Archive | November, 2016

Catching Up!

27 Nov

So, back blogging again after a fortnight’s break.  The break was caused by things being even busier than last week, so nothing terrible!  The first of the two weeks saw me cover 45 miles again: 5 steady miles on Monday, 8 miles including my club session on Tuesday, 5 steady miles on Wednesday, 8 steady miles with a rucksack into work on Thursday, 7 steady miles on Friday (followed by a massage) and 12 miles on Saturday morning.  Yes, that’s right: in a mad break with tradition, I did my long run on a Saturday (although for a marathoner, 12 miles isn’t really a proper long run!).  This was because I was playing in a concert in London at lunchtime on Sunday, with a rehearsal at 10am, and I knew there was absolutely no way I would be able to run before I left for London, and it wasn’t entirely clear I’d have the energy and/or inclination to run when I got back from London.  Given that my journey back ended up being very slow and tiresome, I was pretty relieved I didn’t need to do anything more than put my feet up and have a cup of tea by the time I got home that evening!

This week I was away from home because I had a 5 day trial where a 3 hour round trip each day was just a bit more travelling than I really cope with (certainly if I want to be able to train at all).  I did think about exploring local running clubs and seeing if I could pop along to their sessions, but ultimately decided it was probably easier just to do my own thing, as you often end up having to do some work in the evenings on a multi-day trial (as proved the case here).  I found a moderately flat, straight road that was fine for an out and back run each evening, and did 6 miles on Monday, 8 miles on Tuesday and Wednesday and 5 miles on Thursday.  Friday was a rest day almost by default given the need to pack in the morning and travel home in the evening.

Saturday morning I nearly defeated my good intentions to finally make it over to Ashton Court parkrun for the first time in ages by forgetting to set my alarm.  When I finally woke up it was nearly 8.10, and I have to leave at 8.30 at the absolute latest if I’m going to have time to get to Ashton Court.  It’s amazing what you can achieve in 20 minutes, including a cup of coffee, some Jaffa cakes (I hadn’t replenished my banana supplies when I got home the night before) and that all important pre-run bathroom trip.  I think I got to parkrun at 8.59, just in time for the briefing.

It had been a while since I’d experienced the Hill of Difficulty, but I made a reasonable fist of things: 19.58 (so only 16s slower than my course best), and first female finisher.  I still need to work on my downhill running, though: I nearly got caught by the second female finisher!  And I wish I hadn’t ditched my gloves.  My tiny little hands were frozen within minutes, let alone 20 minutes (sorry for the opera gag).  Here I am making my way down the Hill of Difficulty:


Today I rounded the week off with 14 steady miles on slightly tired legs to bring up 50M for the week.  Just 3 weeks now until proper marathon training resumes, which means it’s 7 weeks since Chicago.  How time flies when you’re recovering!


Muddy Spikes

15 Nov

I’m a couple of days late blogging, but that is because life has been busy (but mostly in a good way).  Last week saw a total of 46 miles over 6 runs.  Nothing very exciting: 5 on Monday, 7 on Tuesday, 7 on Thursday, 7 on Friday, 8 on Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Saturday was a road trip to Brecon to take part in the Gwent Cross-Country League.  It’s almost as much a social thing as a racing thing, because I travelled over with some club mates and had a good natter setting the world to rights.  The weather was kinder to us than it has been in the past, as you can see by comparing a photo from Saturday (thanks to San Domenico Runners for their brilliant photos, btw):


with a photo from a couple of years ago, where we all trudged through wind, rain and mud.  I think the hail started after this picture was taken:


What was particularly great about that day was that there was then a power cut, and so we couldn’t even warm up again afterwards in the leisure centre.  Remember, this is what we do for fun!

Anyway, the race was so-so: I finished 9th, which compares relatively well to my best ever league finishing position of 7th, although I was out-kicked for 8th by a track runner.  Damn these people with sprint finishes!

(Nearly) Normal Service Resumes

6 Nov

This week saw 3 ‘old’ things return:

  1. I trained 6 days
  2. I went to my club training
  3. I raced!

Not everything was as normal, because those 6 sessions added up to a mere 40 miles, but it’s all part of gradually easing back into proper training, so that the body can recover but I don’t get so unfit that resuming marathon training next month is out of the question.

Anyway, training 6 days saw me do 2 steady 5 mile runs, 1 further 5 mile run with a few strides, a steady 7 mile run, 8 miles including the club session and 10 miles including the race.

Club training has 2 purposes: pushing yourself and seeing your mates (even if they’ve sprinted off into the distance!). Tuesday’s session was actually quite tough, and if I’d done the whole thing it would have been about 6 miles of effort which would have trashed my legs, so I slunk off after 3 miles. Still, it reminded the legs and lungs what faster running feels like, ie painful!

Today’s race was the Leeds Abbey Dash 10km. It’s a relatively flat, fast course and usually gets a reasonable field. Today was cool, drizzly and there was a stiff headwind for the first 5km before we turned around. This meant a 30s negative split (ie that my second 5km was 30s faster than my first). My finishing time of 39.08 was nothing spectacular but it was just fun to race again, especially when there was no real pressure to run well/fast.

Next week sees a return to cross country, so hopefully dragging myself around a muddy field on Tuesday will pay off – as will today’s further attempt to remind my body that it’s ok to hurt in a good way. In fact, it’s sometimes rather useful!