Training for: Mont Blanc Marathon / Lakeland 50 / TDS
Runs: 3 (Hikes: 1), Total Distance: 40.7km, Total Time: 3:47
This is how my training will look now until the beginning of April when I start to increase my running mileage and running focused workouts and scale back the strength, conditioning and swimming.
Monday was my final day of annual leave before returning to work and I really felt the need to get in a long cardio session without resorting to the trails or roads. So it was that I decided to head to the pool, initially for a 2km swim, but which evolved into my third ever attempt 4km. I was enjoying the swim so much at the 2km point that I set a target of reaching 4km in 1:20 if I could – I didn’t quite manage that and went through Ironman (3.8km) in 1:20:30 before continuing on to complete the swim in 1:24:57. Later that evening I followed the pilates workout video that I started on last week and, just reading the note from my Strava training diary made me laugh:
“Looking forward to running with no shirt on and not feeling self conscious this summer (as well as being able to hold a decent form past marathon distance)!”
What can I say? It’s true and it is a great motivator for me when I find circuits or pilates workouts tough going! Tuesday I followed the same pilates video and continued with my self devised bodyweight circuits which vary in reps and sets but have the following basic exercises:
On Wednesday I really wanted to get out and go for a group run with my club (I’ve been saying that since I joined…still not happened) but I had to stay late at work to sort some pressing matters out! I ran entirely on feel only checking my watch at the top of a big climb around 3km and the bottom of a big descent around 4.5km. I have been running just on feel since recovering from my final race of 2015 and so during the run my watch now displays time/distance by default – I feel far more free running this way and I rarely check the other metrics such as heart rate or pace during the run itself. I have noticed that I tend to run around 10 to 15bpm above my aerobic heart rate when I’m not so focused on staying in that particular zone, or any zone at all. However, it is evident that I am still carrying the remnants of a cold and ill health because my heart rate (both resting and working) does seem to be higher than usual at the moment.
Thursday I was back to circuits and pilates and then on Friday, straight after work, I headed to the pool with a target of 3km as close to 1:00:00 as I could get!
“Order is repetition of units. Chaos is multiplicity without rhythm.” M.C. Escher
And so went this swim! The first 1000m were orderly, the second 1000m were chaos as there were far too many people sharing just one lane! I used up a lot of energy and effort just to overtake and keep at a decent pace. This meant that the final 1000m were tiring, much slower than I had expected and the last 800m of the swim were hard going as I cramped up in both of my calves every now and then. But, even with all the effort and the slowing down towards the end I managed to swim the 3km in 1:00:20 it would just have been nice to be able to repeat the first 1000m three times…maybe at the next attempt to pool will be a little quieter? We shall see. After my swim I spent a very relaxing half hour in the sauna followed by twenty minutes in the steam room, by which point I was feeling a little light headed and hungry so I retreated home to make a smoothie and some dinner before completing a very relaxing yoga session before bed.
Saturday came and I ended up being far more active than I had anticipated. I had to take my car in for it’s annual check-up and found that it was going to need some work done – so it was that I found myself with two hours to kill, and so it was that I found out I am very much dedicated to endurance and the ultra life because instead of finding a cafe or coffee shop to relax and read the newspaper in I chose to walk a 3km circuit of the neighbourhood in the cold and the rain. I actually quite enjoyed it and spent the time listening to TalkUltra podcast and focusing on my breathing! After picking up the car I went off to see my Dad for an hour and then I decided to hit one of my favourite training routes which is a mixture of canal path, trail and road. But, before getting out on the run I decided to spend thirty minutes slowly warming up by completing a number of yoga and pilates sequences and listening to (and reciting) the Om Mani Padme Hum and Surya mantras.
“The happiness which comes from long practice, which leads to the end of suffering, which at first is like poison, but at last like nectar – this kind of happiness arises from the serenity of one’s own mind.”― Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, The Bhagavad Gita
I had zero targets in mind for the, apart from a desire to head out for five miles and to run the same route back. I haven’t been on a run past 12km for quite some time. I had a quiet mind for most of it and no thought or train of thought was stuck with me for more than a few seconds at a time which was a very refreshing and unexpected turn of events considering I was running slightly out of my aerobic zone and my rate of perceived effort seemed to increase with every footfall from 10km to the end at 16km!
I rounded out the week on Sunday by heading out for a hike over the very muddy trails and off trail sections of my local nature reserve. I was expected some mud but what I found was an absolute quagmire and after twenty minutes or so of slipping and sliding around I was cursing the fact I hadn’t brought along my poles! I kept on and eventually found some more solid ground the higher I went and was subsequently able to increase my hiking pace until reaching the turn around point at 8km. It was very quiet out on the trail and I saw not a single other person for over an hour. At the turn around I gulped down some water, stuffed my small jacket into my running pack and then set off at a decent clip along the route I had just walked. I decided to try and run as hard as I could given the conditions underfoot and on the solid ground I managed a decent pace but every step in the mud was like moving up an escalator that is going down. I had no time to think about anything at all other than how best to keep moving forward at something above walking pace over the last couple of kilometres but found the whole workout to be a great end to the week cardio and strength wise as I felt I had really put my legs and lungs through the grinder when I got back to my front door!
I took a half hour to shower and then headed out for my final bit of exercise for the week and headed off to my local leisure centre for my first ever taught class of Hatha yoga and I absolutely loved it. Following YouTube videos at home is one thing but it felt far more rewarding, challenging and relaxing being taught in a class, I found it extremely helpful getting some pointers on technique/posture too and I cannot wait to attend more classes in future – I am particularly intrigued by the prospect of an hour of Bikram yoga at some point soon!
That’s it from me this week dear reader. I hope the trails, roads and treadmills treat you all well in the week ahead.
Until next time.
Peace & Blessings