Saturday, 30 November 2013

MK marathon:week 4 training plan

Next week's training plan...

Sunday (Week 4)
Rest day (did the run yesterday)

Circuits (AM)

Running club (PM); a 2 mile run or speedwork


Tempo run (AM); 5 mile run with 0.5 mile alternate fast/slow

Running club (PM); plan says 6 miles, will do whatever everyone wants to do

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

NHRR First Saturday 5K

Monday, 25 November 2013

MK Marathon: week 3 training plan

This week's training plan. I've already ticked off my 12 mile long run (which I did on Saturday...).

Sunday (Week 3)
12 mile run

Circuits (AM)

We did a Tabata workout. There were 8 stations in total:
  1. bicycle crunches
  2. skipping
  3. press ups
  4. jogging on the spot
  5. squats
  6. ab curls
  7. star jumps
  8. lunges
We did each exercise 8 times for 20 seconds, with 10 seconds rest in between. Similar to High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). After each station we had a 2 minute rest, and after the 4th station we had a longer rest. I burnt 300 calories so it was definitely a good workout! Might do this again on Friday because it doesn't need equipment (skipping can be done with an "imaginary rope"!)

Running club (PM); my plan says 1K intervals, I'm not sure that's right!

Tempo run (AM); planning to do my 6 mile Strava segment tempo run
Pilates (PM)

Running club (PM); plan says 5 miles, will do whatever everyone wants to do

Rest day (or Tabata workout)

Week 4's long run, 10 miles (cutback week)

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Long run plan

On Saturday I ran 12 miles with a couple of friends. The pace was slow and steady, and my heart rate stayed mainly under the 70% threshold; I was very happy! 

Some friends have questioned why I've started training for MK Marathon this early. Here's my long run plan, to show that it's not too early at all, just base training during the winter months. The earlier-than-normal taper is because I'm on holiday so won't have time to run long distances, hence the increase in speedwork sessions.

Week 1   (Sun Nov 10; week after Stevenage half): 10 miles (the run with the crashed car in the hedge)
Week 2   (Sun Nov 17):    11 miles (the run through Letchworth that was a bit too fast for me)
Week 3   (Sun Nov 24):    12 miles (this week's run)

Week 4   (Sun Dec 1):     10 miles (cutback week)
         (Sat Dec 7):     5K race
Week 5   (Sun Dec 8):     13 miles
Week 6   (Sun Dec 15):    14 miles
Week 7   (Sun Dec 22):    15 miles
Week 8   (Sun Dec 29):    12 miles (cutback week, planning a hilly run)
         (Sat Jan 4):     5K race
Week 9   (Sun Jan 5):     15 miles
Week 10  (Sun Jan 12):    16 miles
Week 11  (Sun Jan 19):    15 miles (Folksworth 15 race, @ marathon pace)
Week 12  (Sun Jan 26):    17 miles
         (Sat Feb 1):     5K race
Week 13  (Sun Feb 2):     14 miles (cutback week; Greenway run)
Week 14  (Sun Feb 9):     18 miles
Week 15  (Sun Feb 16):    4 + 13 miles (run to Baldock + Baldock Beast half marathon, @ half pace)
Week 16  (Sun Feb 23):    18 miles
Week 17  (Sun March 2):   19 miles
Week 18  (Sun March 9):   20 miles
Week 19  (Sun March 16):  15 miles  (cutback week)
Week 20  (Sun March 23):  18 miles
Week 21  (Sun March 30):  20 miles (last long run) 
Week 22  (Sun April 6):   10K  (cutback week; speedwork increases)
Week 23  (Sun April 13):  12 miles (taper begins; speedwork)
Week 24: (Sun April 20):  14 miles (Greenway run; speedwork) 
Week 25: (Sun April 28):  10K (taper)
Week 26: (Mon May 5):     race 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Pilates delusion, and the importance of goals

I always thought that Pilates was the sort of exercise class that old ladies went to for a bit of a stretch and a relax. It was only when I was forced by my physio to start classes last year (during the knee injury saga) that I realised how wrong I was. After tonight's class my stomach feels like it's been pummeled flat and will never recover. (I don't really want it to recover, if I'm honest!)

My stomach isn't the only part of me that's sore. My thighs ache and so do my shoulders, due to circuit training on Monday. I finally made it back to class, after a month or so of hectic work schedule making me think I couldn't go (I could have, I just needed to be more organised and focused). I'm hoping to keep going every Monday now, it's a habit I need to get back into.


