Weekly Training Review

Weekly Training Review – 3rd-9th December

3rd-9th December

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 Run Weights Run Yoga and Core Parkrun Sneyd 10 Mile

Monday 3rd December:

I had to keep today’s session short as I had a few other things to get done on the evening. After getting home from work, I had something to eat and then got into my workout as follows:

  • 5×8 Barbell Row at 20kg
  • 5×8 Bench Press at 20kg
  • 1×5 Deadlift at 50kg

The barbell row wasn’t too bad until the last few reps of the final set. I started to feel the burn in my arms. Ideally, I want to get back to completing this move at a higher weight range as my 5×5 max was previously 37.5kg. Today wasn’t the day for lifting heavy as I felt quite fatigued. Instead I wanted to complete more than my usual 5×5 rep range so went with 5 sets of 8 reps, with 30 second rest intervals.

I took a 30 second rest interval before moving onto the bench press. This move always gives me some trouble, but it wasn’t that long ago that I was unable to even lift the 20kg barbell! I progressed up to 37.5kg but that was a real struggle and some of my reps were lacking in form. Since I went for a full de-load to just the 20kg barbell, I have struggled to add the weight back to the bar. At the moment I’m still at a calorie deficit for each week, so my strength has stagnated a little. I may look to start eating at maintenance with more protein and then looking to add more weight to the barbell.

Opting not to try to match or exceed my personal best of 1×5 at 55kg, I loaded up 50kg to the bar. This was surprisingly easier than the last time! I managed to keep hold of the bar all of the way through without ever letting it completely free to the floor. I may increase this to 52.5kg as my standard weight and try to match my 55kg another day.

This was a short session but my arms still felt like they had a good workout! I do want to start progressing with my lifts but until I sort out my diet, it will be a struggle. At the moment I’m trying to get my body fat percentage down and lose a little more weight from my stomach. I’m focusing more on the measurements of my body rather than the scales. I can see more definition in my arms now, but my strength is still behind where it needs to be for the obstacle races that I want to enter!

Tuesday 4th December:

Today I had a steady 7.5 mile session scheduled. If successful, this would be my longest ever evening run. I was hoping to complete this non-stop and just at a steady pace. I switched out my tough speed work or hill session Tuesday for an easier run as I have a 10 mile event on Sunday.

As usual for my treadmill runs I started with a 0.25 mile warm up walk before starting my run. My first mile was completed in 11:42. I then thought that this pace may be a bit quick, especially for my longest ever after work run.

I dropped the pace and miles 2-5 were completed between 12:05 and 12:09. It was nice to hold a steady pace, but the mental battle soon started. I got to mile 5 and was starting to struggle a little. My brain was telling me to stop at mile 6 as that would still be a good distance for a mid-week run. I decided to keep going and completed my sixth mile in 11:57.

The last mile can be tough on the legs, but mentally it is probably the easiest mile for me. I knew that I had already ran 6 miles, so I can manage 1 more. I think that this is the reason why my last mile is usually one of the fastest. Once my watch vibrated for the final mile, I slowed the treadmill speed down to finish up with a 0.25 mile cool down walk.

Most of the session was spent in Zone 2, which was the plan. I did drift into Zone 3, but that was to be expected. It was tough to run so far after work and cardiac drift caught up with me. My heart rate increased towards the end of the session, but that is perfectly normal, especially on long or tough runs.

This was my longest ever evening run, so it felt like an achievement. My runs used to be inconsistent, especially after work. Now I feel pretty comfortable that I can run 5 or 6 miles on every run. Previously I had runs where I would struggle to run 2 miles. I’m not sure if this improved consistency is down to the fact that I’m training more and have increased my overall mileage, or if it’s a change of attitude and job role… or a factor or both. Either way, I’m enjoying it!

4th Splits 4th HR Zones

Wednesday 5th December:

After getting home, fussing the dog and opening my mail, I got changed and ready to hit the weights.

The plan was as follows:

  • 5×15 Push-Ups
  • 5×15 Sit-Ups
  • 5×15 Squats
  • 5×8 Overhead Press at 14kg (7kg each dumbbell)
  • 5×8 Lying Triceps Extensions at 10kg

I started with my circuit style workout. 1 set of 15 push-ups, 15 seconds rest, 1 set of 15 sit-ups, 15 seconds rest, and then 1 set of 15 bodyweight squats. I took a 30 second rest in between each round and repeated this until I had completed 5 sets. I struggled on the last few push-ups of sets 4 and 5.

