Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Training update

I've forgotten to update for a few days (weeks). Summary follows:

Sunday 19th May: 6 mile long run (aim was to run for 60 minutes)

Monday 20th May: short interval session at the underpass, curtailed because the surface was slippery. 

Tuesday 21st May: Pilates 

Wednesday 22nd May: swimming, 16-20 lengths (lost count)

Thursday 23rd May: beginners' intervals (in heavy rain), then a 4 mile run, with a fast 400m interval at the end (7:10). 

Sunday 26th May: long run with my sister in Lancashire, 10 miles with the first 5 up a 900 foot hill. 

Monday 27th May: interval session, 6x 400m. 8:16, 7:18, 7:15, 7:12, 6:48, 7:40. Happy with that!

Tuesday 28th May: Pilates 

Wednesday 29th May: circuit training. Managed a two-ball plank for the first time!

That's you up to date. This weekend I start Juneathon, daily running or exercise, plus blogging. So, two rest days before then. 

Injury-wise, ankle (Achilles) is stiff every morning. My sister has offered to give me exercises to aid this. I'm also doing ankle rotations and icing daily. 

Monday, 20 May 2013

Friday 17th May: nosey run

There is a derelict Pig Research Facility in Stotfold, and it's currently being used by the police for training. On Thursday evening and again this afternoon it was set on fire. Being the nosey person I am, I wanted to have a look at the site. Good excuse for a run.

I ran the Greenway route, and I set off fast; it was late and I wanted to make sure I could take a photo, so it was a good incentive. First 2 miles were fairly quick (8:41, 9:01), slowed down for the 3rd mile to get my breath back and obviously take the photo. Last mile was a warm down really. Was good to run on a Friday night, must do it again.

Burnt houses

Thursday 16th May: running club

It was my turn to take the beginner run-walk group. We ran 2 minutes and walked 1, through the fields along the river, then back up Regent St. Pushed the girls to a longer run, they all did really well.

Intermediate group ran up to Langford water tower, or we aimed to. Off-road running is not my favourite choice at the moment, grass is getting longer, and the uneven surface is hard on my sore ankles and calves. Managed 2 miles before we turned back because two members had to be finished by 8:30. Discussed lack of mojo and speed, and considered Marston 5K as a possible incentive to get quicker. I'm not keen though...

Wednesday 15th May: circuits

I was raring to go today, was even looking forward to press-ups. Pushed myself hard on every station, made progressions on bicycle curls and ab crunches. Kettlebell swings were with 16 kg, can't remember if I've even used that weight before, managed to maintain technique, which is most important. Shoulders will ache tomorrow!

Tuesday 14th May: pilates

Yet more Pilates love this week, lots of leg exercises that are doing great things to my gluts and hip flexors, not so much my hamstring, which I managed to pull slightly. Also, lots of press-ups, should make circuit training tomorrow interesting.

We learnt a new stretch for our lower calf and Achilles, basically a low crouch as if about to run 100 m race. One to do at home, since my ankles and calves are currently a bit sore and tight.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Sunday 12th May: Standalone run

Needed to run, decided to run Standalone 10K route. Also decided to push myself for a couple of miles, I think I've got a bit lazy with my training. If I want to get faster I need to run fast!

Splits were 9:18, 8:47, 8:35, 9:11, 9:18, 9:29, and 9:28. 

Pleased with the 8:35 but I need to get nearer 7:35 to feel happy. That's my summer goal. 

Thursday 9th May: one mile time trial

Today was the first "official" time trial of the year. The beginners met at Nortonbury Farm at 7pm, and I was there to help (umbrella-holding and organising runners). I was really pleased to see my run-walker friend there, and she managed to run all the way too, a real achievement. Makes me proud to see how far everyone has come. 

The intermediate trial began at 7:50, we had to give everyone time to run down from Stotfold. This unfortunately meant that my run down/warm up was slightly pointless, I was cold and shivery and wet. Not good. I had a bit of a warm up but I didn't feel good. I managed 7:33, running in rain and into a headwind. Also wearing my massive VLM reject jacket. I think I can do better next time!

