A Week Of Two Halves (ish)

18 Oct

Monday I woke feeling pretty grotty, and so I decided I’d take it as my rest day. The grottiness continued into the afternoon, to the extent I didn’t want to eat that evening. By Tuesday I felt a bit better, and had some plain food in the morning, before trying a gentle run at lunchtime. I still felt fairly ok, so after a plain lunch I had a normal dinner, which turned out to be a mistake, and the grottiness returned. Thankfully my 3 day hearing had gone short (finishing on the Monday), and so I was able to spend most of Wednesday flaked out, eating small meals and taking it very easy. By Thursday I felt a bit better again, but after my false dawn on Tuesday was still a bit apprehensive, so it was another day of small, plain meals, before a return to slightly more normal service (both in terms of work and training!) as the end of the week came around.

I was able to do 6 miles on Friday morning, 10 including 7 x 1 km on Saturday (paces were about 5s/km off where I wanted, but given the preceding 5 days, perhaps not the biggest surprise) and 15 lovely miles with some clubmates this Sunday. It was a real treat to trot around the harbourside, along the Avon Gorge, up through Leigh Woods and back down through Ashton Court, admiring the beautiful autumnal leaves in their full glory. T and I had also gone for a walk on Saturday afternoon, doing a loop of local nature reserves which my club had suggested people do as a virtual race. The main benefit of walking rather than running is that you can stop to explore and take in the views, which ruins a racer’s finish time!

I’d intended to take my cut-back week next week, but sometimes you have to be realistic that things need to be swapped around, and so my (slightly more drastic than planned) cut-back week was this week, and hopefully I can manage better miles and better paces next week!

Oh, and the best bit of the week was a lovely (homemade) dinner with T to celebrate 4 years together. Thank goodness the grottiness had passed in time for that!

Back In The Groove

11 Oct

My working week started with 2 reading days, although because I had several thousand pages to read in those 2 days, they were hardly a relaxing return to work. My running week started with 6 steady miles. On Tuesday morning I squeezed in 9 miles ahead of many more pages to read. On Wednesday I did another easy 6 miles and then took a rest day on Thursday, as I had pre-hearing discussions at 8.45am, and I was too lazy to run early enough to be back in time for those! Plus, having done strength and conditioning on Wednesday, I quite fancied as easier start. I did go for a cycle ride later on to drop empty cat food sachets to our local recycling point.

I had intended to do my faster running on Friday morning, as I had another reading day (a different 1,150 pages to be read this time), but for some reason felt really fatigued, and so decided it was better to do another steady run and leave the faster running until the weekend.

That turned out to be a good decision. I guess my legs were nice and fresh (having done my long run on Saturday the week before) and my 4 x 1 mile was the fastest I’d managed mile repeats in a long time. Now, as has so often been the case over the last few years, there are several ways of looking at the times I ran (around 6.40 per mile): the first is to view it as pretty depressing that I used to be able to run 26.2 miles continuously at that pace; the second is that it’s well below 3 hour marathon pace, and so if that is now half-marathon pace, I’m at least well on the way to being in sub 3 shape again, and I can then take things from there. I’m opting for the latter point of view. And frankly, seeing as my next scheduled race is the London Marathon in October 2021, I have plenty of time to take things from there!

I followed up that run with a lovely 17 miler today. Sunny autumn days are just about the nicest running conditions there are: the summer heat has gone, so that you can do a few hours’ running without needing to take water with you, but it’s still mild enough that you can be in shorts and t-shirt, and the Avon Gorge always looks particularly beautiful with the leaves on the trees turning yellow, orange, red and brown. The pace was better than I’ve managed of late (8.08m/m), and all in all it was a lovely start to the day. 54 miles for the week.

Blogposts Are Like Buses…

4 Oct

… none for ages, and then 2 almost simultaneously!

