Archive | January, 2021

Baby Steps

31 Jan

On Monday morning I did a strength & conditioning session. I don’t know whether it’s a good or bad thing that I managed to leave my abs really sore.

On Tuesday I had planned to do 11 miles, but I was a little late leaving, and then got stopped by a driver who was lost, and I tried to help them (but I have a horrible feeling I sent them the wrong way…). Anyway, with the lost time, it seemed sensible to cut things slightly short and I did just over 10 miles.

On Wednesday I did just over 6 miles with a clubmate, and then another strength session in the evening. On Thursday I did just over 7 miles with 12 sets of strides. On Friday I did a very steady 7 miles.

That all set me up for a big weekend’s running: 11.5 miles on Saturday with 6 x 1 mile off 3 minutes. I was pleased that the session was a bit more consistent than 2 weeks previously, and also pleased that the weather was not as bad as forecast (I was expecting heavy rain and almost 20mph winds: thankfully neither materialised!). Anyway, the efforts were 6.40, 6.41, 6.33, 6.43, 6.36, 6.43 (there was a bit of a wind, and as you can see the 2nd, 4th and 6th efforts were into that wind).

Today I rounded the week off with 18 miles @ 8.03m/m. That made 60 miles for the week and 244 miles for the month. A good start to the year, and some small steps by way of improvement.


There’s No Business Like Snow Business!

24 Jan

I started the week with circuits at 7am and then a 5 mile recovery run ahead of a day at my desk. On Tuesday I took advantage of not being in court to do 11 miles, although it was pretty slow: the 5 days’ cycling plus a big weekend’s running had clearly taken a lot out of my legs!

The weather forecast for Wednesday was vile (heavy rain and strong winds) so, bar walking to and from chambers, and circuits in the evening, it was my rest day.

Thursday I was out early for a steady 6 miles with some strides and then on Friday I met up with a clubmate for an easy 6. It was a glorious cold morning, and we were treated to a beautiful sunrise and thick frost, with only a few bits of ice to avoid!

On Saturday it was time for marathon pace efforts again, back to my 17 minute target for each 4km block. I was close: 17.11, 17.02 and 17.04. I did have to do some icy puddle weaving but I think the main headline the is that sub 3 pace is now within reach, and soon I’ll be able to think about adding another 4km block to that session (on the basis just under 7.5 miles of marathon pace work is a fairly gentle workout).

This morning Bristol woke to a light covering of snow!

It wasn’t enough to merit yaktrax, but it was enough to leave pavements pretty slushy and slippery, even at 8 when I headed out, so I stuck to flat loops close to home, partly on grass/snow and partly on the road. I also called it a day at 15 miles: partly for my sanity, because repetitive loops aren’t really my thing, but also because snow is hard work to run in (especially because I’m currently without trail shoes, so didn’t have the best grip!). 55 for the week, so still solid mileage.

Back In The Saddle Again

17 Jan

This week, for various dull reasons, I needed to do my 5 day hearing from chambers rather than home. This meant 5 days straight of freewheeling to work, and then hauling myself back up the hill to get home. I think it does actually help my fitness, though: it’s a sort of very short tempo run in terms of heart rate, I’d guess, given what a slog the return journey is, but without the impact of pounding the pavements.

Anyway, I needed to be in chambers for 8.30 on Monday, so that was as good a day as any to take my rest day. On Tuesday and Wednesday I did 6 miles (with 8 sets of strides on Wednesday). I had hoped to be home in time to make an online strength and conditioning session on Wednesday, but ended up having to work fairly late, and I find it easier to finish my work in chambers rather than pack up halfway through, come home, and then try and get my focus back again. As this was a pretty full-on week from a work point of view, something had to give, and that something was additional strength and conditioning on top of the 15-20 minute routine I do most mornings, which is some very gentle core, glute, hip and calf work, partly to strengthen but also to activate my muscles before I start my run.

On Thursday morning and Friday morning it was just a case of steady 6.5 mile runs, plus headtorch.

That meant I was being a “weekend warrior” again, doing my two toughest sessions back-to-back. I find that’s ok, as long as the rest of the week is deliberately taken easy to let the legs recover. On Saturday I did 11 miles with 6 x 1,600m (or just under 1 mile, at about half marathon pace effort), jogging for 3 minutes between each faster mile. The times for the miles can fairly be described as a bit erratic: 6.49; 6.45 (possibly: I realised I’d gone past the 1,600m point on the Portway so I’m guessing what I should subtract from the 6.51 I’d run by the time I hit ‘lap’); 6.41; 6.31 (probably pushed a bit hard on that one, but I had some people to chase down, which made it easier and fun!); 6.41; 6.41. A spread of 17s from best to worst is a bit wide, but at least I know that next time I should probably aim for around 6.40s, and see if there is anything in the tank for the last few.

