The Daft 5k Challenge – Week 3

Virtually there

This is the third update for our Daft 5k January Challenge – you may want to go back and read our intro first if you’re just jumping in!

Just one week left for the less-than-dynamic duo. Will our battered bodies be able to soak up more punishment and repair in time for our time trial? Probably not, but there’s certainly still time to self-sabotage before the start line!

Jamie: This week was all virtual via Zwift. None of that running in the rain and snow nonsense! I much prefer staring blankly at the wall while ruminating on the travails of the day. However, something disastrous happened during my weekly speed session: a random glitch chucked me out of the Zwift running track just as I was near concluding one of the sprint legs. To say I was confused was an understatement. If my running wasn’t being recorded for everyone (well, my six followers) to see, then was I really running? I also wasn’t quite sure when I needed to stop as I was relying on the distance monitor within Zwift.

This reminded me of how far my attitude has changed. Around 10 years ago when I first started running more than the odd few miles, I used to be amused by people who ran their life by a watch. It seemed to me to be the opposite point of what running was supposed to be; embracing the feeling of your body functioning near its physical limit, striving against the elements, or even enjoying a bit of nature here and there. Waiting a few minutes to get a GPS link, then setting off at a potentially inaccurate set speed while you check your wrist every few seconds was mildly irritating. The again, maybe I was a poor training partner!

That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed all the various bits of data. Not that I’m totally aware of what to do with it sometimes. Maybe that’s a challenge for another day: data-driven running vs. running with feelings? Regarding the glitch, apparently this can happen if your computer loses touch with the Internet (I reckon Zwift crashed). This is the first time it’s happened to me though after a few months of heavy use.

In general, week 3 has been much better for me. I managed four runs with a total distance of around 33km. This included a tempo, speed session and two easy runs (one after a bike session). My bike distance was around 36km including a recovery 20km and then a more intense workout called “2 by 2“, which I seriously underestimated. According to the marketing material, the workout aims to improve your ability to make repeated hard efforts with minimal recovery. That sounded pretty good to me, but I hadn’t appreciated that I would be expected to turn my legs round at 85-100rpm! My legs definitely weren’t happy after that. Oh well.

Alex: Monday’s tempo run didn’t really go to plan. I’m not sure if for better or worse, but rather than do another run fully on tarmac I opted to head over to a local park, which is more of a field. The first tempo felt pretty good and comfortable on the road leading to the park, however the recent rains had meant that the trails and field edges that make up a running route were basically moosh and bog-land. Owing to the terrain I was struggling to get anywhere near my tempo pace – and the ‘recovery’ sections between were still pretty challenging. I mean, I didn’t hit my times but the extra leg work out still got me out of breath so perhaps this is a net positive? 

I specifically attempted to make up for this on Tuesday by selecting an interval session on the Apple Fitness+ (having now actually bothered to charge the damned Watch). The session went well, although perhaps there was a bit too much work-to-recovery ratio. One main hiccup was hitting the Watch with a wet towel. Doesn’t sound like too much of an issue – however, as I’ve noted a few times on the podcast, moistness and touchscreens are… challenging. The towel paused the workout on my watch, which would have been fine except with Apple Fitness+ if you pause the workout and then attempt to resume it struggles if you are also air-playing the audio to speakers. After a minute or so trying to get the workout to resume I gave up and did the remaining 20mins on my iPhone speakers – meh! 

Wednesday and Friday’s session were pretty standard fare now – minor dread and all. Thursday was a rather good Fitness+ bike session that had some good tunes and interval work. I actually am going to retain my trial subscription for another month and maybe try some other workouts for our February challenge (more on that soon). 

Going into the final week I am not sure if I am actually bringing my times down any. I still feel as slow as always. I’m not actually reviewing my split times as that feels a bit too serious, I may have a look after our final times are in as a bit of a (hopefully not literal) postmortem. 

Author: Jamie Jones

I kind of like running. Sometimes. I definitely like gaming!

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