Weekly Training Review

Weekly Training Review: 5th – 11th November 2018

5th-11th November

Last week’s report can be found here.

Weekly Training:

This week I had planned 7 sessions; 4 runs, 1 Yoga and Core session and 2 weights sessions.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Weights Hill Intervals Weights Run Yoga and Core Parkrun Long Run

Monday 5th November:

Ah, Monday, we meet again!

For this weight session I decided to mix things up a little and aim for the following:

  • 5×10 Push-Ups
  • 5×10 Bench Press using just the bar (20kg)
  • 5×5 Bent Over Row at 37.5kg
  • 1×5 Deadlift at 55kg

My push-ups were stronger than usual, however I did struggle on the last set. I’m not entirely sure on how I’m going to progress past 5 sets of 10 repetitions. I might have to go back to 5 reps but increase the sets for a while.

Last week my bench press failed pretty hard, even after I tried to de-load the weight. This week I opted to go back to basics and just focus on my form. Removing all of the weight from the barbell, I decided to go for 5 sets of 10 reps to try and build some endurance in the bench press. My arms turned to jelly for the last few reps of my fifth set.

Since my arms were still wobbly, I decided to match my personal best on the bent over row rather than trying to increase the weight. 5 sets of 5 reps at 37.5kg was manageable. I felt the burn during the last set but may try to increase the weight on my next barbell session.

My deadlift personal best is 1 set of 5 reps at 55kg. I remember that lift, and it was tough! With my arms already feeling the burn, I made the decision to repeat that lift rather than to add more weight. I thought I remembered how tough 55kg had been previously, but I was wrong… it was harder! I got through all 5 reps, however I took a little longer than usual between each rep. I don’t think I’ll be upping my deadlift weight for a while!

It was tempting to add a round of barbell squats into this workout. My previous squat was 40kg on October 2nd, and I haven’t reached for a weighted squat since. They take a lot out of my legs so I had to remove them whilst I focused on my running. After my last session, I felt like I could have added more weight to the bar. Today wasn’t the day to find out! With a tough hill session scheduled for Tuesday, I figured it was best to leave the squats out for a little longer.

I completed the session with no missed reps or sets. Between each set I took a 60 second rest, with this increasing to 2 minutes between my bent over rows and deadlift as I had to reload the bar. It was a good session, but I prefer running!

Tuesday 6th November:

This was the session of the week that I really wasn’t looking forward to! I absolutely hate hills.

As I’ve still got a good few months until my next marathon, I have decided to ensure that my base is well prepared. I want to build strength in my legs by doing hill workouts and speed sessions. These should also help me on my quest to break the 30 minute 5k barrier. At the end of each lap of my local Parkrun is a small hill. This hill gets the better of me 99% of the time as I end up walking it!

I got back late from work after getting a bit lost on my new commute. After spending 10 minutes chatting to Chris and putting a sweet jacket potato in the oven, I got dressed and tried to mentally prepare.

With the best intentions, I have planned hill sessions in the past, I just always ended up skipping out of them for an “easy” run instead. Not today! Using Garmin Connect I had pre-made my workout so that my watch would vibrate when it was time to up the speed and gradient. The plan was to run the gradients at a pace of between 11:40 and 12:45.

I started with my usual 0.25 mile warm up walk, followed by 5 minutes steady running with an average pace of 12:18. My watch vibrated to tell me it was time to hit a 90 second hill interval. I increased the gradient on the treadmill from 1 to 6 and upped the speed slightly. 90 seconds went by and I was feeling pretty comfortable. I reduced the gradient back down to 1 and the speed to an easier pace and ran for 3 minutes. Originally, I thought I would have to walk the recovery sections, but I was able to keep a steady running pace. I repeated this process, 90 seconds quicker uphill running, followed by a 3 minute steady run another 5 times.

Getting through all of the hill intervals, and running the entire session, was definitely a positive result! After the last recovery interval I decided I would run until my watch showed 3.75 miles and then have a 0.25 mile cool down. I felt comfortable, so I decided to make the most of this harder session. For the last 0.5 mile before my cool down, I decided to run it hard. The last 0.5 mile of running was completed with an average pace of around 9:15, before slowing down for the cool down.

The gradient sections were tough and I definitely felt the burn but what really surprised me were my paces. I knew that I had been running quicker than my prescribed paces as my watch kept notifying me, but I decided to push through as I felt okay. My 90 second paces were as follows: 11:22, 11:27, 11:30, 11:29, 11:26 and 11:17. Every interval was faster than I had anticipated. My heart rate hit Zone 4 with each hill interval and I managed to push into Zone 5 with my final 0.5 mile sprint.

This was another really impressive session for me, especially as I really used to struggle with evening running. If my training can continue like this then I should have a great year of running in 2019!

6th Splits 6th HR Zones

Hill Workout

Wednesday 7th November:

I was so hungry when I got home from work, but managed to convince myself to complete my workout before eating.