Last week I ran over 26 miles in total, 7 on Tuesday, 8 on Thursday, and 11 on Sunday. Thursday was a good club session, a fairly fast 2.5 miles with one of the "beginners", who was running away some stress, and then a 5 point something run with the intermediates. Ran an out and back route and the back leg was definitely a lot faster than the out leg. In fact, there was a bit of silent competition going on I think... I blame Strava.

Sunday's long run was too fast for me, 9 min/mile pace meant I was shattered and my heart rate was in all the wrong zones. I'm viewing it as a tempo run! This weekend's long run will be done on my own to ensure it's slow enough, plus most of my usual co-runners are running in the Ashwell half marathon. (I can't run in the race and I'm sad about it.)

Tonight's run of 2 miles brings me to 100 miles for my arbitrary month, a target that I set on Garmin Connect. That's the second 100 mile "month" I've managed since September and I'm quite pleased that I've been focused enough to complete them both. I almost didn't go running tonight but being 2 miles off my target was a great incentive! That's why goals are important.

Week 3 plan
Monday: circuits
Tuesday: short club run, Pilates
Wednesday: aerobics workout at home
Thursday: long club run
Friday: ab workout at home
Saturday: rest day
Sunday: 12 mile long run

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Winter long runs, and week 2 marathon plan

My plan for the next few months is to maintain half marathon distance until January, before I begin to extend the long runs towards the slightly overwhelming 20 mile distance. Winter long runs aren't very enticing, but if you can run them with someone else then they are much more bearable. Which is why last Sunday I got up at 05:45 to prepare for a 10 mile run at 06:30 with some club friends.

Four other equally mad runners met up and headed to Letchworth, on road for the first few miles and then via the Greenway once the sun was up. The pace was a touch quicker than I anticipated, but my heart rate managed to remain around 140 bpm so I wasn't too bothered, although my post-Stevenage legs weren't mega-happy. I started to struggle around the industrial estate in Letchworth, just by the tip, but I'd just run up a hill, and the next few miles were downhill, so I felt OK again quite quickly. I also set a few Strava segments from the tip to Nortonbury Lane, so I had to concentrate on running fairly fast!

As we headed back into Stotfold we spotted a car in a hedge, it had obviously crashed because the bumper had come off and there were tyre marks across the verge. We stopped for a minute to check there were no casualties, I wouldn't have felt right just running past. All seemed well.

At the end of the run, my friend produced peanut butter cookies from her jacket, which were perfect to finish with! They should be compulsory.

Next Sunday I'll be running 11 miles. I have a hankering to run around Baldock for a change, so I'm going to plan a route that meets that requirement but is safe for dark mornings. It might be impossible without a headtorch (Dear Santa...).

Other stuff this week...

On Tuesday I missed my Pilates class because of school parents' evening, so I ran at both club sessions. I took the beginners for 200 m sprint intervals, a session that I think they just loved going off the comments I received. I managed to swear at a new chap who I could hear catching me rapidly when I was "demonstrating" and who I assumed was Ed... He took it in good humour! Pulled my groin muscle again though, stupidly. The intermediate session was a run out to Arlesey and back, my first Arlesey loop for a long time. The muscle strain felt OK while I was running so I'm not that concerned by it. The second run was 4.5 miles, making 7 miles in total, so I won't bother running on Wednesday.

Instead I have Pilates, which I postponed by a day. I'm hoping this class sorts out my sore groin (from the sprints) and aching shoulder (from being old and creaky). I don't hold out much hope though.

Thursday will be club again. I've promised my friend that if it's speedwork again I'll take him for a run instead. He's had to do 2 weeks in a row of speedwork (1km intervals and then 400m/200m sprints) and I think he's getting a complex.

I need to get back to ab work soon too. I'm in a "can't be bothered" mindset at the moment. I know a plank a day and some ab curls won't kill me, but I'm lazy.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Marathon planning, it's Week One!

Now I've got Stevenage Half out of the way, and I'm still buzzing from my new personal best time (*skips about the room*), I'm starting to think about training for Milton Keynes marathon. I really want to do my best at this distance, because I don't know if it'll be the last one I do (the last one, again!).

