The lull between Christmas and New Year for me is usually made worse trying to recover from various drinking sessions and eating crap. As the alcohol has been none existent this year I’m free from the detoxing feeling however the sugar crash as I withdraw from eating too many celebrations this year has been hard. As I entered into the week 4 of my training my schedule was as follows as well as incorporating a road trip to Cardiff and copious amounts of ale as I allowed myself one night off the wagon for New Years Eve.
I arrived back at work for the first time since the Christmas break and decided I was going to head out early to get my run ‘out of the way’ mentally I was struggling with the thought of today as Fartlek running however rewarding is difficult. I had a route in mind which would see me run approximately 5 miles with a certain amount of undulation that running around Bolton inevitably brings. With the weather holding I set out following a variation of Fartlek. Instead of using lampposts or distances I planned my run through time which followed the following schedule
10 mins warm up
2 mins fast 1 min recovery
2:30 mins fast 1 min recovery
3 mins fast 1 min recovery
3 mins 30 fast 1 min recovery
4 mins fast 1 min recovery
10 mins easy
This worked wonders for me and before I knew it I had hit one mile at a reasonable warm up pace 8:12 minutes per mile, I was ready and feeling strong so pushed on to my intervals for fast and recover. As the run progressed the morning sun and blue sky kept my mood high and I was clocking the miles in at under 7:45 minutes with me covering the 4th mile in 7:12, this gave me the confidence to keep going even though the pain was beginning to set in. As I entered into my final mile I took the foot off the gas and cruised into the 40 minutes finish completing 5.1 miles in the process. Overall a confidence booster which I needed and a run I can only build on. A successful day out on the road. This is starting to become more enjoyable and whatever I am doing at the moment is working, long may it continue.
Wednesday – 60 minutes steady.
After the success of the previous day I was full of confidence for the what was to be just a run today. No Fartlek, no threshold, no fast steps, just a plain and simple run. Looking out of the window at work the weather was balancing a fine line between terrible and absolutely awful so I wasted no time in heading out before the rain really took hold. I decided to use the route from the previous day which brought me success but I knew it would need to be slightly extended to incorporate the extra 20 minutes needed to be run. My goal today was consistency and if I can get each mile under the 8 minute marker I will be happy. To slow me down I decided to start my run with a slower song than usual on the playlist, one I’ve just rediscovered which at 5 minutes long would allow me to build a pace slowly. An forgotten 80s classic which you don’t really have to think about.
The plan was to start off slower and build however plans don’t alway go how they should do. As I passed through the first mile I was clocking 7:39 minutes but I was comfortable, I was confident and I decided to see if this could be sustained. The rain was beginning to fall and the wind was building as I made my ascent up Tudor avenue in Bolton and turned right down past Bolton school on the steady decline down Chorley new road. As the miles progressed I was growing in confidence and challenged a confused speed indicator to see what I pace it said I was going at as I passed, 10 miles an hour at one point, which realistically isn’t sustainable however it keeps my mind fresh to have the challenge!! It wasn’t until into the 5th mile of what would be 7.7 that the heavens opened and the weather became biblical. It’s times like these I question my sanity as for half a mile I was struggling to see a few feet in front of me and the rain was hurting, I swear I saw Noah and his ark float by at one point however I had to dig in, I was still feeling strong so on I ploughed. As the time ticked by and the miles were run I reached 60 minutes of steady running having achieved 7.7 miles distance through some of the worst conditions I’d ever ran in. I was feeling good, confidence raising more but I was drenched. Wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable experience but if you can run in those conditions you can run in anything. I’d earnt my New Years eve beer and a few days rest.
Saturday – 1 hour 30 long run.
The first run of the new year and with the wife leaving home at 6 for work my plan was to head out when she did however due to the fact I was shattered I opted for an extra few hours in bed. I was rudely awoken by the bin Lorry at 8 am so decided it was time to stop putting off he inevitable and head out on my longest training run yet. I had my breakfast biscuits, an energy drink and a carb gel as I knew I was in for 10 miles plus on today’s run.
Living on the boarder of Merseyside and Lancashire means some of the places I get to run are quite scenic and today’s run was to be one of my favourite routes. Taking me from Rainford, through Bickerstaffe and Lathom, for a short time into skelmersdale (you can’t have it all!) then back down into Rainford. I know the route from my previous training and after previous runs I was confident I could do myself justice.
The first 5 miles of the run is rural down country lanes with decent scenery, not much traffic and an ideal route to be alone with your thoughts, a chance to clear the mind and leave the excess baggage out in the countryside, mentally fly tipping my thoughts.
As The miles progressed Strava was telling me I was showing a certain level of consistency, under 8 minutes per mile and more importantly I was feeling stronger than I had for a while, I just had to keep going. It wasn’t until mile 6 when I felt slight disappointment when notifications told me I had ran the last mile in 8:05! Disappointed I put it down to a kind motorist who decided to park taking up the whole pavement and as car were passing on the street I had no choice but to wait, he annoyed me and he was told! My second case of runners rage this week!!
After getting back on track I headed down the Rainford bypass but I could feel myself beginning to mentally struggle, I was half a mile from home but still had 20 minutes running time to do. As I fought the negativity I was feeling a lone runner apeard from out of no where, brilliant just what I needed, a challenge.
I was having him, he was being over taken, this was the challenge I needed to push me through the last few miles. I upped my pace, got my head down and pushed on eventually over taking him half a mile or so down the road, I smiled wished him good day and carried on with a massive sense of achievement, the negativity had been banished and the final push was on. The weather had started to look threatening but I was a mile from home and close to my goal I just had to hang in there. As the clock ticked on to 1:30:00 I had completed 11.5 miles which I was happy with however I had a slight disappointment at the two miles I clocked at over 8 minutes. Other than that I was consistent, strong and I’d had a good productive days work. What ever I am doing, the sleep routine? the alcohol break? I’m doing right and today makes up for the awful runs in weeks 2 and 3. Now some rest before my last run of the week tomorrow a threshold run!! Oh the joys!!