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 19th November:
I got home from work and my stomach was growling! I decided to have a quick session before sitting down to eat.
After spending 5 minutes on my stability board, I moved into the main session.
- 3×10 Push Ups
- 3×10 Sit Ups
- 3×5 Overhead Press at 20kg
- 3×5 Dumbbell Bicep Curls at 14kg (7kg each arm)
I alternated sets of push ups and sit ups. I did 1 set of 10 reps of push ups, followed by 15 seconds rest and then 1 set of 10 reps of sit ups. This was repeated until I completed 3 sets.
Moving onto an exercise that I still struggle with… the overhead press. I decided to go with less reps than usual but back to using the barbell (20kg). This was tough! I completed 3 sets of 5 reps but definitely do not enjoy this exercise!
To round off the session I completed 3 sets of 5 reps of dumbbell bicep curls. Usually I complete these seated, but opted to stand today. I found standing a lot harder.
I did contemplate adding some lying triceps extensions in or seated dumbbell rows, but was too hungry and just wanted to eat.
This session was more a case of keeping momentum than having a productive session. I need to sit down and look at my weight training to try and make it more productive. At the moment, I don’t really have a plan and am almost doing weights just for the sake of it. My barbell sessions are more structured as they are based on the StrongLift 5×5 program, but without the weight progression as I am currently eating in a calorie deficit.
Tuesday 20th November:
I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about tonight’s session. I hadn’t had the best of days at work, and got home starving and cold. I got dressed, this time opting for my compression tights and a vest top instead of my usual shorts and sports bra combo, and climbed onto the treadmill.
Like my last hill session, I was going to be following my Hill Interval workout on my Garmin. I started with a 0.25 mile warm up walk, followed by 5 minutes of “easy” running. The first minute or two of running, even at a steady pace, didn’t feel great. My watch vibrated to alert me that it was time to increase the gradient from 1 to 5 and I also upped the speed slightly for my 90 second interval. After 90 seconds my watch vibrated again to let me know that it was time to “recover”. For my recovery periods I opted to run an incline of 1 and at my long run pace of between 12:30-13:00 minutes per mile. The first recover period was a little slower at 13:07 as I hit the wrong button on the treadmill and dropped the pace back down to my warm up walk pace!
I repeated this process 5 more times, so that I had completed 6 hill intervals in total. I then ran a mile with a pace of 11:58. The last .10 of that mile was actually ran at sub-30 minute 5k race pace, but I couldn’t use the lap button to start my new mile as that would move my workout onto the cool down phase. The last mile was ran with an average pace of 9:35 to try and get used to running at my 5k pace in an attempt to hit my sub-30 goal. This was a tough mile, it felt a lot faster than running 9:35 outside! I then completed my 0.25 mile cool down walk, and the session was complete.
I’m quite surprised that I only spent 7 seconds in Zone 5 for this workout, especially with my last mile split. I felt like I was working hard for the last mile and it was a struggle to get to the end. It’s safe to say that I’m getting fitter as I notice that my heart rate recovers quicker than it used to and I felt well prepared for each hill interval after my recover runs in between. I used to have to walk all of my recovery parts when I interval trained and could never have ran almost 2 miles more at the end of a session!
Overall, this was a good session. I have made a lot of progress, especially with my hill work. I may need to mix this session up a little, as it feels a lot easier than when I first programmed it on the Garmin website. I seem to spend a lot of my training time in Zone 3, so I may need to switch so that I have sessions in Zone 2 and then a hard session and / or race per week to reach Zone 4 / 5. I’m going to do some research and see what happens. The biggest things for me at the moment are improving my non-stop running distance (current best is 8 miles) and getting my sub-30 minute 5k.
Wednesday 21st November:
The traffic was terrible so I was later back than usual. I got changed and got straight into my workout, starting with a gentle warm up in the form of 5 minutes on the stability board.
I had been thinking about my session at work and planned the following:
- Bodyweight circuit of 5 sets of 10 Push-Ups, 10 Sit-Ups and 10 Squats
- 5×5 Barbell Row at 25kg
- 5×5 Bench Press at 25kg
- 1×5 Deadlift at 50kg
I started my first circuit set and felt pretty good considering I was hungry. Last time I attempted this circuit with 15 second recovery periods between each exercise, I struggled when I got to the third set and gave in. This time I managed all 5 sets of 10 reps per exercise. I took a 30 second rest before moving on.
