1st Mar 2020
So when I said last week that this one looked easy, I was wrong. Not that it was hard, but that it was harder than expected and definitely harder than easy. Coming into the week off the back of my first race in ages meant I was just a bit heavy going into every session.
The first session was more strength and conditioning. This was on the Monday, so was done on post-race legs. Just some squats, deadlifts, a couple of rounds of 3 minute mountain legs followed by some mobility and stretching work. I have grown up in and around gyms, with my Dad and sister running a couple, and yet I'll always feel like a bit of a fraud doing any weights. Give me a sweaty circuit, or some plyometrics or something, and I'll give it a go with anyone else. Weights? Not so much. So this session each week is a chore. I know it's doing me a lot of good though, so I'll keep at it.
The second session was rushed into my day and so had to be done on the treadmill. Simple enough, 35 minutes at Easy effort. The only notable stat from this session is that my heart rate averaged 144bpm, which is nicely lower than similar sessions last year.
Into session three, and the weeks speed session. This week called for a pyramid style – after the 15 minutes warmup I needed to work through 1/3/5/5/3/1 minutes at Fast pace with 1 minute of recovery between each. "Fast" in this case means less than 3 minutes 50 seconds per kilometre. I could blame it being a couple of days after a race, or 5:30am, or whatever, but ultimately I just couldn't hit that target pace. It was clear from the first rep that it wasn't going to happen, so I just ran as hard as I could and I'll accept that as a decent workout. I'm going to adjust "Fast" for future sessions to mean less than 4minutes per kilometre, and hope that helps me hit them enough to make those speed sessions enjoyable. I'll definitely need to do some work on speeding up before the next training block though. I know that the main issue is my running form, and I'm sure that comes from protecting myself from injury, so I'll just go with it for now and look at it more specifically later.
Session four was the meaty one. The plan called for 29km, and I'd found a nice out and back route along the Forest Way. I set off nice and steadily, aiming at 5:45/km. It all looked and felt slightly uphill, so it was a bit of a surprise to keep seeing the watch tell me I was ticking the kilometres off in around 5:08. I started trying to slow down, but it wasn't really happening so I just decided to go with the rhythm and hope that the downhill on the way back helped me stay on track. Turning round at 14.5km felt very odd so I didn't, instead deciding to carry on to 15km and enjoy this a bit longer.
Problem is, it wasn't downhill on the way back.
It wasn't uphill either, it's just that it was basically pancake flat in both directions so the way back felt just as uphill as the way out did. Oh well, time to dig in then... The last 5km were pretty tough, as I tried to make sure the average pace didn't exceed my new arbitrary target of 5:30/km. Overall managed to get that done.
Final session of the week was just another 35 minutes of Easy running, and for once the sun was out. That turned into 39 minutes, just to add on an extra bit of distance to get over 50km this week.
Good things to take away from this week include the fact that I ticked over my biggest distance month of recent times, 214km. That came with my most amount of time on feet too, at 19.5 hours. Not big numbers by any stretch, but ones that are getting bigger for me. Feels like I'm now into the big meat of the block. The long runs are now all around that 3 hour mark or more, and it's not long until they become back to back as well. Bring it on.