Last week’s report can be found here.
This week I had planned 7 sessions; 4 runs, 1 Yoga and Core session and 2 weights sessions.
|Yoga and Core
Monday 12th November:
I got home from work and Chris had made me some food. We ate and chatted for around 30 minutes before I headed upstairs to hit the weights.
Before I started on the weights, I spent 10 minutes on my stability board as a warm up. This helps work my legs and improve strength and stability in my knees, legs and core. The 10 minutes went remarkably fast and I moved onto my strength training.
The plan for the session was:
- 5×10 Push-Ups
- 5×10 Bench Press at 20kg
- 1×5 Deadlift at 55kg
- 5×10 Sit-Ups
I started my push-ups and instantly knew that I was going to struggle today. Instead of burning out early on, I decided to switch from 5 sets of 10 reps to 10 sets of 5 reps. This switch helped ensure that I got through the first part of the session.
After my recent struggles with the bench press, I opted to repeat last week and do 5 sets of 10 reps with just the bar (20kg). This felt a little easier than last week, but I still struggled on the last rep or two of sets 3, 4 and 5.
I was tempted to add a little more weight to try and get a personal best, but I wasn’t really feeling great and I remember how hard this was last week! The first rep actually felt quite good. That feeling was very much short-lived though. Rep two was ok, but rep 3 took a lot of effort to lift the bar. I took a quick breather but attempting rep 4, and couldn’t wait to see the back of rep 5! I actually switched grips for reps 4 and 5 to an over-under style grip, which helped a little.
To round off my session plan, I completed 5 sets of 10 sit-ups. I felt the burn, but these are no longer as challenging as when I first started training and would struggle to do 5! I felt pretty good after completing these so finished up with a 30 second plank hold.
This wasn’t my strongest session, but I completed it and it’s about keeping momentum going. I might drop the deadlift weight for a week or two and complete more sets to build endurance. I’m also considering increasing the bench press weight back up slightly and reducing the number of reps to 8 instead of 10.
Tuesday 13th November:
Today hadn’t been a great day. My dog had been sick, the blender leaked, I cut myself, got stuck in traffic to and from work, and the list just goes on. Still, I managed to get home, albeit late, and get on the treadmill for my interval session.
I started off with a 0.25 mile warm up walk, and then ran 0.5 mile at a targeted pace of between 10:20-10:45 minute miles, before having a 5 minute recovery walk and repeating. I repeated this process 5 times. On the sixth time, instead of taking a recovery walk I kept up the pace until my watch displayed 5 miles, I then had a cool down walk for 0.25 mile to end the session.
The night before I amended the workout on my computer using the Garmin website, so that I added an extra run interval before the final cool down walk. Unbeknown to me until starting my workout, my watch hadn’t synced my workout so I was still using the old version. I had also amended my training paces on the new workout to 10:00-10:30. After completing this session, I may alter them again.
I ran the intervals at paces of between 10:12-10:38, however the session was definitely not as taxing as I used to find these speed sessions. In fact, even with the additional 0.31 mile of running at 10:12 pace after my 0.5 mile interval at 10:13 pace, I still didn’t hit Zone 5 of my heart rate zones. The recovery advisor on my watch advised 18 hours rest before another tough session, with an aerobic training effect of 2.9. I’m going to look at some different interval approaches, such as a faster pace but for only 0.25 mile.
Looking at my heart rate data, and what I was hoping to achieve in this session (more time in Zone 4), I don’t know how beneficial the session actually was. However, a run is still a run, and to push myself to run faster than my usual steady runs can’t be bad.
Wednesday 14th November:
I’d been thinking about this strength session at work, and decided to mix it up a little. I started with 5 minutes balancing on my stability board, before starting the following:
- 5×10 Push-Ups
- 5×10 Sit-Ups
- 5×10 Bodyweight Squats
- 5×10 Bicep Curls at 14kg (7kg each dumbbell)
- 5×10 Lying Triceps Extensions at 5kg
- 5×5 Barbell Row at 30kg
To start, I decided to do 1 set of push-ups, followed by 1 set of sit-ups, then 1 set of squats in a circuit style workout. I took 15 seconds rest in between each exercise and repeated this process until I had completed all 5 sets of each exercise.
I then moved into my bicep curls, which I am still struggling with. This wasn’t as hard as it has been, but I still struggle with the last few reps, especially on the later sets.
