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The ghost of fitness past

With the years piling on, it feels I’m more susceptible to injury. I have a 10k race in a few weeks and my goal is to get a personal best for it. My record is a little under 47 minutes which I set it the first time I ran it, twelve years ago. That race, that younger version of myself turned up in a pair of trainers and a football training top after only doing a handful of warm up runs in the previous few weeks.

Who would’ve thought that chipper, sprightly young chap, skipping up hills, smiling with the other runners, would turn into my arch-nemesis. The person I’ve set out to destroy! Well, not destroy per se, I don’t want to create an inescapable time loop and be forever trapped within the grandfather paradox, ripping apart the entirety of space time and obliterating our dimension forever. It’s just that me’s time I’d like to destroy.

Time paradoxes aside then, what did my former self have that I don’t? Relative youth brings relative resilience – I recall regularly heading out on a run after only a couple of quad stretches and be generally ok the next day or two.

Running now takes a bit more prep to get into. I’ve discovered dynamic stretching and have been doing that every run this year. I go through a couple of moves to progressively warm up the muscles in my legs and hips and then when I leave the house I walk for a bit before breaking into a run.

Walk! I can imagine the younger self laughing at that. Bit of a waste of time walking isn’t it? If you go out for a run for an hour it should take an hour. Not an hour and twenty minutes because you need a walk before and after.

But it helps. As does gradually building up the heart rate through some light jogging and different drills, after about 5-10 minutes I’m good to go.

At the end I stop where I’m finished and walk back home to cool down. My former being wouldn’t appreciate this either, runs start and finish at your front door, and not a centimetre before!

So far I’ve been injury free (apart from a couple of niggles along the way that cleared through rest and some lighter training) and without wanting to jinx anything I feel in good shape for the upcoming race. The real question is whether I’ve achieved the right levels of fitness to finally beat that sinister being, that evil genius, that ghost of races past, that… me!

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