Last week’s report can be found here.
This week I had planned 7 sessions; 5 runs, 1 Yoga session and 2 weights sessions.
|Weights||Club Run||Intervals||Run||Yoga and Weights||Parkrun||Long Run|
Monday 28th January:
I wanted to do some work with the barbell today, however I didn’t have long to spare. With limited time I decided to focus on some core lifts utilizing larger muscle groups.
- 3×10 Barbell Squats at 40kg
- 1×10 Barbell Deadlift at 40kg, then 1×5 at 40kg
- 3×10 Barbell Bench Press at 20kg
- 1×50 Bicycle Crunches
I decided that each set would have a 30 second recovery period, with a minute in between each exercise. The recovery between my deadlift and bench press was 2 minutes due to having to remove weight from the bar.
For the barbell squats, I used my bench as my guide. I squatted down until my butt touched the bench and then back up. This helped to ensure that each rep was the same. I have squatted 55kg previously, so this drop in weight felt comfortable. Due to the drop in weight, I increased the reps from 5 to 10.
I kept the weight the same for my deadlifts. Despite the lower weight than usual (50-55kg), I still found the last few reps tough. As such, for the second set I was only able to complete 5 reps. Originally, I had wanted to do 2 sets of 10 reps, however I had to admit defeat at 5!
Bench pressing 40kg was definitely out of the question! I de-loaded the bar fully to complete 3 sets of 10 reps at 20kg. The last rep or two of each set was still tough! I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy this move!
To finish off I opted for 50 bicycle crunches. I prefer these to sit-ups and blasted through all 50 reps in no time at all.
Tuesday 29th January:
After months and months of putting it off, I finally attended a club training session at my local running club. Joining a club was my New Year’s Resolution last year, and made the list again this year. Membership doesn’t open until the end of March and I wanted to get a feel for the club. There are a few local clubs so I was unsure which one would suit me. In order to test the waters, I attended the closest club first.
In typical fashion, I attended on the hardest night! I got to the club, told them of my current race times and was assigned a group. My group of 15 or so was a mixed bunch, from teenagers to 50 year olds! The coach told me that the pace of this group was usually around 8-9 minute miles, and I cried a little inside! I explained that this was faster than I was used to, and even at my best I was only around an 8:30 mile. He told me that tonight’s session was hill repeats, so it would a small loop. As such, it didn’t matter if I was a bit slower.
We headed out for a “steady” warm up of less than a mile as we made our way to the nearest hill. Upon reaching the hill, the coach explained that we would be completing 2×5 minutes, 3×3 minutes and then 4×2 minute repeats running up and down the hill. There would be a minute rest in between each repeat.
Promptly everyone starting removing their jackets and tying them to a nearby tree. The coach lined us up at the bottom of the hill and then set us off. I felt strong… for the first hill climb! The first repeat saw me running too fast on the downhill recovery section. I soon learned from this mistake! These felt like the longest 5 minutes ever. Eventually the coach called time and we all made our way back to the bottom of the hill for a 1 minute recovery. The 60 seconds flew by and we were then off for another 5 minute repeat, before another 1 minute rest.
This then followed on in the same fashion but with the hill intervals getting shorter each time. 3×3 minutes and then 2×4 minutes. I made it through the session, just about! Some of the others were a lot quicker than me, and I clung to the coattails of an older lady. I believe that she was recovering from an injury, but I tried my best to keep up. Nevertheless, I was still around 30 seconds behind her.
We gathered at the bottom of the hill and I was feeling happy to have not bailed out of the session. After a quick chat and everyone getting their jackets back on, we headed back towards the sports academy. This steady pace was still quicker than my usual steady pace, but I managed to keep up. We approached the academy and around half of the runners turned in, whilst the other half continue running past. At first I started to make my way towards the academy to call it a night, but then I thought I may as well see what the full session would entail. Yup, I’m a sucker for punishment!
