With less than a week to go, has Rebecca Milford done enough training to conquer the wadi?
Days until Wadi Bih: 5 It’s been a busy old week since the Dubai 10k on January 27. Normally after running that far I’d give myself at least a week to recover (read: ‘laze on the sofa and eat junk’). But the 10k was only a small part of my training, so I can’t take it easy just yet – instead, I’ve spent the past week trying to get a few more miles under my belt before the race this weekend. Here’s what I’ve been up to…
Monday I’ve had three days to recover since the 10k, but I’m still finding excuses to avoid running (is that a small twinge I feel in my knee? Has that blister on my big toe healed yet?), so rather than ditch the training completely, I try a different tack: shopping. I’m conscious that the photos accompanying this blog make it look as though I only have one running T-shirt (the neon-orange one). That’s not true: in fact, I have two. But I figure my status as a Wadi Bih competitor means I deserve some new gear. During a quick trawl of Dubai’s malls, I snap up a new pair of Lycra shorts and (another) neon-orange T-shirt at the Nike store at Festival City, while my stop at Saucony at The Dubai Mall yields a blue wicking running vest and a couple of pairs of socks. Result.
Tuesday The First Nike Run Club since the 10k, and everyone’s comparing war stories as we warm up at Festival City. Instructor Charlie says he’ll avoid long distances at this evening’s session, instead focusing on speed and strength. My relief is short-lived: he soon has us running, hopping and jumping up and down stairs until my thighs are cursing me for not staying at home. We move on to sprints, interspersed with sit-ups, burpees and the dreaded plank. It’s a killer session, but I do notice that I’m able to recover fairly quickly between each exercise, which should stand me in good stead for the weekend’s run.
Wednesday I decide to take a break from running and head to an evening kickboxing session at KO Gym in Dubai Marina to work up a sweat on the pads. I’ve been kickboxing on and off for a couple of years, and am hoping that some cardio work and an hour of drills and Muay Thai combinations will loosen me up and help to build my strength. It certainly does the trick: 90 minutes later I’m gasping, shoulders burning and legs weak. Nothing better to relieve the stress of a day at the office than hammering your fists repeatedly in the direction of someone’s face.
Thursday I take a break from exercise today (well, how can I refuse when my fellow Time Outers are heading to the pub for a post-work beverage?). I allow myself two small drinks to celebrate the end of the week, but make my excuses and leave before things get too rowdy: I’ve got an early start tomorrow.
Friday A 7am wake-up call at the weekend: uurrrgh. But I haul myself out of bed and pull on my shiny new running gear for the Nike Run Club session at Burj Park. The weather outside is freeeeezing (well, 18C, which in Dubai terms is positively arctic), so trainer Tom does a quick warm-up then sets us loose to run laps of the park and Downtown. ‘We’re aiming for three laps,’ he yells, to stifled groans from most of my fellow joggers. Yet I find it soon blows away the cobwebs: I’m feeling pretty dehydrated, but I plod on and complete my three laps in 46 minutes. A few quick calculations from Tom has the distance at about 7.5km: not a bad stint to have under my belt a week before the Wadi run.
Saturday Just a quick jog today: I head out with my other half at 10am for an easy lap of Downtown (he wants to try out his new running trainers, so I tag along to keep him company). We trundle round in the sunshine for about 3km, then head home and collapse on the sofa for the rest of the morning. That’s the best thing about running first thing: you get the exercise out of the way, then you can feel smug for the rest of the day without suffering a guilt trip if you sneak an extra square of Dairy Milk from the packet.
Sunday The first day of the working week is Time Out Dubai’s press day, which often means a late evening at the office. Luckily, tonight we manage to put the magazine to bed at 7.30pm, so I head straight home and bash out another 3km lap of Downtown: a nice relaxed jog accompanied by a podcast on my iPod. The final plans for Wadi Bih are also falling into place: we have our transport and accommodation sorted (we’ll be spending Thursday night on a campsite in Dibba), so now it’s just down to me and my fellow media team-mates to make sure we’re as well prepared as possible.