As I said in the last blogpost, I had this week off work, and generally used it to catch up on life admin and relax. I probably did a little too much of the latter and not quite enough of the former, but I finally feel more refreshed and rejuvenated than I had for a good long while.

I started my week off with 5 miles on Monday, including a circuits session with 5 clubmates. I felt pretty bleary eyed and sluggish as I jogged over to the park, but a lot more alert on the way back, and having not been able to go to club training for a few weeks it was nice to catch up with running friends again. On Tuesday, I ran 9 miles steady, with a 6 mile recovery run on Wednesday. By Thursday I was ready for something a bit faster, if not rather overdue: what with being away for work a fortnight ago and then last week being rather civil partnership ceremony focussed, I hadn’t done anything fast bar some strides and hill sprints for a few weeks. So I broke myself back in with 3 x 1 mile with a 3 minute jog in between each one. The first mile was a bit ploddy, but the second was almost reasonable and the third just about where I’d hope to be (for my current fitness). I almost added a fourth mile, but decided it was better not to be greedy at this stage, especially after a short break from proper workouts. It’s also fair to say that with proper racing still a rather distant prospect (the Valencia marathon has fallen by the wayside for mere mortals, too), training is more about building a decent base of aerobic fitness and muscular strength at the moment rather than aiming to be super-speedy. Or even slightly speedy, relative to old standards! I had a sports massage that afternoon and things seem to be fairly symmetrical, although as always there are a few niggles on one side which aren’t on the other, and vice versa.

Friday was a rest day, after 8 days without one, ahead of my long run on Saturday. I wanted to leave only a recovery run to do on Sunday so that I could watch most of the elite marathon races! Although the forecast for Saturday wasn’t great, it was actually drier and milder than I’d feared, and I ended up not really needing the rain jacket I’d put on. 16 miles nice and steady done and dusted.

Sunday was a different story, and I was doubly relieved: firstly, that I only had to do 6 miles rather than 16; secondly, that my aversion to virtual races meant I hadn’t been tempted to do the virtual London marathon. It was teeming it down with rain and pretty windy as I headed out after the women’s race, so fair play to the hardy souls I passed (and who passed me) who were out for many hours in the grim conditions. I have almost more admiration for the teams of supporters out there manning unofficial aid stations in tents and gazebos. I hope they had plenty of hot drinks to hand! I think Sara Hall’s amazing sprint finish for 2nd had inspired me, and it definitely wasn’t recovery run pace: or perhaps I made the most of the tail wind… I was home in time for most of the men’s race, and can now stay inside all day if I want. One last lazy afternoon before it is time to knuckle down to work once more!

52 miles for the week; 209 for September. Most excitingly of all, my rolling 12 month total to the end of September was over 2,500 miles. It’s been a while since that was the case, and hopefully – finally – marks a corner turned and the foundations being laid for being able to manage slightly higher mileage and faster running in 2021.

I Lost That Blogging Feeling

2 Oct

So, where was I? I last blogged 2 months ago. Life was busy at the time, and went on getting busier. I was a bit conscious that I’d let the blogging go by the wayside, and then getting back on track felt pretty overwhelming in itself. I’ve now accepted that there is no point trying to do a super-detailed write up of the last 8 weeks, and so a super-short summary will do!

The main positive, from my point of view, is that although I have had some weeks where my mojo has flopped amidst a heavy workload and limited racing opportunities, I have managed 200 miles or more most months this year (apart from March and April, unless I’m mistaken). In terms of that wavering mojo and crazy workload, the weeks that followed my last blog post are a good example: 31 miles over 4 runs, followed by 51 miles over 5 runs, followed by 40 miles over 5 runs. I rounded August off with 50 miles over 5 runs.

September started better, with 55 miles over 6 runs, and the same the following week. There was a dip to 35 miles over 5 runs, but that primarily related to one of the cats being unwell and 3 emergency trips to the vet in 24 hours (least said soonest mended: she made a miraculous recovery a matter of days later).

