Autumn marathon – week 7

This week took me to the end of the school year which meant there would be a number of social events to schedule my training around. I’m finding I can do this better now then I previously could but I still like my routine. Friday was our unofficial end of year party on the last day of term so I would have no time to run and Saturday would immediately be written off with a hangover before the week even started. I was proved correct about the hangover thanks to the cocktail happy hour!

The running stepped up slightly this week and my fast finish run went up to 15 minutes which was only a few more minutes. But I noticed it when running and had to keep pushing to maintain my pace. Afterwards my legs were quite tired and stiff which made it hard to get some sleep. This had a knock on effect on my Tuesday. 

I made a last minute decision to run to school as we had our official staff party in the evening so would not be able to run. It was such a slog. I felt stiff and just generally tired. I’m pretty sure I had a few little walk sections to it just to keep my breath and not to beat my body up too much! Still meant I could tick the miles off though. 

Thursday saw me spend a day at my new school which is right near Clifton Downs which is a big green space over looking the River Avon and Bristol’s suspension bridge. It is a lovely spot and I don’t get over there too much. Another positive for it is that it is all pretty level but surrounded by hills if you wanted to use them. This was why I was here today – for my hill run. As I started it turned out that o was dehydrated and the sun had properly come out. Before I got to the hill I had chosen I knew it was going to be a horribly hot and sweaty run. The intervals also increased to one minute. It was so much harder. I just had to keep telling myself that I am busting a gut for 8 minutes and then it is over. But the recovery sections didn’t exactly help as much as I hoped. When I got to the top for the last one I still had to jog up an incline to get back to my car but it was too much and I had to walk up it. My legs were shot. 

I am happy to push this hard because I need to make the most of these sessions because I believe this is where my gains come from. I didn’t maximise these sessions last training programme round so I’m working as much as I can to make the most of them. 

No long run this week because of my social life but I did a nice 45 minute recovery easy run this morning and made it to 5 miles. This sets me up nicely for my long run on Monday which should be 13 miles. By the end of the week I should be able to get back to my regular routine as I think I can get my long run in on Sunday. 

Things I will take away from this week:

I cannot drink as much as I used to

I can still go out and get drunk and prove the doubters wrong who think I will peak too early

Water is essential on a night out to help recovery for running the next day

It is important to have a social life

I can prioritise sessions so that I can do the best with my plan

I still have a long way to go to reach my goal pace

Autumn marathon – week 6

I have had quite a different week during this training week which has meant my body has been challenged slightly. I

Week six has been quite different to previous weeks. Firstly, I have not been cycling to work on the usual commute because my bike is a bit poorly. But as I’m leaving my school this summer it has been useful having the car to take stuff back home. Secondly, I finally went to my local running club! Also, this week we have had staff vs parents netball and football which has pushed my body in different ways. 

Not cycling has been a bit weird as the cycle is a nice way to loosen up my legs and freshen them up pre runs. But it has encouraged me to get out more due to the stiffness I would feel in my legs. It has been a shame that I have not got the extra  cross training in but it’s been a drop down week at the end of the 3 week cycle so it is a good week to do it. 

I got my fast finish run in on Monday and got some good splits for my final two miles which is always a nice motivator going forwards. 

On Tuesday I finally went along to my local running club which was a really positive experience. It was a really rainy day so was actually good motivation to get out with other people as it would have been slightly boring on my own. It turns out the rain put quite a few runners off as there was a group of about ten of us. The run was a 5 mile loop up and down some hills which showed me some new hills near my house that I will be using in the future. 

The Thursday saw us take on the parents in a netball match. I started centre as I love just running around and don’t like to be confined! As soon as it started I was like a rabbit in the headlights. Didn’t know where to go, who to follow and what I was doing. I realised that I have no change of direction anymore. Due to big teacher turnout I knew I wouldn’t play much so scheduled my hill run in. Tough as always but got it done !

Friday football vs parents followed and it was less agility intense so I fared slightly better. Ended up getting some sore early on set of blisters on the sole of my feet due to hard ground and boots I hadn’t worn for a year. 

Think I have managed to avoid too much damage though as I was able to get my long run done one Saturday which was a nice shorter 8 miles. Hoping if I look after it, I will be able to avoid time on the sidelines. 

From this point on I think my training is going into the peak phase which will see some tougher sessions come along. I have a few staff social events this week so I’m going to continue my flexibility with my organisation to cater for this. After this week I’m on school holidays so will be free to up the intensity and focus on the session. 

Things I will take away from this week:

I am not sport specific fit and need to avoid netball through my training 

I miss playing football and not being capable of my best (not that I’m outstanding btw)

Hills still hurt but they are working

I must consider how to deal with doms, which turn up every now and then, so that I recover better

Autumn marathon – week five

Following the progress I made with my training last week, I have been able to continue it this week with a solid run of sessions. I have had to be a bit more flexible about when to do my sessions due to other events happening in the week but it hasn’t felt like too much hassle. 