Next up was the Barbell Row. I complete these in the bent over row position. My personal best is 5×5 at 37.5kg, but I decided to have a lower intensity session and went with the 25kg to focus on form. For these, I opted for a 30 second rest period in between each set, but could have probably shortened it a little. I completed these pretty easily, although the last few reps of the final set were harder than I’d have liked. I took another 30 second recovery period whilst setting up the bench.
If you’ve read any of my other weekly training review posts, you’ll know how much I hate the bench press! I increased the weight on the bar compared to the last few sessions where I had de-loaded and had just been lifting the bar itself (20kg). Only a slight increase of 5kg, but I still felt the difference! Just like the barbell row, I opted for a 30 second rest period between each set. This was probably one of my most stable bench press sessions yet. I felt in control of the bar, but still challenged by the weight. I know I have lifted more on my bench press previously, but I want to build back up slowly.
After a 2 minute rest, well not entirely rest as I was loading up the bar for my deadlift, I started my final set. My personal best is 1×5 at 55kg, but that is definitely a struggle, so I decided to drop down to 50kg. Despite only being 5kg less, I managed this quite easily considering how hard I find 55kg. I actually completed this without ever letting go of the barbell!
For a session that I wasn’t really “feeling”, I feel like it was a productive session. I don’t know how beneficial adding bodyweight squats will be, especially considering I can squat over 50kg, but I feel better for including more sit-ups into my routine. I’m happy to get the session over with, and it’s safe to say that I definitely prefer my running days!
Thursday 22nd November:
It’s definitely getting colder! I had to de-ice the car this morning before work and it made me contemplate whether to opt for the treadmill for my evening run. I got home from work and decided to brave the elements. The plan is to get some more road mileage in before the paths become too icy.
I got changed and headed out the door. My Garmin got a GPS connection quickly, so off I went. Skipping the warm up walk as I was cold and starting steady, I quickly realized that I had forgotten my gloves. Despite my cold hands, I felt pretty good. According to my Garmin, my Performance Condition was +2, which is better than my usual outdoor training runs.
I paid no attention to my pace, and resisted the urge to look as my watch vibrated for the first mile notification. Just after the first mile my hands had warmed up, well, either that or they got too cold to bother me anymore! I had a quick check of my watch for the mile 2 notification. My watch showed 11:32, which was quicker than I felt like I was running. Mile 3 slowed to 11:45, before my quickest mile of 11:16 for mile 4. Mile 5 slowed the pace back down as I realized that my route was shorter than I wanted. I was aiming for 5.5 miles, however by mile 5 I was practically home! I ran further past my house before turning back. The last 0.5 mile was the slowest with an average pace of 11:49. Without meaning it, this session was quicker than my usual runs, but never really felt “hard”.
I spent 5 seconds in Zone 4 thanks to a hill, but the majority of the session was spent in Zone 2, with 43% in Zone 3. When looking at my paces it isn’t hard to see why I spent so long in Zone 3! If I want to do Zone 2 training, I think I may be best off utilizing the treadmill to try and keep a steady heart rate. My pace varies a lot outdoors as I try to avoid pedestrians and traffic, all whilst competing with hills.
This was a good session – another non-stop outdoor run, hills and all! I need to plan a few more routes as I would like to run longer distances outdoors. I was happy with my pace for this run, despite not trying to run at a particular pace.
Friday 23rd November:
Today was short and sweet. I started with a brutal 10 minute ab workout from YouTube which involved a lot of crunch move variations. This was followed up with a 10 minute stretching Yoga session, also from YouTube. I was going to spend a bit longer on the Yoga side, but my stomach was already growling and the house was cold so I just wanted to eat and get comfortable.
Saturday 24th November:
My alarm went off at 7:15am… I was so tempted to stay in bed. I lay there for another 15 minutes, trying to coax myself out from the duvet. Thinking of my training and how well my running had been going, I convinced myself to get up to continue the momentum, and perhaps even get a new personal best. Chris decided that he was also going to run Parkrun today, as we’re doing a 10km event on December 1st and he has done no training at all!
Due to getting out of bed later than planned, we arrived late and just about managed to grab a parking space. We got to the start line and lined up about 3 rows from the very front of the pack. I gave Chris a kiss, wished him good luck and reminded him to start his Garmin.
The claxon sounded and off we went. I started out a bit quicker than Chris, but soon had to slow down as a runner in front took a tumble. Her friends helped her back up and she carried on running. I then had no space to overtake for the first 4 minutes so I was running at a pace of between 10:30-11:15 minutes per mile.
