Monday 4th January to Sunday 10th January 2016

Training for: Grizedale Trail Marathon

Runs: 5, Total Distance: 42.7km, Total Time: 3:03

Week 4 of 8 - Grizedale Trail 26.

Week 4 of 8 – Grizedale Trail 26.

I’ll start at the end this week dear reader because I have just recently got home from the Hertfordshire Country Championships. I will be blunt. I am disappointed with my performance! I would go as far to say that at the moment I feel this is my worst race performance in my 5 years of running.

I have no idea what went wrong but I managed 52:55 on what amounted to an 11km course (it should have been 12km). I ran the first 5k in 23:00 which was exactly on plan but when the time came to turn it up a notch at 6k I just blew up, ran out of energy and my legs left me. Shortly after my head left me and I just plodded along wishing for the finish line: through 8k in 37:11 and through 10k in 47:27…not my finest hour! But, well, you have to learn from races and I’ll be examining this one in the week ahead to figure out what I could have done differently because it’s the National Championships at the end of February and I want to walk away from that with a sub 50:00 and my head held high. On a brighter note, I was the 5th scorer (from 6) on my team and my the rest of my team performed really well and pulled out some tremendous times up front and some hard fought efforts just in front of me and behind.

Watford Joggers Senior Men's Team. Hertfordshire Cross Country Championships 2016

Watford Joggers Senior Men’s Team. Hertfordshire Cross Country Championships 2016

Now, rewind a few days to the beginning of the week! It has not been a bad one at all and I’ve implemented a new dietary regime and started to incorporate and very basic strength and conditioning routine 6 days from 7. The S&C bascially consists of 20x sit-ups, 20x push-ups, 20x Russian Twists and 40x Bicep curls increasing by ten reps every 4 weeks and adding in an extra movement every 4 weeks. Alongside the new dietary regime I should end this year stronger, fitter and faster than ever before (and, also, hopefully much happier in my own skin).

THE RULES: my new dietary regime.

THE RULES: my new dietary regime.

So, training as ever started in earnest on Tuesday after work. I had a stressful day so I decided to head out and hammer out a fast road run! I ran under 20:00 for 5k, just missed a sub 32:00 8k and if I’d have carried on past 9k I would quite possibly have just squeezed under 41:00 for 10k. It was exactly the kind of run that I used to enjoy when I first started back in 2011 and it was great to take old faithful marathon PR shoes out for a decent run. I started out on the run with such a noisy mind and a head full of competing thoughts and within 2k all I could think about was the road ahead and my breathing – it’s how it should be and as close to a perfect start to the week I could have hoped for, particularly with the County Championship being on the horizon.

On Wednesday I was feeling energised and excited by the previous day’s run so I decided to go out on a 5k time trial to see if I could push to better my 18:47 PR. Long story short, I couldn’t! I did manage to go 19:24 which made me feel great – not close but not a long way off either. During this training block I would like to push the speed as much as I can whilst still remaining focused and dedicated to the uphill stuff that will be heading my way en masse from June onwards! Running fast, as painful as it can be, is extremely rewarding and I am really enjoying pushing it on the road at the moment – I am still in two minds about running the Manchester Marathon in April – I have a place but I’m not sure if it might prove to be the straw that breaks me later in the year. My A-Goals are a sub-24 hour 100 miler and a performance to be proud of at the Lakeland 50!

I woke on Thursday feeling under the weather and also feeling some discomfort in my right ankle in much the same place I felt it in my left a few months back when my soleus muscle was very tight. Accordingly I took the day off from training (aside from my basic S&C) and kept my fingers crossed for a speedy recovery. I used my massage ball and foam roller to work on my calf muscles/soleus and got an early night.

Friday came and although I was still feeling a little under the weather and pretty tired I decided to hit the treadmill and the sauna. I took on 12k with the first 2k at 4%, 3-6k at 2%, 6-8k at 1% and the final stretch at 0%. One thing is for certain, running hard on the treadmill is harder work than when you’re out on the road or trail! I would struggle to do my treadmill sessions without my headphones in and either some techno, punk or metal blaring out forcing me onwards! The splits for this one: 12k in 50:20, 10k in 42:20 and 8k in 34:05 with an elevation gain of 181m. My ankle didn’t feel 100% after the session so after my sauna session I made my mind up to hold back on the mileage for Saturday and then to assess my training for Week 5 after the County Championships. So, on Saturday, I got back on the treadmill for a quick little leg warmer and ran 5k in 21:00 – afterwards it became clear that Week 5 will consist of rest, rolling and S&C…

A mixed bag this week then! I just cannot seem to get into a consistent training groove and I’m feeling pretty battered, bruised and tired. Undoubtedly a week off during which I focus on fixing myself will help a great deal. I’m running the penultimate race of the cross country season in my hometown next Sunday too so hopefully that will go well with fresh legs and a healthier disposition – I’ve finished 104th at both League races I’ve done this season so it would be nice to break into the top 100 on home turf!

Thanks for reading. I hope that trails, roads and treadmills treat you all well in the week ahead!

Peace & Blessings

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