I was talking to a work colleague who had been out for a 4k training run the previous night. He told me his first 10 minutes running were awful.
I agree. It’s like a cold car engine starting up. It takes a while to reach optimum gear, and an efficient pace.
It takes a good 10 minutes warm up, to get the breathing sorted, and to welcome back the aches and pains that you left at the back door after the last time you ran.
I measure it in quarters. If I’m running for an hour, I’ll give it 15 minutes before I’d want to hit the glide. But if the glide doesn’t come, then I take the pace down a notch and settle in for the grind.
I don’t know if many other runners use these terms of reference. Here’s what they meant to me…
The glide – it’s when the run clicks into place. The pain eases, or at least dulls until after the run. The breathing settles, the pace becomes firm and confident, and you feel like you could run all day. Hell, it’s probably nothing more than a tail wind and a stack of endorphins pumping through veins. But it’s still the glide, and it feels good.
The grind – it’s when the glide doesn’t come. It is an absence of well-being. The pain does not ease and you are invariably three miles from anywhere. The muscles tighten – watch that calf, it’s going to ping. The wind is against you, as is the terrain. Another niggle will start – it could be a blister or an unfamiliar sensation in your hip. This is the grind, and it feels like what it is.
I had a bit of a grind last night.
I had skipped a scheduled training run and wanted to catch up. After a hard day at work, with sun was bursting out of the sky, I ditched the bicycle and decided to run to my gym on the way home (for a tough 45 minute circuit training session).
My knees and achilles ached the whole run. Ten minutes into the run, and my rucksack felt really heavy. It dawned on me I had forgotten to remove a heavy bike lock from it. Too late. It got heavier, and my legs felt heavier too. As much as I wanted it to be over quickly, the only way to manage it was to drop my pace and slug it out. After 5 miles, the grind was done.
And then circuits started. It was big on legs and shoulders. Lots of squats, dips, reverse lunges, burpees, squat thrusts, spider mans, and shuttle runs. Another horrible sweaty grind.
And then straight after circuits, I went to the swimming pool with my son. We glided.