Last week saw a solid 50 miles over 6 runs to get me back on track, including my first runs as a civil partner: after waiting an extra 3 months, T and I were finally able to make things official before the registrar! In a sense, we were lucky, because we had always planned that our ceremony would be tiny (just us and our parents), so we didn’t have any of the agonising decisions others on the same day faced, cutting their guest lists back first to 30 and then to 15. Thanks to the skills of my clever friend A, a tailor, not only did I have a beautiful dress to wear (which incorporated lace from my great-grandmother’s wedding dress), but we all had matching silk satin cream face masks. So very 2020, I think you will agree!

This week I have finally been able to re-group, as I had a week booked out of court. A true staycation, because T couldn’t get the time off, I have pottered around at home, been a cat cushion for hours at a time, and just generally relaxed. The week has flown by, but it was much needed, and I am almost ready to face days at the desk again.

The Only Certain Things In Life…

2 Aug

Last week feels like a long time ago, and was rather busy, hence I didn’t blog.

I started it with 5 miles easy on Monday, and then 10 miles on the Tuesday.  Although I was notionally not working, I had a lot of reading to do ahead of my one hearing of the week, and that filled Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Wednesday.  On Wednesday morning I squeezed in 5 miles easy in the morning and a strength session in the evening.

On Thursday, I had a long day, albeit with no running.  I had to go to my solicitor’s offices in Barnstaple to support my client attending a hearing by video link, which was a rather longer journey than I’ve become used to (seeing as my commute is now kitchen to living room!).  We didn’t finish in Barnstaple until gone 5pm and it was then a slow journey home, so I was pretty exhausted.  I just did 5 miles easy on Friday, and then tried to sort out some work admin, although failed pretty miserably.  On Saturday I did 7 miles with some strides and then some more strength work.  In the afternoon T and I met up with T’s parents at Westonbirt.  In typically British fashion, we traipsed through the pouring rain and sheltered in a barn to eat our picnic.  But it was very lovely to see them for the first time since Christmas.  I rounded off the week with 18 miles on Sunday, and was pleased that the lighter week (not much quality running) meant I was able to do my long run at a faster pace.  Sunday afternoon was spent preparing for the week ahead, which looked like it would be a busy one… 50 miles for the week.

This week started with a rest day.  It probably should have been a cycle ride, but it was absolutely teeming it down with rain, and I couldn’t quite face it.  Plus the girl cat was aggrieved that she was a soggy moggy and quite fancied a snuggle on my lap to dry off (hey, towelling dressing gowns are pretty absorbent!), and that was rather lovely.  On Tuesday I did a nice easy 5 miles to recover, and then on Wednesday I ran 11 miles at a pretty reasonable pace.  Once again, it’s amazing how fresh the legs feel with just a little cut back from harder/faster running!  I did a strength session that evening.

On Thursday I went for a short, easy cycle ride in the morning and then to my club session in the evening. I’m still not managing anything like the paces I used to manage at my best, but I am very slowly getting faster (so to speak).  It was pretty warm on Thursday, too, which adds to the toughness of the workout!  I did an easy 5 miles on Friday morning and the same again on Saturday, followed by some strength work.  I worked on Saturday afternoon to keep Sunday free.  I was out fairly early to get my long run done, although not quite as early as I should have been!  I felt really lethargic throughout, and think I was a bit dehydrated so ended up cutting back a rather ploddy long run where I was dry mouthed throughout at 16 miles rather than the planned 18.  That meant 48 miles for the week rather than 50, but I’m not going to pretend it really makes a difference.  Although the London Marathon have again postponed their decision about whether the rescheduled race will go ahead on 4 October, the recent decision to postpone any further relaxations to lockdown mean that it seems pretty unlikely the event can go ahead, certainly not for 40,000 runners.  We will apparently get a decision in another week or so, but they said that about this week, so I’m not assuming we’ll know for sure.  And even if they have found a way of allowing some people to take part, there’s always the risk that a spike in Covid cases will prevent some or all of those runners taking part.  As someone who likes certainty and being able to plan, it’s not an ideal situation, but there it is.

