This is the first post I have written in weeks! I’ve got a good excuse though, Allison and I moved house and I spent a bit of time doing stripping wallpaper at the flat and doing a few other jobs so skipped a few runs in the process.
I got back into running again in the last 2 weeks and it’s not really a good idea to move house and take time out of running during a marathon training phase! It’s been hard work getting back in there again and a lot of hard work ahead if I can manage to hit my target of sub 3:15 in Paris.
If anything good has come out of all this then it’s the decision to shake things up a bit to get better results. Being consistent with runs is the most important thing but also to add in the sessions that will add value – hills, speedwork etc. I have got back into doing steady paced runs but last week I felt that I needed a bit more so on Thursday, I went out to do 8 miles and tried to do every second mile faster. Ideally I want to be able to develop this to being able to do these kind of sessions with the alternate miles at a quicker pace than target pace so that my body gets used to that level of intensity.
I’ve also been getting back into some technique work that I do to help with performance. This is largely some exercises to help my hips with the forward motion of running. This might sound silly but many training plans online include exercises that strengthen the muscles used in running but not in a way that would benefit running! More on that in a different post I think!
I’m delighted that Parkrun has been a central point of my training and the good thing is, the course has changed over the last few weeks due to the weather so the intensity has been there but the terrain has been different. This is a good thing to get used to different routes.
My biggest challenge came at the weekend when I was asked to take someone out running from a local hotel. It was originally meant to be Sunday but the guest asked if we could go out on Saturday instead and so I thought it would be a great idea to do Parkrun first then go to the hotel and run with the guest. I forgot the bit about taking it easy in Parkrun as soon as I heard “3..2..1..Go!” I set about racing it as usual and was pleased with my 19:48 time. I waited for Allison, who was doing her first run back after recovering from a stress fracture and interestingly, her previous run was at Parkrun on the last day they were able to use the main route back in November!
I jumped in the car and headed straight for Gleneagles where I met Tina and we set off for our run. Tina’s doing a Half Marathon in Colchester in a few weeks and wanted to fit in a crucial training run while she was at the hotel for the weekend. The HM route involves a few hills and it was good that the route I chose, was very undulating with a cluster of short, sharp hills to tackle. I ran that particular road a few times a year or two ago during marathon training where I went on to teach a class at the hotel afterwards. It was approximately 5 miles to the end of the road then we turned round and ran back. Until that point, I let Tina set the pace and observed her running and noticed that, like most people, she wasn’t comfortable running uphill or downhill so I gave her a few tips to work on.
The road seemed hillier coming back the way than it was on the way out so Tina got plenty practice in with each hill better than the one before. We finished the second part of the run quicker than the first part and it was good to see Tina tackle the hills almost like an expert the further we went on so that was pleasing to see along with her strong finish. I think she’s well on target for her goal time in her race!
I really enjoyed the run and felt suitably tired after a total of 13.1 miles done that day. By the afternoon, I was walking a bit like a pensioner and a feeling I’m more than familiar with after a long run.
After a relaxing evening, I went out again on Sunday to do 8 miles. The pace wasn’t important, it was just to get the miles in the legs. One of the best tips I’ve ever learned was the value in running on consecutive days and the body getting used to running on tired legs on the second day and while the pace wasn’t particularly great, my legs felt good during and after the run.
Maybe there’s a light appearing at the end of the tunnel and I’m starting to head in the right direction. I can’t be sure but my body seems to be responding better for it anyway.
If you’re feeling a bit flat with your training or feel you’re not making the progress you should be, have an open mind and try mixing things up a bit. You will soon know if your body responds to it and it might just give you the progress that you’re looking for.