Last week’s report can be found here.
This week I had planned 6 sessions; 3 runs, 1 Yoga and Core session and 2 weights sessions.
|Yoga and Weights
Monday 21st January:
It was easy to stick to the session plan today… complete rest! I had earned it after my impressive performance at Sunday’s Gloucester Half Marathon where I had taken over 22 minutes off of my personal best.
To allow myself to push harder on race day, I had booked the Monday off of work so that I could recover. It was also a well-earned reward for all of the training that I had put in.
Despite the effort that I had put in on race day, I was feeling better than expected! I couldn’t walk properly for around a week after my very first half marathon, so it was nice to be in better shape. My quadriceps were sore, but I was still able to get up and about. The stairs, however, were not my friend!
Tuesday 22nd January:
I had planned a body-weight circuit session for today as I figured it would be a bit less strenuous than a weights session. This plan was abandoned by lunch time as my quads were tight and even walking to the bathroom at work didn’t feel great. The stairs were also still painful.
The planned session included squats, lunges, triceps dips, bicycle crunches, etc. Although I could have swapped these out for more upper body work, I decided to take another full day of rest to ensure that I recover properly.
Wednesday 23rd January:
With how sore my quads had been yesterday I was unsure if today’s run would go ahead. Still, I got home from work, got changed and headed to the treadmill. The plan was either 5 or 6 easy miles, just get the blood flowing through my legs and reduce and tightness.
I started out a little quicker than planned with an 11:42 pace. Consciously, I slowed the pace down for mile 2, which came in at 12:09. I then checked my heart rate and noticed that I was out of zone 2, so I dropped the speed again. This resulted in mile 3 coming in at 12:20. I then stopped watching my stats and just focused on completing 5 miles. Miles 4 and 5 were almost identical at 12:05 and 12:06 respectively.
Despite a slower than usual pace, the effort seemed harder than my easy runs. My legs were still fatigued from my half marathon. With that being said, I certainly didn’t feel like I was in zone 4 or 5! This may also have something to do with the fact that after I saved my run, I got a notification to say that my chest heart rate monitor had connected. As such, I don’t think it was connected properly prior to me starting my run. The below heart rate data would then make more sense if my watch was using the much less accurate optical heart rate monitor on the wrist. Hence I can’t put too much emphasis on the heart rate data below, but have included it anyway.
Thursday 24th January:
With yesterday’s run being 5 miles, I really wanted an easy 6 miles today to keep my mileage on par with my plan. My legs felt better after yesterday’s run, but my quads were still tender!
Just as the day before, I made the same mistake and started out a bit quick in 11:48. Today I decided I wasn’t going to look at my watch, other than for the mile notifications. Instead, I just ran by feel whilst listening to a new audiobook (Finding Ultra by Rich Roll). Mile 2 came in at 12:10, with mile 3 also just over 12 minutes in 12:01.
I got to the halfway point and was feeling ok. Part of me was tempted to get to 5 miles and call it a day. This wasn’t so much to being fatigued, but more a mental battle as it started to dawn on me how tough the half marathon had been! Not only did I run 13.1 miles non-stop (after a 1.5 mile walk to the start), but I ran it at a pace of 10 minutes per mile. I had coped with the undulating course and ran 1:25 per mile quicker than my goal race pace. My mind was telling me that I needed a break, but my body begged to differ. Sure, my legs may have been heavier than normal, but that was to be expected. I pushed on through mile 4 in 11:52. As is often the case, miles 5 and 6 saw my pace increase. 11:49 for mile 5, and then my fastest mile (only just) for mile 6 in 11:47.
Despite still feeling a little fatigued in the legs (and a lot in the mind!), it was a good run. I still felt strong and had managed to remain in zone 2 or lower throughout the session. Still, Sunday’s 10 miler is probably going to feel like my toughest long training run in a while, despite the reduced distance.
Friday 25th January:
Okay… okay. You’ve got me! I skipped Yoga… again! But hey, at least I’m consistent in the fact that I consistently skip it. Surely that counts for something?
All was not lost though! I did complete my body-weight circuit as follows:
- 3×10 Calf Raises
- 3×10 Sit-Ups
- 3×10 Push-Ups
- 3×10 Front Lunges
- 3×10 Triceps Dips
- 3×10 Side Lunges
- 3×10 Bicycle Crunches
- 1×10 Barbell Squats at 50kg
I ran through the above circuit completing 1 set of 10 reps of each exercise with a 15 second rest before moving onto the next. The squats were only completed at the end, so after I had completed 3 sets of 10 reps of all exercises.
This session didn’t take as long as I had expected as it was only around 15 minutes. Still, I wasn’t feeling like a Yoga session. After my talk with Jo Pavey at the National Running Show, I feel less guilty about not being able to stick to Yoga. She said that she also doesn’t do as much cross-training as she would like, and that I need to find something that I enjoy. Her recommendation was aqua jogging, as it is still running, but with less impact on the body. It also helps to strengthen the lower body, and then I could also swim a few lengths for total body work. This is something that I will be looking into for the future.
