Monday 21st to Sunday 27th March 2016

Training for: Mont Blanc Marathon / Lakeland 50 / TDS

Runs: 2, Total Distance: 20.3km, Total Time: 1:21

Week 9 - Mont Blanc Marathon / Lakeland 50 / TDS

Week 9 – Mont Blanc Marathon / Lakeland 50 / TDS

Two runs in seven days. Five yoga sessions in seven days. One extra race entered. That is not really how I expected the week that was to have been.

To be honest I don’t really feel up to writing a blog post as much as last week (and so far, this Monday) I don’t really feel like running. It’s not that I can’t run, I certainly can – last week’s runs produced some pretty fast 5, 8 and 10k times which I’m pleased about – it’s just that I think that because I’m very close to starting my focused, dedicated training block for Mont Blanc, Lakeland and TDS I feel like my body should probably get some rest and respite before my weekly distance goes up from 50-55k per week to more like 70-80k (maybe more?!) per week.

My training is more varied this year. Whereas I focused solely on running when I trained for last year’s races, particularly CTS Dorset in December, this time around I’m incorporating yoga to help regulate my breathing, build up my mental strength and to help with flexibility and strength. In addition to yoga I’m also, warily, going to hit the gym twice per week to lift increasingly heavy weights because there is a large evidence base that points to heavy weight/strength training for endurance athletes improving efficiency, performance and body composition.

The nerves are certainly there and they come from the fact that I’m changing what I know works – running a lot (6 days from 7) – to something I have no personal experience of but that experiential evidence from other endurance athletes and, indeed, from science suggests works better than what I’ve been doing up to now. On April 4th I’ll give it a shot. All of my runs are going to have to be slightly longer than usual so that I can get in the mileage over fewer sessions and that in itself makes me nervous – I’m not a professional athlete so I’m going to have to make sacrifices in other areas to make sure I put the time and effort in on the roads, on the trails and in the gym and not just for running but for strength training too.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post I have entered an extra race which I hope will get my head into a serious racing and training mindset. I’ll be running the Brecon Beacons Half Marathon on April 17th which is week 2 of my new training schedule – I’m hoping that a shorter trail race than I’m used to, in an area I’ve never visited will invigorate my senses and put to use some of the speed I’ve recently found lurking in my legs and lungs! Below is a snapshot of the first 4 weeks of my new training plan which is set to run from April 4th to August 25th (the day after TDS):

The basic, theoretical structure of my training from April 4th to May 1st.

The basic, theoretical structure of my training from April 4th to May 1st.

The strength building basis of my heavy lifting for endurance program - Wednesdays and Friday from April 4th to May 1st.

The strength building basis of my heavy lifting for endurance program – Wednesdays and Friday from April 4th to May 1st.

As you can see I’ll be dropping from 6 days of running per week to 5 days. The caveat here is that if I’m feeling worn down or too battered one of the aerobic runs or the Sunday treadmill run will either be swapped out for a weighted vest hike or a complete rest. Last year I finally learned to listen to my body and this year I intend to do the same. Again, this does make me nervous and is definitely having an impact on my leading into April 4th but I know that as long as I put in the work and stay healthy I’ll run some good races this summer!

For the week ahead I’m not expecting great things distance wise on the running front but I will be attending a number of yoga classes and will get in the gym a couple of times to have some practice runs on the weights.

Until then dear reader I hope the roads, trails and treadmills treat you all well!

Peace & Blessings

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