Eventually space opened up and I was able to overtake. At first I wasn’t looking at my watch, as I knew that I had lost time at the start. 6 minutes in and my watch notified me that my performance condition was +7, which was a good result and gave me some confidence. Usually my first mile is my fastest, however my watch notified me that I had completed it in 9:45. This wasn’t a bad time considering the slow start, however it put me 6 seconds behind sub-30 minute pace, which was my ultimate goal. Considering I usually slow down, especially for the third mile, I knew I’d be in for a struggle to get a personal best, let alone sub-30, but my performance condition score did give me a boost.
By this point, I wasn’t watching my pace, I was just running and trying not to slow down. To my surprise, mile 2 came in at 9:18, which was my fastest ever mile. At this point, I looked at my average pace and realised that my goal of sub-30 could still happen, as long as I didn’t fall apart in the third mile.
My pace slowed just after the 2 mile notification from my watch. I climbed the hill without walking, but it was a struggle and had a knock on effect on my pace. The previous lap I had held a decent pace up the hill, but not this time. I knew that once the hill levelled out I would have to pick the pace back up. I started running once past the hill, but couldn’t get back into my stride. My pace was over 10:00 minutes per mile, and I could see my average pace starting to near the 9:39 mark. I decided to slow down a little more and run at around 13:00 minute pace for 30 seconds. This helped me reset mentally and the next 5 minutes were ran at a really good pace; the slowest being 9:27 and I even managed to run under 9 minutes per mile pace! I took another 30 second recovery period before increasing the pace again for another 2 minutes until I approached the final hill climb.
The final hill… this felt like make or break for my first ever sub-30 5k! I looked at my watch and made the decision to slow my pace for the hill, as I was starting to feel sick. As soon as the hill levelled back out, I started to run. Overtaking people on the final turn, I made my final sprint to the finish… the last 0.1 mile. I crossed the line and stopped my watch without looking at the time. After having my barcode and timing chip scanned, I looked at my watch which said 29:35! I was over-the-moon and in disbelief. I had beaten my personal best and reached a big milestone for myself. My official Parkrun time was also 29:35, and I don’t think I’ll be beating that personal best for a while!
Sunday 25th November:
Chris made me breakfast in bed for 8:30am and we stayed in bed until he had to leave for his Aikido class at 9:15am. I got up to use the toilet, but then realized how cold it was and climbed back into bed. The plan was to get up at 10am and then get ready for my run. Next thing I know the dog is cuddled up with me and I must have dozed back off! I woke back up at 10:55am and quickly got ready for my run.
After getting changed and turning my radio app on to Heart 80s, I got onto the treadmill. After yesterday’s hard effort at Parkrun, I was unsure how my long run was going to fare. I started with a 0.25 mile warm up walk and then got into my run.
My first 3 miles were quicker than my long run pace, ranging from 11:10-11:26. I wanted to stay at around 12-12:30 minutes per mile pace, but I felt comfortable. I’m hoping to beat my personal best at my next 10k event on December 1st, so I stuck with a quicker pace for 3 miles.
Mile 4 I slowed the pace down to 11:56, before reducing it further for miles 5-8. I happened to notice that my heart rate was just sneaking into Zone 4, so I dropped down to a pace of 12:34 for the last mile. This brought my heart rate back down into Zone 3. I finished up with a 0.25 mile cool down walk.
The last mile felt tough, but I still felt like I had slightly more in the tank, especially as I had slowed the pace. I was happy with the run, especially considering the effort that I put in at Parkrun. My furthest ever non-stop run and with good pace for the first 3 miles. In my hopes for a sub-2:30 half marathon, I’d need to be aiming for around 11:25 minutes per mile. For a sub-70 minute 10k, I’d have to be hitting a pace of 11:15 per mile.
Total Miles = 23.1
Training Hours = 5:34:28
Positives = I got a personal best at Parkrun and hit my sub-30 minute goal. My long run was my furthest non-stop run of 9 miles.
Negatives = I didn’t really put the effort in for my Yoga session and followed a shorter video than planned.
Next Week = I won’t be doing any tough sessions next week (hills, speed or tempo) as I have a 10k race on Saturday 1st December and I’d like to try and get sub-70 minutes. The course isn’t the best for a personal best as it is multi-terrain and can be bottle-necked in places, but I’m hoping to give it a go anyway.