Based on my 1:45 half time, the pace calculators I've looked at seem to think I can manage a sub 4 hour marathon. Well, I know it's not that simple! My aim is to beat 4:58, remain uninjured, and finish knowing I've run the best race I can.

There are 26 weeks between now and May 5th. I've made a rough plan of my long runs, and I've decided to cut the long run distance in half and run that as a tempo midweek. So that means I'll be running 10 miles with some fast sections on the Thursday before I run 20 miles on the Saturday or Sunday. There will be at least one other run midweek, on the Tuesday (of about 2 miles with running club), and then perhaps a 5-6 mile alternate recovery/tempo on Mondays or Wednesdays depending on my work schedule. As far as I see it, the long run is important, as is fitting a longish tempo in if I want to maintain my speed and fitness.

This week is Week One, and I'll be running 5 miles on Thursday and 10 miles on Sunday, and possibly a fast run today, if I manage to get my arse in gear.

Other stuff this week, I'm recovering nicely from Stevenage half, my legs aren't destroyed, although my calves feel a bit sore. I had a good recovery run last night with the beginners group at the club, and a lovely stretch out later at Pilates.

I've also weighed myself to check I've not ballooned after gorging myself on smarties and pasta on Monday and Tuesday. I've lost 2lb, which brings me to 47lb total weight loss (since I began counting in Jan 2011). I'm nearly back at the magic 50lb lost mark, which I've been aiming at all year! It was good motivation for me to eat a healthy lunch, rather than open a tin of curry and eat it all (I do have a habit of eating to excess when it's cold outside, when I'm working, and when I'm a bit distracted).

Random thoughts purged, time to work before I run later.

EDIT: I ran 4 miles in the rain, not fast though, I couldn't manage fast...

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Stevenage half marathon: race day

I've spent 2013 being a bit disappointed in myself. I trained really hard in the Spring and was on for a PB at Baldock Beast half marathon but my hip suddenly was too painful at mile 10 and I had to walk... I had a chest infection so couldn't train fully for Greenway Challenge half. I had a shin injury so spent the summer on my bike and in the pool, which affected my training for Standalone 10K. I had to enter Duck N Dash in the end, to fulfil my need for a PB a year ("6K run" being a new distance for me!).

So my training for Stevenage Half Marathon was quite important to me. I was careful to ensure my long runs were slow enough to develop muscle, I made sure I included one quality tempo run a week, of at least 5 miles, and I kept up my Pilates and other strength work, to maintain leg and core strength. 

Race day: I was dropped off at Ridlins track in Stevenage at 9:20am, so had an hour to get myself ready for the race. The sun was out, and I sat on the stands and caught the sun for half an hour. My friends arrived (Greg, Chris, Jess, Ann, and Matt) and we all had a relax and chat about various things (I looked at Greg's photos of his baby girl, very very tiny and very cute and no I don't want any more babies).

After undressing in front of everyone, I handed in my bag, went to the loo for the last time, had my first gel (15 minutes before the start), and found Lewis from club (randomly, I really wasn't stalking him). We warmed up together and I quizzed him about being from Manchester (because he is) and I think perhaps I scared him a bit... (sorry.)

We lined up, and I said to random strangers how much I hate the wait at the start, because my Garmin always goes off at the wrong moment (I was frantically trying to find satellites with a minute to go). And then we were off, and Lewis dashed off and I let him go. I had pace notes on my hand for a PB (8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 56, etc) so I was following the plan and no one was going to stop me. Two laps of a 6 point something course. Let's GO!

I felt really good for the first 6 miles, I even managed some sub 8 min miles. Uphills are hard, but they're never too long on this course, and they must go down at some point. Running downhill, I relaxed into them and let my legs flow. In fact, I ran the first 10K in 48:56, which is faster than I ran Standalone 10K in this year, and only half a minute off my PB!

Took my next gel at mile 4, just after I'd dropped it (and had to run back for it, swearing loudly and apologising). At mile 6 I saw my physio Kieran, and he shouted at me for running too slowly, haha, he's good for encouragement.

