Week 37 – About TIme

In which I Cycle 206k, Run 24k and Swim 2.6k

Something I touched on in an earlier post was whether I timed my runs or not.

Naturally, I don’t time my cycle rides as it would be fairly meaningless – I use different bikes, am on different terrains and am sometimes cycling for pleasure or for mileage or to get somewhere. I do notice that some of my ‘circuits’ are quicker than others when I am just aiming to churn out distance and if I simply want to meet my quota I use the ones with the higher average speed. In general I average about 11mph but on my faster routes (e.g. around Arsenal stadium) I might manage around 13mph and on a lazy meander in the park on a sunny day or in traffic in town it may drop to not much more than 10mph. Over the year that would work out at around 565 hours, or around sixteen 35-hour weeks.

Swimming I don’t time – it would  be embarrassing. I manage a length in about 40 seconds, which equates to about 2kph but because I have little rests my average is more like one minute per length, or around 1mph/1.5kph. 67 hours over the year then, or about 2 working weeks.

As for the running – I did time a lot of my runs at the start of the year to get a measure of any improvement, but once my times started levelling out I found that having the stopwatch on acted as a kind of pressure to not take it easy and I began to dread its tyranny. I felt that in order to qualify as a run I had to average under six minutes per kilometre, but it soon became pretty clear that as long as I didn’t actually stop and walk I would always do that. Even though I replaced my stopwatch with a proper runner’s wrist watch I still wasn’t tempted to use it very much. Runs are much more enjoyable if I just set the length and don’t worry too much over how fast I can cover it in. If I run a Saturday Parkrun then I get an official time and I’m happy to use that as a general measure of my top performance level – around 4″30’/km rather than about the 5″/km that I tend to run when alone. Recently I’ve started to time my solo runs around the same course now that I have the Saturday runs as a benchmark or target.  Over the year, the running amounts to about 83 hours’ worth, or twelve  ‘office-days’.

The Diary

Thursday 10th September, A beautiful morning and off to a flying start – ran the Parkrun course in 24″03′ and then cycled around to rack up my daily target of 25k plus 9k extra.

Fri. Up at dawn and to the pool – 104 lengths and when I left at about 8.30am it was a beautiful morning. Performed my duties at the Buddhist Centre and went around Arsenal Stadium a few times to make par on 27k but all else was a lazy day.

Sat. No parkrun in Finsbury Park today as there is some sort of music festival there. Instead, I biked with my neighbours David & Lisbeth to the one in Highbury – 5 laps of a gently shelving course – mostly on pavement. Faster than the only other time I ran here, first in my age group and third-fastest ‘woman’ ;).


Sun. Early to bed and early to rise – a 6k run up the Parkland Walk and 26k cycling – and all before 10am so I could come home to a nice cup of tea, tap this into the computer and have the rest of the day free.

Mon. Rain. Some sun. But mostly rain. Cycled 26k to library and shops plus some noodling around then gave myself the rest of the day off for lounging around and D.I.Y.

Tue. Rain again. Disgusting, but not so bad that I couldn’t get a 5k parkrun course run (23″57′) and 27k of park cycling in (+2k later) before meeting up with an old acquaintance over ‘elevenses’ in the cafe.

Wed. Awful weather – took advantage of a dry spell to do my cycling (30k) and shopping trips. Then the rain took over and I pretty much wasted the rest of the day messing around on the internet. By late evening the downpour had ameliorated to a thin drizzle and so managed a 3k run.


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