The session plan was as follows:

5×10 bicep curls at 14kg (7kg each arm)

5×10 overhead press at 14kg (7kg each arm)

5×5 triceps extension at 10kg

The bicep curls weren’t too bad. I felt the burn in my arms at around rep eight in the first three sets, and then around rep six in the last two sets.

Just like the bench press, the overhead press is a move I struggle with. I completed one set of ten reps and felt ok. The second set was tough and the third set saw me pausing briefly at the eighth rep in order to complete all 10 reps. Set four was a real struggle and I had to take a momentary pause after rep six. My arms started to shake a lot on the last set, so to prevent lifting with poor form I called it a day at five reps.

I used a 10kg tri-grip weight plate and lay down on my bench. Lifting the plate from my chest, over my head and behind my neck. For the first set I completed ten reps, before going back down to five reps for the remaining four sets.

Overall, this was a decent session. The entire session lasted just under 24 minutes but I completed it feeling like I’d done a lot longer. My biceps and trapezius muscles definitely know that they’ve had a workout!

Thursday 8th November:

With the weather report showing no rain and temperatures of 8 degrees, I decided to head outside to test my new jacket. It was also a good chance to put some more mileage into my Nike Pegasus 35s. The night before, I had drawn up a route on MapMyRun so that I wasn’t tempted to improvise during the run and end up with a shorter route.

I got back from work, got changed into my thermal tights, t-shirt and new jacket. Strapping on my chest heart rate monitor and lacing up my shoes, I then headed out the door. With the weather being a bit colder now, and the fact that I wasn’t planning on pushing the pace, I opted to go straight into a jog without a warm up walk.

As I usually struggle with running outdoors, I decided that I wasn’t going to pay attention to my pace for this session. Instead, I just wanted to run at a steady pace and try to run the entire route. With that being said, my first mile came in at 11:46, which was quicker than I anticipated. I consciously slowed down a little as I didn’t want to fade towards the middle of my run. Mile 2 came in at 12:03 (despite getting stuck trying to cross a road) and mile 3 at 12:12. Mile 4 was a bit quicker at 11:56 but then mile 5 slowed the pace right down to 14:03. I got stuck crossing roads and also had to run past my house to try and round my run up to 5 miles.

My heart rate was higher than I expected, but again, so was my pace. I spent most of the run in Zone 4, with the rest primarily in Zone 3. I need to start running more in Zone 2, but I was just happy to have finished the entire run non-stop at a quicker pace than usual.

Four things really impressed me during this run. Firstly, the fact that I managed to run 5 miles non-stop outside with some hilly terrain. Secondly, my pace was quicker than usual and didn’t feel like a struggle to maintain. Thirdly, I love my new jacket! I didn’t feel cold at all and didn’t feel the 15mph winds. And finally, how comfortable my Nike Pegasus 35s felt, despite only previously being worn for 1.7 miles. All in all, another great training session!

8th Splits 8th HR Zones

Friday 9th November:

I don’t know why but I was so tired all day. There were a few moments when I thought I was going to fall asleep at work! I got home and resisted the urge to sit down, as I knew I would struggle to get back up. Training has been going well and I didn’t want to ruin my momentum, so I got changed and headed to my gym room.

I found a 20 minute Ab workout video on YouTube. It followed the style of two rounds of two circuits. I felt the burn in the very first exercise of the first round! It was an intense workout, 45 seconds of workout, followed by 10 seconds of rest. I didn’t give it my absolute all, because I was shattered, but I did what I could.

After my core session I found a relaxing Yoga for beginner’s video. The idea was to help me unwind and release any tension in my muscles. This was quite relaxing and I really felt some of the stretches. There were a few clicks and cracks from my body as I unwound. I definitely felt better afterwards (still not a Yoga fan though!).

There isn’t really much to say about this session, it went as planned, albeit I didn’t go all out on my Ab workout. I had a high protein chilli afterwards and then relaxed for the rest of the evening. I went to bed early, still unsure of my Parkrun strategy – tempo run, intervals, slow and steady, personal best? We’ll see what tomorrow has in store.

Saturday 10th November:

I got less than 8 hours sleep and woke up to a breakfast in the shape of a protein bar. It turns out that I don’t like Aldi’s Apple and Blueberry porridge so had to resort to a quick protein bar before heading out to Parkrun.

Leaving it rather late, lining up at the start area, I still hadn’t decided on my race strategy. This week, I lined up a little further from the front to try to avoid starting off at a much faster pace than I’m used to.

As the claxon sounded, the plan became to just see how I feel and perhaps drop the pace back to around 10:30 minute miles as a half marathon tempo run. Despite the deeper starting position, I still set off a little quick! My pace soon dropped though as the first corner is a bit of a bottleneck with a lot of runners. Once the bottleneck had cleared and space opened up ahead of me, I was running at a “comfortably hard” pace. After around 7 minutes, my watch vibrated to tell me that I was in a +3 performance condition.

I tried not to look at my watch apart from when it vibrated to notify me of my mile splits. The first mile came in at 9:40, which was almost exactly the pace required for a sub-30 minute 5k (9:39). I decided to push on, and again, not pay attention to my pace. Even the dreaded hill didn’t defeat me, at least, not on the first pass!

