“The first ‘k’ is the hardest” to quote Cat Stevens.

This week I have been adding Elliptigo time  to my training schedule for a number of  reasons. One, the extra cardio time is surely better than sitting on a train commuting to work daily.  Two , the Elliptigo is probably the nearest to running without the impact , thus avoiding injuries while still adding distance and finally it may look ‘unusual’ but I tell you what it is so much fun. I was lucky enough this week to be blessed with a strong easterly wind which was perfect for the morning commute as the head wind made the journey even harder, after an initial 10k run to warm me up. (on these muggy Perth summer mornings!). Of course with all things running if you add time and distance you eventually need to pay then piper for the privilege. Payment was called for Friday after a ‘quad‘ day on Thursday i.e. a 10k run in the morning followed by 15k ellipitgo ride into a strong headwind . Lunchtime was a 10k run with my work colleague and aspiring sub 3 marathon runner, Sascha,  in a cauldron of heat and humidity and finally the commute home into another headwind. ( how does that happen?)  Needless to say at 7pm I’m asleep on the couch before my 10 year old daughter weeks me to inform me the dogs need walking, joy ! After stumbling around the park in the dark I hit the bed totally and utterly knackered ! Time for one of my favourite Brendan Foster quotes…not sure if young Brendan had an Elliptigo in the seventies, probably a Grifter or a Chopper . (Note: you would need to be in you late forties or early fifties to appreciate that last statement !)

 

I hear you Brendan, I hear you…..

 

Right back to the point of the post, Friday and there was no way I was cycling to work for a fourth time. I scuttled off to the sanctity of the bus and train combination and into Panache Cafe on St. Georges Terrace for a Banana and Walnut bread , Cappuccino morning breakfast. The temperature didn’t look too bad with an overcast day for a change. (In Perth it is normally sunny, a lot and in Summer it is constant for months and months, I know this sounds incredible but with all things familiarity breeds contempt and I long for rain !) Unfortunately once I got outside I realised this was not going to be the comfortable recovery run in ideal conditions I was contemplating. It seemed the temperature had creept up to the low thirties and the humidity was going in the same direction. Add in tired legs and my appetite for the lunch time run was dissolving quicker than a chocolate cornetto in a heat wave. So finally I get to the point of the post. The first kilometre was a struggle as I stumbled (and that’s being nice.) down towards ‘stinky lake’ , a circuit of about 900m give or take. This was my run of choice as it gave me the option to bottle early and return to the air conditioned haven of work if needed, as I said before I was not enjoying the run. Anyhow after a first kilometre of just over 5min/k I decided to try and increase my pace slowly for a kilometre or two and try and work into the run rather than abandon at the 2k mark. After 3k I felt a second wind of sorts and made my mind up to increase the pace for another 2k to at least give me a good work out for 5k and maybe test some fast with muscles that hadn’t been used for a few weeks. Thus I ended up doubled up, destroyed,  with a nice 5k progressive under my belt. Mission accomplished you would think but no thought I , that actually wasn’t that bad so after a couple of minutes rest the Garmin (and Strava , remember in Strava we trust.. http://www.strava.com ) was reset and I decided to repeat the 5k progressive but this time starting faster and hopefully finishing faster. This was achieved finishing with a sub 3:30min/k and the feeling you get when you have nothing more to give. As I crawled back to work I reflected on what had become a great session, 2 * 5k progressive runs, back-to-back, in some serious brutal conditions with some testing time in the VO2 /threshold zone. What a difference to 50 minutes earlier when I was contemplating pulling the pin at 600m scuttling back to work with ,my tail between my legs.

 

Progressive #1 . Notice the slow start !!

 

Progressive #2. Quicker start and finish and some serious ‘pain box’ time, perfect!

 

 

The moral of this post is you need to ignore the first few kilometres and work into any training run and then ,if you need to, on-run (excuse the pun) make adjustments due to conditions (for me a brutal Perth Summer’s day) and/or general fatigue. The Kenyans are past masters at this and although they have regimented training programs if they feel they cannot achieve a set run on a set day that don’t, the run is either discarded or attempted later in the day/week. They run by feel and sometimes they don’t feel like running. I have just finished reading a book by Toby Tanser describing in detail how the Kenyans train and it certainly opened my eyes to ‘running by feel‘. The Kenyans seems to spend their whole life either running, eating or sleeping; there are no other distractions. This is a subject for another post but one of the major takes from the book was if you don’t feel like running then don’t.

 

A great read, highly recommended.

One final thought for the day, would an Elliptigo work in Kenya ? It would certainly stand out probably, who knows maybe one day I’ll find out , now that would be a post worth writing……. until then I’ll stick to the Perth bike paths and chase down the native animals that live in this habitat, cacooned in multi-coloured lycra…..

 

Weighing 19kg the Elliptigo is not built for headwinds!!

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