This week I was on holiday in Canada. It is the first big holiday that I’ve probably done as an adult as I’ve only done beachy holidays before and it has so far lived up to and maybe actually surpassed my expectations. But this isn’t a holiday blog, it is a running one so let me tell you about how I attempted to balance my training with making the most of such an awesome holiday.
I went into the week with an idea of the sessions I wanted to run and on what days so that I could try to keep the consistency with the normal routine. Then, we came up with a plan for each day regards activities we wanted to do. It was at this point I had to think about how I was going to get the most out of the running I was able to do. I didn’t want it to take over my holiday but with seven weeks to race day, neither did I want to not run. I realised I had to prioritise the specific run sessions and be flexible with the steady and recovery runs. My mindset was that the tougher sessions are where I get most of the gains so these should be priority. I also knew we would be doing a bit of walking and cycling so could count those if I needed.
On the Monday it would normally have been a steady run but with the long run being done on the Friday before I decided to make it a session day. The reasoning for this was to bank my runs whilst I could in case activities later in the week impacted on them. It was also down to a frustrating event with Dani’s contact lenses which meant we had a slot of time to be waiting around so I went out on a run.
The run was about 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon and the sun was properly out for my tempo session. I found a running track on a map and headed over to it for my run as it would be easier than stopping at a crossing on my fast interval. However, when I got there it was not a tarmac track but a slight dusty gravel track. Good enough so I got on with my run. Considering I hadn’t fuelled properly due to my morning activities I was pleased with the speeds I hit and maintained. Not sure my mile PB on my Garmin was truly accurate!
The Tuesday was whale watching day which was an early start so managed to get out for a steady run of about 45 minutes to get about 6 miles under my belt. It was a good shakeout from the previous day and meant I wouldn’t be too tired for standing up whale watching.
On Wednesday we had planned to take on a tourist challenge know as the Grouse Grind. It was a 3k hike to the top of Grouse Mountain before you caught the cable car back to the bottom. You could catch it up also, but then you miss out on the grind. After reading reviews about it, I decided that this should be the main session of the day and it was a good thing to. The climb was awesome but quite tough in places with it getting really steep at some points. They break it down with quarter markers which helped keep me and other hikers motivated. They have a scanner down the bottom and at the top for those who want to time themselves and go back to beat their time. I really would have liked to have tried doing it as fast as I could, just for the challenge and to see what I could do. Hating hills like I do I am certain that running up it would have been one of the toughest things I’d have ever done. I think we did it in about an hour and 45.
Thursday started with a gentle tourist cycle around to a local market on Granville Island before I had some time to get another session in. Again it was super hot but I decided to take myself down to the sea wall to do the run. It was short intervals and dodging through the crowd wasn’t super easy – I nearly got taken out by a child, or nearly took a child out who ran across the path without looking. I had some good speed but the heat soon began to take its toll. I had taken water with me but it wasn’t enough. I also had a deadline to be back at the apartment for, so the few miles after the intervals were quite tough as I was tired but knew I couldn’t slow down and walk. It was probably a good thing.
There was no run on Friday as we moved to the second part of our holiday in Whistler and travel time took out the day. However, I was up early on Saturday to take part in Whistler Park Run. I’m pretty sure I got a PB in this event so I will talk more about it in another post (here) but all I need to say is that it was a really awesome place to run and I got to go in a lake afterwards. It also turned out that by the end of the day we had walked quite a few miles.
The week finished with this morning’s long run. I was really looking forward to exploring the trails on offer, even more so after chatting to people after Park Run. I had planned to get out at a normal sort of Sunday run time and be running for between 2 hours and 2 and a half hours. I knew I would not get high mileage because there would be hills but the time on my feet would be good for me. It started off fairly cool and the tree cover in the trails helped this. I was running with a bottle and managed to find my way to some water fountains when I needed to. The route was really cool with some lovely views and it was awesome just to hear my footsteps and no traffic. I didn’t go exploring as far afield as I hoped but that was partly due to my lack of forward planning. But, the trails and route I did was still cool and I think I did one section a couple of times and it didn’t get boring at all. After the run I went straight to the lake to meet Dani and dipped straight in for a natural ice bath. A refreshing way to end my week of running.
Things I will take away from this week are:
- I need to develop better hydration strategies as I am getting thirsty quite a lot when running at the moment
- I need to find opportunities to just run for the pleasure of running and not focusing on splits, speed and distance
- I really need to learn to swim better so I can be more confident in the water
- Running in the afternoon after lunch and in hot weather is not ideal
- Sometimes it will work out okay if I just get out and run without worrying about it.