Well its been a while. After a year away from the UK and with not much running to my credit, I am back and running again. And what conditions to return to. Who would have thought I would have been running in such glorious sunshine in a British October.
The first couple of runs felt like I was being restrained by a huge elastic band, everything happening in slow motion. My body resisted but my mind was willing and after four consectuive morning runs, well everything still feels slow but I can feel my old fitness beginning to return.
Its not like I had been idle while travelling. A typical day would involve miles of walking, usually city centre sightseeing or hiking up mountains. But August and September had been a write off, fitness-wise. The combination of Chinese and Russian train travel, sweltering humidity and absence of showers put paid to my training goals. I mean, how do you stay fit when crammed into a train cabin for three consecutive days, while living on pot noodles and cups of tea? I guess I could have jogged up and down the train but the Russian provodnitsas really don't like that! I made do with a few push ups in hotels.
Back to the UK. I put a few bursts of speed into one run and that felt good, but it was far from a speedwork session. All the rest has been at a nice steady slow pace, easing my body back into regular running. It is always a good idea for avoiding injuries to build up the load gradually.
I hadn't run in traditional running shoes for almost a year and it was a shock to go back to them. All the old niggles and soreness in my right heel came straight back - I hadn't felt any of this while running in VFFs, Zems or in my new Merrel Trail Gloves. I switched to an old pair of Zems and, apart from the usual agony on gravel, they were painless and left my feet feeling invigorated. I also tried out an old pair of Addidas trail shoes - no cushioning, very narrow and bright orange. Apart from being stiff, they worked superbly on the muddy trails. I now have a dilemma for my upcoming Brentwood marathon next month: whether to contemplate my first full marathon in minimalist shoes or to switch back to my bulky ASICS running shoes which have served me well so far.
Let's hope this fine weather continues. I don't think my new early morning running regime will survive into dark and cold winter weather!