Today was my last run of 2012. This was the eight miles that I should have done yesterday, and I'm pleased that I waited. Although there still was a bit of a brisk wind, it was manageable. The temperature was on the mild side, the rain stopped, and the sun even made a bit of an appearance. Aside from the steady stream of traffic that kept me hopping from the road onto the verges to avoid the stream of 4x4s bearing down on me, it was a good day.
I had a bit of an Achilles tendon niggle for the first mile or so, which only seems to occur now when I wear the Saucony Guide 4 shoes, but my legs felt fine after this. So fine, in fact, that running at my previous long slow run pace just felt...wrong. It was harder to keep my form and my legs felt more tired at the old pace. So, I ignored the Garmin and ran what felt comfortable. I finished the 8.15 miles in 1:34 which, considering that I had to stop a lot to let cars pass, isn't too bad (for me) at all.
I'm getting a little bit faster but, more importantly, the running is feeling easier. There are several factors that I think are contributing to that - changing my form, lower heel drop shoes, stretching, weights, cross-training, and regular visits to Adam - and I'll keep my fingers crossed that I can keep building on my progress to date in a sustainable way. As opposed to getting all excited about how good I'm feeling and flinging myself into doing intervals & hill & tempo runs which, I must confess, have somehow snuck into my marathon training programme. Yeah yeah, I'll be sensible with it...but it's nice to be able to dream.
And now, a box of chocolates and a bottle of prosecco are calling my name. The last binge of 2012...it'll be a fresh & healthy start tomorrow. Really.