In order to increase the reps, I decreased the weight from my usual 10kg to 5kg. I completed 5 sets of 10 reps, and this was a little easy! I might try 10kg again next time but with 8 reps instead of 10.
My personal best on the barbell row is 5×5 at 37.5kg, so I went down to 30kg today. Originally, I did think about reducing the weight further and going for 10 reps, but decided against it as I haven’t done barbell rows for a while. 30kg was tough! I don’t think I’ll be getting a personal best here anytime soon.
Overall, it was a productive session. I used shorter rest breaks throughout the session, 15 seconds during my circuit workout and then 30 seconds between other exercises. I’m not making much progress in terms of increasing the amount of weight that I’m lifting. I’m still eating at a calorie deficit at the minute as I try to cut the last few pounds of fat, so strength gains are always going to be difficult.
Thursday 15th November:
Today I had a 5.5 mile run planned. I got home and debated whether to run outside or on the treadmill. After some consideration, I decided to run outside to make the most of it before it gets too icy! For my last outdoor run (excluding Parkrun) I wore a t-shirt and my Nike jacket, however I got really warm. To try to counter that, I put on a vest top and my jacket instead.
As I was only going to be running steady, with the plan of running slower than last Thursday’s run, I skipped the warm up walk and started with a light jog. My watch notified me that I had completed my first mile, and it felt like it had gone by a lot quicker than it had. The first mile took 12:19, which was fine, as I was not paying any attention to my pace for this run.
Mile 2 was a little quicker at 12:14, before a tough mile at 12:26 for mile 3. The third mile used to be a section of road that I really used to struggle with when I first started out running. My usual route back then was only around 2.4 miles, and I used to find this really difficult.
I quickened the pace for mile 4 with a time of 12:15. I’m not sure what happened with mile 5 as my pace shows as 14:46 due to 80 seconds showing a pace of over 20 minutes per mile, but I didn’t stop or slow my pace by THAT much. I think it was due to running under a long bridge and my watch losing the GPS signal, which is a little annoying.
Mile 6 took 13:29 as I had to make the rest of my route up on the go! My planned route was only 5.8 miles, but I really wanted to run the entire 6 non-stop so had to adjust my route on the fly and run past my house. This mile was strange, mainly because I got screamed at by three men as they drove past me. Not going to lie, this did scare me a little, especially as I was running alone. It was pretty dark out and there weren’t many cars on the street. A couple of minutes after this incident, a random man put his thumb up to me and told me how well I was doing, so it was a real mixed bag!
I was hoping to spend a bit more time in Zone 2 for this run, especially as I kept trying to pull my speed back. Some of the route is quite hilly too, which always gets the heart rate up! I didn’t pay attention to my heart rate whilst running, and just ran at whatever pace felt comfortable at the time. I may start monitoring my heart rate on my longer runs to try and ensure that I stay in Zone 2 for a bit longer.
Despite my mile 6 scare, and GPS let down, I enjoyed this run. I can see my progress, especially compared to when I first started out and how I struggled with my 2.4 mile loop at a slower pace. I’m at the stage where I don’t have to convince or bribe myself to go for a run, I actually look forward to lacing up my trainers. I have to stop myself from running on non-running days as I don’t want to burn out or sabotage my current progress.
This was my furthest ever non-stop outdoor run (longest is 7.5 miles on the treadmill), so that is a huge positive for me. I finished this run looking forward to the next!
Friday 16th November:
There was a slight change of plan here as Chris was feeling too tired to go out for his Aikido class. Instead of Yoga, we spent some time sparring and boxing (I didn’t track these as I took my watch off to prevent any damage). I then did 10 minutes of pure ab work by following a YouTube video. Definitely an easy session, although the ab workout was a bit brutal!
Saturday 17th November:
I met up with my cousin at West Park around 8:50am. We had a chat and prepared for the starting claxon. Parkrun started at 9:00am on the dot. I had already advised that I wasn’t going to be racing today, but just having a social steady run.
We completed the first mile in 12:33, but my cousin wanted to take a walk break. She urged me to carry on and meet her at the end. I decided to keep running at a steady pace and to try to keep my heart rate in Zone 2. For most of the second mile I was running at what felt an “easy” pace. I then checked my pace and saw that I was running a bit fast as my mile 2 time was 11:49. From then on, I ran whilst watching my heart rate zones and aimed to stay in Zone 2 where possible. Some parts of the course are hilly, so I ended up going over and into Zone 3 there. Mile 3 came in at 12:10 and just as I finished the final hill climb I decided to run hard to the finish. The last 0.1 mile came in at a 9:09 pace.