On a happier note, I’d kept today free because T and I went out for lunch, to a lovely pop up restaurant in tipis on the Clifton and Durdham Downs.  It was all very well organised, with temperature checks and plenty of hand sanitiser, and felt very safe.  More importantly, the food was very tasty!  We tried to remember the last time we went out for a date-type meal, and failed.  It might even have been 2019, what with a busy start to the year and then lockdown.  The afternoon has been lovely and lazy, too.  Just what I needed.

The Sliding Doors Parallel Universe

19 Jul

On Monday I started the week with a rest day: I did some gentle strength and conditioning work and some stretching, but my bike needs a repair before I can cycle again.  On Tuesday I ran 10 miles easy, and repeated this on Wednesday.  I did my club’s strength and conditioning session that evening.

On Thursday I did my club session, which was a reverse pyramid: 2 x 3 minutes, 2 x 2 minutes, 2 x 1 minute, 2 x 30 seconds, 2 x 1 minute, 2 x 2 minutes and 2 x 3 minutes.  Because the sessions are a bit earlier than they were pre-lockdown (6pm rather than 7pm) it was still pretty hot and humid during training, so it felt like hard work!  Curiously (having typically been better at longer efforts than shorter ones), I seemed to fare better over 1-2 minute efforts than 3 minute ones.  But I still suck at the flat out 30 second efforts!

On Friday I did a very gentle 5 mile recovery run early doors, and then 6 miles easy on Saturday ahead of some more strength and conditioning.  And then T and I went to meet my parents at Lydiard Park near Swindon for a belated birthday picnic.  It was so nice to see them for the first time since Boxing Day, although a bit weird meeting up with your mum and dad and not being able to hug them.  But I guess that’s the new normal.

In the other version of 2020, where Covid never happened, by now T and I were to be on whatever the civil partnership version of a honeymoon is, in Malaysia.  Maybe over the weekend we would have been in the city, seeing T’s family, rather than being at the beach, and spending lazy days reading, swimming and then popping up to a beach-side restaurant for a delicious outdoor lunch.  Perhaps we’d be in a hawker market, with dumplings and noodles and rice and spicy tofu and everything else we could desire on offer, or trying out yet another Chinese vegetarian restaurant.  Or (thinking about the time difference for a moment) just sitting in the garden, listening to the night and enjoying a nightcap in the warm night air.  But hey, Swindon’s not so bad this time of year either 😉

Today I did a 17 mile long run to bring up 55 miles for the week.  My legs were pretty tired and heavy today, and it was warmer than I expected (I think I was lulled into a false sense of security by early morning showers, and so didn’t dash out of the door, thinking it was going to be a fairly cool day).  There are rumours every which way you turn about whether the London and/or Valencia marathons will go ahead, so I’m still in a training no-man’s land, but I guess there’s no harm getting the long runs back up to about 18 miles and letting the body adapt to that mileage again.  It’s long enough to give some real endurance benefits without completely trashing your legs in the way a 20-22 mile training run can.  Maybe we won’t be racing marathons until next year, but hopefully I’ll be back to full fitness by the time we finally can.

Running Out Of Steam

12 Jul

Another fortnight has flown past!

