After what should have been an easy run on Saturday going horribly wrong I took a few days to collect my thoughts and rest. As Saturdays run left me with more questions than answers I decided that the thing that was lacking boiled down to two things 1) Sleep and 2) Routine. Sleep has been a problem for a while for me due to the fact I have been dealing with certain stresses at work and also a hectic personal life planning a wedding. I function best when running when I have had around 8 hours sleep, this I’ve found is when my body and mind feel most rested and ready to attack whatever run I have to face. My 8 hours needed has recently been around 5 hours and the deprivation of hours asleep has caught up with me in recent weeks/months so that needs addressing. This is easier said than done for me as I struggle to shut down my active mind so any suggestions are more than welcome for how I may continue to address this issue. Another decision I have taken off the back of the last weeks runs was that over the festive period I would limit my alcohol intake to zero! I made this decision due to the fact after even a few drinks my sleep is affected and the next day after drinking I am lethargic. I am not a big drinker, I don’t drink in the house and drink only socially when on nights out however with the festive period this tends to change as ‘It’s what people do’ For me to establish a routine I need to get back to being disciplined and cutting out the alcohol for a few weeks will enable me to be refreshed and able to get out on the road when I need to, a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things!!
I’m now onto week 3 of my training plan my week on paper looks like this
MONDAY – Rest
TUESDAY – Threshold run – 10 mins easy, 2 x ( 5 mins threshold, 2 mins Easy), 10 mins steady, 10 mins Easy
WEDNESDAY – Rest, Core Work
THURSDAY – 45 Mins Steady
FRIDAY – REST
SATURDAY – 1 hour 20 Mins Long run
SUNDAY – 10 Mins easy, 25 mins Hill Run, 10 Mins easy
Again due to circumstance this will and has changed slightly but only the organisation of the days. So as we stand today (Christmas Eve) I have completed two runs and the plan was to do my long run today after a half day at work however due to the fact I awoke to tired legs today will be a focus on core work with me heading out tomorrow (Christmas Day) for a festive leg stretch inbetween presents being opened and eating a Christmas Dinner, ideal time for it!!
Tuesday – Threshold run ( 10 minutes easy, 2 x(5 minutes threshold 2 minutes easy) 10 minutes steady, 10 minutes easy.
After a couple of days rest and a decent few nights sleep I felt ready to head out on what I anticipated to be my toughest run to date in my plan. Mentally I have been struggling with a loss of pace due to not doing any serious training for a good 4 months so today was filled with slight trepidation. Again I was at work in Bolton which meant one thing, hills!! I planned a run using the route builder on Strava and no matter how I tried I couldn’t get away from the fact there would be a few inclines in my run, what goes up must come down I suppose. As I headed out of town on my first mile I felt good and with Strava kindly updating me every half mile on my progress I was pleasantly surprised to be told I was running at a 7mins 53 seconds pace, this was meant to be an easy start and as I stated previously I struggle with easy!! After 1.5 miles I was at my first threshold push which coincidently coincided with a mile of a climb up the reasonable steep hill they call Bury New Road. I shortened my stride and got the arms pumping trying to push myself but concentrating on staying consistent and strong, this seemed to be working and as the half miles passed I felt my confidence growing. All doubt I had before the run was vanishing and mentally I was winning. I was enjoying this and miles 2/3 came both clocked at under 7 minutes 40 seconds per mile, I was happy. I won’t deny when the two threshold pushes were complete I was tired however I felt strong even though I still had one steep climb left in my run. Today was working for me physically as well as mentally and I began to ease back in the run around 4.5 miles even managing a smile. All my trepidation from the previous runs had disappeared and today was a job well done. 5.5 miles in 42 minutes with an overall pace of 7 minutes 52 seconds per mile I was happy however I won’t let myself get complacent, there’s a long way to go yet. Thought from today’s run – Running helps lose the frustrations of life…
Wednesday – (45 Minutes Steady) As I had a morning meeting not far from my base I decided rather than drive I would run and get my 45 minutes planned run for the week done and dusted. This is always a choice I make if I have meetings close to my work base however with it comes new challenges. No more so than having to carry my work gear on my back as I am not sure it is professional to sit in a meeting sweating in my running gear. Before I set off I decided to weigh my gear I was to carry which I am not sure was a good thing as it came in at 5kg, maybe that doesn’t sound much but when running every extra KG hurts as my previously fat frame used to tell me every time I headed out on to the streets. As my meeting was 2 miles away and that wouldn’t satisfy my time running time I decided to extend the run in one big loop from my base to my destination, upon planning I had no choice but to incorporate my nemesis from the previous week, Chorley Old Road in Bolton. A constant climb which I would have to run over a mile on, this coupled with my bad experience the previous week and 5 kg of extra weight on my back. It’s safe to say I wasn’t at all looking forward to greeting it head on however I had no choice. In my previous training I was able to monitor my pace quite accurately mentally as I knew my body and how my pace ‘felt’ however at the moment I am struggling to recover that ability so as I headed out to start my run I had no mental idea of what pace I was running at. This played on my mind as I was battling my previous experience of the hill I was shortly going to face as well as a slight worry my pace was in my eyes ‘slow’. As it happens I had no reason to worry I focused my attentions to attacking the mile climb strong and organised and even though in conclusion I was slightly slower up the hill I was feeling stronger, as I turned the corner off Chorley Old Road onto a slighter climb towards Moss Bank Way I was chuffed, the hill that had the upper hand the week before was now in retreat and I’d climbed it with 5kg on my back, I was feeling strong, happy days. From here on in the route down Moss Bank Way was undulating and the benefit of the extra weight was It pushed me down the descents!! Always a bonus let gravity do its thing, relax the body and have a breather. Mid run I felt stronger and that showed in my splits and when I reached my destination 5.5 miles had been covered in 45 minutes 36 seconds at an average pace of 8 minutes 10 seconds per mile. I was happy with this considering the clothes and files I was carrying in my back pack so today has been a success and something to work on. I am now looking forward to my next run without the resistance of extra baggage and more importantly not in Bolton meaning no HILLS!! Brilliant. Thoughts from today’s run – it’s not how fast you get there it’s the getting there that counts!
As I said before today is rest day from the roads and core work will be done few sets on the ab roller and planking routine will be followed as I need to get the strength back into the abs to assist the running. Back out on the roads tomorrow and Boxing day for a festive plod and who knows I may even wear a father Christmas hat!!!! Merry Christmas every one and best wishes to you and yours.