Weekly Summary 16/03 and 23/03

16/03 - 22/03 Summary

Sun - 7.1 miles Hill Drills session (8:56m/m)
Mon - 7.6 miles inc 4 x 1 mile reps with 2 mins rest (6.36m/m rep avg)
Tue - 7 miles (8:50m/m)
Wed - Missed run
Thu - 3.5 miles (9:14m/m) am 7.5 miles (inc 5 x 1 km reps avg 4:05k/m)
Fri - 7.1 miles inc 6 x 100m strides (8:30m/m)
Sat - 11.8 miles (inc 9.4 miles at 7:26m/m)

Total Mileage - 51.1 (8:45m/m)

23/03 - 29/03 Summary

Sun - 16 miles (9:08m/m)
Mon - Rest
Tue - 7.7 miles (inc 5 miles at 7:12m/m)  (7:42m/m)
Wed - 8.3 miles (8:29m/m)
Thu - 8 miles (inc 6 x 800km avg 3:10) (7:51m/m)
Fri - Missed run
Sat - 6 miles (inc Hornchurch Park Run 21:47 - 7:01m/m) (7:46m/m)

Total Mileage - 46 (8:24m/m)

Well the first couple of weeks of introducing fast sessions have been a great deal of fun although my volume has taken a 30% hit mainly because of missing a couple of runs and a long run reschedule on 15/03.

It was my first time at a Park run on Saturday as I didn't make time to get out for a schedule 9-10 miles at 7:30 pace. Given I had already done two fast sessions in the week I wasn't expecting a lot. I arrived 20-30 seconds after the runners had set off so I was having to work my way through from the back of the field. The course is 80% XC in nature and the ground was wet in many places which is always fun with road shoes on!

Not knowing the course and never ran a fast 5km I didn't know how hard to push early on. I made a conscious effort to ignore my watch and just concentrate on feel. I was quickly making my way up through the field of runners and really concentrating on breathing, running form and quite frankly running hard! 5km is a sprint!

As I approached the last 200m or so I had tagged onto a runner about 15-20 meters in front of me who I hadn't managed to pass yet so with one final hard effort I was bringing the knees up really high and with my lungs practically on fire pipped him on the line. After collecting my bar code chip and passing it to the organiser I collapsed onto the ground with a feeling of wipe out.

After catching my breath my throat felt quite sore and jogged around for a 3-4 mins to ensure my legs didn't seize up. After watching a few other runners come in I said my goodbyes to some smiling faces and headed off home. I made a decision there an then that i will be back next week.

Little while later I got my result of 13th out of 96 and 21:47 so definitely some room for improvement. By running these more consistently and dropping some weight (static at 179 pounds for the last 6 weeks) I can get this time down. These sessions will certainly help with Halstead coming up in 7 weeks.

Definitely some faster stuff mixed in with the long runs over the next 3-4 weeks will definitely help and probably test me to the limit.

Over the Hill and into the Anaerobic Cave

Saturday marked the end of the Hill phase and Sunday the beginning of the next step in my Halstead Marathon training plan....8 weeks to go.

The weekend was absolutely glorious (at least in the South East) and I intended to fully enjoy every minute of it. I actually thought for a second before heading out the door on Saturday whether I would need sun screen even it was that warm. I made the decision to swap the long run to Saturday as i was heading out for a social event with Tracy so I didn't want to run long the night after. I would do my hill drills on Sunday instead.

One difference to the long run this week was that I had recently treated myself to a new running pack - Salomon Skin-slab 5.
Feels like a second skin

I will be doing a full review of it at some stage but my initial impressions are that is awesome.

