This past week with the dawn of spring and milder temperatures on the horizon I decided to move my training from the ease of controlled pace, limited inclines, and comfortable conditions on the treadmill in the basement to the rural road and the reality of spring potholes, rough gravel, uneven pavement, melting ice, snow, and wind. My first outdoor 4-miler of 2017 is in the books with a time of 46:04 and I am quite happy with this because I didn’t push myself and I didn’t need a walking break – even on the hills.
During my winter training sessions on the treadmill I have gradually improved my endurance by doing 3 or 4 mile runs at least three times a week. Additionally, without focussing on time, I have lowered my pace from over 12 minutes per mile to slightly under 11 minutes. In April, I am planning on increasing my long run to 5 miles and doing 4 miles on the other days. I would also like to improve my pace, but at this point my main focus will remain on endurance.
In other news, this little deer has been hanging out in my backyard for a week or so and this is a solid sign that spring is here.
I am going to sign up for the Miramichi Rock ‘n Roll 10K on June 25, so I have approximately 3 months to get ready.
This past year running took a backseat to work and life in general. Some days I was focused and motivated to exercise, but other days I found a million excuses not to workout. Luckily, my jobs involved a lot of physical labour and my weight remained constant in spite of not following a regular exercise program. I completely ignored this blog and rarely tracked my running distance or progress. I didn’t sign up for any events which also contributed to my limited interest in running.
This year I am taking a new approach to training and exercise. I would like to enjoy running while incorporating some specific goals for 2017. My first goal is to run a distance of 5 miles (8km) without walking breaks. Now, I am able to run 5K. However, after a year of limited training I am extremely slow. I am like a snail, so time goals at this point would lead me down the path to complete failure. This must be avoided! Thus, I am going to concentrate on building up endurance and when I can cover 5 miles I might consider incorporating some speed-training.
My second goal is to enter two 10K races this year. At this point, I have no idea when or where – to be decided in the near future.
My third goal is to actively track my progress via this blog. My intention is to post my running data and thoughts at least twice a month. I did my last run of 2016 this morning – a slow, comfortable 3 miles in 36:31 – this will be my starting point for 2017.
These three simple running goals are intended to help me stay motivated and focused on running. In order to achieve these goals I have to be extremely dedicated, unwavering and prepared to make running play an important part of my life by setting aside enough time for consistent and quality training in 2017.
Running seems to be work without progress at the moment. Almost every day in May, including the weekends, I wanted to skip my morning run. Yet, most days I stumbled out of bed at 5 in the morning, got dressed and made my way through the construction site that surrounds my home. Road construction projects have been part of the landscape in Nizwa since I arrived here in October 2013.
Sometimes I have the impression that roads are built, dismantled and built again. Incidentally, Oman appears to have an endless supply of money in the budget for road construction.
Every workout in May was 5K (3.1 miles) on the same route. Here is a brief description, along with some photos. I walked ten minutes to warm up and then I had to deal with a mini-obstacle course, jumping over rocks, garbage, shovels and various other objects for about a half mile before eventually finding myself on a service road that is no longer busy in the morning because all the traffic is speeding down the completed part of the new highway.
I didn’t knock these signs over.
I could use this shovel in my garden.
Why are these blocking my route this morning?
This is the quiet part of my morning run.
Did the workers forget to lay these pipes?
It never ceases to amaze me how the locals always spot me running, or more accurately waddling down the service road, in spite of their speed. Many of them even take the time to greet me with a long obnoxious toot of the vehicle horn. I ignored this and continued on my way wondering if I would collapse from heat exhaustion or die trying not to inhale the filthy dust that constantly lingers in the air from construction and summer sand storms.
Construction is almost finished….
Most of my run takes place on this service road.
I am not the only one out exercising at 5 in the morning.
Some days I slowed to a walk and on others I would walk thirty seconds after a few minutes and as a result my time ranged from 33 to 36 minutes on most outings.
Overall, May was not exactly a great month for running due to the construction, dust and unbearable heat. Several days in May the midday temperature approached 50 C and to make life really miserable water and electricity services were also interrupted.
I am glad May is finished, but I know that June will be a challenge to force myself out the door for some exercise. According to the Times of Oman the country will experience a long and hot summer. The good news is I have five weeks left before heading home. If the weather and my body cooperate then I will aim for 3 or 4 comfortable 5K runs per week.
My running days in the desert are drawing to a close and I am looking forward to running along the rural roads of my homeland, away from all the distractions and inconveniences of the Middle East.