I had given the legs a run rest on Monday and just did the cycle commute which seems to work well for me. Never take it too easy as I have always got things to do at work so need to get there promptly- mostly to be at the head of the queue for the shower!

Tuesday was my fast finish session. I have been meaning to go to a running club but seem to keep bottling it. I was thinking of going Tuesday but got home slightly late so would have missed the start. Therefore I got on with my planned run. I went along a route I had been before, hoping that when I turned for the return leg, my ‘fast finish’ 12 minutes would be on a flatter bit of road. It started like this but I soon hit the hill I had earlier run down. It got very hard. So hard I stopped and almost decide to call it at 8 minutes. Then again at 10. Sometimes you just think it is too hard. But I managed to squeeze out the last 2 minutes. It wasn’t pretty but I got it done. 

Wednesday was my slower miles, getting 5 done at a decent ish pace on the way home up the hill. After last week’s run commute I was not expecting it to feel as comfortable as it did. It still was not easy but it was better. I didn’t feel feint during it – small victory. 

With my bike in work I drove in Thursday so I could go somewhere to do my hill session. After feeling awful doing it last Saturday and not wanting to do it on a Friday I scheduled it for Thursday. Driving over to the Clifton Downs, I found a hill that would be good enough. 

I’m never  sure how steep the hill should be but this one allowed me to get the session done consistently well. Maybe it was too easy but I needed to complete the session with the struggle from last week fresh in my mind. The reps were upped to 12 and I really focused on my striding and on trying to reach or go past my previous marker on each climb. Looking at the stats afterwards, I was quite pleased. 

Friday meant I had to run into school which I enjoy more than running home. The morning was warming up quickly so I was a sweaty mess when I arrived. 

Due to visiting friends Saturday night, wanting to buy Ed Sheeran tickets and not wanting to do it on Sunday, I did my long run Saturday morning. I kept my same alarm time as I have through the week which is slightly sad but it was worth it. By 9:15 I had done my 12 miles. It was a lovely morning and I took a different turn and found myself a new trail to run along. It was so nice to find somewhere new and it reminded me what I love about being able to do the long runs. 

I am writing this in my garden on Sunday lunch time and plan to have a small run later followed by some strength and core work. You may notice a lack of mention for this in my week but this is because I haven’t done any. I get back from a run and when they are nearly an hour I feel bad for then spending more time doing exercise. I have also felt quite tired and worry it might impact my running sessions. Excuses I know and I will get back to it this week. 

Things I will take away from this week are:

It is okay to be flexible with my sessions and fit them around my non running life. 

I really need to get to a running club to help push myself harder. 

I still don’t like hill running

I need to do more hill running. 

Saturday long runs can be really good and useful. 

I really enjoy exploring new routes on my long runs and finding new places. Great for the motivation. 

Autumn marathon – week four

I’m back in the game! A much better week of training to see June out and welcome in the rest of my journey to the Autumn marathon. 

Having seen Strava promoting their magic mile event that had to be done by the end of June I decided to set aside my fast finish run on Tuesday as the run to make my attempt and I would do it at the end of a 30 minute zone 2 run (which seems to be about 8 minute miling). I have never just ran a flat out mile before.  The closest I came was when I was at college and we started the year with a 1.5 mile run which I think I did in about 12 minutes. I went into this hoping for around 6:15 but without really having a reason to justify that. I tried to find a section which was fairly flat and it was also very quiet so wouldn’t have to do much dodging. 

It was SOOO hard! I was on the edge and felt like my heart would pop out. I wanted to push to get a fair reflection and I think I paced it to the limit which I guess is where you need to be. Got myself 5:55 which was great as I broke 6 minutes. This would work out about 18:30-19 minute 5 k time. Great! Except there is now way I could have done three of this in a row! May try again at another point in my plan to track my progress. 

My hill session this week was scheduled for Friday which is just stupid. Who wants to run hills on a Friday. I will be moving them to Thursday from now on. This Friday my brother came to visit so we went out for dinner. A burger. A massive burger and it was delicious. It was early evening so thought I could sneak a run in before bed. But then they came over for tea so I resulted to normal Friday mode of being tired. I delayed it to Saturday. Not too bad doing that as I could chill out the rest of the day and be recovered for the Sunday long run. 

However, Danielle and I wanted to see the Lion’s match so had to go to the pub at 830 in the morning to do this. Once there we had a breakfast as I thought I would digest it by the time I ran when I returned home. I may have done but when I went to do the hill runs it was clear I should not have eaten it. I felt horrid. Hills are hard enough but today they were extra hard and it was my fault. I’m just glad I managed to get them done though. Also worked my glutes nicely as they were letting me know about it by bed time! 

Things I will take away this week are :

Do not eat a full English breakfast hours before doing a tough hill session. 

Do not schedule runs for set nights and commit because it is better to move them around other events in the week to make the plan work me. 

I can push myself hard for a mile and maybe a sub 20 minute 5k might be possible. 

Strava is such a cool community for running and cycling and I will share my thoughts more soon. 

