This week I had planned 6 sessions; 4 runs, 1 Yoga session and 1 weights session:
Monday 22nd October:
I wasn’t really looking forward to my weights session after work. This was the first week of my new training cycle and a “fresh start” to my training as I want to get back to a regular schedule.
The plan was:
- 5×10 Bodyweight Push-ups
- 1×5 Deadlifts at 55kg
- 5×5 Bench Press at 35kg
- 5×5 Barbell Row at 35kg
I started my first set of 10 push-up repetitions and instantly knew that this was going to be a tough session. I made it through the 10 reps, took a 60 second rest and then started my next set. After completing the fourth set I was dreading the fifth! My 60 second rest period flew by, so off I started. I got to rep 4 and my arms were starting to wobble. After a quick breather I pushed on to complete all 10 reps in the final set.
My previous Deadlift was 1×5 at 52.5kg, so I increased the weight to 55kg this week. This was a tough lift but doable – I’m glad I invested in some lifting gloves though!
I HATE Bench Press and Overhead Press exercises… my previous best was 5×5 at 32.5kg, so I thought I would have a go at 35kg. Not a good move. I completed the first set of 5 reps, but then struggled through the second. As I was struggling so much, I decided to decrease the weight on the barbell back to 32.5kg; I had completed 5×5 at that weight previously so it should have been do-able. I completed the third set at 32.5kg but was really struggling so I decreased the weight again down to 30kg. After completing 4 sets I decided that today just wasn’t going to be the day to get this done with good form, so I moved onto my next exercise.
Like the Bench Press, my previous Barbell Row was 5×5 at 32.5kg, so I loaded the bar to 35kg to see how that felt. I completed 1×5 at 35kg and decided that I wasn’t going to achieve anything more productive for the day.
All in all, my weight session was disappointing, despite getting a new Deadlift personal best.
Tuesday 23rd October:
I was actually quite looking forward to my first run of my new training plan. This was until I got home from work and entered a freezing cold house! I decided to go on the treadmill for this run as I’m not a big fan of running in the cold. There’s nowhere local for nice scenery, and Chris was going to be using the car so I couldn’t drive anywhere. I braved the cold house in my shorts and just a sports bra and hopped onto the treadmill. The plan here was 0.25 mile warm up walk, 4 mile steady running (12:15-12:30 mile pace), and then a 0.25 mile cool down walk.
The first mile averaged at 12:32, which I was happy with – for me, the road to mile 1 is always a mental battle. Mile 2 came in at 12:21, which was quicker but still in the range I was aiming for. The third mile was quicker still at 12:14, and I was feeling comfortable so decided this pace would be maintainable. To my surprise, mile 4 was my quickest at 12:10!
This session gave me a lot of confidence as I often struggle with running after work. My heart rate zones were also where they needed to be – no higher than Zone 3.
Wednesday 24th October:
I need to work on my joint strength to prevent any running injuries as I look to increase my mileage, and to also help me build a strong core for running longer distances. At the moment, my form suffers towards the end of half and full marathons as I start to lean forward at the core.
As such, Wednesday saw me attempting Yoga… again. I started Yoga from YouTube videos months ago, but never stuck with it. Ideally, I would like to be doing one session a week, or at least one Yoga, Pilates or Stretching activity per week.
I found a “deep stretching” Yoga video on YouTube and decided to give it ago. I’m not the most flexible person, so I find these types of activities difficult. I had to modify a few of the exercises, but made it through my 30 minute session.
Thursday 25th October:
My second run of the week. This was going to be the same session as Tuesday: 0.25 mile warm up walk, 4 miles steady running, and then a 0.25 mile cool down walk. After completing Tuesday’s session comfortably, I was feeling fairly confident about getting to the end of this session. Previously I had used to struggle reaching the 3 mile mark, it was like a mental block, so I was just hoping for a repeat performance of Tuesday.
Mile 1 was at the quicker end of my predicted steady run pace as I completed it in 12:15. I kept the treadmill settings the same all of the way through, so all that altered was my stride on the belt. Mile 2 came in a few seconds slower at 12:17, however mile 3 was quicker at 12:13. Just like Tuesday’s run, my final mile was the quickest at 12:08.
I felt like I could have ran for longer, but decided to stick to my planned session distance. My heart rate performance was better than Tuesday, even despite the slightly quicker pacing. I spent longer in Zone 2 than Tuesday and less time in Zone 3.
My prescribed easy run pace was between 12:15-12:30 per mile, however after this week’s performance, I may change this to 11:50-12:15 and run 12:30-13:00 per mile for my longer runs.
Friday 26th October:
I was tempted to add another weight session in here, but decided against it and opted for complete rest. The week had been pretty successful so far and I didn’t want to overdo it or undo my hard work.