After a minute recover period (I needed to load up the dumbbells), I moved onto the Overhead Press. I completed the first set and was feeling pretty good. This didn’t last long as I started to really feel the weight in the middle of set 2. The last 2 reps of each set were really tough. I managed to complete all 8 reps for each of the 5 sets and then took a 30 second recovery period before moving onto the lying triceps extension.

I lay on the bench and completed my first 8 reps. I could definitely feel this one! My arms were a little wobbly as I completed set 2. Towards the end of set 2 I was struggling to hold good form. I started the third set and decided that it wasn’t smart to try and complete another 2 sets. Lifting with poor form can lead to injury and I didn’t want to take that risk, especially if I dropped the weight it would land straight on my face! I completed set 3 and called it a day.

This was tough. I always struggle with the overhead press, however I managed to complete all of the planned sets and reps. I pushed further with my push-ups and sit-ups as I completed 5 sets at 15 reps. Usually I struggle to complete 3 or 4 sets in this rep range.

I’m happy with the session, especially for a mid-week session.

Thursday 6th December:

Well, today’s run turned out to be interesting! I had planned on a steady 5.5 miles on the treadmill. Chris was out when I got home from work so I was on the treadmill within 10 mins of getting home.

I started with a 0.25 mile warm up walk and then started my run. My watch vibrated to notify me that I had completed my first mile in 11:45, and almost immediately after that my phone rang. It was Chris who was still out working. He wanted to know where Tess, our dog, was. I advised him that she was at home with me and had been lying next to me whilst I was on the treadmill. I turned to my left to check and she was no longer there. Someone had found her and called the number on her tag which was Chris’s mobile. He had given them our address so I got off the treadmill and headed downstairs. To my surprise, the three strangers were already on the front drive with Tess. I thanked them repeatedly and ushered Tess back inside. I escorted her upstairs and shut her in the treadmill room with me so that I could finish my run.

Getting back onto the treadmill, I started back off running. I called Chris whilst running to advise him that Tess was back home. I completed mile 2 in 12:03. Not long into mile 3, I went to change the song on my phone, but must had inadvertently knocked a control button. The treadmill came to a stop, catching me off guard! It took around 15 seconds to get the treadmill back to my original pace. Eventually I carried on with my run and completed mile 3 in 12:13.

Miles 4 and 5 came in at around the same time, 12:06 and 12:05 respectively. I then finished up with a 0.25 mile cool down walk whilst calling my mum to fill her in on my dog drama.

It wasn’t the smoothest of sessions due to the two interruptions, but I completed the distance. I did feel a bit more fatigued than usual, but I did complete a longer than usual mid-week run on Tuesday. My heart rate was in Zone 3 for more than I would have liked, especially given the fact that my pace was over 12 minutes per mile for 4 of my 5 miles, and I had some down time due to the interruptions.

Overall I’m just trying to build up my mileage, so it was a good session in that regard. In the New Year I would like to be running 35-40 miles per week. I think I need to be running 5 days a week for that to be feasible. It will be interesting to see how my runs are affected by turning Wednesday into another running day.

6th Splits6th HR Zones

Friday 7th December:

This goes down as my second missed training session of my new plan. I had a Core and Yoga session planned today, however I woke up in a lot of pain with my neck. I’m unsure if it’s just a stiff neck from how I slept or if I’ve pinched a nerve. Either way, it was really painful!

I suffered all day with it at work, and despite finishing an hour early, I was still in too much pain when I got home. It meant that I also missed out on going to Friday Night Magic to play the card game Magic the Gathering. I haven’t been for a while but had planned to attend, mainly due to having an earlier finish from work.

I didn’t want to risk making it worse and then having to miss Parkrun.

Saturday 8th December:

I woke up at 7:15am, and was still experiencing pain in my neck. Turning to the right is fine, however I have very limited movement when I try to turn my head to the left. Despite the pain, it does feel slightly better than yesterday.

I got out of bed at 7:35am to get ready and eat breakfast. We set out just after 8:30am, and were at West Park by 8:45. My cousin and her boyfriend arrived almost at the same time, and we met them at the starting area.

Due to my 10 mile event tomorrow, I opted to keep this Parkrun as an easy run. Instead of looking at my pace or time, I focused on my heart rate zone. I wanted to keep this run in zone 2 for the entirety, if possible.