Around 0.1 mile further up the road was another inclined section, albeit not as steep. Again, we lined up at the bottom. The coach called this the “lamppost” workout. Everyone remarked how hard it was, which didn’t fill me with confidence! There were four lampposts ahead of us. The idea was you run to the first lamppost, turn around and run back to the start, then run to the next lamppost and repeat all of the way to the final lamppost. This seemed okay, until the coach said that we had to do this four times to make it a mile!
This was definitely challenging. The whole session had been faster than I was used to, plus with hills! I was also a little anxious, which didn’t help my heart rate any. Still, I pushed on. It was so tempting to drop out after the third repeat, but I dug deep. The main group of around 5 or 6 runners were a minute or so ahead of me and the other lady that I was trying to cling to. It didn’t really matter though as everyone was still around each other and we were given the same recovery time between each interval.
Due to the stop / start nature of the session, my average pace is a bit misleading. I didn’t pause my watch during the rest intervals, so I will have to go by my moving pace. My heart rate was definitely elevated as I found the pace and incline challenging.
Overall, it was a good experience. Even before I started running, I had already achieved something. Just getting myself out of my comfort zone and finally attending a club session was a big thing for me. I also pushed myself harder than I would have done if I was training alone. Everyone seemed friendly, albeit not being a social session! I’m definitely interested in training with a club in the future, especially for speed or hill workouts as I push myself harder. I’d also like to see what the Thursday runs are like as they are meant to be easier and more social runs. With that being said, I’m not sure if I’ll be attending this Thursday due to the bad weather and ice. The last thing I need is to fall over and hurt myself!
Wednesday 30th January:
When I originally made my plan, I didn’t really think this through! Wednesday was my birthday, yet I had planned a tough VO2 Max interval session. I had made my plan based on Tuesday’s run being an easy Zone 2 run, as I hadn’t actually expected myself to attend running club. Now that I had, and it had been a tough session, I decided to run an easy 7 miles instead.
Despite it being my birthday, I hadn’t had a good day at all. Work had been challenging and my head just wasn’t in a good place. I ended up in tears on my drive home. Still, I got home and after a chat with Chris, I changed into my running gear and headed for the treadmill. Tuesday’s session was originally planned for an easy 7 miles, however it had turned into a hard 6 mile hill session. As such, I was a mile down on my weekly plan. I had this in the back of my mind and part of me was tempted to make up the extra mile today. This plan was de-railed though as Chris had already started my tea, so in the end I only had time for the 7.
I started the session with a mile in 11:46 before increasing my pace. I wasn’t watching my pace or heart rate for this run, but instead I was just focusing on how I felt. Miles 2-6 came in between 11:23 and 11:32, so fairly even. Mile 7 was my fastest in 11:19 – the smell of my dinner in the oven definitely helped!
Despite the tough session the day before, I felt fine through the run. Even when increasing my pace to 11:19 at the end of my run I remained in Zone 2. I definitely see my progress on these kinds of run as Zone 2 at a pace of 13 minute miles used to be tough to maintain! I’m curious to see what the fastest pace is that I can hold for 7 miles whilst remaining in Zone 2 throughout.
Thursday 31st January:
Today’s session plan was a carbon copy of yesterday! 7 easy miles in Zone 2.
I started my run not really feeling it. I hadn’t had the best of weeks. For this reason, it’s no real surprise that my first mile came in a tad slow at 11:57. I saw the notification on my watch and picked up the pace slightly. Mile 2 then came in at 11:38. It was at this point that I just thought “what the hell” and bumped up the speed a little more.
Unknowingly, I ended up negative splitting the next 5 miles, before slowing ever so slightly for mile 7. Mile 3 came in at 11:09, with mile 4 3 seconds faster in 11:06. Mile 5 was 4 seconds faster still in 11:02. I then ran my fastest mile of the session in 11:00 for the penultimate mile. Mile 7 came in at 11:04.
Despite the slightly quicker overall pace than the day before (11:29 to 11:16), I still remained in Zone 2 throughout. In fact, my average heart rate was the same for both sessions at 143. My max heart rate had been 1 beat per minute higher on Wednesday. Whilst running I felt like maybe I was pushing into Zone 3, but this was more a mental thing as I knew that I was running a little faster.