With my legs still feeling a little tense, I decided to spend 5 minutes with my foam roller. I massaged my calves, quads, glutes, and hamstrings. I didn’t track this with my watch though, as it isn’t really training so I didn’t want to include on my weekly time total.
Saturday 26th January:
The plan for today was a relaxed Parkrun (3.1 miles). I was expecting to complete this in around 36 minutes, whilst remaining in zone 2. Unfortunately, Chris had made plans to help a friend move house, followed by go-karting, so he needed to get back as soon as possible. As such, he wasn’t running today, so would just be waiting for me. My cousin also wasn’t running today, but instead would be walking around with her dog whilst waiting for her fiancé to finish.
Knowing that I had people waiting on me did make me push the pace a little more. I did also want to see how my legs were feeling. It’s hard not to get caught up at a quicker than planned pace at the start of a Parkrun, or any other event. You have a lot of people around you and it can seem like a mass stampede, so you end up picking up the pace.
My first mile came in at 9:18, which is around my tempo run pace. I decided I would just run and not focus on my speed, but without pushing all out. I figured that I could use this as a tempo run. If it was to be a tempo run then my pacing was spot on! Mile 2 also came in at 9:18. This pace felt uncomfortable, but not all out. I didn’t feel the lactic acid building up like I did when I ran my 5k personal best. I pushed on through mile 3, and to my surprise, completed this in 9:19. Without even paying attention I had run 3 perfectly paced miles! As usual, I picked up the pace for the last 0.1 mile, with an average pace of 8:29.
I was a bit disappointed towards the end as there had been a man running alongside me. We had been matching each other’s pace, and deep down I think we both knew what was going to happen. We climbed the final hill, leaving the last 0.1 mile to go. I wasn’t sure how much I had left in my legs, as I definitely wasn’t feeling fresh! Then, without speaking or even looking at each other, we both picked up the pace. It was now a race to the finish! Unfortunately, I got blocked by two runners on the final turn. He was able to run on the grass to avoid them, whereas I had to take more of a detour to the right. Eventually I passed them, but I had lost too much ground to catch him.
As expected, I spent a lot of time in zone 4. However, I didn’t expect to have spent 44% of the session in zone 5. I started to feel the pace in the final 0.5 mile, but the earlier parts hadn’t felt too bad. Compared to when I race all out with an average pace of 8:49 per mile, I felt okay. I guess some of this was also down to fatigue and me not being fully recovered from my half marathon.
Still, without intending to, I had ran a perfect tempo session. Better yet, I was only 1:31 short of my 5k personal best. I felt a lot better than I felt after that run! The last 0.1 mile was slower than usual as my legs didn’t have their usual sprint finish pace left in them. Overall though, it was a good run. Chris even commented that I still looked fresh and wasn’t out of breath, despite running a respectable 28:53.
Sunday 27th January:
Today’s long run was going to be a reduced mileage run. I don’t want to put too much stress on my body after running such a hard effort for last week’s half marathon. As such, I had planned a steady 10 mile run. Staying in heart rate zone 2 was the aim of the game.
After recently finishing an audio book by Chrissie Wellington, I have started on my next one. So far, this one hasn’t really got me hooked. Still, I put my audio book on and started to run. I flicked through my data screens on my Garmin watch until I reached the heart rate zone screen. Today wasn’t about running a certain pace, but just maintaining a low heart rate.
Mile 1 came in remarkably fast at 10:50! Slightly reducing the pace, I continued to run. Miles 2 and 3 were around the same pace in 11:07 and 11:05 respectively. Wary of cardiac drift and not wanting my heart rate to end up in zone 3 towards the final few miles, I reduced my pace further.
This reduction of pace showed as miles 4 and 5 came in with a time of 11:39 and 11:41. I was feeling good at the half way point, although my audio book still hadn’t hooked me! I plodded through miles 6-8, with all of them being around the same pace of between 11:28-11:32.
Heading into the penultimate mile, my heart rate was starting to veer near the far end of zone 2. Not wanting to hit zone 3, I slowed down slightly. As such, mile 9 was the slowest in 11:51. Mile 10 wasn’t far behind in 11:49.
To be honest, I found this run more mentally challenging than physical! My audio book hadn’t helped the matter as it failed to stop my mind from wandering. Running slow can still be a challenge, especially for the long runs. Still, the aim of the session was achieved as the entire run was spent in zones 1 and 2. It was also a good run to reflect on. Not long ago 11:27 was my goal half marathon and marathon race pace. Now it’ my average pace for a zone 2 long run!
Total Miles = 24.1
Training Hours = 4:49:43
Positives = I managed to complete all of my planned runs after my half marathon, including a harder than planned Parkrun. Crucially, I also spent some time foam rolling to help recover (this is something I need to do more of!).
Negatives = no Tuesday strength session or Yoga on Friday.
Next Week = 5 runs (including a speed session), 2 weight sessions (1 will be a body-weight circuit), and hopefully either a Yoga or stretching / flexibility session.