Two weeks ago I started the week with a cycle ride.  I then realised on the Tuesday that the virtual 5k mob match times had to be submitted that day, and wondered if my tired legs could produce anything better than they had 10 days before.  They couldn’t.  Still, it was another tempo run under the belt!  On Wednesday I ran 10 miles very easy, and then did strength and conditioning in the evening.  On Thursday, after a cycle ride in the morning, it was back to a club session, although in slightly less sultry conditions.  My legs felt a bit meh, and I was quite a lot slower than the previous week.  Although the efforts were longer, so you’d kind of expect that, I was hoping that the lower temperatures would sort of cancel that out, but it was not to be.  I found it a bit dispiriting, although on reflection that was silly: one quality session wasn’t going to suddenly turn me back into the runner I used to be!  On Friday and Saturday I did very gentle 6 mile recovery runs, and was reassured that I wasn’t quite as hobbled by the club session as I was the week before (so that slower-than-last-time-fast-running wasn’t so tough on my legs).  I did strength and conditioning on Saturday, and then worked most of the afternoon.  On Sunday I did 16 miles steady in rather blustery conditions (who ordered summer storms, by the way?!), to bring up 55 miles for the week.  I then worked most of Sunday, too, because I was starting a 5 day trial the next day.

This week started with a cycle ride on Monday.  I had a really bad IBS attack Monday night and very little sleep, so ran Tuesday evening.  All the warning signs that I was over-fatigued were there: horribly slow and absolutely no energy.  I’d been sneezing a lot, and hoped it was just slightly late hayfever, but it was clear by Wednesday morning that I had a cold.  Hopefully not too bad a cold, but I definitely had no inclination to exercise, so slept in as late as I could and skipped my strength and conditioning session that evening.  I still felt exhausted and pretty sneezy on Thursday morning, so decided that had better be a rest day, too.  Encouragingly, my energy levels started to improve that day (in that I didn’t get to the end of the hearing feeling I was better for nothing more than lying on the sofa), and I actually had twitchy legs when I tried to sleep that night, indicating that my body felt like exercising again.  It’s hard to know which part of my quack regime to credit: maybe it was the echinacea?  Maybe it was the curries?  Maybe it was the First Defence?  Maybe it was the paracetamol?  Maybe it was the sleep?  Maybe it was being able to take things really easy because there was zero travelling for work?  (I mean, even if I’d been in court in Bristol that still would have meant being out of the house 8.15am to 5.15pm at a minimum.)  Or maybe it just wasn’t a very bad cold in the first place!  Whichever, I’m very glad it was pretty much done and dusted within a few days instead of hanging around for a week more and ending up with a secondary chest infection.  (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m pretty sure that the rest was crucial, and it’s the one that work normally prevents.  Perhaps lockdown has some selfish benefits.)

The twitchy legs on Thursday night meant I slept pretty badly, plus T and I wanted to have breakfast together on Friday morning to mark me getting one year older, so I didn’t run until the afternoon.  It was pretty par for the course for a run when I’d barely moved the last 3 days, i.e. my legs felt tight and creaky and my breathing was a bit all over the place, but it was done.  Celebrations for the day continued with a lovely 3 course meal cooked by T.

By Saturday morning I was starting to feel a little better, and I was able to do another steady 5 miles (at a slightly less discouraging pace!) and then a strength and conditioning session.  I took the rest of the day fairly easy, with a few hours’ work in the afternoon, but otherwise relaxing.  Today I did 11 miles and then worked.

So, 30 miles this week over 4 runs.  I was due a cut-back week at some point, although hadn’t envisaged it being quite that drastic!  Still, no harm done.  I feel a lot better than I did this time last week, when I suspect my tired body was frantically trying to fight off the cold, and just about ready to face another week on screen.

Getting (More Than) By With A Little Help From My Friends

28 Jun

Monday was a curious day.  T and I were supposed to be getting civilly partnered, but as reported last week, had been cancelled due to Covid restrictions.  T therefore attended some virtual meetings in the morning, and I ended up having to collect a judgment at 3.30pm, but we were at least able to share a quiet moment as our planned time came and went.  Exercise-wise, it was just a short cycle ride to the bakery and back.

Tuesday I did 8 x 2 minutes, in an effort to go a bit faster, as part of an 8 mile run.  On Wednesday (by which time the heatwave was really kicking in) I did 10 miles steady, and then my club’s strength and conditioning session in the evening.