Running-wise the week has been successful so far. My first trip to a running club was productive with a tough session and then I spent around 80 minutes in Zone 2 on Wednesday and Thursday to help build my aerobic fitness.
Friday 1st February:
As soon as I got home from work I knew that working out today was going to be a challenge! Chris was in the middle of eating his tea, and so the house smelt of food. I decided to eat with him and then spend some time reading. The plan was to start my workout at around 7pm so that I could be finished for 7:45ish. Why? Well, the heating is on from 7-8pm, so the bathroom would have been warmed up lovely for my post-workout shower!
I was keeping my eye on the time, but somehow still managed to miss my cue. Before I knew it, it was just after 8pm! This is where the mental battle began. I told myself that I had missed the boat. After all, this session wasn’t essential so there wouldn’t be any harm in skipping it. I promptly shook that thought and headed upstairs to get changed. Less than 5 minutes later I was starting my body-weight workout.
- 3×10 Push Ups
- 3×10 Triceps Dips
- 3×10 Barbell Bench Press at 20kg
I started with 1 set of 10 push ups, followed by 15 seconds rest, then 1 set of 10 triceps dips, with 30 seconds recovery before repeating. The triceps dips were really tough tonight! My arms were burning towards the end of the first set.
After I had completed 3 rounds of alternating push ups and triceps dips I moved onto the bench press. Just like Monday I opted to only lift the 20kg Olympic barbell. These were challenging, mainly because my arms were burning from the dips!
I finished my short body-weight session and found a 15 minute Yoga video on YouTube. I’m still not enthralled by Yoga, but I do understand the benefits that it can offer. As such, I’m trying to stick with it where I can. The video wasn’t too bad. It was labelled as a beginner’s video, and the moves were pretty straightforward. The instructor moved through poses a little quick though, but I was able to get the gist and follow.
Upon completing my short Yoga workout (trying to ease my way back in) I spent 5 minutes or so with my new recovery stick massager. My dog really likes this and keeps trying to chew it. In her defence, it does look like one of her toys! I didn’t track this on my watch, but just used this time as active recovery. As I increase my mileage, I need to make sure that I am recovery correctly. Hence I am trying to spend more time with my foam roller and massage stick to release any knots in my muscles. I might even book myself in for a sports massage soon!
Saturday 2nd February:
Wow, it was cold today! My phone said -8 degrees… crazy!
Getting out of bed proved to be a massive challenge. I checked my phone to ensure that Parkrun hadn’t been cancelled (half hoping that it had!), and left it as late as possible to get out of bed. Usually we are up for 7:30am at the latest on a Saturday. Not today! By 7:50am we were just starting our adventure out of the warmth.
I quickly ate my porridge and got dressed. A little later than the usual but we finally made it to the car. I spent a few minutes de-icing before we were ready to go. Luckily we arrived with just under 15 minutes to spare. There were more parking spaces than usual at this time, so a lot of people must have been defeated by the cold.
Today wasn’t going to be a personal best. I had known that last week, however it was confirmed by the fact that I was wearing my thermal tights, a pair of joggers over the top, a sports bra, a vest top and a thermal hoody!
On the other hand, I also knew that staying in zone 2 was going to be tough as I just wanted to get warm and to the finish line as soon as possible. As such, I lined up relatively close to the front and set off at a decent, albeit non-PB pace.
Mile 1 came in at a 9:50 minute per mile pace. This felt quite comfortable and I hadn’t expected it to be that quick. It certainly didn’t feel that fast! Mile 2 was a little slower in 9:56. I was paying no attention to my pacing and was just running at what I felt was comfortably hard. Some points didn’t even feel that challenging, and I was surprised when I glanced at my watch to check my pace. Mile 3 came in at 9:51 with the final sprint average pace of 9:14. I overtook quite a few people with my final sprint, but didn’t really have the pace that I usually find for the final 0.1 mile.
