Archive | June, 2018

Slow And Steady Builds The Base

24 Jun

Another week of base-training, so not wildly exciting!

Monday was a rest day.  Tuesday was 10 miles home, which involved plenty of trails and hills. The only bit of interest was that I took a wrong turning in Leigh Woods and ended up a bit lost, so although I ran 10 miles, that included some miles I hadn’t intended to run…  On Wednesday I ran 6 miles back into work (net downhill, so considerably quicker than the previous night’s run!).  On Thursday I ran 10 miles on the flat along the Towpath.  I did my long run on Friday: 15 miles, which turned out to be 15.5 because I had forgotten that if I did a particular loop from work it is actually 15.5.  It’s been so long since I’ve done a 15 mile run on a week day…!  The last 0.5 was particularly unwelcome because my legs were pretty knackered and I was thirsty.  I definitely slept well on Friday night 🙂  On Saturday I just did half an hour of cross-training in the gym before starting the Big Clear Out ahead of moving in with T.  Fitting two people’s things into one person’s house means we’re both doing a decent declutter.  Yesterday I did clothes, and have four enormous bags of clothes, towels and bedlinen to take to the charity shop.

That left today: Cotswold Way Recce Day.  I was doing my recce with a clubmate (S), and we arranged to meet at the finish so that T could kindly drive us to the start, and then S I and could recce the route and come back in his car once we’d finished.  We didn’t do too badly with the navigation, but the main issue was the fields we were supposed to cross which were covered in what I presume was silage (sorry, I’m a town mouse and so might have that wrong).  Whatever it was, there were great heaps of it which were really difficult to run through/jump over, so I’m hoping they’re not there next week!  And the other CWR traditional problem of lots of very long grass, so that I finished covered in blotches from all of the lovely pollen.  It’s a stylish look.  The stage was just over 9 miles, although with one short navigation error detour we did 9.5  Those two bonus half miles brought up 51 miles for the week.  Nearly marathon minimum mileage (55) albeit off 5 runs rather than 6.  It’s a bit early to feel any improvements to my fitness, but I’m getting there.


It’s All About The Base

17 Jun

I started this week with 30 minutes in the gym on Monday and a rest day on Tuesday, as I was rehearsing that evening. This meant my legs were well recovered and springy when I set off for 10 miles on Wednesday. I was away for work in Plymouth and ran a lovely out and back route through Saltram Park and then on a path next to the Plym Valley Railway. Like many naval/shipping ports, Plymouth has its less beautiful side, but this was a pleasure.

I had a long day on Thursday, including travelling back home, so just did a very steady 7 miles that evening. On Friday I ran 12 miles with plenty of hills ahead of another rehearsal. This all left me quite tired, and I slept soundly until gone 8am on Saturday: bliss!

I started the weekend with 7 very easy miles and then another rehearsal ahead of that evening’s concert: the Beethoven Violin Concerto and Shostakovitch 10, which has to be one of my favourite symphonies. If I say so myself, we played brilliantly and had the audience cheering for some time! Post concert beer was definitely required and it was a bit of a late night.

After another lie-in, I ran 14 miles today. My legs were pretty tired by the end, especially as I’d picked a route with plenty of climbing in the second half, but it meant 50 miles of running this week. I think that’s the most I’ve managed since the hamstring injury in November! All of that – bar the ascents! – has been steady at a comfy heart rate, but that’s okay. 6 weeks of steady miles before I start training for Valencia is perfect.

And the really lovely thing about this weekend is that I haven’t needed to go into work, so my post-training refuelling was a roast dinner in the local pub. An all too rare but lovely treat for T and I to be able to have a lazy Sunday together.

Moving On Up [And Down, Where Appropriate]

10 Jun

I started the week with a visit to the recently neglected pool. I only had time for 30 minutes, and had a bit of lane-rage, but it was quite a nice way to loosen the muscles up.  (The lane-rage was because I had opted for the slowest lane, on the basis I hadn’t swum for 3 weeks, but there were several extremely slow swimmers in there, who were aggrieved at being overtaken, and told me – as if I was a simpleton – that this was the SLOW lane.  I’d have been just as much of an annoyance to anyone in the medium speed lane, so I stayed put.)