Autumn marathon – week two and three

I am putting these together because they were both disasters! After my week one long run I felt exhausted in the afternoon and a bit like I was coming down with some sort of cold. It gradually got worse into the evening – one of those where you out layers on before your girlfriend forces you to take them off because you are actually on fire! I had an inset day on the Monday which I knew I could get through, otherwise I would have had a sick day! This carried on for a few days and meant I didn’t get a proper run in. 

At the end of week 2 I was feeling better and I knew this part of the week would already be disrupted because I would be flying on Friday night to Portugal, for my brother’s wedding. So I took my running stuff with the ambition to run my way around this holiday destination. We eventually arrived at the hotel just after midnight and caught up with my dad before some sleep. I didn’t account for how tired I would feel so decided to sleep in and not run so I would be on top form at the wedding. 

Due to being on top form at the wedding and having a lovely time, I had a few too many drinks and we stayed out later than expected. This led to me having no desire to go for a run. This was also because the heat wave meant I would have to get up super early to do it. Motivation levels are not quite at that point yet. We enjoyed the last few hours at the hotel before leaving to catch our plane back. 

Arriving home and getting to bed at 3 am meant I spent the Monday at work absolutely shattered and trying to get through the day. I had no energy for running and this basically continued for most of the week as I had to get myself back to normal for work – not tiring myself even more by running. 

Come the end of week three I tried to get a few runs in and did a couple of runs on the Saturday and Sunday which went well and gave me a little kickstart for my training. 

I updated my training plan and refocused ready to hit week 4 with much better enthusiasm and application. 

From these two weeks I will take away:

That I need to be prepared to listen to my body. If I’m ill, I should not be running and rest will help me long term. 

If I am going somewhere hot for less than 48 hours and I have a big event in the middle, I am unlikely to prioritise a super early run. 

I need to do as much as I can to keep myself heathy!

Autumn marathon – week one

This week I embarked on my 18 week training plan that will hopefully take my up to my Autumn marathon ready to run not only a new PB, but a rather large PB. My plan will be from the 8020 running book. The plan is broken into phases as I may have mentioned before and starts with a foundation phase, a few short slow runs to get the legs moving, progressively longer long runs on Sunday’s and the odd interval session. 

My week didn’t start great as I missed the Tuesday run. I just didn’t have the motivation to do it after lots of little jobs after work. I managed to get in the rest of the weeks sessions which was good. 

I got back into my cycling to and from work this week and another colleague has joined the bike club, and also the Strava club. This means the cycles to work have taken on a more focused edge which is good as it will motivate me a bit more. So Wednesday to Friday I cycled in and back before my running session. 

The Friday session was an interval session of  5 x 2 minutes with 2 mins jog recovery. It was tough. I knew it would be tough. I wanted it to be tough. I really feel that my lack of these run types really came to bite me in my marathon early this year. I did some but think I lacked the quality. It’s a bit hard to pace, push and maintain when you are on your own and can just stop. I will keep these up and I will accept the pain they will bring for the rewards they will also deliver. 

Finished the week with a steady 8 miler. Not anywhere near the pace I want but will try to remember that there is a long way to go and I can add pace in later on. This is something I want to add to my long runs so that I know what to expect on the day. 

Another area I want to work on is my all round strength and conditioning so spent the week looking at a few different exercises I can do at home that should help improve my running. Still not sure how to incorporate them into an evening which is taken up with running but will develop it as I guy. Taken a few measures that should allow me to see some sort of progress. I’ll chat about these as they evolve. 

17 weeks to go!

Bristol 10k: The race

Two weeks after completing the marathon and after not doing too much running, I made my way to the start line ready to take on the Bristol 10k. 

I was heading into it not really knowing how to approach it. Should I go and enjoy plodding round or should I try to continue my personal best quest. 

I had done some calculations in my head regards the possible pacing. I knew that my training would put me in a position for a PB bit tired legs would put me off the sub 40 I would like to get. 

Still, in classic form, when the time came to get going I went off chasing the PB. I tried to find a rhythm that I could manage with my breathing that was of a good pace. To help with this I saw a couple of runners moving through the crowds at a pace that was what I wanted to hit. So following them I made my way through the other runners knowing that if I lost them I would fall off the pace completely. 

I’m pretty sure I went through 3K in a really fast 12 minutes and then continued to 5k in just over 20 minutes. However, it was at 5k that I really began to suffer. I had taken a sip of water and it really didn’t agree with my belly but I tried to keep going. At 6k, after a few minutes fighting with my central governor I had to stop for a moment feeling like I needed to be sick. I then ploughed on for another KM but it still wasn’t great so I stopped and almost tried to encourage vomit but it didn’t happen. 

The last couple of KM were tough but I managed to keep the legs going and along with a couple of brief stops, I approached the finish. I couldn’t muster a sprint finish and as I hit the finish line I stopped for what is become a now regular custom of squatting down to catch my breath. 

I had finished in 41:56 with a new PB!

As I walked away I even got myself on their video footage looking horrific. 

Still, I got my PB and without really training for it or pacing it well. It is definitely not my favourite event but think I will try again before the year is out, post marathon as I want to get sub 40!