Run (x5) – and why running is (a bit) like smoking and drinking coffee

OK, that might need some clarification. As a non-smoker, it seems to me that when one of a group of smokers wants a cigarette, the others are offered one and rarely say no – so they all smoke more.

The same is true of coffee drinking – and last week was also true of running. A couple of times I was going to have a rest but either my wife or son decided to run and I couldn’t resist going too. Of course, it’s usually a good thing to get outside to exercise but it’s also possible to end up overdoing it.

Monday was another case in point. It was a lovely bright crisp day and my wife and I had decided not to run – but when our son came down in running kit I changed my mind and went with him. A really good 7km (4.35 miles) although my left knee and right Achilles might not thank me for it.

It was windy and drizzling on Tuesday but the knee and Achilles were not too bad so, with worse rain forecast for Wednesday, I ran for 10.2km (6.35 miles).

The heavier rain set in later on Tuesday and carried on throughout the night. Wednesday was dull and windy but not as wet as forecast – and for once my resolve held firm. It was partly bolstered by the fact that neither my wife or son wanted to run but was mainly due to being generally weary and creaking.

I watched the US inauguration and was relieved that it passed off without incident. It’s not for me to judge Trump’s 4 years but I remember that, when he was elected, I thought the Presidency would change him – I certainly got that the wrong way round. Irrespective of all that, I wish Biden, and the USA, every success.

It was snowing when I got up on Thursday but within 40 minutes it was clear and bright (but cold and breezy). We all ran one of the usual 7km routes (4.35 miles). After that I collected shopping for a couple self-isolating nearby (fingers crossed that they test negative and this proves just to have been a sensible precaution) and chainsawed a huge tree root.

After waiting for a while to let the world defrost on Friday, I then overheated on a run of nearly 10km (6 miles). The forecast for Sunday was bad so we ran again on a very cold Saturday – I added a bit to the family run to make it 10.8km (6.7 miles).

We woke to the forecast snow on Sunday morning, probably less than 3 inches but enough to cause a bit of havoc, such is our general unpreparedness for snow in England. Happily, it merely confirmed our plan not to run, and shovelling the drive clear provided a good alternative workout.

Thank goodness my spare set of wheels for the car, with their winter tyres, are safe and dry in the garage …… ah.

I had planned to do the turbo trainer on Sunday but decided to give my cranky left knee a day off.

Somehow I clocked up 120km of running in the first 17 days of January. Such is the tyranny of round numbers that I immediately set myself the target of 200km for the month (more than double last year’s monthly average). That’s this week’s 40km (and a bit) done and dusted – but next week’s weather does not look good ….

Interesting stuff this week

1. African wise words: The lizard would like to stand erect, but his tail will not permit him

2. BBC News website: Covid-19: Man said he had travelled 100 miles ‘for a McDonald’s’

A man told police he had driven from Luton to Devizes to visit a McDonald’s, even though Devizes does not have a McDonald’s. He was fined £200 – and his car was seized for having no insurance.

Call me a terrible old cynic, but I suspect he might not have been telling the truth. However, Devises has risen in my estimation for not having a McDonald’s

3. Biden’s inauguration: None of the Trump clan was at the inauguration – possibly a good thing in the current climate but the Clintons and Obamas attended Trump’s (and you could see how much it hurt them). Irrespective of how anyone might view their performances in (or running for) office, I thought that was pretty classy on their part.

4. BBC News website: Egyptian woman arrested for baking ‘indecent’ cakes

The cakes, topped with genitalia and underwear fashioned out of fondant icing, were eaten at a birthday party at an exclusive Cairo sports club. After the photos went viral the baker was arrested. There are reports that the partygoers may face legal action too.

5. BBC News website: Tennis player Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain (in quarantine ahead of the Australian Open) said that quarantine felt like prison

“These people have no idea about tennis, about practice courts, about anything. It’s a complete disaster… The control of everything is not Tennis Australia, it’s the people from the government… I can’t imagine staying two weeks like this.”

He later apologised for his words, which he said were taken out of context.

I’m not entirely sure in what context the words would have been appropriate

9 thoughts on “Run (x5) – and why running is (a bit) like smoking and drinking coffee

    1. The Omil Post author

      Good point – who wants to be the one to suggest slowing down or cutting the ride short? I’m with you on the solo ride point too: very flexible, a good workout with nobody to share the leading, easier to control …

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  1. unironedman

    Yep, mind how you go. No point banjaxing the knee just to reach a total (which, by the way is exactly the sort of excellent advice I dispense freely but never listen to myself). As for tennis players… not covering themselves in glory, alas.

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  2. olderrunner2

    Sounds like you had a great week of running. I hope your knee and Achilles don’t complain too much. I don’t have any running pals, but totally get your analogy from tennis. There have been plenty of days when I was either planning to run or have a rest day, a friend called up wanting to play tennis, and I go. At least, exercise is a good thing to get pulled into.

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    1. The Omil Post author

      Very true and that’s how it is here for the vast majority of the time – the trick is spotting when (for all the best reasons) it might actually encourage overdoing it. All parts of the legs still bending in the right places, thank you.

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      1. hforhanna

        So true and a very good point. Only just learning to take rest days seriously and schedule them in. It’s made a huge difference…maybe we can use it for runs and tests too? Glad everything is still attached and bending as it should 👍🏻

        Liked by 1 person

      2. The Omil Post author

        I think you’re wise. Intellectually, I know the importance of rest days (especially for older runners like me) but there are times when I struggle not to think of them as an exercise opportunity missed. It’s weird but sometimes it seems to take as much willpower for a regular runner not to run as it takes for most people to get out for a run.

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