I started out a bit fast with my first mile coming in at 11:17. I only noticed this once my watch notified me at the 1 mile mark. I then dropped the pace a little to prevent my heart rate from spiking. Mile 2 came in at 11:48, with mile 3 at 12:10. I did sprint the last section towards the finish line and finished in 36:21.

The reason I stopped running Parkrun every week last year was due to my inability to control my pace. I would race the course every week and not recover properly. I find it hard to run steady and at an easy pace during these events. It’s easy to get carried away when there are a lot of fast people running near you!

Today I did manage to reign myself back in if I felt like I was running too fast or pushing too close to the end of zone 2. As such, my heart rate stayed in zone 2 for the most part. There were a couple of spikes into zone 3, mainly due to the hill climbs. Still, only 3 minutes 46 seconds were spent in zone 3, so I would say that it was a successful run, despite my quicker than planned first mile.

Tomorrow will be my first ever dedicated 10 mile event, and it looks like it’s going to rain…

8th Splits 8th HR Zones

Sunday 9th December:

I decided to use today as a 10 mile practice run for my half marathon in January. The goal for the Gloucester half marathon is to break the sub-2:30 barrier. In order to achieve this, I would need to run with an average pace of 11:25 per mile. The plan for today’s 10 mile event was to try and finish with an average pace of around that point, but to also run it all with no walking breaks. If I did run it all, it would be my furthest ever non-stop run. My furthest non-stop run prior was 9 miles two weeks ago on the treadmill.

I arrived just before 9am as numbers were not posted out for this event, they had to be collected before the race. Your name and number was on a printed piece of paper which was pinned to the back wall. Once you found your name and number you headed to the corresponding desk to collect your race number.

Despite getting my race magnets ready this morning, I had managed to leave the house without them! As such, I had to use the pins provided to attach my race number. This didn’t please me much as it was my first time wearing my new Kalenji hooded running top and I hate putting pins through my clothes!

At 9:50am everyone left the sports hall and headed towards the starting area. It was strange as you had to walk through the start to line up on the other side. Once I realized that the start line was actually behind me, I decided to move back towards the middle of the pack to avoid setting off too fast.

The race was supposed to start at 10am, however it was a little late and started at around 10:05. Despite moving back and starting towards the middle, my first mile still came in quicker than my target pace at 11:05. I dropped back a little for mile 2 and this was actually on target in 11:25. For the second mile, one of the roads was really narrow and I couldn’t overtake, so I ended up running at around 12:00 minute per mile pace. This also helped me to slow my average pace for the mile.

Mile 3 was a little quicker but still around the target pace in 11:19. I’m then not quite sure what happened but I was feeling good. Maybe it helps when I run an event with music? Who knows! My target pace went out of the window as miles 4-9 were ran between 10:43-10:55. Even with this quicker pace, I still felt like I could make it to the end without slowing to a walk. Mile 10 was actually my quickest mile, and I felt really good! I completed mile 10 in 10:12, with a great sprint finish!

My Garmin time was 1:48:41, which I was ecstatic with! My average pace across the entire run was 10:52 – a whopping 33 seconds per mile faster than I had anticipated.

With regards to my heart rate, I felt good throughout the run and never checked my heart rate. I try to avoid watching my heart rate whilst doing tempo work or racing in events as I know it will be high. With that being said, I was surprised to see that I actually only spent 29% of the time in Zone 3. For a run that took over 1:48, I am definitely happy with that, especially given the pace I was running at.

This run went better than expected and gives me a lot of confidence before my half marathon. I still have time to improve my stamina so that I can run the entire 13.1 miles non-stop, but even if things go wrong on the day, I still have time to spare if I can hold this pace for 10 miles. I did feel like I could carry on running after the 10 mile point, so hopefully I can continue to build up my long runs and smash my sub-2:30 target.

I got home after the run, had some food, washed my trainers and then took the dog on a 2.8 mile walk (shorter on Garmin as I forgot to start my watch… doh!). All in all, this was a really productive day!

9th Splits9th HR Zones

Weekly Summary:

Total Miles = 28.73 (26.11 running)

Training Hours = 6:44:27

Positives = highest ever mileage week. Ran my furthest ever non-stop run of 10 miles. Successfully completed a 10 mile tempo run at quicker than half marathon race pace.

Negatives = missed a Core and Yoga session due to an injury niggle.

Next Week = increase the mileage slightly so that it is my highest weekly running mileage to date. Aim for 11 miles non-stop on my long run and two mid-week runs (6 and 7 miles).