So, Monday I followed angrboda
's example and tried a new route. A colleague (who is a serious runner who regularly runs marathons) said that he often goes for training runs down a certain minor road, 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. I hadn't registered the road as an option because from the end it just looks like a residential cul-de-sac, I didn't realize it went on for miles. It's about a mile of almost exactly perfect running road, tarmac'ed actual road but with almost no traffic once you get past the first handful of houses, since it just goes to a farmhouse. And it's along the brow of the hill so although not perfectly flat, it's not nearly as much downhill (forcing me to run uphill on the return leg) as my usual route. However, after a mile it turns into this kind of farm track thing, which is a public footpath (yay), but is muddy and uneven and uphill (boo). I'm guessing my amateur runner pal must do a fairly big cross-country section to take it to 20 minutes.
I think the best plan is going to be to run to the end of the road part and back, and finish the last mile or so by running along the first, relatively flat, section of my previous route (which starts from only 100 metres up the road from the end of this new road). This does mean a slightly awkward stretch running through a the busy village centre and across a multi-road junction, but that section is short, and the combined route would also allow me a full 5K without having to run along the side of a busy road or more than a few metres uphill.
I basically wasn't running at all in the middle section along the farm track, just kind of scrambling through the mud. It wasn't impassable, just you have to figure out where you can safely put your feet, which is obviously really slow. And even the nice flat bit along the ridge I didn't take very fast, partly because it's a new route, and partly because it was on the edge of too cold for my lungs and I wasn't doing brilliantly with breathing. So I only made 3.3 km overall in half an hour, but at least I've discovered a new and possibly better route for future runs.
Whereas today it was definitely too cold and I didn't get away from work before it was starting to get dark, so I dragged myself to the gym and put in 5K at 7.2 kph on the treadmill. Fairly easy, again the main impediment was boredom, in spite of the Zombies, Run! podcast. This time the background music in the gym was less loud, which did help, but I think also my real problem is not so much that I can't hear the dialogue as that I can't hear the specific voice actor who plays Archie, and she was a central character in the previous episode. I couldn't hear her in this episode either but I could hear everybody else, so was much better able to follow the plot.
That gave me a time of 41'46'', and reasonable confidence that I'll be able to manage 7.5 kph on the treadmill soon, even if it takes me a few tries.