Guppies Inc.

Wow it’s quiet on here. Oh wait, that’s my fault.

Happy Arbitrary Moment in Time everybody! I hope you all had a happy Christmas/holiday/festive period/Bah-humbug day/ or whatever day you chose to celebrate recently. I had a great Christmas and took a WHOLE WEEK off running. I know, shocking isn’t it? After a lovely 8 week build that saw some really very encouraging improvements in pace against heart rate, I had a sore throat within four hours of finishing work on the 23rd, and mentally wrote the following week off in terms of training. I find it pretty impossible to keep the mileage up when not run-commuting, and to be honest I was feeling pretty tired too, so I was pretty happy to take the pressure off and just enjoy time with my family.


Extremely satisfying build; shame it fell off a cliff.

So on rolled the 3rd of January and I was feeling a bit better and ready to pick up where I left off. Or not, as the case may be. Four runs this week and they have universally been A Struggle. The rational part of my mind (there is one!) is calmly reminding me that: a) it’ll take a few days to get back into the training groove again, and b) going on my heart rate data, I’m probably not as recovered from the lurgy as I thought I was. Of course the greater part of me is mainly staring in dismay at Strava and thinking ‘I can’t possibly have wiped 8 weeks of training out in one week of rest’. I mean – right back to square one. No, no, no; if them’s the rules then I don’t want to play this game any more. It’s. Not. Fair.

My first race of 2017 is around the corner; the annual smackdown with my brother-in-law at the Brass Monkey half marathon in York in ten days time. The feat of actually getting a place for this race is far more stressful than the race itself, so as long as I’m firing on all cylinders it should be fun. This, of course, is just an appetiser before the Gloucester 50k on the 5th Feb.

I’m also thinking of entering the British Ultra Champs this year. 100k of the flattest, most featureless tarmac in the country. I mean it’s east of Hull! There is figuratively nothing there. I haven’t entered yet, but I’m trying to persuade myself to do so. Those of you who know me may be surprised by the fact that there’s a part of me that believes I’m not good enough to race against the fastest ultra runners in the country; that I don’t deserve to be there (which is ridiculous, given that it’s an open race too). But this is also exactly WHY I want to do it. I am both excited and terrified at the prospect of finding out just how badly my arse will be handed to me by these guys… it’s like a morbid fascination. So I think I’ll be feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Maybe.

But anyway. Guppies. Yesterday I was reading an article (and another one) on the benefits of nasal breathing whilst running (busy work day). Something to do with Nitrous Oxide and vasodilation – sorry, the articles are not particularly scientific. This is something that I’m very bad at – I breathe through my mouth pretty much all the time, even when not running – but thought I would give a try. One of my favourite yoga practises incorporates alternate nostril breathing (or Nadi Shodhana) which I find really REALLY useful for calming and focusing the mind, so I thought the closest thing I’ll have to a resolution this year would be to work on this in my running (just normal nasal breathing, not alternate nostril – that would be weird), and also practise the alternate nostril breathing for a short time every day. Yesterday on my run home I thought I’d make a start. Ideally both inhalation and exhalation should be through the nose… but I cannot recommend this in the winter, or when you have a cold, and especially not in the winter when you have a cold. Not unless you have an unlimited supply of handkerchiefs about your person. Exhaling through your nose is actually surprisingly difficult compared to inhalation through the nose/exhalation through the mouth, but I really wanted to master this in order to not look like a guppy whilst out on a ten mile run. Alas it was not to be. I did manage to inhale through the nose for most of my run, but to anyone who saw my fish impressions yesterday afternoon – my apologies. I’ll continue to work on it. Two immediate benefits appear to be the natural limitation of pace (it’s REALLY hard to nasal breathe if you’re running faster than easy pace), and that consuming food on the run becomes a whole lot easier! Result! Soon I will be the queen of multitasking and able to run, chew, and breathe all at the same time!

I think that’s quite enough of my rambling for now. Here’s a cartoon to keep you going:


So long (for now), and thanks for all the fish!