Tuesday, 20 April 2010

I Am Upgrading

I approached this week of training with an equal amount of determination and trepidation. I was determined to increase my mileage and intensity and mildly nervous about the little niggle gremlin in my right hamstring. The main rule for the next few weeks is to train hard and to train sensibly.

My Wednesday run was an easy and most enjoyable 6 miler. The weather was perfect and really reminded me how nice running is when I’m not legging it as fast as I can. When I started this running madness just three months ago I had one speed: flat out. Whatever the mileage, I was struggling at the edge of my fitness just to keep running. Now I have gears. My fitness has improved enough for me to shift up and down these gears in accordance to the conditions and how I’m feeling. This might seem blindingly obvious to running veterans but it’s a new and pleasantly surprising piece in my fitness puzzle. I suppose it’s like a car. I started off with only first gear and now I have cruise control. I am upgrading. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is that when the weather is pleasant it’s jolly nice just to go for a good old fashioned jog.

It’s serious now. My Thursday session was an interval workout and my cunning plan was to do this on a treadmill at the gym. I don’t like to use the gym for running. I’m always puzzled by people pounding out the miles on the treadmill and think “the countryside is a quarter of a mile away! Go use it.” However, I am coming round to the fact that the treadmill may have its advantages in some situations. Firstly, for interval work I can run exact distances at an exact speed. Secondly, there are no horrible hills to destroy what would be a perfectly fast interval. These are important for interval work and as I don’t have access to a track, not something I would be able to do outdoors. So, to the gym. I ran three one mile intervals at 7.76mph with a half mile at 6mph either side of each. This totalled five miles at an average pace of approximately 8.28 min/mile. I was pleased with this session as I am really getting a feel for going faster.

Friday: tempo run. This is a weird observation but bear with me for a sec. As I was on the treadmill I noticed how quiet my footsteps were compared with everyone else. With a bit of concentration I was able to run almost silently with just the whine of the treadmill in the background. I think this means I have quite an efficient stride. I’ve never noticed this before but it seems like quite a good thing and something to nurture.

My long run on Saturday went pretty well. I ran 11.16 miles which is the furthest I’ve ever run. I was a little slow but it was fiercely hot and I sweated an absolute bucket. I used the same strategy I used last week which was to run for a mile and then walk for a minute. This is something I want to phase out over the next couple of weeks. My hydration and nutrition was spot on and my only weak point was on a huge steep hill about half way round. My legs just stopped working and I had to take a few minutes walking break. Hills still kill me on the up and the down. My fitness struggles on the way up and my legs hurt on the way down. Must get better.

I pushed a bit hard on my Sunday easy run. I got a bit carried away in the middle of my five miles and ran a six and a half minute mile. Very stupid. I have to train hard but sensible. Being disciplined enough to meet my targets is as important the ability not to exceed them. The recovery runs are as important as the tempo sessions. I must learn to respect that.

I have run 32.5 miles this last week. I have done tempo and interval sessions. I have run a long run, had recovery sessions and done three cross training workouts. More importantly, I have done this with no injuries or niggles. Apart from a few minor notes of caution I am very pleased with this week. I’ve got to keep this momentum and positivity going into the final few weeks before the Leeds Half.


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