Goto: January Update
So things are getting serious now. Race day in around 7 months. COVID lockdown easing plans published and it looks like things are going to start moving towards something that might resemble life before coronavirus. I think we can all agree that we have looked forward to that time, but we also want it to be something that sticks. We don’t want more lockdowns and we want a recovery that is sustainable. So no chickens are being counted yet, but I think we can be optimistic and order a bumper sized bag of chicken feed 🤣.
February, being 4 weeks and starting on a Monday aligned perfectly with 4 weeks of my plan.
Start the month as you mean to go on. A week with a double workout (Pyramid session and a Hill workout) and then throw in a weekend back-to-back.
Pyramid sessions are good, some short sprints with some longer tempo speed intervals as well. Hill workouts are that necessary evil that I love, but I know will be brutal. The first week post recovery week can take a few days to get going, so this was a tough week. Not helped by some bitter temperatures and fog. These are the training weeks though when you earn your stripes. Its easy to cry off on the cold days and think an extra rest day is always good. And yes, sometimes they are, but not just because it’s cold. I invested in a couple more hats, pairs of gloves and running tights, and just sucked it up. Nearly froze to death though 🤣🤣🤣
This week started to climb the distance. Tuesday threw the usual 5 min intervals in and I bloody loved it. There is something top about that session. The only down side was that given the cols and frosty morning I jumped on the treadmill and the Reebok unit I have isn’t smart and the Garmin treadmill function smooths out the pace as it measures steps and converts to distance. Slow is short steps and fast is long steps, so when sprinting it doesn’t really realise. So the data looks rubbish but I ran 6 reps at 6:10 min/mile for 5 minutes with 1 minute recovery. A bit brutal on a treadmill -m especially when you forget to turn the fan on 🤷♂️.
This week also threw in a midweek long run – nice to mix it up and get out in my Roclite 300 shoes which had not been out and about for a few weeks – due to running mostly roads recently due to lockdown.
The weekend then put in a triple long run. 17 hilly miles (where I was expected to put effort into the hills), 10 miles and then 20 miles. Loved all of it, even if the Sunday 20 miler was riddled with more puddles than a puppy training school.
I just love trails. I could live every run on trails if I could. Puddles and mud make things sow going, of course they do. However, I do think that it helps to build a bit of strength and balance.
Looking ahead to week 19 I knew this had 30 miles as the longest run. What I forgot to notice was the 18 mile and 10 mile runs also on the schedule at the end of the week. Friday to Sunday had 58 miles in the schedule. Outside of Race To The Stones in 2019 this was going to be the hardest weekend of running.
That’s not to miss out the 8×5 min intervals earlier in the week. Again a treadmill session due to weather and timing. The treadmill is not a fun place to run, I won’t lie! However it has been a very useful assistance to me when trying to get runs in at odd times of day, or in icy conditions. I love a good run in the rain or snow, but when it’s properly icy out, the treadmill is maybe the safer option. How on earth I ran a marathon on my treadmill in April 2020 I don’t know!!!!!!
The weekend was hard work. Friday 10 treadmill miles, OK. Saturday 18 miles early morning. Weather more mild, threat of rain, but a bit windy at times. Was good with a mx of trails and generally went well. 18 miles is not a short distance! It also doubled up as my Virtual Gut Buster (delayed since December 2020).
4:30 am Sunday morning and 30 miles was required. Started OK, though the early start and the miles were making it less than an energetic start! I had plotted a new route out along trails to Streatley and back. The out leg being on new trails. I thought this would be a good way to distract me from the early start and high mileage, but then forgot the route back was along the Ridgeway and full of hills Doh! Anyway, at times I could have stopped as it was hard going. I could have parked my effort at 20 miles but I knew this was one of those examples where the brain was saying, you’re tired. So stop and rest. Find a cosy patch of leaves and have a nap. Anyone that has done long trail runs will have know that feeling (especially at the end of a long week). But thats a natural recovery response of the body. I have found that adjusting the pace, having some food/water allows you to just check in on the legs. All good? Yep – so lets carry on. I’ll rest when I’m done. This is one of the real benefits of this training plan. Lots of tired miles. A real way of getting used to fighting that urge in the mid to rest and stop. Usually, in my. experience, my body has more to offer than the brain sometimes assumes. I’m hoping that. this training plan will help build physical strength as well as mental toughness. I pushed through the 30 miles, ground out the distance and was all the happier for achieving it at the end of a week with over 80 miles.
Recovery week in Week 20. I think it’s well deserved!
Recovery week came as a welcome break. Last week was a biggie and the calmness of Week 20 was a nice bit of respite. I focussed on decent slow mileage. Sleep as well, by moving most runs to the evening was a good choice.
I also spent the week thinking about my 100 miler, finalising thoughts on race day prep. I also go myself a new race vest on order and some new socks – woohoo !
March has some serious mileage to get through with at east 2 marathon plus distances to cover.
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