In terms of running, seven has always been a significant number for me.
Running a mile in seven minutes or less has always been an indication of quality for me – an important marker. Although I’m certainly less of a ‘numbers freak’ than I used to be, I still log each run by distance and pace. This means that, even when I run by feel alone, which is a lot of the time, I will eventually find out what pace I’ve been doing. This happens when the big spreadsheet eventually gets updated with the raw figures. I don’t let the numbers worry me but they do act as a guide. An easy training run might be well above the seven-minute standard, but a hard run should really be below. When I’m trying to come back from injury, it’s always hard to hit the desired numbers. “You can’t keep it in the bank”, I remind myself. “You have to earn it over again, every time.”
When I tried to refocus on training around Christmas time I wasn’t expecting miracles, but I certainly had forgotten how tired, grumpy and sore a sudden increase in ‘focus’ can make you feel. It’s happened to me many times before, but apparently I had chosen to forget, that sometimes, better training makes me slower for a while. If you’re training four times a week and have plenty of time to recover you can be fresh on every run. When you’re training eight or nine times a week, it’s sometimes hard to get your arse out the door never mind spring down the road like a coked-up bunny.
Eventually, either being grumpy, tired or sore becomes normal, or those conditions start to fade. At that point I’ve reached stasis, a point of equilibrium, a point at which the training is knocking me back at the same rate at which I’m able to recover. All I need to do then is to stay with the plan and wait for the magic sevens. They arrived last Tuesday.
I went out for a quiet recovery run, having given it a bit of a lash the previous day. I ran easilly and purely by feel. Whenever it seemed like hard work, I consciously backed off. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the run from start to finish. I stayed in the moment all the way and tried to drink in the all the green and the quietness and the sensation of movement.
I went home and, as a matter of routine, plugged in the numbers. I knew the distance and the magic of Excel did the rest.
Milage 8.3. Average pace = 6:53.
A threshhold had been crossed and magic sevens were here.
Long may it last.