Friday, February 27, 2015

The hardest running decision: aka a Spot of bother

I have had to make the hard choice, the not to run choice, the choice that leaves you utterly empty at the completion of a block of training. I will not run the Bath Half marathon on Sunday, because I went and picked up an injury. Worst of it all is that it is my own fault, I should have seen it coming, and I should have listened to sound advice.

Good advice is often right in front of your face, so it was a little while back when I read some very good blogs and when I was following my training plan carefully / mindfully. So how I managed to read and then ignore some very sound guidance is a little beyond me (apart from perhaps having too male a brain sometimes).

My not quite running man just about sums it all up

I even read number 2 on MissZippy's advice list in her blog post "Running plans were made to be flexible" which says and I quote - 'avoid placing two hard runs back to back'... so what did I do? Two hard runs back to back that absolutely trashed my legs and left my left calf muscle torn (not terribly but torn). A week later and I had to walk / hobble to the shops leaving me in little doubt that I had blown the half marathon throwing away money, planning and effort in two days of madness.

What's next? I try and get fixed up into good enough shape to run again and get into the second planned block of the year heading into the Swansea half marathon.... only this time I hope a WHOLE lot wiser!

Hope your running is going well, and that you don't try two hard runs back to back - please don't!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Variable rates of travel

The single biggest revelation of the New Year has been the 'discovery' of pace variation in my runs, which "yes" I should have thought about and mastered long ago. In following a new training plan I took the time to read the 'blurb' about each session type, something I thought I had done many times in the past but this set of instructions seemed to embed. So each session has a warm-up and cool down where I realised I had to run slowly in fact very slowly to cool down properly for instance, not something I've ever done before in run sessions (spotting a theme here yet?).

Lately I have found a speed range across almost 3 minutes per kilometre (something around 4.5-5 minutes per mile), and while the quicker pacing has been 'easier' to find I found the slow running very difficult at first. The focus on technique that comes with the pacing range has been so helpful to my running form. I only hope I can shake a niggle of a calf injury I have picked up in the last week, get round the Bath half on Sunday, and then get back into this awesome varied training.

Friday, February 06, 2015

Wow, that was quite the January

I am looking back now more than a little amazed as to just how well January went from a running and training point of view. Setting myself several targets for 2015 felt like the right way to progress, but I had this lingering doubt that I might be over-reaching. The targets come in three blocks, block one (lasting 8 weeks) into the Bath Half marathon, block two (the next 15 weeks) into the Swansea half marathon and the final block of 12 weeks into the Berlin marathon. All three predicated on progression towards a marathon PB, with the first block in some ways the most critical in determining how far I dare to let my ambitions go.

All month I was waiting for something to go wrong for something to twinge and fall apart, but no through using warm-ups and cool downs properly and employing my friend the golf ball I managed very well. My body is not entirely happy with the switch from life without a training plan to life with one but we are agreeing in the most part that everything is okay.

Interestingly going to the local pool for a swim session once a week really has made a difference to my training week perspective. It isn't that I have opted to bob about lazily in the pool I have been working hard and got up to 2.5km in my most recent visit. The big difference it makes is mental, I have to completely change my headspace to get a good session together in the water. Embarassingly I can't freestyle so I have been monstering quick breaststroke lengths instead, but all the while working out how I could try to improve my freestyle. This alternative challenge has neatly stopped me thinking 24/7 about running paces, sessions, technique, and all that.

In the end January was my 4th highest (recorded) month for distance in 4 years of keeping GPS records with just over 116km (72miles). I even went out on the last day of the month to ensure I pushed the total to a personal fourth best total, which I know is tiny compared to the distances 'serious' runners notch up (!).

Heading into February I am looking to simply keep this wagon rolling and glitch free. Bath comes at the end of the month and my main goal go under my Cardiff half marathon time from last year and get as close to my PB as possible without damaging myself for the next training block.