My long run was a mixture of my local country park trails and some roads towards the last 5 miles. These runs are about time on feet at the moment and although that will change soon I have been enjoying a lovely relaxing 2.5 hr run each week. I switched off pretty much the whole time until I got around to 14 miles that I decided to increase the pace to see if the legs would respond. Indeed they did and I was coasting at 7:45 and 7:25 minute miles for the last two miles without too much trouble before cooling down. Another solid 16.4 miles in the bag. Good times.

perfect trails (just need more hills)

Perfect blue skies

After getting up on Sunday morning the forecast was for a sunny 19C. It was always going to be tough running during the morning as the kids were dying to get out on their bikes as soon as they come back from grandparents at 8am! I knew I could run later in the day before dinner and it was always going to be more fun playing with them and eating ice cream in the park. It was a great morning and quite relaxing to be honest even with the two kids running and riding around at full speed!

Later on before dinner I headed out to my local "hill" (I call it that at least) for my last hill drills session. As I started my easy warm up I kept thinking to myself that for the past 2 months I had been following a training approach with very little interruption. Both my attitude and results are starting to show so far I am feeling more convinced every week that this approach is working for me and although my ankle had been niggly and stiff on occasion during the hill phase it has not stopped me running pretty much on a daily basis. I have really learnt a great deal about managing myself running wise during the last 2 months and as I enter the next phase of training I am anticipating to peak for a race like never before.

The hill drills session was executed to the best of my ability with 4 x 30 second fast striding, 4 x hill bounding (about 2 -3 mins to the top), 4 x downhill strides, 4 x thigh driving (felt sick on the last one) and then an easy run home. 3 weeks ago I was struggling to do even a quarter of this but now I feel so much stronger and fitter coming off that I cannot wait to see what happens this week as I begin the Anaerobic phase

I am not quite a deer leaping over a fence but I am definitely feel like I have plenty of spring in my step.

We all know Hills are speed work in disguise

Well time is flying by very quickly. One minute I am building base miles the next I am approaching the end of the hill phase.

The last couple of weeks have been a definite learning curve both in terms of running and recovery. February's training block went well when looking at in the cold light of day. I clocked up 219 miles and only had 5 days of non running. That is a big improvement on previous years and I have definitely felt the benefit in averaging 50+ miles a week. No doubt concistency and relative high mileage for me is making me a stronger.

In fact within a week of starting the hill phase my heart rate dropped like a stone on average by 10-15 beats for the given pace I was running on an easy day 6 weeks previous. I have definitely gotten more efficient and am not feeling tired after my long runs which although not exceedingly long i can maintain the 8:40 pace and heart rate below 145 beats per minute for up to 2.5hrs.

Along with the hill sessions in this phase I have been doing almost what you would call tempo runs but they are a little bit below that threshold. It's basically a training session that encourages you to run at the top end of your aerobic effort. This for me is around 155 beats per minute. I did a 9 mile run the first week and a 12 mile effort last week. It felt really good to get some faster sessions into the mix. The 9 miler was 158 HR and 7:49 pace while the 12 miles last week was even better at 153 HR and 7:44. Definite progress and feel that I could have gone faster and longer on this one last week.

On the flip side the hill workout sessions have been tough and have caused my calves and ankles to flare up (particularly the right hand side). Hill bounding is a form of plyometric training that can be hard on unconditioned legs with particular focus on the ankles. I did take things easy after the first session but I could feel after a couple of days that my right ankle was agitated. After applying some regular self massage though it's looking like the calves are finally adapting just in time before the real anaerobic work begins next week.

I clipped the long run yesterday to just under 15 miles and today's easy fartlek to 45 minutes to give the legs a break the past couple of days as my daily vitals were a little off due to lack of sleep. I have averaged just under 56 miles the past 6 weeks and am feeling healthy and looking forward to the next block of training.

It's been an interesting journey changing up my training approach and once I come out of this training cycle I have a feeling that I will never go back to another form of training approach. Never say never though eh!

I leave you with this quote from Lydiard about hill training. I hope one day that I will be able to actually do this because at the moment I feel more like deer with a gammy leg!

"Like a deer going over the fence..." - Arthur Lydiard