long run

Autumn marathon – week 11

At the end of this week I went on holiday to Canada which I am very excited about. However, this meant that I would need to try and make sure that I squeezed in all the important runs and sessions before I left.

We were flying on Saturday and I knew there was no chance I would be able to squeeze a run in on this day. Although I did consider running against the little airport travelators but thought better of it This meant that I had to be really flexible with my runs at the same time as wanting to up my mileage.

I managed to keep things pretty much the same as normal but the main difference was that I had to move my long run to the Friday. I have never done a long run on a Friday before and it did feel really weird having to do it, especially as I didn’t do my normal evening before high carb meal. Also, the run session I had the day before was a short interval session with 12 fast 90 second reps. These normally leave me feeling a bit fatigued the day after but I didn’t have time to be affected by this as the long run had to get done. In the end the long run went well and I even got in my highest mileage run of my programme so far.

When I do a long run I take my bladder bag with me so I can drink as I go and this has normally been really useful and easy to use. However, I have begun to find issues with it as it is really hard to drink from when I am out of breath which means to get a really good drink I find myself needing to take a walk. Not ideal and this is something I may have to review soon but will have to make do for the rest of the training block.

With my flight to Canada taking the whole of Saturday – getting into our hotel at 1am Sunday, Canada time I knew my body would need a shake out and after all this travelling I knew a long run would be detrimental, which is why I did it on Friday. I decided to go and do a steady 45 minutes along the roads of Canada which was cool but there was not much scenery around our airport hotel. I managed to find a little park along the way which was nice change from the shop fronts. As there is meant to be no jay walking in Canada I found myself having to stop at a lot of crossings which affected my rhythm but as it was only a loosener it didn’t matter too much.

We move into Vancouver central next week and I am very excited about exploring the city through my runs.

Things I will take away from this week are:

  • Travelling for a whole day can leave your legs restless
  • Sometimes you just have to wake up the person next to you on the plane to go to the loo and stretch your legs
  • A long run on a Friday is weird but possible if I’m not working
  • I need to add squats or something every time I stop at a crossing
  • I need to keep myself hydrated and start working out some strategies for race day
  • I need to buy new shoes before my current ones begin to fall apart
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Autumn marathon – week 10

I’m a little bit late writing this week’s update because I’ve been a little bit busy travelling around. I went to see a friend who moved down to Cornwall last year with his family. He is a big cycling fan so took my bike down with me and I knew in advance that he would take me on quite a challenging ride. With this in mind I had to once again change my schedule.

I drove down on Wednesday which meant an early drive, leaving at 7am. When I got down there, it was straight onto the bikes for a cycle over to Lands End from Penzance. A lovely ride but there are some proper hills down that way. They were tough but I did alright and my friend only had a short wait at the top of each hill.

This meant I didn’t run on Wednesday but got up early for a sunny run along the sea in Penzance. The nice scenery was a good distraction from the pain of my intervals and it is a really cool thing to be able to go and run in different locations.

On the Saturday I drove back from Cornwall but it was not as enjoyable as it could have been because of the roads and traffic. By the time I got home I was shattered and we ended up getting dinner from the chip shop. Lining up my long run on Sunday, this was not the best option for fuelling and in hindsight I should really have predicted it. Being sat in the car for so long probably did not do my legs any favours either. 

The long run on Sunday was a 16 mile speed play session which meant for every mile I ran a quarter hard and recovered for three quarters. It started off well and my pace for both parts was good and comfortable enough but it soon became tough.

This was also the first time I encouraged Dani to come out and cycle alongside me because it was a sunny day. In my head this would have been a really enjoyable experience with smiles, laughter and chat. However, it soon turned out that because I was struggling, I did not enjoy her being there for parts of it. When I needed to walk, her encouragement was not welcomed by me and this happened a couple of times. I think I was really struggling because of my dehydration. It was so hot out there. We managed to make it back okay and we were still on quite good terms as we walked back up the hill.

I think next time I will only invite her along on more steady runs!

These sessions and long runs are really tough and I know I am not where I want to be but in my head I keep telling myself that these sessions are what will make me stronger.

Things I will take away from this week are:

  • Cross training can have good benefits and I should do it more
  • Driving seems to make my legs tired
  • Chips for dinner the night before a long run is not really sensible
  • Running with a non running partner has the potential to be enjoyable but it is important to choose a good run
  • Finding new places to run keeps training fresh and interesting
  • Sessions are hard but they are what will make me stronger
  • My arms got tired in the long run so I need to build up a bit more strength

Bristol to Bath Railway path

I have ridden the Bristol to Bath Railway path a number of times and have found it really enjoyable, especially when the sun is out and I have always thought it to be an ideal running route. So, as I was getting towards a decent long run I started to think about using it more. Then the time came this weekend, when I had a 20 miler planned, to take on the railway path.

For me to get to the path I had to go up and down a couple of steady hills, which were fine at the start of the run. It was about 1.5 miles in before I reached the path so only had to go 8.5miles before turning round. The weather was pretty good for running as it wasn’t too hot but there was potential for rain, so I had squeezed a waterproof (and some gels) into my backpack for the run. My aim was to go long and steady and test out my gels.

At the start of the path I found it okay to get into my rhythm with a few people ahead to slowly chase down. To begin with you go through Fishponds which isn’t the most scenic part but once you get through that you run through a tunnel of trees – and then an actual tunnel! On a warm day you really notice the chill entering the tunnel which was a strange sensation. I also lost GPS signal on my watch but fortunately got it back fairly quickly when I came out the other side.

One of my favourite parts of the route is going through Warmley where there is a superb little tea rooms. On this occasion I did not stop but if you ever wanted to plan for somewhere to end your run or cycle, then I would recommend here!

Towards the end of my out leg, my legs started to twinge, only this time it was not the leg I had been nursing, but the outside of my left knee around the IT Band. Just what I needed with another 10 miles to jog back! Managed to make it back most of the path but did have the occasional walk to try and relieve some pressure and release some frustration. Luckily the route is very flat so I had no real hills to contend – helping the knee slightly.

Ultimately by the time I got off the path I was in quite a bit of pain, but realised if I walked all the way back it would have taken ages so I did the silly thing of continuing to jog as much as I could. Managed to get half a mile back and up one of the hills before realising it was a stupid idea and that I would need to walk. Typically, just as I did this it began to tip it down so out came my waterproof which did very little and I continued to walk home in pain and soaked through. This time I had taken a pound coin out with me (for any random emergency where £1 would be the difference) and decided I would have an ice bath when I got in. For this I would nip to the local store to purchase some ice, only to be devastated when it was being sold at £1.05 ! By time I got home I decided I would rather have a warm shower and I did not return for the ice.

I consider this the day where my issues began!