Today I did 18 miles on an undulating route (and that’s genuinely undulating, not race organiser trying to hide the fact a course is hilly undulating). My legs felt a bit tired, but the pace was surprisingly ok. That made 54 miles for the week, which in simple terms means my mileage is about where I’d planned it to be (I’m hoping for something around the 2,750 mark this year, which means just under 230 miles per month on average, although at some point I’ll need something approximating to an ‘end of season’ break, I guess, even if there is no clearly defined season (i.e. main race/races), let alone an end to it. Damn you, Covid!).

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

10 Jan

It was back to work this week, and for the first three days I was in chambers, which meant it was time to charge up the headtorch and get out in the dark most mornings: the extra half hour I have become used to getting back in the morning had gone!

6 miles steady on Monday, 6 miles with 8 sets of strides on Tuesday, 6 miles steady on Wednesday and 6 miles steady on Friday. Plus 3 cycling round trips, the last one home a grim slog uphill on a flat tyre. Although I was doing my general core/glute routine in the mornings, I was too knackered to do any proper strength work.

On Saturday I did my go-to base building session of 12 miles with 3 chunks of 4km (just shy of 2.5 miles in old money) at marathon pace effort. This week I felt a little sluggish, so was just outside 3 hour pace with 17.20, 17.09 and 17.13. But getting to within a few seconds per kilometre of sub 3 pace with 9 months to go is encouraging!

I rounded my cutback week off with a steady 15 miles, although with a bit of trails and hills thrown in. Annoyingly I gave the weaker ankle a bit of a roll as I turned a corner in the woods, but it feels pretty ok. A nice reminder, however, that I have neglected the ankle stability work and need to get back on the Bosu ball!

51 miles for the week. A decent first full week of 2021.

Plus Ça Change…

3 Jan

In terms of running, the tail end of 2020 and the very beginning of 2021 went as follows:

On Monday, a steady 6 miles plodded. I then did some strength and conditioning work in the evening, conscious I’d not managed to fit 2 sessions in the week before (my dedication draws the line at doing a run and strength and conditioning on Christmas Day. I’m not Daley Thompson!). On Tuesday I did 8 miles, with 8 sets of strides and 6 sets of hill sprints. Well, I say sprints, sprinters would probably say jogs. I was trying to focus on fast turnover, decent knee lift, and driving upwards and forwards. On Wednesday I met up with some clubmates for a medium long run. It was pretty icy out and about, even with our late-ish start (9.30am), and we all had to keep our wits about us to stay upright at times. There was also a distinct advantage to loitering at the back of the group to let others explore the terrain first!

On Thursday (New Year’s Eve) it was the final club session of the year: 4 fast laps of our summer training field (we can’t generally use it in the winter because it’s not floodlit, but that is not a problem at 3pm, even at the tail end of December!). I was the slowest person there, and so didn’t actually do full laps (because we stopped on a whistle when the fastest person finished their full lap). I’ll be honest, my legs felt a bit tight and rubbish, probably because I’d done some sort of effort the last 4 days (long run on Sunday, some jumping in the s&c session on Monday, hill sprints on Tuesday and a longer than usual medium long run on Wednesday). I also realised I was also overdue a rest day, having run for 10 days in a row (and covered 96 miles in those 10 days!).

If there’s any day which is made for resting, it’s New Year’s Day. I’m not great at drinking booze in any sort of quantity, and definitely not good if I’ve stayed up past midnight, and so NYD was a rest day, bar doing housework (and that elusive second strength and conditioning session of the week). I appreciate that tradition says to do the housework by the end of New Year’s Eve, but better late than never!

On Saturday, my first run of the year was a very steady 6 mile plod over icy pavements to run some errands: dropping empty cat food sachets to our nearest Terracycle point, posting something through a friend’s door and buying bread (and, since they were freshly baked and smelling rather lovely, croissants. I cut the run slightly short to ensure they were still warm for breakfast!).

That left 18 miles to cover today. I was feeling a bit tired and flat, so it was one of those long runs that feels ground out, and the satisfaction comes from having done it, rather than having run well, but 60 miles for the week done and dusted. With a return to work tomorrow, and having done two consecutive 60 mile weeks, I’ll cut back a little next week (plus I’ve got to go into chambers each day so I’ll be cycling again: always a shock to the system!).