Ran home, which made the whole run 4 miles. 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Wednesday 8th May: super 8 circuits

Tonight was Super 8s. Just saying "super 8s" to anyone who goes to Pete's circuit class is enough to have people reaching for the "delete booking" button. That's why he springs the session on us.

In a nutshell, there are 2 sets of circuits with 4 exercises in each: press ups, squats, crunches, and star jumps; and bicep curls, hamstring curls, bicycle crunches, and squat jumps. We do 12 reps of each exercise in the set (24 bicycle crunches) and repeat for 8 minutes. And each set is done twice. Still with me?

It's so hard on the arms, the press ups alone are a killer, but bicep curls just add to the woe. Legs are also in agony, burning from squats and squat jumps, and then it's hard to maintain form on hamstring curls.

Today I managed (I think!):

(7x12) + (5x12) press ups
(6x12) + (5x12) squats
(6x12) + (5x12) crunches
(6x12) + (4x12) star jumps

(5x12) + (5x12) bicep curls
(4x12) + (5x12) hamstring curls
(4x12) + (5x12) bicycle crunches
(4x12) + (4x12) squat jumps

I can already feel that my shoulders are aching, my triceps and biceps are a bit shaky. And the backs of my legs are also sore (could be running related though!)

Tuesday 7th May: running and Pilates

My calves and ankles are still a bit sore after my half on Sunday, but I fancied a short run before Pilates, just to test them. Was pleased to run just over 2 miles in about 20 minutes, averaging 9:30 min/miles. Pace surprised me.

Pilates was excellent this week (a definite LOVE week). We progressed on a lot of abdominal and leg exercises. I really like the side leg raises because those are part of my physio rehab, and they really make my bum ache! Also did a lot of gluteal squeezing and hip stretching, all good for my ITB rehab.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Sunday May 5: Greenway Challenge

Race day, at last. Training has quite frankly been woeful, with 3 weeks off for a chest infection. I didn't expect to get a good time, and the hot sun made that inevitable. I struggled badly for the first 5 miles, I wasn't enjoying myself. Sometimes you have to step back and ask why you do this? If I'm not enjoying it I'm not going to carry on in the future. So at 5 miles I decided to have a walk and just run to enjoy myself.

After getting my breath back I carried on and managed well for the next 3 miles. I stopped to chat with a friend who was marshalling at a road crossing about 8 miles in. The brief break kept me going until I reached the dreaded Kingswood Avenue hill. Another walk break, and at the top of the hill (10 miles) was my lovely friend, who had cold water in her bag and topped my bottle up and offered many encouraging words.

I was definitely struggling at this point, I had to walk again quite soon afterwards. But once back on the flat and in Letchworth I knew it was the home straight. This is when I started to pick off runners in front of me. Although I was also horribly aware my feet were very uncomfortable, I knew I had blisters, they felt like they were on fire. Anyway, I pushed on and wondered if I'd make sub 2 hours. As it happened I didn't, but only just. Less talking and I'd have done it!

As I turned into Standalone for the finish my son raced up to me shouting "Pump those crazy legs!". That's a standard heckle from my family, I expect nothing less. At the finish we got a nice memento of a water bag, quite handy, and a huge selection of cakes to choose from. My friend was lying down having a massage, she shouted me over to tell me she was 2nd lady! I was so pleased for her. And another good friend was 3rd lady. So altogether a fantastic day.

Think I probably need new trainers though, my Sauconys are definitely shot.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Saturday May 4: Stotfold 5K Fun Run

This race was rescheduled from a very snowy March. Today was hot and sunny, with the possibility of a rain shower. I ran with my 5-year-old daughter, and my 7-year-old son ran with my friend Gill and her son.

The run was chip-timed, which for a school-organised fun run was rather unusual! I expect they got it for free. Despite some shoddy communication, the race was well organised on the day, and the route clearly marked out. 

