Archive | April, 2021

The Ups And Downs of Running

25 Apr

Two weeks for the price of one blogpost, today!

Last week I started with a very gentle 5 miles on Monday, and then 7 miles with some strides on the Tuesday. Most of the week I wasn’t in court, and I took advantage of this, with 12 miles on Wednesday morning and then a sports massage: my first in 4 months! I had Thursday designated as a rest day to let my body adjust, and then on Friday I did a steady 7 with a clubmate. I slept appallingly badly on Friday night, and so my plans to be out of the door super early to get some mile reps done ahead of second round pupillage interviews had to be aborted, and I settled for 7 miles with some strides again. That meant my legs were nice and fresh on Sunday, and my 20 mile run was at a very spritely 7.47m/m (bearing in mind I’m rarely any faster than 8m/m, and often quite a lot slower!). 58 miles for the week.

This week I had meetings or hearings every morning, and so there was no luxury of being able to do medium long runs. T was also away, and so I didn’t really want to run in the evenings, as I was having to dash home to feed the cats as it was, and I don’t particularly like running soon after I’ve cycled home: I have a new found respect for triathletes every time I try to run when I’ve still got cycled-up-a-big-hill jelly legs! That meant 6 miles steady on Monday, 7 miles with strides on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday (when I had an 8.30am meeting), 6 miles steady on Thursday and 6 miles with a clubmate on Friday. By Saturday I was well overdue some speedwork, and opted for the mile reps I’d skipped the week before (hey, I’ve got 5 more weeks of freestyling things before a proper marathon schedule kicks in, so I’m making the most of it!). I did 4 again, and the first 3 were surprisingly nippy (although, thinking about it, although my runs had been slightly faster this week, I’d not done a huge amount, so my legs should have been nice and fresh): 6.23, 6.26, 6.23 and then 6.30 to finish. Even with the slightly slower last rep that’s an average of 6:23.5 per mile. It’s been a long old while since I was running a solo mile rep session at that kind of pace, fresh legs or not!

Today I felt surprisingly flat and slightly regretted my decision to do a route which was predominantly off-road and hilly (by way of comparison – and with the caveat that GPS elevation data is not super accurate – last week’s route had 235 metres of elevation, and this week had 670). I really regretted it when I doubled back on myself too quickly after I missed a turning and slightly tweaked my left ankle. I was able to finish the run, but it’s definitely a bit sore, and I’m a bit annoyed with myself for being dozy. Anyway, the combination of feeling flat, 20mph winds instead of 2mph winds, and lots of hills to climb meant I was brought back down to earth by a long run which averaged 8.30m/m. I’m thinking of it as a time on the feet run! 55 miles for week. I’m looking after the ankle with some strapping and intermittent icing, and hoping I get away with it.

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Pausing For Breath

11 Apr

The week started with a Bank Holiday, and, having re-scheduled the tail end of the previous week, I was able to start my week with my medium long run (12 miles). Annoyingly, I had a bit of a sore spot on the top of my right foot. I’d felt it a bit during my run on the Saturday before, but had assumed it was because I’d slightly tightened the lacing on my trainer. It had felt fine on Sunday, but seemed to be back. Still, the run was a fairly ok pace, albeit the conditions were pretty cool and grey.

Tuesday was my rest day, as I was starting a 3 day trial (although it ended up getting adjourned, after all my work on Easter Monday!). It was probably quite a good time to let the foot rest, too. I did 6 miles easy on Wednesday, 6 miles with 10 sets of strides on Thursday and 6 miles steady on Friday. The foot felt fine on Wednesday and Thursday, but a bit sore on Friday, although I did note that because I was rushing to get out of the door (meeting a clubmate at 6.45am: ouch!), I probably did overtighten the shoe again. On top of that, I was back to cycling to and from chambers. It was always takes a few weeks to get back into the groove of that, and my quads are definitely still adjusting!