On Thursday I went to my club session: the first time in so many months I really have lost count!  The heat was pretty unbearable (30 or 31 degrees), so the session was adjusted to ensure none of the efforts were more than 2 minutes in length.  Normally I’d hate a session like that, but 2 minutes felt like a long time as I ploughed through the sweltering, humid air.  Still, I managed to run 40s/mile faster than the pace I ran for my 5k attempt last week, so it’s good to know that my legs haven’t completely forgotten how to run a bit faster, I just needed some people to chase to pull me along!  I felt pretty rough by the time I got home, but there was no rest for the wicked, as I’d stepped into the breach to replace a colleague the following day, so had the small question of a trial bundle to read and a written argument to prepare.  (But it’s what we all have to do to help each other out every once in a while: a colleague had to do the same for me when one my cases overran earlier this month.)

On Friday I ran 6 miles very steady.  It turned out that doing 21 minutes of (relative to recent standards) very fast running the night before had left my legs a bit battered.  Saturday’s 6 miles steady were a fraction faster, but really only a fraction.  I then had a full morning of interviewing our shortlisted candidates for next year’s pupillage places (which I actually quite enjoyed).  The afternoon was fairly chilled.

That just left this morning.  I felt ridiculously dozy when the alarm went off, and probably should have tried to doze a bit more.  The doziness didn’t ever really leave, and my 16 mile run was extremely slow. I also probably should have taken some water with me, as although the heatwave has gone, the humidity was still high, and so I was incredibly thirsty from about 10 or 11 miles in.  Still, given my real target (always assuming any races go ahead this year!) is Valencia in December rather than London in October, getting the miles in is much more important than pace right now.  Although I do need to do some little bits of faster running, just to make sure my body doesn’t forget how to do it!  54 miles for the week.  Nearly real running.

Living In Uncertain Times

21 Jun

On Monday morning I went for a gentle cycle ride as a recovery session.  Once I’d finished my court hearing and the related admin, I opened my personal email account to see an email from the Registry Office telling me that my civil partnership ceremony with T, due to take place next week, had been cancelled due to Covid-19.  It was expected, although I had probably allowed myself a little too much hope that we might go ahead when they had said the previous week that they were restarting notice appointments from the week in which our ceremony was due to take place.  If the building was being reopened to the public, then perhaps…?  But no.  A polite, formulaic email told me this would not be the case.  I get it, I really do. Public safety has to be the priority, and if it’s not safe enough to have ceremonies yet, then of course they have to be cancelled.  And if the worst that comes out of this pandemic for me is my civil partnership ceremony happening a few months later I will have got off lightly.  But it’s still sad.  It’s brought back all of the emotions I’d probably not really engaged with about how next week was going to be fun: a ceremony for T and I to confirm our love and commitment to each other, with our parents there, and then a party with our friends and wider family at the weekend.  My friend A, a tailor and dressmaker, was going to make me a dress which incorporated lace from my Russian great-grandmother’s wedding dress, in a beautiful fusion of old and new.  People I hadn’t seen for far too long, all coming together.  (We had, of course, cancelled the party months ago, around the time lockdown started, because it was plain as a pikestaff that gatherings indoors of 100 people simply weren’t going to be happening by late June, but that doesn’t mean that as the date approaches I haven’t felt a little wistful.)

Anyway, that was the context for this week.  A bit of a downer.

On Tuesday morning I set off to try and run a 5km time-trial as part of a virtual road relay put on by the British Masters Athletics Federation (running for older folks).  I’ll put some blame on the early start, a bit more blame on the humidity, and some further blame on the very high pollen count, but basically it confirmed to me that if your training lacks structure and focus for 3 months, and doesn’t include much faster running where you’re really pushing yourself into the ‘hurt box’, let alone tempo running, you can’t suddenly pull a half-decent 5k out of the bag.  I couldn’t even break 21 minutes!