We set off running, and probably managed 3 minutes before I enforced a walk break. This continued for a few km, then we walked for about 5 minutes because my daughter had a stitch and was flagging (it was very hot at this point of the run). I gave her a piggyback for about a quarter of a km, just to keep us moving. It's very hard to run and give a piggyback when your windpipe is being squashed! At 4 km she got a second wind, and ran for quite a way. I then gave her another short piggyback ride, with the rule that she had to run when we got on the road again. With the finish in sight, she gave up completely! I had strict words with her about the Stotfold Runners sprint finish, and that you definitely didn't stop with the end in sight, and holding hands, we crossed the line together.

I'm so proud of her for running and walking all that way, despite the two short carry breaks. We finished in 41:39, which is faster than the time I ran when I did Race for Life in 2006 (which was about 48 minutes I think!). 

My son finished just ahead of us in 38:18. He'd have done better if he'd not drunk all his juice before the start, or eaten all the Haribo, which were for during and after, not all during!

Me and my daughter at the start of the Fun Run

Wednesday May 1: 10K to practise Greenway hills

Missed circuit training tonight so that I wouldn't be aching and sore for Sunday. Decided instead on a late evening 10K, to take in the start of the Greenway Challenge route. There is a steep hill about 1 mile in that I wanted to practise running up on tired legs.

Felt massively uncomfortable for the first 2 miles, terrible stomach cramps (basically, trapped wind!) and lethargic legs again. I said to myself "OK, just run 4 miles then", which would still take in the hill, but the 4 mile route was blocked by a car. I then compromised (in my head) with a 5 mile run, but I couldn't cross the road in the right place. I glanced ruefully at the gate I should've run through and carried on for the full 10K. By this point I was actually feeling OK, so I was really glad I carried on. The sun was just setting and it was still fairly warm.

I was glad I continued, because I had chance to then run the end of the Greenway Challenge route, and remind myself of the last hilly part. Not too bad really. The steep hill I approached on tired legs, but I pushed on and maintained my pace. What a feeling at the top! I was so happy with that. Nice gentle jog home and now I can look forward to Sunday.

Tuesday April 30: more recovery, and a new route

Today I wanted to run faster than Monday, to see if I could push myself on from the 10 min miles I seem to be stuck at. I also fancied running the route around Etonbury Academy, which I last ran with the club in the snow, so I wasn't 100% sure of the way.

Considering the route was off-road, I ran comfortably and averaged about 9 min miles. I didn't get lost either, the path is very well marked. Heart rate was high though, 170 average, but it was very hot and I hadn't drunk enough water during the day, so hydration was an issue too.

Fairly pleased though, all things considered. Pilates in the evening, which despite my current HATE state of mind, I actually did OK and felt very strong in my legs. Lots of progression and I managed without help.

Monday April 29: recovery run

Aiming to increase stamina and fitness before Sunday's half marathon, so plan is to run every day this week before the afternoon school run.

Today's run was intended as recovery after Sunday's long run, aiming at heart rate under 140 bpm and a slowish pace.

Because the Stotfold 5K Fun Run is on Saturday, I thought I'd run part of the route, to check out the state of the paths. Headed to Astwick via the KingFisher Path, then cut across the fields. Route was quite uneven and I didn't push hard. HR stayed around 143, so that's good, and pace averaged about 10 min/mile, although I got gradually slower as I went on.

Sunday April 28: South Greenway

Before running the Greenway Challenge on May 5, I had offered to teach some club runners the race route. We've only ever run the northern side in training, and a few people were worried about getting lost. However, 3 weeks of illness meant I wasn't quite up to the full 13 miles, so I decided just to run the southern part.

I drove to Baldock to start the run from the A1 road bridge, which is the point at which we've run to before. We headed around the back of Letchworth Rugby Club and past Woolgrove School, no problems for me here, I was maintaining speed nicely. A lovely flat and fast stretch from Letchworth Gate to Willian and towards Hitchin, I was running well. 

There is a horrible hill on Kingswood Avenue, and at this point I was starting to tire and lose the runners in front. I used all my energy to catch them so they knew the turning, then blew up and had to walk for a few minutes and take my gel! But I did it, and ran fairly comfortably along the main road back to the car, with only one other walk break. Definitely wasn't up to anything further than 8.5 miles, but the run gave me hope that the race won't be a complete disaster.