Monday 28th December to Sunday 3rd January 2016

Training for: Grizedale Trail Marathon

Runs: 7, Total Distance: 77.5km, Total Time: 5:55

Week 3 of 8 - Grizedale Trail 26.

Week 3 of 8 – Grizedale Trail 26.

What a great week of training it has been! I’m back up to decent mileage, having only planned to run around 50km this week I’ve ended up with almost 80! I’ve felt good all week so I’ve pushed on to pull together something resembling how I would like the rest of my training weeks to look in 2016 – the only thing really missing is a dedicated strength and conditioning workout.

I started off on Monday with a fairly quick swim, going through 1km in 18:54 and then finishing up the 1150m session in 21:59 before hitting the steam room for 45 minutes – 40 minutes of sitting still and meditating, the final 5 minutes pacing up and down.

Tuesday I hit the road and ran on feel which is something I have been doing a lot lately. I run with my watch showing only time and distance and if I happen to look at it and think I might be able to reach a certain distance in a certain time then I push on to try it! For instance during this one I looked at the watch and tried for sub 34:00 8k (missed it) and a sub 43:00 10k (nabbed it!). I ran consistently on the ups and tried not to adjust my cadence too much and I ran on feel on the flat sections and downhills. I find this kind of running is good for tuning out the mind and is definitely more akin to therapy than training sometimes!

I made the decision after Tuesday’s road run that I will run the rest of my Grizedale Marathon training block on feel apart from Saturday long runs which will be strictly aerobic heart rate efforts. Hopefully this will get some speed back into my legs after my previous 13 week training block was 80% (or more) based around aerobic heart rate stuff. Later this year I will return to 80/20 aerobic stuff I think but for now I am enjoying the feeling of being liberated from paying too much attention to metrics and feeling a bit like a slave to the watch!

I returned to the gym on Wednesday and initially I’d planned a pretty gruelling 60 minute hill workout on the treadmill. I had planned to do 3 sets of 20 minute intervals:

20:00 increasing Incline by 1% every 3:00 (starting at 2%).

20:00 speed setting: 15kmph for 6:00, 13kmph for 6:00, 12.5kmph for 3:00 and then 11.5kmph for 6:00.

Repeat x2

It was a great idea at the time! However, by the time I hit the 15 minute mark I was struggling quite a lot and beginning to wonder if I would be able to even manage getting to the end of the first 20:00 interval. I flaked out around 18:00 and reduced the time of the workout to 24:00 and randomly chopped and changed the speed and incline setting over the final 4 minutes. I managed 300m of elevation in 5km so I couldn’t complain too much – I’ve set the bar now and I hope in a few weeks I’ll be able to do 2×20:00…

I got off the treadmill and recovered my composure a little and soon decided, within 5 minutes in fact, that I hadn’t given enough! So, I jumped back on the treadmill and set up a ‘not too-fast speed workout’!

1:15 at 13.5kmph

Increase speed every 1:15 until reaching 15kmph.

Final 1:15 at 15.5kmph.

My legs felt tired and I got a little panicked as the treadmill hit 15.5kmph over the last 1:15! I had to really focus on keeping my legs moving at the correct speed and cadence lest I fall off and smash myself to pieces. In hindsight I would have liked to have pushed just that little bit harder to creep under 20:00 for 5km but as it stood I finished 5km in 20:38.

Thursday was New Year’s Eve and my final run of 2015. I went out on the roads of north London with my friend Jo for a fun run of 8km. There were a lot of people on the pavements, the traffic lights weren’t too kind and there was a fair amount of erratic driving to be witnessed during the run so it was a bit of a stop start kind of deal! Still, racing traffic lights and dashing between gaps in pedestrians is good fartlek training for marathon racing and I had a smile on my face as I randomly increased my speed here and there whilst checking back to see if Jo had made it around a group of slow walkers or through a rapidly changing set of traffic signals. We went through 5km in 22 flat and finished the 8km in 34:23. Afterwards it was time for a good few beers and a soft-shell crab burger dinner!

On Friday I woke up and felt remarkably good considering I had a broken night of sleep thanks to alcohol consumption! I took advantage of the fact I didn’t feel hungover, threw on my running gear and headed out to the gym…I had planned a 60:00, 4% treadmill session for some point on New Year’s Day. Unfortunately this was not to be! I arrived and found that the gym was shut so there would be no steam room or treadmill session to be had. I made my way home, changed from my Mizuno Wave Rider (my treadmill shoes) and threw on my Hoka Huaka (my road/canal shoes) and hit the road whilst still feeling remarkably well! I chose a hilly route and had no real goals for the run in my mind – the loosest goal was to run 10km under 45:00 considering I was feeling tired and I’d had a fair amount to drink the night before. Well, I hit my goal and went through 10km in 44:18 and finished up the 11.1km effort in 49:04…and then, after showering and eating, the hangover arrived and I spent the rest of the day in a daze!!

I had been looking forward to Saturday’s long run since my treadmill session(s) earlier in the week. It was my first long run and my first canal path run since my previous training block and the first of 2016. I had no idea how it would pan out but I know that as I am on a short marathon training block I don’t have the time (or the inclination) to build up my long runs! So, after a breakfast of two scrambled eggs, rye bread and black coffee I went out with 600ml of water in my handheld and a packet of Shot Bloks with the intention of running 25km.

I got into the aerobic zone very quickly and found that once I was there I stayed there! I didn’t find the going at all difficult and really enjoyed the sensation of running fairly fast at an aerobic heart rate. Clearly my previous aerobic training block has done some good because I clocked an average of 4:55pkm for 27km when all was said and done which is an improvement of about 15 seconds per kilometre! There had been a fair amount of rain in the previous days so a few sections of the canal path were washed out with deep puddles which at first I tried to scoot around – this seemed quite treacherous as I was skirting along right on the edge of the canal itself so I tried a different tactic of smashing through the puddles just to the left (or right) of centre and found that for the most part solid footing could be found under the water.

I finished this week’s long run run with a smile on my face and an average heart rate of 151bpm in 2:13:17! I felt so good during the inital ‘out’ section that instead of turning at 12.5km I decided to turn at 13 for the ‘back’ section to make a route of 26km…and then at about 24km I decided I might as well do a loop of my block to make it 27km! Next week’s long run will only be 16km because I have the County Cross Country Championships on Sunday and I’d like to run with fairly fresh legs.

Sunday’s are for sleeping and, unusually for me sleep I did! I didn’t wake up until 1045hrs and so I didn’t get out of the door until after lunch time. It was raining, it was windy and fairly cold and to be honest I struggled with the conditions for the first 2km before settling in…until around 6km when I pretty much blew up! I suddenly became very tired, my legs felt heavy and I had to really focus my mind on the task at hand! I pulled myself together at 7km and tried to push on for a sub 35:00 8km which I just missed and from there I decided to continue on for a 10km under 45:00 which I made with only 14 seconds to spare. A bit of a tough one to finish up a decent week of training but that just makes me grateful for tomorrow which is a rest day – the only thing on the cards is foam rolling and a sit down in the steam room!

That’s it for this extensive round-up of my training week dear reader. I hope the trails, roads and treadmills treat you well in the week ahead.

Peace & Blessings

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