Monday is still recovery run day, but with a 5k race tomorrow it had a bit of a twist. Instead of the usual 45 minutes it was cut down to 30 minutes with 6 sets of strides at the end. It always takes me a while to get up to top speed, so I ran my strides as 100m sprints with 2 minutes recovery between each sprint. I was pleasingly consistent around the 18 to 20 second mark, and it was good to get up on my toes (something I rarely do). I even made it round before the rain started to fall.
Maybe these running coaches do know what they are doing. The gradual increase in mileage on my long run (up to 2 and a half hours which was just over 16 miles) meant that when I headed out for my 45 minute recovery run this morning my legs actually felt fine. Not what I would have expected, but I’m not going to grumble about it.
I had a cheque to pay into the bank (some people still use them it seems), so I bimbled my way into town and back again. The perfect distance for 45 minutes easy running and I got to go along the railway path in the other direction for a change.
I was woken early (too early for the morning after the Super Bowl) by one of the kittens first licking, then nibbling my ear, then removing my ear stud (still trying to work out if she swallowed it or not). Since I’ve got a wood delivery scheduled any time from 10:00 I figured I may as well get up and get the scheduled 45 minute recovery run over and done with.
It was a crisp morning, so I went with the hat, gloves, and Buff combination and headed out on my old 5k route (which I covered a lot in 2015). To get all of the time in I had to do a couple of mini laps over the bridge (which was a little icy), but I stayed out of the water (whatever the GPS says).
Week 8 already and today was my first attempt at ‘strides’ (short, fast efforts). They came after an easy 30 minute recovery run which I decided to do around Netham Park. This is where I first started running with a couch25k programme and is nice and flat, perfect for recovery.
There was a definite need for trail shoes on the grass and I had a go at the strides (after a bit of a rest and a stretch) on a compacted earth path with a bit of a bend in it. I may need to work them over a slightly longer distance next time as it takes me a little while to get up to top speed, but it was good to run with a bit of attack. I was very pleased with the pace when I got home and was able to look it up.
There’s nothing quite like being woken at unneccessary-o’clock by kittens hurling themselves around the bedroom: off the walls, blinds, bed, each other, and you. After yesterday’s long run I really wasn’t feeling like heading out into the cold and the grey, but I laced on my shoes (with some ‘helping’) and went out anyway, assisted by some banging tunes (OK, cheesy pop).
No foxes spotted on my route today, but there were a couple of cats keeping themselves to themselves on the railway path, and a heron perched on a rooftop, it’s nice to see signs of wildlife in the city.
Normally I call this a mini-molehill run, but it was more like a pyramid after my exertions yesterday, at least it is strength and conditioning tomorrow which should give the blisters on my little toes a chance to subside (oh, the glamour of marathon training).
A moist Monday morning molehill motivator run today, with a bit of drizzle that meant my smile return rate was woefully low (at least that’s what I am blaming it on). I did see a club mate out on the railway path, which doesn’t happen as often as it probably should. I think this is only the fifth time I’ve seen someone I know on this very popular place to run, probably because I am lucky enough to be able to use it during the day.
Week 6 and I’m starting to look around at what other people are doing. Two of my BigMarathonChallenge compatriots went further than me on their long runs yesterday, though I was running at the designated ‘conversational’ pace. I’ll have to see how it goes this coming Sunday when I’ll be out on my own with no pauses to get over gates and past horses. I think I get a ‘bonus’ session today with my mini-molehill effort following straight on from yesterday. I’m sure I was running ‘steady’ efforts at my marathon pace originally, and this was quite a bit slower than that, but maybe that was when I was still fiddling with the heart rate zones to get them properly lined up with effort. Maybe it’s just the plan starting to kick in (gotta trust the plan). It will be interesting to compare Wednesday’s intervals with last week’s when I am getting accurate heart rate information (so it probably won’t be as fast).
For my Monday motivation today it was what I am calling a ‘mini molehill’ run, where a steady effort is sandwiched between two easy efforts. If there were more changes of effort/pace or the ‘gradient’ (difference between the efforts) was a bit steeper I might call it a pyramid run, but in the circumstances it is more of a mini molehill.
I just about made it out to my usual turnaround point if I were doing a 5 mile run, the Staple Hill tunnel, for once very few runners out and about (only 2), maybe they’re all back at work now, or maybe the light rain was keeping them away. There’s no point not training if you don’t like the weather, what are you going to do if it’s the same on race day? As one of my old PE teachers used to say, what are you made out of sugarlumps? You’re not going to dissolve in a little bit of water (though I did wear a hat as I hate getting water in my face).
I averaged 9 minute miles (one for Pete as he’s requested imperial measurements but I only deal in metric), but during the steady effort I was actually running at around 8:22 minute mile pace.
This is more like it, the fourth day of running in a row with a mini progression run. A true progression run would have pace increases throughout, starting with the slowest and ending with the fastest. This was more of a bookended progression run, with the first and last 10 minutes at an easy pace (heart rate zone 2) and the middle 25 minutes at a steady pace (heart rate zone 3).
It was cold and icy out there, so some of the heart rate spikes may have been due to conditions underfoot rather than the effort of running (though doesn’t the heart need to work harder in colder weather anyway?). Strength and conditioning tomorrow and a return to the gym with CubaTone.