Last week’s report can be found here.
This week I had planned 6 sessions; 5 runs, 1 Yoga session.
Monday 24th December:
With tomorrow being Christmas, and me still having a lot to sort before then, the week would start with a rest day! There was a lot to get done around the house, but I also wanted to take a day off as this week is going to be my first attempt at running 5 days a week.
Tuesday 25th December:
A new Christmas tradition… Christmas Day Parkrun! This was my first time running at the Walsall Arboretum Parkrun. We ended up running a little late as we didn’t realize that the car park was a 10 minute walk from the starting area!
Due to arriving late, I ended up starting from the very back of the pack. It took a while to get up to the pace that I needed in order to get a new personal best. I knew that I needed an average pace quicker than 9:33. Mile 1 came in at 10:07, so I knew that I was already on the back foot.
I managed to overtake quite a few people along the narrow course and was able to pick up my pace. Mile 2 came in at 9:14, but I would need a strong third mile in order to get my new personal best. I pushed on and managed to make some space for me to run into. Mile 3 came in at 8:59, with an average pace of 7:59 for the final .1 mile.
My overall time was 28:37, beating my previous personal best of 29:35. I enjoyed the course, however it’s very narrow and hard to overtake, which cost me a lot of time. I would like to run it again but starting nearer the front to see if I could improve my time further.
There was free cake at the end, which I couldn’t say no to… it is Christmas after all! Santa got me a new personal best, and it was a great start to my day.
Wednesday 26th December:
I had planned an easy 6 mile run for today, however this got cut short. We had spent the afternoon at Chris’s mum’s for lunch, and decided to take a nap after returning home. This short nap overran slightly and the Arsenal match was due to start at 5:15pm. As such, I decided to run 5 miles instead so that I only missed 10 minutes of the football.
Using mile 1 as a warm up mile, I completed this in 11:57. Due to the time constraint, I decided to negative split my run. Mile 2 came in at 11:25, then 11:25 for mile 3. Mile 4 came in at 11:17, with mile 5 slightly quicker in 11:15.
I felt comfortable throughout the run, despite the discomfort of having a blister on each foot. I expected to be in Zone 3 for certain parts of this session as I increased the pace. This wasn’t the case. Most of the session was spent in Zone 2, with the first 14 minutes in Zone 1.
I’m starting to feel more comfortable running at an 11:15-11:30 minute per mile pace. This pace used to feel really tough, but now I can run it and remain in Zone 2, sometimes Zone 3. I need an average pace of 11:25 for my sub-2:30 half marathon attempt in January, and I definitely think that this is achievable.
Thursday 27th December:
My third running day in a row! Granted I’m not at work for the Christmas period, which makes it a little easier, but still. The plan was a comfortable 9 miles, however my blisters were still giving me some grief.
I started out with a warm up mile in 11:55. Miles 2 and 3 were quicker in 11:34 and 11:23. I was feeling comfortable and decided that I would increase the intensity a little as my next run would be on Saturday. I’m not planning on racing Parkrun as I have recently got a new 5k personal best and will be running at a comfortable pace with Chris. He hasn’t ran the Sandwell Valley Parkrun course yet.
Increasing the pace, miles 4-8 were ran almost evenly with a pace of between 11:14-11:17. This still felt maintainable, however I slowed it down slightly for the final mile, coming in at 11:37. 7 of the 9 miles were completed quicker than the pace needed to run a sub-2:30 half marathon. As long as everything goes okay on the day, then sub-2:30 should be in the bag!
This was my third run in three days, including a tougher paced Parkrun on Tuesday. Apart from the blisters, I was feeling pretty good. My legs weren’t feeling fatigued. I spent most of this session in Zone 3, which isn’t bad given the increased pace and duration. It is also the first time that I have ever ran 3 days in a row.
Hopefully I can continue running 3 days in a row into the New Year when I am back at work. I’d like to start increasing my mileage from 30+ miles a week to 40+, especially after my January half marathon.
Friday 28th December:
Chris joined me for a 20 minute core workout from YouTube, followed by the Yoga for Runners video that I found a few weeks ago. The core workout was tough, and I definitely felt the burn! I enjoyed the Yoga session, although I spent a lot of it laughing at Chris as he tried to get into some of the required positions!
Saturday 29th December:
Doh, so luckily I happened to see a Facebook post on Friday night which reminded everyone that Sandwell Parkrun was cancelled this week! Chris needed the car straight after so we wouldn’t have time to head to a different one.
As such, I ran an easy 3 miles on the treadmill (my OCD wouldn’t let me run the .1!). I did contemplate doing 4 miles but we were having guests over for food shortly after and I still had a lot to get ready.
I spent all of the session in Zones 1 and 2, with an average session pace of 11:25. This average pace matched my sub-2:30 goal pace, but felt really comfortable. Running at my targeted race pace and staying in Zone 2 gives me a lot of confidence. I will have to adjust my training paces depending on my January half marathon finishing time.
Sunday 30th December:
After eating a lot the night before, plus having a late night, I wasn’t sure how well my 12 miler would go. I had my usual pre-morning run breakfast of porridge and prepared myself. For the last treadmill run or two I have been listening to a new audiobook by Chrissie Wellington – A Life Without Limits. So far it has been quite interesting, so I used that as motivation to get me onto the treadmill!
To keep my long run interesting, I decided not to try to stick to a certain pace or heart rate zone. Instead, I would just run on feel and ensure that I ran the entire distance. It wasn’t long ago that running 12 miles non-stop would have seemed impossible! I have built up my long run distance and also ran 12 miles last weekend. Next Sunday will also see me running 12 miles. I don’t feel the need to run the full 13.1 before race day on January 20th.
Mile 1 came in a bit quick in 11:11. I seem to have to keep slowing myself down at the start of my runs! Mile 2 slowed to 11:56. Miles 3-6 were between 11:45-11:48. I then slowed down a little further for miles 7-12 as they came in between 11:54-12:02.
When I first started out running, I would struggle with my breathing as my heart rate rapidly increased. Despite the session taking just over 2 hours 22 minutes, I felt fine throughout. I didn’t struggle with my breathing or feel challenged at all. The only slight issue I was having was with a blister on my left foot.
Looking at my recent progress, I’m starting to wonder if I have sold myself short by aiming for the sub-2:30 half marathon mark. Could I have trained for a faster time…? It’s looking that way! Depending on my half marathon performance, I will have to re-evaluate my next half marathon goal. At least for my March half marathon I will be approaching it with a strong base behind me, knowing that I can run the entire distance.
Total Miles = 32.1
Training Hours = 6:50:17
Positives = new 5k personal best. First week of running 5 days instead of 4.
Negatives = with it being Christmas week, I probably ate more than I should, but hey, it’s only once a year!
Next Week = I will be running the New Year’s Day Parkrun as one of my 5 runs for the week. My long run will remain at 12 miles and will be my last 10+ mile run before my half marathon on January 20th.