Last week’s report can be found here.
This week I had planned 7 sessions; 4 runs, 1 Yoga session and 2 weights sessions.
Monday 10th December:
Considering the performance that I pulled off yesterday in the Sneyd 10 Mile Christmas Pudding Run, I was surprised that I didn’t feel overwhelmingly achy today!
The original plan was to complete my usual warm up circuit of push-ups, sit-ups and maybe some bodyweight squats, but instead I decided to forego this and add in an extra set of deadlifts. My session is outlined below:
- 2×5 Deadlift at 50kg
- 5×5 Barbell Row at 25kg
- 5×5 Bench Press at 25kg
I completed the first set of deadlifts and felt good. I took a 30 second rest period and then started the second set. This was the first time that I have ever completed multiple sets of deadlifts. Previously I had been following the StrongLifts 5×5 program which advised 1×5 on deadlifts, with some weeks having two deadlift sessions. As I am looking to increase my deadlift weight to around my current 1×5 personal best of 55kg, I decided to add another set at 50kg to build some endurance. 50kg is starting to feel easier, which is a good sign!
After reloading the bar from 50kg to 25kg, I started with my barbell rows. I have previously completed 5×5 at higher weight ranges, but opted for an easier weight as I would be performing my bench press at a higher weight than previous weeks. The barbell row went well, as expected with the lighter weight, however I did still feel it on the last rep or two of each set. This was especially the case on the last two sets.
I kept the weight at 25kg for my bench press. In recent sessions I have been using 20kg but going for 8 reps instead of 5. Today I completed 5×5 at 25kg and felt pretty good. The last few reps of the final set were tough, but still manageable. I think I’ll keep the weight at 25kg for a little longer during my 5×5 workouts.
This session didn’t take long, however it felt like a good workout. I do think I need to alternate the order that I complete each exercise so that I can try to progress with different moves. As I find the bench press the hardest, I may start with that next week to see if it feels any easier at the same weight. In the next few weeks I am hoping to increase my deadlift weight to at least 52.5kg, if not matching my personal best of 55kg. In the New Year I am aiming to run 5 days a week instead of 4, which means that my Wednesday weight sessions will have to make way. This means that my Monday weight sessions may need to be a bit longer and more varied. Either that or I will have to add some strength training in on top of my other workouts on Friday or Saturday.
Tuesday 11th December:
The original plan for today was 6 miles at a comfortably steady pace of around 11:50-12:10. I wasn’t too sure how my legs would be feeling after Sunday’s 10 miler which I managed to run non-stop with an average pace of 10:52. This made it my furthest ever non-stop run and at a quicker than expected pace as I was aiming for 11:25 minutes per mile! Despite this, my legs were feeling ok, so I decided to mix it up a little.
I completed my first mile at a comfortable pace of 12:13. This was my warm up mile before starting my speed work. I wanted to run faster than my half marathon sub-2:30 goal pace of 11:25. As such, I was aiming for miles 2-4 to be quicker than 11:25, but to also negative split these miles so that each one was faster than the previous.
I started mile 2 at a quicker pace and was feeling good. Previously this pace would have felt really hard and unmaintainable! It was around the half way point when something outside caught my eye. I glanced out of the window to see Santa on a sleigh driving through the street! I almost fell off the treadmill. At first I thought I was going crazy from running too hard or because I really wanted some food, but no, it was definitely Santa. My sighting was confirmed by Chris, who had also seen him, so I felt relieved that I wasn’t going crazy!
Mile 2 came in at 11:16, which was quicker than my goal pace but slower than the average pace of Sunday’s 10 miler. Mile 3 came in at 11:07 and mile 4 was the fastest at 10:59 I consciously increased the speed for the second half of mile 4 to try to ensure that it was faster than mile 3. For miles 5 and 6 I slowed the pace back down to a steady pace to cool down. Slowing the pace was a mental battle as it was hard to resist the urge to slow right down to a walk. The pace for the last 2 miles was 11:55-11:57, but this felt much slower after running at a quicker speed for 3 miles!
I was expecting my heart rate to show a lot of time in Zone 4, however that wasn’t the case. Only 8 minutes 33 seconds were spent in Zone 4, with the majority of the time being spent in Zone 3. The tempo parts felt harder than when I am usually in Zone 3. The last two cool down miles also felt tougher than my usual easy pace in Zone 2 as my legs were still a little tired from Sunday.
Overall, Sunday’s run has given me a lot of confidence as I achieved both of the goals I had set out. On Sunday morning I wasn’t sure if maintaining an 11:25 minute per mile pace would be achievable. My primary aim was to try to run the entire distance without taking any walk breaks. To my surprise, my average pace was 33 seconds per mile faster than I was aiming for, and I managed to run the entire 10 miles without slowing to a walk. Today’s run was tough at that pace, however I do always find after work runs a bit harder. Now I have around 40 days until my half marathon. Hitting my sub-2:30 goal is looking more than achievable, as long as nothing goes wrong on the day. I would love to run the entire 13.1 miles, however improving my finishing time is my primary goal.
Wednesday 12th December:
I had planned a weight session for today, however when I got home I was feeling a little run down. I’ve been increasing my mileage and getting more consistent with my running, so I don’t mind missing a non-running session if it allows me some time to recover.
To avoid missing a session completely, I opted to spend 10 minutes on my stability board and then 10 minutes boxing.
Thursday 13th December:
These “long” mid-week runs remind me how far I have come on my fitness journey. It wasn’t that long ago that I would struggle to run 2 or 3 miles without stopping. Now I know that I can run 7+ miles after a long day at work. This is especially pleasing when I have ran a hard or long run on Tuesday!