Saturday saw a return to a split marathon pace tempo, aka 3 x 4km. Once again I was a little overenthusiastic in the first effort (16.47) but the next two were bang on 2.59 pace (16.59 and 16.58). I think that’s the first time all 3 efforts have been under 17 minutes: hurrah! And best of all the shin/foot felt fine.

Today, after not the best night’s sleep, I surprised myself with 18 miles at exactly 8m/m. I’d expected to be a bit slower after the efforts yesterday and having taken ages to get to sleep, then woken by T’s on-call phone, and then woken, bleary-eyed, to feed the cats (who have no concept of a lie-in when food is at stake). Still, you should never look a running pace gift-horse in the mouth, and it was a lovely day to be out running: cool air temperature, but nice and sunny. 60 miles for the week. The next few weeks are a bit busy from a work point of view, and although I’ve built some reading days into next week to try and prepare for that, let’s just say I’m feeling apprehensive. I was in two minds as to whether I should try and work a lot this weekend to get ahead, but on balance decided it was better to rest my brain, and then really blitz things next week. Here’s hoping my strategy pays off!

It Was An April Morning

4 Apr

I had a reading day on Monday, to ease myself back into working again, so started with a final set of running chores: dropping off cat food sachets for recycling and buying bread and croissants at the bakery. A pleasant 7 miles, albeit I felt fairly groggy (going back to getting up in the dark is the worst thing about the clocks going back). On Tuesday I did 7 miles with 12 sets of strides and then a strength session, all squeezed in ahead of the court day. I slept quite badly on Tuesday night: it started very nicely, with the boy-cat deciding he wanted a really long snuggle on my chest, but for someone who sleeps on their side rather than their back, that makes sleeping very difficult, plus he was so happy he was purring extremely loudly for ages – nearly as bad as snoring! By the time I eventually turfed him off I was past sleepiness, out the other side, and unable to sleep. I took Wednesday as a rest day. I ran 252 miles in March, which is pretty good going.

On Thursday I was out at 7am with a clubmate, although both of us felt a bit sluggish. And then I was off into chambers. I’ve finally done the decent thing and become a pupil supervisor, which means I am responsible for training new barristers during their pupillage, or final part of their training, and although remote working is pretty effective for many parts of my job, and I’m likely to work from home much more than I used to even when life returns to ‘normal’, it’s really hard to support someone finding their feet properly over the phone or through Teams check-ins, so at least initially it’s back to cycle commuting. It looks like being a pupil supervisor might make me fitter, as well as challenge to think about why I do things in certain ways when I’m dealing with a case. It’s not just the pupil who benefits from a pupillage! My pupil started on Thursday (yes, April Fool’s Day. Maybe not the best decision we took as a chambers to pick that day…).

Friday was, of course, Good Friday, and as I’d had quite a light week I decided to do my faster run/quality session that day. After last week’s longer marathon paced efforts it was time for some medium length half marathon pace efforts, and I was pleasantly surprised that they came out at 6.34, 6.31, 6.29 and 6.32. It was a fairly still morning by recent standards, and cool without being cold, so pretty good running conditions. Maybe I was just having a good day! I do need to build that up to 6 repetitions again, so that it’s a bit more endurance focused, but 4 felt about right on Friday. It’s often better to finish a quality session feeling like you could have done a little bit more, rather than completely knackered with wrecked legs (although there is a sneaky satisfaction to having wrecked legs every once in a while). With the warm up, cool down and jogging in between efforts I covered 9 miles in total.

Being a day ahead of my usual schedule meant I could do my long run on Saturday, and it was a very pleasant 18 miles, just under 8m/m pace. I did the same route as last week, and it just goes to show how so many small things affect your pace each day, because this week I was 18s/mile faster. There’s no way I’ve suddenly gained that much fitness, it was just another good day.

I rounded off my recovery week with 7 steady miles in beautiful sunshine, followed by a tasty Easter breakfast with T. I do need to do a teensy bit of work first rather than risk leaving all of it until tomorrow, but the sun is shining so gloriously that we will head off for a walk together this afternoon.