Consistent training

As I build up to Weymouth Half Marathon, I have been reflecting on how my training is actually going. If you have come over from my Instagram you will have a fairly good idea about that. 

Generally my training has been good but with the expected ups and downs. There have been some runs where it has been really tough and my pacing has felt well off where I want to be. But these are often quickly followed by runs with something that I can pick out as a positive. This could be getting through my intervals feeling okay, getting a good pace in a tempo or just feeling like I did exactly what I set out to. 

As I look back at last years training, the thing that is really different this year is that I am being much more consistent with my training. This means I have not been sidelined by any injury and I have also carried out nearly every single run that was on my plan – bar a few. I have been following the 80/20 method and this has meant I have been running more often but at a slower pace which has allowed me to keep ticking over. Therefore, during the week I do 2 sessions which have been a fast finish run, an interval or hill run and then on the weekend I do a long run. The other days are often slow recovery runs or a short steady run. 

By balancing these runs it has allowed me to get out the door. I often find it really hard to come home from work and go out for a run but trying to stick to my plan and knowing that these runs are achievable makes it easier. I also have to make sure I don’t sit down for too long. 

Going forwards with any training in the future I will make sure that consistency is key to my approach. This will involve running regularly and with a steady progression so that I can get out the door and hopefully avoid injuries. 

One thing I really need to think about adding into my training is all the other side of training such as core and strengthening. This is something I need to do better. 

How is everyone else approaching their training? 

How do you balance running with strength training?

Marathon talk podcast

I have been listening to the Marathon Talk podcast on every run since before the start of this year and I am loving it. 

Every podcast raises a variety of different running topics along with discussions with a host of guests who have a running story to tell. Their training talk session has been really interesting as it has offered insight into aspects of training that I have not previously considered. 

One episode I really enjoyed was a discussion around why we run and how important it is to know why you run. This comes through setting goals but also knowing why you go out and do every individual training session. 

They also have a special segment by Tony Auldenshaw, Bob off of emmerdale, who offers his take on his training in the humerus Tony’s trials. 

It is hosted by Martin Yelling and Tom Williams who have been doing it for 7 years now. This means that their whole back catalogue is available. 

Check it out and let them entertain you in your long run! 

Training progress

I am now 4 weeks into my marathon training plan and things are going well. 

The plan I am using is the 80/20 running method by Matt Fitzgerald which has a focus on the intensity balance between the runs and doing more slower runs. As part of this it has had me running every day apart from the rare rest day. 

The consistency of getting and running nearly all the planned sessions and doing something every day has been really good for me. It has made it harder to skip a run and I have enjoyed them on the whole. 

The plan is split into foundation stage, peak phase and taper phase. I’m in the foundation phase for few more weeks now. The three main session during the week are a fast finish session, hill interval session and the long run session. 

The hill sessions are by far the hardest but I have never really included these in a plan properly before so I am keen to dig in and get through these sessions as best I can. May be easier to do these with other people but I just do them on my own. The fast finish sessions are nice because I get to open the legs up and go at a fast manageable pace. Was up to 15 minutes at that intensity this week which was good. Feels like it would be my 5 k pace and having not done a parkrun for a while I have the memory of that feeling after my last PB to go by. The long runs are good as the go up for 2 weeks then decreases for a week. Went out and did 14 miles today which was a good comfortable run. 

My old knee niggle is beginning to hover every now and then but I am trying to do more IT band specific exercises every other day to keep that area strong. Plan to visit a physio again soon to get ahead before I go into the peak phase. Me and the foam roller are spending a lot of time together. 

Plans for 2017

Not been on here for a while as I have been reflecting on what I want to achieve and why I want to run.

Over Christmas 2016, I decided I would start getting back into the habit of running regularly and tried to piece together a little run streak of gentle runs. It felt good to be out running and getting some time on my feet. Over this time it gave me a chance to think about what I wanted to do this year with my running. I also started to make greater use of Instagram and have been using that to record my runs daily as a way to keep myself focused and accountable. Having previously read a book on 8020 running I have decided that I will be following this plan over the next 4 and a half months.The main reason for choosing this plan is the hope that it will allow me to stay stronger towards the end of race.

My targets for the year is to go through a whole training plan without picking up a serious injury that stops my running. If I can do this, then I hope to be able to beat my PB.

Not being confident in my ability to do a whole plan without an injury I will be trying to do 2 marathons this year. To set myself up for this I will see how I go with the build up to my first marathon and then peak again for a second race. Alongside this, I am hoping to go into a number of other races or events without the pressure of running.

I have booked on for Weymouth Half Marathon in March to set me up for the Southampton Marathon on the same day as London Marathon. Hopefully putting in plenty of long, slow miles, I will be ready!

Feeling like a runner again

For the first time in a long time I feel like an actual runner again and it is great!

It has been half term so I have had time to be a bit selfish and focus on getting out running again. My aim for the week was to go and do a few slow runs and see what happened in the hope I could go slow for 30 minutes. The first day of the holidays I went out and because of the slower pace I felt comfortable going longer. Getting to the hour mark and feeling good with it was really satisfying. I thought it best to leave a day between each run but ended up having to wait for a couple of days before my next run.