The plan for today was a slower paced 7 miles. I wanted to try and keep the pace even if possible. After my tempo run on Tuesday I wanted to try and stay in Zone 2 for this session to help my body recover.
Instead of my usual warm up walk, I did some dynamic stretches to warm up my calves, hamstrings and glutes. I want to try and find a range of dynamic warm ups which work for me as this would be beneficial before an event when I don’t have time to take a warm up walk. This is especially the case for 5k and 10k events when I want to start off at a quick pace.
I set the BBC IPlayer up on my phone so that I could catch up on last weekend’s Cross Country action and started running. Mile 1 started a bit quick at 12:16, so I dropped the pace back down a little on the treadmill. The remaining 6 miles were then between 12:23 and 12:35, so fairly even. I did feel a slight pull on the back of my left knee, however after 3 or so miles, this did fade.
I spent 71% of the session in Zone 2, which equalled over an hour. 16% was spent in Zone 1, with only 9% in Zone 3. The session felt comfortable and I never had any issue with my breathing or heart rate. When I did dip into Zone 3 towards the end, it was only 1 or 2 beats per minute over Zone 2. For a mid-week session of this distance, I was happy to have stayed in Zone 2 for so long.
If I do decide to add a fifth running day per week into my schedule in the New Year, I will have to get used to spending more time in Zone 2. It can be tough for me to slow down and run “easy”, but it will be necessary when running five days a week.
Friday 14th December:
I was starving when I got home so I warmed up a Quorn curry that I had cooked the day before and sat down to eat. After letting my food go down for an hour, I found a Yoga video on YouTube and headed upstairs.
If you’ve read any of my previous training logs, you would know that I don’t really enjoy my Yoga sessions. Today I found a different YouTuber as I searched for “Yoga for Runners”. There were quite a few options to choose from, with videos ranging from 8 minutes to an hour. I chose a 25 minute video and started my watch.
I have to say, this was my favourite Yoga session yet! It was a lot of lower body stretches and it felt good. The video wasn’t as slow to start as some of the other YouTubers, so that was nice. Normally I end up keep checking my watch counting down the time to the end of the video, but that wasn’t the case today. I could feel the stretches and definitely felt less tense after the session.
Saturday 15th December:
No Parkrun today as it’s Chris’s birthday and I thought I’d spare him from walking around in the cold!
Instead, I opted for 4 easy miles on the treadmill to get some more mileage in. To eliminate the warm up walk, I did some dynamic mobility stretches before getting onto the treadmill. I would be starting out at an easy pace and it wouldn’t be a long session.
I started running on the treadmill before I had found anything to watch on YouTube. My pace for the first 2 miles was 12:06 and 12:08 as I struggled to find something to watch. Once I had a video loaded, I picked the pace up a little for the final 2 miles. The pace was almost identical across these miles at 11:36 and 11:35.
The plan was too keep the session easy in preparation for tomorrow’s 11 miler. The session was spent mainly in Zone 2, with exactly 11 minutes in Zone 1. This was an easy run that shouldn’t affect my Sunday long run.
Sunday 16th December:
Well, last Sunday I managed my furthest ever non-stop run of 10 miles at the Sneyd 10 Mile event. Today I wanted to push that further and try for 11!
I did some dynamic stretches to warm up, put on my radio and started the treadmill. The first mile came in at 11:49, which was around the pace I was expecting. For this run I wasn’t focusing on pace or heart rate, but instead wanted to run by feel and then look at the results afterwards.
Mile 2 slowed slightly to 12:05 before picking up for miles 3, 4 and 5. Mile 5 actually came in at 11:26, which is practically my sub-2:30 half marathon race pace. I did slow myself down when I saw that notification on my watch, as I wanted to ensure that the session was easy paced.
Due to my intentional slowing down, miles 6 to 11 came in between 12:20 and 12:45. Mile 7 came in at 12:22, yet it felt like the longest mile of the run. I’m not sure why, but it just felt like this mile wouldn’t ever end! I’m not sure what happened with mile 9, it didn’t feel that slow! Mile 11 was intentionally the slowest as I wanted to use it as a cool down, or wind down, to the session.
Some parts of this run I did feel a bit laboured, but I could still talk. Without looking at my heart rate, I was expecting to see a fair amount of time in Zone 3. To my surprise, this wasn’t the case. Almost the entire session was spent in Zone 2. This is how my long runs should look, but I usually end up with time in Zone 3 due to cardiac drift and my heart rate increasing after a certain period of time.
The run took 2:13:24, so it was a great session to be able to run the entire time. Covering 11 miles and remaining in Zone 2 gives me confidence. I did feel like I could have ran further at the end, but I was also getting a little discomfort in my lower back and hip. Entering the final mile I had to consciously adjust my form as I was starting to lean forward and sag. Once I corrected my form my running felt easier, but it’s something that I need to keep an eye on as I start to run further. I’ve ran over 530 mile in my trainers though, so it may be time to rotate them out as I’m also getting a niggly pain in my right knee.
I’m starting to really look forward to my January half marathon. After my last half, I did wonder where I was going to find another 4 minutes from as I finished in 2:33:29. Now, I’m starting to sneakily think that maybe, if everything went right on the day, I could run sub-2:25. I may set myself a Gold, Silver and Bronze target for the run and see what happens on the day!
Total Miles = 28
Training Hours = 6:35:13
Positives = longest ever non-stop run of 11 miles. Highest mileage week so far. Managing to stay in Zone 2 on my easy runs. Deadlift at 50kg is starting to feel easier and I managed 2 sets of 5 reps.
Negatives = switched my midweek weights session for an easier stability and boxing session. No Parkrun this week.
Next Week = I’m aiming to run 30 miles across the week, which would be my first venture into the 30 mile per week club.