Wednesday morning was another humid, high-pollen day, and my 9 mile steady run was rather hard work.  I was also still a bit sad about the ceremony, and cross about letting myself get quite so unfit.  My mood lifted a bit later on after a promising proprioception session with my sports masseur over Zoom (I am getting much better at jumping on one leg, even if this has yet to translate into better running!), and it was nice to see some clubmates over Zoom for a general strength and conditioning session that evening.

Thursday morning was the morning I should have scheduled my 5k attempt for.  It was cool, slightly drizzly and the pollen count was only medium.  I could actually breathe easily during my 5 mile recovery run!  Friday was a bit damper and the pollen count was back to high, but it was still a better morning than Tuesday.  I did another 5 mile recovery run.  I also learned that the London Marathon might be happening in October, or it might not.  They’ll tell us in about 5 weeks’ time.  So I’d better do some maybe-training for that.

I was conscious that I’d rather let my team-mates down on Tuesday, and so had decided I’d have another crack at a 5km time trial on Saturday morning (the ‘window’ for any time trials was from last Sunday to yesterday).  Needless to say, the rain had stopped, the humidity was back and the pollen count was back to very high.  I really, really must learn and remember that when a virtual race allows you a fairly generous window in which to run your race, I should check when the pollen count and humidity are going to be low.  I know they really affect me. Anyway, all of that meant that I managed a mere 5 second improvement, although I probably started a little cautiously, conscious that my ‘brave’ start on Tuesday (aiming for the 20.30 I thought I could run) had made for a painful last few kilometres.  This time around I at least ran my fastest 2 kms last rather than first!

Still, I guess what it has shown me is that I do need to try and do some tempo runs again, even though I really, really, really hate doing them alone.  Usually I use races without tapering for them as tempo runs, but of course that is not an option right now.  Belyavin’s Race Yourself Fit Programme, which has served me well in the past, has to be re-written.  Somehow.

Saturday was a nice day, however, because I did some strength and conditioning with teammates again, after my 5km efforts, and then went to the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum with T.

I finished the week with a steady 15 miles today, after a rather long lie-in.  The pace was better than I feared after my 2 ‘tempo’ efforts this week, but perhaps shows that my legs had recovered rather too well, i.e. I hadn’t managed to get anywhere close to 5km pace.  Curiously, that is actually a good thing (as well as being a very frustrating bad thing): if 21-minute 5km pace was really running flat out and leaving my legs sore for a few days pace, the journey I face back to full fitness would be a more daunting one than it already is.  If, however, 21-minute 5km pace was the best my body could do because it really isn’t used to working hard at the moment , it just means I’ve done a bit too much steady running of late, and need to rebalance my training, but should make some fitness gains fairly quickly (at least in terms of getting back to being able to run mid-20s 5ks, and perhaps even getting close to 20 minutes: making headway into 19.xx 5k territory will be more of an ask).

So, a bit of a long, rambling post this week.  Who would have thought 52 miles would generate so many words?

We See Which Way The Stream Of Time Doth Run

14 Jun

Well, that’s 3 weeks flown past in a flash.  To be honest, to even remember what running I’ve done I’m going to have to rely on my GPS data…  The general gist is that work has been really busy, working for all of the last 2 weekends (and some of this one), so I’ve just about had time to train, but not to blog, too.

So, 3 weeks ago I decided to change the speed session I was doing, and switched to doing 4 x 1 mile.  I find the longer, less intense repetitions easier when I’m training alone.  The speed wasn’t amazing (about sub-3 marathon pace), but this was while we still had really hot weather, and it was the first longer stuff I’d done for a while, so I didn’t mind too much.  On the Wednesday I ran 11 miles steady, and did some strength and conditioning with clubmates in a socially distanced (i.e. internet based) way, and on the Thursday I cycled.  Not sure how long for or where I went, but I definitely cycled!  On the Friday I did my regular 7 miles with 12 x strides.  T and I were both not working that day and so we took the opportunity to go for a walk in the Quantocks.  We were a bit worried that the car park at the start of the walk looked busy, but it turned out to be because there was a pretty picnic spot nearby.  The paths were nice and quiet, and once past the picnic spot we saw very few people.  After a recovery run on the Saturday I did some more strength and conditioning, and then rounded my week off with a 15 mile long run to bring up 48 miles for the week.  The walk had left my legs quite tired (I guess if there’s one thing I just haven’t done very much recently it’s walking: I no longer walk to/from stations to get to court/back to chambers, or between chambers and my local court, and just generally don’t need to walk many places), so it was a bit of a plod, but it was a solid week.

