This is my second attempt to take part in the MIND initiative, RED, which requires participants to run (or exercise) every single day for a whole month in order to do something-or-other to do with mental health. You may recall last year’s fell by the wayside somewhat when I caught a nasty disease from a patient and was confined to bed for nearly a week and started logging things like “yoga stretches for invalids” and “walk to the shop to buy Day Nurse”. This year I have had a different impediment in that I am not ill, but my mother is, and thus I have been staying at her house in the darkest corner of Bromley and have had no local swimming pool or gym to use, no weights in the house, no Jillian Michaels videos, no contraption… Therefore Run Every Day really has been Run (Almost) Every Day: I’ve run ten of the thirteen days of January so far. My Garmin has told me off for making my “training load” too high, but fortunately my legs haven’t complained any more than usual A lot of thisrunning has been in Beckenham Place Park which is mainly trails and hills and it’s quite nice to have the variety but I did struggle with doing my Long Slow Run there (it became more of a Short Very Slow Run). I’ve managed to swim in the lake once (though with the water temperature at four degrees it’s more of a feat of endurance than actual exercise), went back to E17 for Body Attack and Body Pump last week, and had one very brief session at the Shit Gym. The Shit Gym is an establishment directly opposite my workplace that I used to frequently entirely because I fancied one of the PTs. It is a soulless void full of muscly men grunting at mirrors and women in designer hoodies swooshing their ponytails back and forth on treadmills. Annoyingly, although I seem to be the only person actually working out in there, everyone is slimmer, more attractive and probably faster than me, which might explain why I never managed to pull the PT and cancelled my membership and went to a nicer gym instead. Anyway, it being January they have half price membership and no contract so I have signed up, and so far used it three times: once to work out, once to shower after parkrun, and once for an emergency toilet visit.
My parkrun and race times have been unremarkable lately. I have got a few course bests and a few sub 35s, but it’s been perfect weather and I really think I should have been faster and getting an overall PB (which remains 33:53 at the Olympic Park). My latest results have been:
- Bromley parkrun 34:10 (previous CB Dec 2018 34:36)
- Battersea 10k 1:13:19 (previous CB Nov 2017 1:15:43)
- Olympic Park 5k 34:09 (CB remains Oct 2019 33:53)
- Burgess parkrun 35:26 (previous CB Dec 2018 36:07)
Basically, I am faster than I was a year ago, but slower than I was six months ago.
As the month progresses I will report back as to whether the increased volume of running actually has any effect on my mental or physical health (so far all it has done is make me ravenously hungry and I also have no access to scales so this is a recipe for disaster) and whether I actually manage to get my fifteen quid’s worth out of the Shit Gym.