Just after the 2.5 mile mark, I was running alongside another lady who started talking to me. She commented on how she would love to be as fast as the people who were sprinting past us, to which I replied, “one day!” and she laughed. She wasn’t going for a particular time, and I informed her of my sub-30 minute goal. She told me to lengthen my stride and try to catch up with someone ahead of me. I picked up the pace a little and created some distance between us both.

Mile 2 came in at 9:47, which I was still happy with, and depending how the final 1.1 mile went, could still net me a sub-30 time. Unfortunately, not long after I got the mile 2 notification, I started to struggle. I slowed to a near walk for 10 seconds, and that’s when I heard the lady that I had been speaking to earlier running up behind me encouraging me to push on. Digging deep, I started to run alongside her again. I spent around 2 and a half minutes running at between 10:00 and 11:00 minute per mile paces.

Eventually, I picked the pace back up to around 9:30 average pace, and again, created some distance from the lady I had been running with. This was, at least, until I got to the final hill! My pace took a decline again to around 12:30 as I really struggled. Again, I heard the lady shouting encouragement from behind. Advising me to keep going and that the finish line was just up the hill and around the corner. I used the very last bit of energy to increase my pace towards the finishing line. I had pushed so hard that I started to feel a little sick. The final mile came in at 9:49, with the last 0.1 mile at 10:03.

As I was waiting for my bar-code to be scanned, the woman who had been running with me had finished and came over to give me a hug! I thanked her for her encouragement before she went off to cheer on other runners who were just finishing.

My Garmin and Parkrun times matched up perfectly at 30:29, which was a new personal best, but still short of where I want to be. I did much better on the hills this week as I managed a better average pace up them, but they still had a big impact on my time. My pace for mile 1 was great, mile 2 slowed a little below sub-30 minute pace and then mile 3 let me down. I need to spend more time trying to improve my endurance at those paces, and also more hill work!

I was a bit surprised with my heart rate data for this run. Most of the run was spent in Zone 5, and although I know I pushed hard, I didn’t think I was going “all out” for that long. I expected it to show mostly in Zone 4, with certain parts pushing into Zone 5, especially the last 0.5 mile. I don’t think I’ll be racing next week’s Parkrun, but instead have a week out and use it as a slow and steady run.

10th Splits 10th HR Zones

Parkrun RunningParkrun Running Parkrun Running

Sunday 11th November:

With my recent training successes, I’m starting to dread my long runs less each week. I used to try and put them off, and lost the mental battle before I had even began running.

This week, I woke up at 9am, had my porridge and allowed myself a little time to wake up and digest my breakfast. At 9:30am, I was still a little peckish. I drank 100ml of water and ate a banana before getting changed. I found a documentary to watch, and by 10:10am I was on the treadmill.

To get into the run, I started with a 0.25 mile warm up walk. When it came to starting the run, I got so into the documentary that I was watching that I wasn’t really paying attention to my pace or heart rate. Instead, I kept a comfortable pace.

My watch vibrated to notify me that mile 1 had been completed in 12:13. Considering that my “easy pace” for shorter runs is supposed to be between 11:50 and 12:20, I decided to drop the treadmill speed down 0.1. As such, miles 2, 3, and 4 came in between 12:24 and 12:29.

Miles 5 and 6 picked up the pace again (without changing the treadmill speed) and came in at 12:20 and 12:16 respectively. I’m not sure why, but mile 7 was my fastest full mile at 12:09. The last 0.5 miles of running was recorded at 12:01, but it didn’t feel like I was running any faster. I finished up with a 0.25 mile cool down walk.

Most of the session was spent in Zone 2 (54%), but there was also a significant amount of time in Zone 3 (34%). These zones are to be expected as I ran for longer than usual (my longest non-stop run) and my pace was also quicker than my usual long run pace. I half expected to see some time in Zone 4, especially towards the end due to cardiac drift and my quickened pace.

Again, I ended this session feeling like I could have ran further. I didn’t want to push too hard though as I had already done two hard sessions this week with my hill training and Parkrun personal best. Hopefully I can keep this form up as I’m actually enjoying my training and progress at the minute. I have a 10k booked for December 1st, so it would be great to try and get a personal best, even though it’s a tough terrain race.

11th Splits 11th HR Zones

Weekly Summary:

Total Miles = 20.1

Training Hours = 5:33:36

Positives = another 5k personal best, even if it was only by 6 seconds! All sessions completed. My runs are still feeling strong and I got more mileage completed on the pavement this week. The hill session that I was dreading turned out to be more than manageable. Managed my longest ever non-stop run of 7.5 miles and felt strong at the end.

Negatives = still struggling with the 3rd mile at Parkrun. Not making much, if any, progress with my weight training. My core definitely needs more work as I burn out easily during my core work sessions.

Next Week = increase my weekly mileage by at least 1.5 mile, switch out my hill session for a speed interval session, take it easier at Parkrun (hopefully my cousin can make it), and stick to my current weight training and Yoga routine.