Over the rest of the week I managed to get out 3 more times doing exactly the same thing and had no pain in my knee. (Check out my training diary here) I was even able to enjoy running because I wasn’t putting my body under stress by pushing hard.

I also returned to my physio again to discuss my tight hips/glutes/lower back. After some prodding and assessment he reached the conclusion that my hip flexors are still tight as is my back, which is not great for my posture. He found some trigger points in my back and glutes (it was not enjoyable) and gave me some exercises to work on as well as advising on foam rolling the glutes and back daily. I am really determined to get this sorted and must do them daily!

As mentioned in a previous blog on Pomprey Hill Parkrun, I enjoyed getting out and being in a community of runners to start the weekend. I was also pleased to get a solid time on a new course that was a decent challenge. Perhaps I should have warmed up a bit better before it – not to go faster but to reduce risk of injury. However, you don’t see lots of warm ups being done so didn’t want to be odd.

Although it might have been a sensible idea to rest today following Parkrun, I was really keen to go out and add some more distance to my week and show myself that I was capable of doing more. Admittedly, I have probably done far too much running this week having previously done very little but it is great to know I have it under my belt.

Next week I return to school so my schedule will probably be busier and running might take a back seat but I think this will be a good thing. Having pushed to get these runs done it will probably benefit my legs to have a week of less running before steadily increasing it again.

My aims for next week is to do a couple 10k/1 hour runs again and a steady Parkrun on Saturday. I’m also looking to get out in the morning before work to fit in a run to free up an evening for some core/yoga style work as well as continuing to work on my physio exercises.

How has your week of running been? Have you started to follow any training plans?

Pomprey Hill ParkrunĀ 

Made another Parkrun debut today with a visit to Pomprey Hill Parkrun in South Gloucestershire, which will soon become my closest Parkrun.

It is only a few weeks until me and Dani move into our first house and we will be moving from living very close to Little Stoke Parkrun to being very near Pomprey Hill. So I wanted to go and check it out before I moved and managed to drag Dani along with me – which I really did not expect to happen.

Before heading down I had a read of the Parkrun page and their Facebook group to get a feel for the course. They recorded a couple of hundred runners recently which was good and showed people like it! The weather was overcast with some moisture in the air which I think is perfect running weather.

As we arrived there was a decent amount of parking and the pavilion looked really cool. They opened it up for everyone to buy teas and bacon rolls! The smell of the bacon rolls was a nice motivator when you ran past it three times but also quite demotovating because it would be so easy to stop and get one.

The course was 3 laps and a bit, which went over paths, wood chippings, grass and some mud and on the route there was the famous ‘Pomprey hill’. The hill was muddy but because there had been a lack of rain it meant it was fine to plod up, if a little narrow! Getting to the top the second and third time, I really felt the effects and had to keep moving at a slower rate to get some breath back. Soon after this there was a short downhill section before a steady rise to the finish line.

I really enjoyed seeing so many people out there doing the parkruns. As I always say, it is a real highlight of these events that they attract all sorts of runners. There were even quite a few youngsters!

At the end I didn’t stay around for a bacon roll but it looked like many were and when I return I will be sure to bring some money to buy one.

Today wasn’t a new PB for me, but managed to push myself round to get 22.07. I’m pretty pleased with that, especially after looking at my watch data. It was a consistent yet rewarding run.

Overall a slightly challenging course with a few ups and downs but there is plenty of scenery to enjoy and positive spectators and marshals to keep encouraging runners all the way round. Visit http://www.parkrun.org.uk/pomphreyhill/ for more information.

Work/Run balance

This past couple of weeks I have found it really hard to find an ideal work/run balance that allows me to get all the teaching work done and still have time and motivation to train.

In the past I have been able to generally leave work at school and not take too much home but recently this seems to have stopped being the case. I have come home and done a couple of runs but when I have done them, I just feel lethargic and the runs are not the best.I can feel myself losing fitness through the lack of motivation and this is something I really need to stomp out.

I have seen advice on how to squeeze sessions in such as doing runs before work, making use of lunchtimes for exercising and doing more interval sessions so that time is maximised and you do not have to work out for as long. However, even some of these are no good such as doing lunchtime exercise. My lunchtime is spent marking books so the only thing exercised is my writing hand.

I have just started my half term with an hour jog this morning and I am hoping to use this as a boost for my training and a chance to start a fresh. I can’t help but feel that I am using my knee issue and worries about injuries as an excuse and this is something only I can do something about. Hopefully a visit to the physio in the next week or so will give me some fresh focus and purpose to my training which has felt slightly lost recently as I do the odd jog to keep me ticking over.

Due to afterschool commitments such as parents evening among other things, I have also not been along to my running groups track sessions which was a nice weekly focus. After what I hope will be a refreshing week of jogging, I hope to make my return to the track very soon. Also, I want to get some marathons booked up so that I can get some focus to my training and this will only help me get out and find time to do more training.

Going forwards, I plan to schedule one night each week for an extended session. To do this I will be looking at the diary for the week ahead. I am going to try and do at least one morning session each week before work to remove stress after school. I am also going to try and do some interval styled training one night a week. Hopefully, this alongside what the physio says will get me back on track.

How do you manage you work/run balance? Any tips to share?