I got my timing chip scanned and then headed back to try and find my cousin. She was just finishing up the final hill, so I ran the last 0.1 mile alongside her to the finish (picture below). My Garmin gave me a time of 37:38 (37:35 official time), which not so long ago had used to be my racing Parkrun time!
I managed to stay in Zone 2 for most of the run, with just under 9 and a half minutes in Zone 3. Less than a minute was spent in Zones 4 and 5 combined, and this was just for the last 0.1 mile hard effort to the finish. I’m realizing that it’s hard to run at a slower pace, even though this pace used to feel fast and hard to maintain as it was too difficult! I struggle to stay in Zone 2 because it just feels natural to run a bit quicker than my Zone 2 pace. The run felt comfortable throughout, and I managed to ran up all of the hilly parts with no issues. I can definitely see an improvement in my fitness levels, and sometimes it takes a slower run for me to realise that.
Not going for a personal best at each event is also something which I need to work on. I find it extremely difficult not to pick up my pace when I’m running around other people. Even on my steady runs I still get drawn into matching the pace of someone else or trying to catch someone up. This run was a step in the right direction in that sense, because although my pace did pick up in places, I was able to reign myself back in and slow it back down. I didn’t look at my running pace, but instead focused on my heart rate zones to try and stay on track.
It was a good run, I felt strong and could have continued running for a lot longer, especially keeping in Zone 2. It was good to have a chat with my cousin and West Park looks lovely in the Autumn.
Sunday 18th November:
No longer dreading my long run days, I woke up feeling ready. In a change from porridge, I decided to have two crumpets with peanut butter. Now, I don’t usually like peanut butter and have tried many different varieties, but I am determined to find one that is edible! I ate one of my crumpets, just about, but the other one went in the bin. I wish I could like peanut butter, but so far it’s a no go.
After getting changed and setting my radio to Heart 80’s, I headed to the treadmill. The goal for today was simple, run 8 miles non-stop. This would be my furthest ever non-stop distance if successful.
I started out with my 0.25 mile warm up walk and then proceeded into what should have been a steady jog at a pace of between 12:20-12:50. Unfortunately, I got a bit too into the radio and wasn’t watching my pace! Miles 1 and 2 came in a lot faster than intended at 10:29 and 10:47 respectively. I noticed my quick pace midway through mile 3 and managed to get my average pace down to 11:55 for that one.
Miles 4, 5 and 6 came in between 12:34 and 12:58. Despite my quick start, I was still feeling ok. I pushed the pace a little for the last 2 miles and completed mile 7 in 12:19 and 8 in 12:18. Towards the end of the eighth mile I did debate whether to run an extra 0.5 mile or not. In the end, I chose to move onto my 0.25 mile cool down walk upon reaching 8 miles. I had an appointment to attend so didn’t really have the extra time as I still had to shower and eat.
My heart rate zones were as expected. I would have liked more time in Zone 2, but my quick start made that difficult. I did get my heart rate back down once I reigned in my pace. A lot of the Zone 3 sections were only 1-3 beats per minute over my Zone 2 range, so I was still close to Zone 2. Despite the length of the session (1:45:30 including warm up and cool down), I was never in danger of hitting Zone 4.
This was a good run, I felt good despite my quicker than planned start! It’s clear to see my running progress. Previously I used to really struggle at the end of these runs, and would have had to have taken multiple walk breaks. Now I am able to run a further non-stop distance at a quicker pace and still feel like I could have ran more at the end of the session. I look forward to being able to run 10 miles non-stop, and hope that my progress continues.
Total Miles = 22.85
Training Hours = 6:06:23
Positives = all sessions completed. A longer non-stop midweek outdoor run. My speed session felt easier than usual. My longest ever non-stop run of 8 miles on the treadmill. I have lost another 1.5lb in weight.
Negatives = not noticing an improvement in my strength sessions.
Next Week = marginal increase in mileage. I’m going to switch out the speed session for a hill interval session, but this time add an extra mile on. I’m aiming for another non-stop run personal best of 8.5 miles. I may race Parkrun depending on how I feel and how the week’s training goes.