2 weeks ago I started the week with a cycle ride, and then repeated the same speed session on the Tuesday.  I was pleased that I was able to run the mile repeats a good 5-10 seconds faster for each one than I’d managed a week before.  On the Wednesday I ran 11 miles steady, being kind to my still tired legs and keeping it on the flat.  On the Thursday I cycled, and then Friday was the standard 7 miles with 12 x strides.  Saturday was a recovery run ahead of strength and conditioning, the only difference being I was a bit nervous because I was leading the session.  I know that I’m pretty weak compared to a lot of my clubmates, so I knew I wouldn’t be able to lead a very tough session, but I hope it was ok!  I did 15 miles again on the Sunday at a not too bad pace (perhaps that slightly easier strength session left my legs fresher!) to start June with 48 miles for the week.  I spent most of Saturday and Sunday working (given the small matter of about 4,000 pages to read just to get to the end of Wednesday this week).

I started this week with a short cycle ride, and then was into the first of 3 full court days.  Video conferencing style court hearings are – curiously – more tiring than in-person hearings, and so doing court days from about 9 until 5 for 3 days solid was pretty intense. I’m not surprised that when I ran on Tuesday morning, my speed was a little blunted even by recent standards.  I did 2 x 2km (about 3 hour marathon pace); 2 x 1km (roughly the equivalent half-marathon pace) and 2 x 500m (roughly the equivalent 10km pace).  On Wednesday I only had time for 8 miles rather than 11, although that actually fitted in with my plans for the week, which were to reintroduce running 6 days per week.  In those circumstances, I didn’t want to do my now usual 48 miles and then another run on top, as that might be a bit too much, so doing that 8 miler and then 5 the next day worked out quite well.  I’d done strength and conditioning on Wednesday evening, and could really feel it on Thursday morning during that recovery run.  I could also feel the effects of not just doing full court days but then having to read into other cases as well each evening until 9/9.30pm.  It was all getting both stressful and plodtastic.  But Thursday itself was a welcome change: pupillage interviews (albeit by Teams rather than in person).  As a barrister you’re often trying to persuade people they are wrong about something, whereas in an interview you’re trying to get the best out of someone, and although they take a lot of focus, and you’re conscious of the responsibility involved, it is nice to do something very different.  On Friday I did 7 miles with 12 sets of strides ahead of my hearing, and then worked until my final court-related meeting of the week.  After that, I downed tools for a bit.  My brain was getting pretty fuzzy.  I did 6 miles early doors on Saturday ahead of some more pupillage interviews, and then spent the afternoon doing a little more work-related reading before accepting I just needed to relax a bit.  I had a lovely lie-in this morning and then ran 15 miles to bring up 50 miles for the week.  My Garmin (GPS) went a bit bonkers, and thought I went for a swim in the Avon, which I didn’t (if you’ve ever seen the Avon in all its sludgy, brown glory you’d understand why: the gorge and the Suspension Bridge are spectacular, the river rarely is, especially at low tide), so I had to guess where the 15 mile point actually happened, on the basis my watch thought I’d casually dropped a 6m/m whilst crossing the Avon a couple of times and swimming so had clearly undermeasured the run, but frankly whether I ran 49.9 miles, 50 miles or 50.1 miles this week doesn’t really matter.  A little more reading for work this afternoon, and now my time is my own.  I’m still ready for an early night, but don’t feel quite as exhausted as I did yesterday.