As Howlin’ Wolf used to sing, I’m built for comfort, not for speed. I’ve run 75 miles since I started this blog. That’s 13 hours and 40 minutes huffing up and down hills and puffing along Hove seafront. Since 30 June, I’ve laced up my trainers on 24 occasions. My pace, averaged out over the course of these runs, has been 10 minutes and 55 seconds a mile. Continents drift faster than that.
Still, my stats show that I’m slowly getting faster (see below). My average pace for my first six runs was 11 minutes and 26 seconds a mile; for the next six it was 11 minutes and seven seconds; next it was 10 minutes and 36; and for the final six it was 10 minutes and 33. That means I’ve shaved off nearly 30 seconds per mile in my final six runs versus my fist six.
The past six weeks of training haven’t been about speed. They’ve been about getting used to regular running after all the injuries and teaching myself to breathe rhythmically. On occasion, I’ve had to shut out the voice in my head telling me to run faster and remind myself that the current phase is about slowly upping the amount of time I spend on my feet.
That my pace is picking up without trying to run faster proves that I’m getting fitter. So I’m chuffed. But I’m also daunted. It’s taken me more than six weeks to run 75 miles. That’s only half the distance I’m going to try to run in six days in less than three years’ time. And those miles were through a mild British summer; in 2018 they’ll be through the searing heat of the Sahara.