Regular readers of this blog (and, of course, Delhi runners) will know the ever cheerful Kathakoli Dasgupta who shares so much of her enthusiasm and love for running with us here, through her lovely guest posts.
And here – quick drumroll – we have an exciting post from Katha, who is now officially a trail runner.
Katha has just run her first trail half-marathon, in preparation for some serious running goals this year…but, yes you’re right – this is Katha’s story, so let me immediately hand the blog over to her :
I have completed my first trail half marathon in Grizedale forest today and I am buzzing.
This race was the first of the lot Dave and I have signed up for in preparation for our Lakeland Ultra in July. I have never even done a marathon! And this is 55k we are talking—that too on the trails.
Dave and I are road runners and we live on the flat Fylde Coast. So the distance is not just the only daunting part of the challenge we have set for ourselves this year. It’s also the terrain.
Unlike Dave, I am not disciplined with my training. But as age has crept up on me I am struggling fitness and weight wise. I knew anything lesser, and I would try to wing it at the last minute.
A big challenge like this has forced me to take my training seriously and be consistent with it. It has also led me to change my running style, type of training and mindset. It is work in progress still, but today’s run made me realise it’s working.
Here’s a few changes I have made so far.
In the last few years especially, when running became something to just keep myself fit, it also became ‘let’s just get it out of the way’ activity. So I would just go out and do a 5/6 k as fast as I could to get back home and get on with stuff. (I have not done a half marathon since February 2020, London Half just before lockdown in which I got a PB).
But I have had to shift gears. And deliberately slowed myself down. To be honest, I felt better immediately. It seemed to take the pressure off me. (I am very competitive and can be hard on myself.) I feel so much more relaxed before and after a run now. And have started enjoying running once again.
I am not really used to taking walking breaks during my runs. Even a minute’s rest, tends to make me lose my rhythm and I find it harder to get back to running again. But with long distance trail running, taking walking breaks, saving energy while going steep uphills is key. I was wondering how it would work today. How will I find that rhythm and how will I get into that ‘running zone’, will I be able to go run again after walking. But it seemed to come naturally.
Strength and Core Training
I cannot run 55k on the trails without a strong core or with weak glutes. So I am trying to be consistent with strength and core training. I have been so erratic with it last couple of years. When I returned to it in the New Year, I found it really hard. I couldn’t believe that I had lost it all. I struggled to hold a plank more than a few seconds, and gave up after a couple of leg raises. But last week I noticed that I was able to keep up with the rest of the class. (Made me think about the wonders of human body and all that.)
And today when I sprinted the last kilometre and found I had miles left in my legs after I crossed the finish line, I realised consistency is paying off. I must be on the right track.
As ever, this SUCH a good post, Katha my friend, with your useful insights into adapting and evolving with age and circumstances. It’s a case of life with a capital L, really, isn’t it? Realising that things have to evolve as our bodies evolve.
More power to you, my friend. Super proud of you and super impressed!
Onwards and upwards!