Monday 31st August to Sunday 6th September 2015

Training for: CTS Dorset Ultra (53k)

Runs: 8, Total Distance: 48.7km, Total Time: 4:02

Week 1 of 13 - CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week 1 of 13 – CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week one of my thirteen week plan for CTS Dorset Ultra is done with! This also marks my third week of running 6 days from 7 which is something I haven’t ever really done; my running up until now would be sporadic throughout a week as opposed to a string of focused days. It feels pretty good and I do feel stronger for it already. I did wonder whether putting in the effort and hours putting together a spreadsheet would pay off and it really has done so far – I know what I’m aiming for each week and I’m not running intervals or hill session randomly and without purpose any more (or not running them at all), every run I have now has some structure to it which for me is great.

I did a MAF test on Tuesday to figure out my zone 3 pace as most of my training will be done in zone 3 aside from speed and hill workouts and between 1/3 and 2/3 of my Saturday long run depending on whether I decide to run progression or fartlek. Anyway, the MAF test was pretty horrible as I found it difficult to drop into a rhythm between 144bpm and 154bpm! I had been running in what I thought was zone 3 for two weeks prior at between 154bpm and 164bpm so the slow down wasn’t hugely noticeable pace wise but mentally it was definitely there. Now that I’ve spent the rest of the week getting used to my new zone 3 pace I’m comfortable with it and I’ve started to fall into it much earlier during runs than on Tuesday and Thursday – it takes about 2km for me to fall properly into the rhythm so that I don’t have to keep constantly checking the watch to see I am where I should be! I’ve noticed that distance has reduced a little to about 1.5/1.7km now.

My HR Zones up until the day before my 32nd birthday. I'll make a minor adjustment on October 26th.

My HR Zones up until the day before my 32nd birthday. I’ll make a minor adjustment on October 26th.

Wednesday’s 5x1km intervals were amazing. It was definitely my favourite run of the week, not because I enjoy running around in circles but because it was hammering down with rain and I made the decision to jog the 350m from my front door to the 800m dirt and grass oval at the top of my street with my cross country spikes in hand and New Balance MT1210 on my feet. I changed into my spikes under the awning of a tree but I could have just as easily been standing in the middle of the field – I was soaked through before I even reached the oval. The whole time I was smiling and just enjoying the power of nature falling down around me. I set off on a brisk 1.5km warm-up around the oval and then I started my workout – each split was under 4:00pkm so I was happy but I’m still not at the point where each split is faster or matching the previous but I will get there, I’ve no doubt. For those who might be interested in the composition of these trail intervals, I take a 1:45 walk/hike break between each interval and aim to hike around the oval at or around the same pace I aim to walk during ultras when I’m taking on fuel, conserving some energy or having a dark patch! (3:48, 3:55, 3:54, 3:56, 3:58)

Thursday and Friday’s runs were unremarkable but very much required; I’ve felt the need to run all week. It’s the only time and space I get to either really think things through or, conversely, the only time and space where I can fully focus on anything other than that which is flowing through my mind and heart. I’m not going to digress too much here but suffice to say I’m struggling a little with life outside of work and running at the moment. I’m struggling because I find myself in a difficult position. I have promised patience and understanding and I am patient and understanding but I’m struggling to continue being patient and, the crux of it, to understand. I’ll continue on now I’ve thrown that cryptic passage in, and dear reader, I apologise for the aside but sometimes you have to take the outlet that’s readily available to you.

I read this on Caitlin's blog on Tuesday. It's haunted me all week! [click to go to her post]

I read this on Caitlin’s blog on Tuesday. It’s haunted me all week! [click to go to her post]

As I mentioned earlier, Saturday’s are my usual scheduled long run but I had to swap it around this week because I decided to work a sleepover shift at work. My usual pattern is Monday to Friday, 0830-1630 but, well, I’ve been feeling the need to keep busy and to keep moving of late. Last week I had the UTMB to distract me (and what a great distraction it was!) along with signing up for my Post-Graduate Diploma but I realised there wasn’t much to keep me busy outside of running this weekend. So it was that I arrived at work on Saturday afternoon at 1330hrs having run a pretty awesome morning hill session – I ran a 4km, zone 3 warm-up and then I ran 10x60s hill repeats in zone 4 with jog down recovery and finished up with a 2km zone 3 warm-down back to home to prepare for work! It really set me up for a pretty decent Saturday shift. There were the usual ups and down associated with working with a complex client group but nothing untoward. I hit the hay in the Duty bedroom at 2330hrs and awoke for the next shift at 0700hrs – unfortunately as I work in a residential unit my sleep wasn’t great and I woke up on the hour, every hour from 0215hrs onwards and, obviously, this set the scene for a pretty fraught Sunday!

I won’t go into Sunday’s shift as there’s no real need. All I can say is that when I had finished at 1530hrs and was standing outside in the sunshine in my running gear and brand new pair of Hoka Huaka I was relieved. My plan had been to run straight after work with my friend Jo who is running the CTS Gower Trail Marathon in 10 weeks – I have put together a training plan for her and Sunday was day 2 of the plan. I took the train from my work place over to Gospel Oak and Hampstead Heath and we ran a fartlek mixed trail and road effort from there back to where I had just come from! The run was exactly what I needed as on the zone 3 sections we could have a talk about life and the universe and anytime we came to a hill we would set off into zone 4 (I pushed zone 5 briefly on a particularly long and steep road hill). Over the final two kilometres of trail before hitting the last road section I also put in a 3:47 klick followed by a 3:40, just to check if the boosters were still available and to see how long it might take me to get back into zone 3 and run comfortable again – I was very happy with that section as I recovered from it quickly and it’s good to know the speed for a long surge is there if and when I need it during races

That’s it for my week in running dear reader. To those of you that read regularly, thank you so much for continuing to come back and for those of you that read sporadically I send just as much thanks, finally, to those of you who have stumbled across my blog for the first time I thank you for taking the time to read through and I hope you check back again.

Peace & Blessings

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