As I passed the start point for the second loop my legs started to feel tired. The next miles (7 to 9) were mainly uphill and very hard. I was feeling a bit low because I wasn't hitting the 8 min miles I needed, plus I was feeling a bit dizzy; I could quite easily have sunk into the grass and had a sleep. But I didn't give up because I remembered back to Standalone when I did give up and then regretted it. I had a few fellow runners to race against, a guy called Arnie from Hitchin Running Club helped me on miles 7 and 8, and a lady in a blue top with 2 SIS gels in her bum kept me going for miles 8 and 9. I then remembered I'd run a few miles under 8 minutes so knew I had a few seconds in the bag. I checked my hand notes and I was still hitting my target every mile, so started to feel confident again.

Took my last gel at mile 8. Miles 9 to 12 were good, mainly downhill (although into a headwind), and at this point I spotted Lewis ahead of me. I was catching him, but didn't push hard to catch him. I passed him at mile 12, and gave him some encouraging words. He said he kept me in sight after that, so I hopefully kept him going. He certainly helped me stay in touch with my pace.

Just about mile 12 I felt my toe, which had been burning for miles, suddenly get hot and very painful. I assumed a blister had split, so curled my foot into a ball and limped for a bit. It got easier to deal with, and I managed a sub 8 minute mile for mile 13. The final stretch was uphill, how horrible is that?! But I knew I would PB so I was happy and relaxed at this point.

As I entered the stadium my name was called out, and I heard someone shout at me (Kieran I assume; I waved). I saw Chris (he finished in 1:38) and he said my sprint finish was a bit rubbish, so I made a bit more effort to cross the line. In 1:45:25, over a minute PB.

Happy PB Face

At the end I met Kieran, who took my photo and high-fived me, and we had a quick chat about my possibly busted toe, and his great supporting (LOL), then I went to get my bag and medal. Met Lewis crossing the line just behind me in 1:45:55. Got a bit lost trying to get out of the middle of the track, which earned me a spot prize of a bag, always useful.

It turns out my toe isn't busted, I just have a new blister. And I met my twitter friend Simon, and I quizzed him how he'd got on. "Yeah, wasn't really trying cos I've got St Neot's Half in 2 weeks". He came 5th, not trying my arse.

First Saturday 5K

On Saturday I ran in North Herts Road Runners First Saturday 5K. With Stevenage Half being on Sunday I decided I'd better not race it, so I took my 8-year-old son and my mother-in-law along for the fun. 

Earlier this year my son ran in a 5K race and finished in about 38:45, he told me he'd needed a sit down about three-quarters of the way round (he ran with my friend), so I was determined that he wouldn't do that! Obviously I wanted him to beat his last time, but I wanted him to enjoy it a bit more too. And possibly try and beat the time my friend's son set last month (34 something...). No rivalry there. 

I made him run slowly and had to keep reining him back, kids have a habit of sprinting off and then slowing to an almost walk after a few minutes because they're tired! My son kept leaping over tree roots and I had to warn him that he'd regret his misuse of energy later. 

He managed the first mile fine, but then we hit some very thick slippery mud so we decided to walk to prevent injuries. That proved a good plan because he got his breath back a bit. There is a nasty long hill at the back of the course and he needed another walk near the top, but once we hit the flat again I tried to point out that walking and running were equivalent uses of energy so he might as well run. And then when he looked at me blankly I took his hand and pulled him :)

After the first lap he didn't really want to go on. I offered him the chance to pull out (reluctantly) but his grandma convinced him to carry on. We had a lot of moaning about not enjoying it and never wanting to run again. I decided that was a good sign because I usually say that during a race too. 

By the time we'd passed all the mud and the horrible hill again he knew the end was in sight and managed a fine sprint finish. Just as his dad, grandad, and sister arrived to cheer us to the finish! He got a great round of applause and a 3 minute PB! Well done my boy. Let's do that again in December. 

On Thursday at club we did a new session, 1km intervals. Pete had set some segments on Strava, from Larksfield doctors' surgery out to the white gates past Etonbury Academy, and the return leg. Each are 1km in length. We based timing on the slowest runner's 1km time (7 minutes) so we all had 7 minutes to run each km. For the slowest runner this meant he could run steady and continually or he could push himself and get a short rest. 

My km intervals were all around 4:30, so I got some nice rest breaks. But I did feel like vomiting so I only did 3! I was pleased because I felt rubbish during the runs, and I was wondering how if maintain the pace during my race on Sunday. Then I checked my watch and I was running at 6:45 pace. So that was a relief! (I need to run 8s on Sunday.)

All in all, it was a good session. But not one for regular use. Possibly birthdays and Christmas.