On Tuesday I ran 6 miles after work.  I could definitely feel the hilly run I’d done on the Sunday evening in my legs, so I kept it nice and steady, and after about 3 miles things loosened up a bit more.  Hurrah!  I went to the gym on Wednesday morning (it really was a case of catching up on activities I’d not done for a while due to the cold): again, only time for 30 minutes, but it felt good to be back.

Thursday morning I ran into chambers (6 miles steady).  It had been such a long time since I’d run in that I couldn’t remember where the shower key was kept!  I found it eventually, and wasn’t forced to go to court reeking of sweat with greasy hair.  Phew.  I ran home on Friday evening: 11 miles including a bit of uphill (Falcondale Road, for locals: it has a sting in the tail with a nice steep finish!).

Saturday was a busy day: strength and conditioning work first thing, then food shopping with T, then violin practice, then a run (9 miles), then 4 hours in chambers and then off to the Bristol Old Vic to see A Monster Calls.  It was amazing: heartbreaking at times (I went through several tissues), but fantastically staged and it really drew me in. It’s on for another week, so go if you can.

That left today: a bit of orchestra homework early doors (I’d forgotten to bow my music…) then a rehearsal 10.30-5.30 followed by a hilly 13 mile run: over 400m of ascent (I know, my Garmin mixes its units).  T had a lovely dinner waiting for me on my return, and so now there’s just a bit of relaxation time left before the new week rolls around.

Oh, and I ran 45 miles this week.  That’s a year’s best, somewhat soberingly, but it is still pleasing.  A foundation to build on for a winter marathon, I hope.

Triple Whammy

3 Jun

So, a 3 week break from blogging: how has that time been spent?

To pick up where I left off, I had a tight calf and achy Achilles tendon. I took another couple of days off running and then very tentatively returned: 3 miles easy, followed by 4, then 5, then 6 and rounded the week off with 7. I also added 1 hour in the gym onto the 6 miler to simulate a longer workout. The calf felt good and I felt pretty positive.

Annoyingly, as I sat working on the Sunday afternoon I noticed I had a horribly sore throat. I had been a bit tired the last few days after a hectic week, and it looked like things had caught up with me. I hoped a day or two of taking it as easily as I could would knock things on the head, but it turned out not to be the case and I spent most of the week coughing and spluttering. I was exhausted just by working so exercise was definitely off the menu!

A brighter light on the horizon was a weekend away in Amsterdam, joining T, who had been at a conference in Ede. I wouldn’t suggest anyone rushes to Ede as a tourist destination, but our 1.5 days in Amsterdam were great: off the beaten track highlights included the Kat Kabinette (a museum of feline-inspired works of art, complete with some real cats) and the Marionette Theatre (useful because there was no dialogue: my Dutch is not great!) on the Saturday plus the Pianola Museum and Houseboat Museum on the Sunday. We rounded things off with a decent stint in the Rijksmuseum before dinner and a late flight home. Appropriately enough our hotel was just next to the Palace Of Justice:


It’s a bit fancier than most of the court buildings I go to!

Anyway, there was no running as I was still full of cold, which was a pity as we were also close to Vondel Park, but there it is.

And so to this week. I was wiped out on Monday, so spent it slobbing around. Back to work on Tuesday and back to Plymouth on Wednesday. The best thing about Plymouth was being well enough to run that evening, although I was still coughing up some gunk (sorry. Just keeping it real!). The worst thing about Plymouth was the late finish on Thursday and getting home after 9pm. I did another steady run on Friday evening  (just 6 miles again), with 8 miles on Saturday and then 10 hilly miles today.

It’s fair to say that the most recent layoff has hit my fitness. Humph. Although I have a spot at my club’s 5000m meeting in just under 3 weeks I suspect that may not be the smartest plan. The Cotswold Way Relay is in 4 weeks’ time so that had better be my main focus (hence the hills today!).

And where from here?  Well, it sounds like a crazy dream right now, but I think probably the Valencia Marathon in early December. I’ve got 6 months to prepare, which means switching to base building work once CWR is behind me. As much steady running/cross training as I can to boost my endurance and rebuild the strength in my muscles and tendons. Then some marathon paced and half marathon paced sharpening work late summer/autumn. I can’t quite imagine not racing a marathon this year. I’m not thinking about time targets at the moment. That’s for November. Now I just need to focus on staying strong and healthy.