“To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.”
‘The Importance of Being Earnest’
So yesterday’s swim went well. In space, no-one can hear you scream. In the pool, you can’t hear your fire service alerter either. But that’s okay; I had cover, so no problem. A warm-up, then four sets of 300 metres, with a minute break in between, and then a warm down. 1.5 kms in all. And I had the lane to myself. Luxury.
Today we were back out in the Park for a serious run. A warm up of 15 minutes, then a 45 minute tempo run, and then a 10 minute warm down. Well, that was the plan anyway.
We started well. The old bones take a while to warm up. Or, to be more correct, the muscles, I guess. Just about every run I do starts with a right turn from the house and up into the Park and today was no different. As we live in the relatively sedate valley floor of the Liffey, and the Park straddles that river, it means every run for me involves some form of hill work regardless of whether I want it or not.
Fifteen minutes took me to the graffiti wall, and so it was time to crank up the tempo. For some reason, cadence had never really occurred me when out running. Sure, when training for a marathon, there was always a plan to follow, and often I had my iPhone as company, whispering sweet nothings in my ear. I could always tell where I was in a run; how far I’d travelled, what time had elapsed, and the pace. But the actual turnover of the old legs had never really crossed my mind.
Since getting on a bike, I was suddenly thrown into a world of cadence. And gears. And brakes. And pedals.
Cadence is of course, as any proper cyclist knows, the number of times you turn that crank, and get those pedals going round. A reasonable cadence for cycling might be around 85, for example. Well, there are moments in your life when things just suddenly occur to you. Like the time I realised that the Beatles spelt their name with an ‘a’ for obvious, musical reasons that were indeed so obvious that it had gone completely over my head. There are other examples, but I can’t think of them right now (or, the department in my head that handles embarrassing memories has misfiled them…)
Reading Lone Swimmer (blogger) recently, I realised the serious swimmers were also counting their stroke. And 85 would be a number some faster swimmers would be familiar with (though in swimming you are counting each arm, so effectively it’s double the run or bike figure). It just never occurred to me to count my running stride, per minute. Well, it did today. And as I had my watch on, I timed it, at intervals, to see where I was at.
85. And then a minute later or so, about 84. And then another one, around the same. I was out the top path now, and heading towards the playing pitches. Running around the pitches is about as boring as it gets. On the up side, it’s about one kilometre all the way around, and it’s cropped grass, and so gentle underfoot for weary legs. On the downside, you can see where you are going. In circles. Or again, to be pedantic, in rectangles. Okay, nearly every training run we do is a loop of some sorts. And even on race day, we start and finish at the same point. It’s a rare thing to head out into the wide, blue yonder and finish up at a different spot. By design.
As I was musing on all this, the beeper went off, and my tempo run ended in a fairly hectic dash back to the station, which was achieved in about four minutes. Yet another training session cut short by duty. 45 minutes done, but still another 25 was scheduled.
I won’t be blaming the job if I get a DNF on the Half Ironman, or anything like it. It’s just the nature of the beast, and how life gets in the way sometimes. Often-times, let’s be honest. But now I have another little insight into something I have been doing for years, which is cadence running.
It’s a sad day when you don’t learn anything.