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Fitting a run in

Friday, 31 May 2013

If I have no other commitments and any of my friends – Dave, Bruce or Mike – are available, Friday is golf day, weather permitting.  We’re pretty much just “hackers”, and only play nine holes, but we start early and generally have the course to ourselves up at Peats Ridge, a pretty course about 40 minutes drive away.  Afterwards, we buy a late breakfast at a local cafĂ©.  Because of the early start, it can be a challenge to fit in a training run.

Early morning at The Springs, Peats Ridge
For a few years, I went for a run after the golf, but it was always a chore.  I didn’t want to miss the post-golf breakfast, so I ended up running on a full stomach, rarely a pleasant experience.  So, I have adapted my schedule to make Fridays a very easy training day and now get up early and go for a slow 5km before showering and heading off to golf.  It means I break my rule about not running too soon after waking, but I always start slow.

Getting out for regular training runs becomes a challenge for everybody at some time, especially if you're working full-time.  When I was a serious athlete, training twice a day, I found it easiest to run to and from work, usually going in on the weekend to leave a week's clothes and lunches.  Depending on my program, I might run home via Olympic Park for a track session or meet friends for a tempo run, or tour the Melbourne suburbs for a long run.  Later in my working life, when I was a less serious runner, had children, and lived overseas with a job involving a great deal of travel, my routine evolved.  I developed the habit of getting up at 5am or earlier every workday morning, regardless of jet lag or the time I went to bed, and running 10-12km with longer runs, and maybe races, on the weekends.  Although running after work might have been more attractive, I quickly learnt that a tough day at the office, or unexpected events, could make an evening run difficult or impossible.

After yesterday’s longer run, I was stiff and sore in the quads all day, and my right Achilles and knee were painful.  I was dreading this morning's early jog and it lived up to my expectations.  I was shuffling particularly slowly and trying not to put too much strain on the damaged Achilles.  Miraculously, but not unexpectedly, I felt much better by the time I finished.  My time was slow – 30 minutes compared to the usual 25 minutes for this course – but the run had the desired effect.  It’s amazing how 30 minutes of running transforms your outlook and loosens the body.  I still have a long way to go before I feel like a runner again, but another day has passed and I feel I am still on track.