after another 1:30 recovery, I tried 45 seconds. Phew, this was getting hard, but I told myself to keep going. I did another 45 seconds rep, then another, then another.

I lost track of how many reps I had done, so I did one more 45 seconds rep, thinking it was eight total and decided to call it a win. Turns out I only did seven reps, but so what. I was happy to have done a workout. My legs were a little sore, especially my left calf/Achilles, but I was still in one piece. My breathing was OK, my asthma felt like it was under control. I was encouraged.

I threw in another workout on Saturday, doing 8×1 minute hard-ish (probably 5K effort) and, again, I ended it mostly in once piece. I ran in my neighborhood, on the severely cambered roads, which disagreed with my Achilles, and my hamstrings were a little tight, but I was able to run 6 miles the next day and, after a rest day on Monday, 5 more miles on Tuesday.

It feels good to be back on the horse a little bit. I have to be careful that those little barks in my Achilles and hamstring don’t flare up into something worse, but I really have enjoyed doing some harder efforts, getting my legs moving and getting a little uncomfortable. I have a long way to go to feel as good as I did back in 2019 when I had maybe my best year of running ever. I followed that up with probably my worst year of running, so this year I’ll be happy with mediocre.

It’s not much, but it is a start. I’ll see what I can do tomorrow.

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