Training for: Mont Blanc Marathon / Lakeland 50 / TDS
Runs: 4, Total Distance: 54.7km, Total Time: 4:01
A very ‘light’ week in terms of training volume with more complete days off than is usual. I did zero exercise and zero yoga on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and dropped from 6 days per week of yoga to just three sessions over seven days.
I’m not sure why but on Monday I just felt very heavy, lethargic and demotivated which is why I didn’t even manage to put together a yoga practice at home. The feeling of demotivation and tiredness carried on through Tuesday too and I left work feeling absolutely shattered – I fell asleep on the journey home from work twice (once whilst standing!) and dropped my book on both occasions.
So my Tuesday run came as a surprise! It took about 2 miles for me to feel warmed up and actually awake and it wasn’t until I passed through 5km that I began to really enjoy the run. This was one of the workouts I do where I set arbitrary time targets on the move which makes the run somewhat of a wave tempo effort – I hesitate to call it an actual ‘Wave Tempo’ as that requires structure and intention – but after hitting my first target of sub 22:00 5k (21:57) I set my sights on a sub 34:00 8k (33:49) before pushing really hard to get as close to 41:00 for 10k as I could manage (41:41) before slowing into a recovery klick and then kicking to finish sub 50:00 for 12k (49:48). Considering the lethargy early on and given that the first 5km was largely uphill (with the final 5km mostly down) I finished feeling very accomplished and, funnily enough, wide awake! Afterwards I undertook a gentle Hatha session to release some tension in my glutes and quads and then took a walk to my local curry house for a wonderful dinner.
Wednesday I was booked in to do a taught yoga class at a venue I’ve never been to before and I ended up getting there late. I would not have felt at all comfortable interrupting the vinyasa within the class so I retreated back to my vehicle feeling quite frustrated with myself for not having factored in travel and navigation time. I made the most of my evening and ended up eating out again (two nights in a row?!) – as I was in an area I’d never been I thought it would be nice idea to check out the amenities!
I had a pretty stressful, tiring day at work on Thursday and this combined with guilt from missing yoga and not running on Wednesday meant I was in a pretty foul frame of mind by the time I got home from work! I really did not fancy running but I forced myself to don my running gear and out of the front door. The first 5k were a nightmare – my legs felt heavy, my breathing felt somewhat laboured and my mind was screaming at me to stop or at least slow down. I absolutely hated it – being shouted at by a pedestrian for no apparent reason didn’t help matters either! But then, I passed through in 19:54 and then began to take comfort from my discomfort. At this point the run began to turn for me and my breathing settled and I felt fairly light on my feet, any time self doubt came into my mind I gritted my teeth and tried to increase or hold the pace to good effect! I went through 8km in 32:26 and then hurled myself at a sub-40:00 10k and succeeded in the endeavour going through in 39:48 before cruising along on a 500m cool down – one thing to note is that I was so focused on hitting sub 40:00 that I almost got hit by a car that was reversing around a corner! I’ll take partial responsibility for that near miss but, hey, whoever you are in your white Audi TT, you need to put on your headlights if you’re on the road at night…
On finishing I was really happy with the data on my watch but when I connected to GarminConnect it informed me that satellite signal was lost around the 8km mark so I can’t be entirely confident in the accuracy of any data past that point. The happiness was consumed by the grey data and my feeling of tiredness and stress that I had been carrying all day returned again – try as I might I couldn’t combat that and I fell asleep very early in the evening and slept through to Friday morning without really moving a muscle! I guess I needed the sleep because when Friday came I woke up feeling much more myself. There was a definite ‘TGIF’ feeling at work throughout the day and my colleagues and I decided to head to the pub straight after work – after pint number one I made up my mind to stay, relax and chat for a while as I really think I needed to be around people after the goings on of the week and my general feelings of disconnectedness, isolation, lethargy, stress and tiredness which seemed to fluctuate throughout the week in strength and severity! It did the trick. Thankfully!
On Saturday, to further combat my strange week I decided to mix up my long run a bit. Instead of my usual aerobic canal path long run I opted to try a half road and half canal path effort and in so doing I achieved the goal of reawakening my inner runner! I smiled for the whole run and consequently was smiled at by most people I passed. I had a loose idea at around 14km that I’d try to run as close to 1:33 for 21k as possible but realised at around 18km that I would be some way off that. In the end I managed 1:35:26 – 3 minutes faster than last week’s long run and seemingly a lot more comfortable. In fact, I think a lot of my feelings in the week may have been related to the implosion of my long run last Saturday! I think (I hope) a lot of runners will understand that. It really can take a lot out of you, not just physically, but mentally, when things don’t really go to plan on the run. I’m not sure how the long run will pan out during the Saturday to come but I think I’m going to move off the road and the canal path and hit the trails because I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill, road and canal stuff this month! Variety, after all, is the spice of life.
When I woke up on Sunday I felt happy, energised and motivated and with only 6.5k to run to round out a 50k week I laced up and got out before breakfast. Because the weather was so pleasant and my mood and mental state were also pleasant I ended up running for 10k (on the road) and thoroughly enjoying myself! I noticed when I got home that my Hoka Huaka are now looking pretty battered after registering 700k since August so that can only mean one thing – time for a new pair when payday arrives so already next week is looking far better than this! Sunday continued with the positivity and warmth. At 1600hrs I headed over the my usual Sunday yoga class and happily immersed myself in possibly the best yoga practice I’ve had the privilege to be present for. There was so much relaxed, focused, happy and peaceful energy emanating from the Yogi and from each member of the class and it was a truly heart warming and beautiful experience! I wanted to hold onto the feeling of peace and energy so I headed straight to the sauna to focus my intention for the week ahead through Pranayama practice and, because I enjoyed it so much in class, I added in Hamuman Arsana and finished with seated forward fold and child’s pose.
I can’t say that I’m sad to see the week that was disappear into the ether that’s for sure but I can say that I am looking forward to the week and weekend ahead. I’m sitting here typing this on the morning of Tuesday 22nd March and I have none of the feelings that plagued me last week – I’m focused, content, alert and glad to be back to something of my usual self!
I hope the trails, treadmills and roads treat you well this week dear reader.
Peace & Blessings