As my most recent half marathon has shown, I’m getting used to running at around 10:00 minutes per mile. Sure, it feels tough, especially in the latter stages, but it is maintainable. It’s a bit off from being my easy zone 2 pace, but either way I am making improvements. Most of this run was spent in zones 3 and 4, which isn’t detrimental as it was only a short run and acts as speed work.
Moving forward I’m hoping to be join a running club and attend regularly, at least for the hill / speed sessions. If not, I will stick to running these sessions on my treadmill. I’d like to do a hill or speed interval session each week, two easy days, a long run and then use Parkrun as either an easy run, tempo run or an all-out time trial race.
Oh, and to my disappointment, I still haven’t achieved the “Frosty” Garmin badge for recording an activity when it is below freezing! #Robbed!
Sunday 3rd February:
As they say, no rest for the wicked! I had so much to get done today…
The plan for today was a zone 2 long run of 13 miles. I didn’t have any time to waste as I would need to run, eat, shower and then get ready to attend a Baptism. With that being said, I did want to try and get 14 miles as that would be my longest ever non-stop run, and it would also make up for the mile that I was down for the week. I’ve ran a few 13 milers non-stop now, including my recent half marathon where I ran at a much faster pace than expected.
Armed with my Monster Hydro Water and a small 93 calorie mix of white chocolate bits and cranberries, I readied the treadmill. I’m not going to go through each mile split as they can be found below. The first 4 miles felt comfortable, and went by surprisingly fast. Miles 5 and 6 were also ok, however I had started to debate when I would try eating my chocolate and cranberry mix. I’ve only ever used gels on my runs, but had found these in the cupboard so decided to give them a try. I waited until mile 7 and then opened the packet. It was a bit difficult to get them out of the packet and into my hand without spilling them everywhere! I took a piece of white chocolate and two cranberries and managed to eat them without any difficulty. They were actually really tasty! I noticed that my heart rate went up slightly each time I ate.
Deciding to save the rest for the later miles, I focused on the 6.5 miles ahead. Mentally I was breaking down my run into quarters and thirds. Just runner’s arithmetic to try and distract myself and make the remaining distance seem less daunting. Before I knew it I had reached a distance of 9.32, which was pretty much two-thirds of my run. I rewarded myself with more of my chocolate and cranberry mix.
Surprisingly mile 10 went by quite quickly. I reached the 10.5 mile mark and finished the remainder of my mix. Reaching 10.90 miles and knowing that I “only had a Parkrun to go”, I felt confident. Even at this late stage I was feeling good and the miles were ticking by faster than usual, or at least, that’s how it felt. Mile 14, however, changed that!
Originally I had planned to slow it down for the final mile, but I was feeling good so continued with the pace I had been maintaining. My last 2 miles had been slightly slower anyway, so I figured I’d be ok. I decided to consult with my Garmin to check my heart rate. Just as I changed screens to check, I saw my heart rate go from 157 to 158. This 1 beat per minute increase pushed me into zone 3. As such, I reduced the pace slightly and quickly got back into zone 2.
After reaching 14 miles I stopped my Garmin and got off the treadmill. Checking my data, I felt pretty good! I had ran my longest ever non-stop run and pretty much (bar 7 seconds) stayed in zone 2 or below. The run took 2:38:17, with an average pace of 11:18. Being able to stay in zone 2 for 14 miles whilst holding a pace which was quicker than my planned half marathon goal pace felt good! I can see my fitness improving and I know that I need to push on to see what I can achieve in the marathon. My next half marathon is on March 24th, and I don’t think I will see much, if any, improvement over my last half. I never expected my recent half marathon result, so now I am trying to focus more on the full marathon instead.
Total Miles = 37.10
Training Hours = 7:46:25
Positives = I finally attended a club session! My longest ever non-stop run. I didn’t skip Yoga!
Negatives = I’m struggling to follow a consistent weight training program and as such, I’m not seeing much improvement.
Next Week = slightly increased mileage. I’m hoping to try out another running club and see which I prefer before committing to joining. I may have to re-asses my training plan to take into account club sessions, as these tend to be shorter runs than my plan.