Saturday 27th October:
Getting up for Parkrun was extremely difficult as it was so cold (around 2 degrees) and my bed was so comfortable. My alarm went off at 7am. Chris, the dog (Tess), and I, lay in bed debating whether or not to go out until around 7:40am. At the last possible moment, I decided that I needed to stick to my plan and get up. Plus, I really want that 50 Parkrun t-shirt and at this point I had only ran 10!
We arrived at Parkrun and I took my place at the start. Somehow I managed to end up lining up at the front of the pack, so when the klaxon sounded I set off faster than I would have liked as I had club runners and really fast people on my tail!
After tucking in to the left to let people past I managed to slow my pace down a little. Before starting the race, I decided that I wasn’t going to run for a personal best, as the ultimate goal is sub-30 minutes, and that wasn’t going to be possible for a while. My half marathon tempo pace is 10:25-10:55, so I thought I’d aim to run around the 10:25-10:30 mark.
Mile 1 was quicker than I had planned, especially due to my fast start, and came in at 9:55. I was feeling good but decided to drop down a little. Mile 2 came in at 10:06 and I was still feeling strong. I felt like I could run faster, but didn’t really see the benefit at this point as the only personal best I was interested in was a sub-30 minute 5k, and that was not going to be on the cards. Mile 3 was completed in 10:02, and the last 0.10 took 52 seconds with an average pace of 9:18.
I got a personal best of 30:56, taking 21 seconds off of last week’s Parkrun. This run was an improvement for me as I actually held myself back during the run, which I always find hard to do when running with other people. The reason I stopped running Parkrun events originally was down to the fact that I would go one-hundred percent all out every week and it was too taxing. Another huge plus was that I actually ran most of the way. I only slowed to a walk for around 30 seconds towards the end of each mile for the uphill climb. Last week I had taken a few short walk breaks as I was struggling to maintain a quicker speed.
It took me a while to reach the sub-35 mark, but now my times are improving each week. The sub-30 minute 5k doesn’t seem so far-fetched now and I can feel myself getting closer. I’m hoping that as I increase my mileage for my next half and full marathon events, and by adding some speed work, I can reach this goal by the end of January.
Sunday 28th October:
Sunday is my long run day, mainly due to the fact that it is the day that I have the most free time, but also because most events are on Sundays.
This week the plan was a 0.25 mile warm up walk, 6 mile steady run with a slower pace than my midweek easy runs, and then a 0.25 mile cool down walk. Recently I have been struggling with my long runs. As such, I usually end up breaking them into 2 or 3 mile intervals. My previous long run in September when training for the Robin Hood Half Marathon was 11.5 miles, including the warm up and cool down. This consisted of a 0.25 mile warm up walk, 2 miles of running then a 0.25 mile walk to recover and then repeating three times until the last 0.25 mile recovery walk was used for the cool down.
So, my first long run of my new training schedule. I never look forward to these runs because it becomes such a mental battle. Before I even start running I have to battle my mind as I know that I am going to be running for longer than usual.
The plan was to run at a pace between 12:30 and 13:00 – although for my long runs, pace isn’t really important as long as I’m running easily. My first mile came in at 12:54, so a nice slow pace. Mile 2 was a little quicker at 12:44, before dropping back to 12:50 for mile 3. Mile 4 was also 12:44, then 12:41 for mile 5. Just like my mid-week runs, the final mile was my fastest at 12:33, so still just within my desired pace range. There were a few times, especially in mile 6, where I had to pull myself back a little to slow my pace down.
My heart rate was mainly in Zone 3 for this run, with the early miles staying in Zone 2. To run for over an hour and not push myself to Zone 4 was a small achievement for me.
Mentally I had started to struggle as I approached the 4 mile mark. 4 miles had been my longest run distance for a while. My body and mind are used to running 3-4 miles and then stopping. I pushed on and started to feel comfortable again. Mile 6 wasn’t as tough as I was expecting, and I felt like I could have ran more, which is a good way to end my long run!
Previously all of my runs had felt like I had given it my all each time, and that gets draining after a while. Now I’m feeling stronger and like I still have more in the tank, despite running further than before.
Weekly Training Summary:
Total Miles = 18.6
Training Hours = 4:46:56
Positives = all sessions completed. Evening runs better than usual. Successful long run. Feeling strong after all runs. New 5k Personal Best!
Negatives = my weight session was disappointing. I can see that my cross training sessions are going to require a lot of dedication to stick to as they aren’t something that I enjoy.
Next Week = slightly higher weekly mileage (19.1 miles) with one steady run being replaced with a VO2 Max Interval session. I have switched up the days so that Monday will be for some core exercises, with my weight session scheduled for Wednesday. There will be no full rest day; Yoga will serve as my active rest from training on Friday.