With a lack of structure in my training over the last few weeks, I began to think about changing things with one eye on the Loch Ness Marathon coming up in September. I’ve been guilty of adding in runs at random times where I can with no purpose other than to complete a minimum of 30mins to get points towards my insurance policy with Vitality via Fitness Rewards. When you get rewarded for your exercise and number is steps per day, that can be pretty good motivation to get out when you’re not training for anything in particular in the short term!
I’ve not been lazy having obliterated my Parkrun PB within the last month and now running steady paces for 5km that only a few weeks ago I could only have dreamed of. With the progress I’m making over the short distances, I now need to develop that over longer distances. The target of running sub 3:15 to get a Good For Age place in London has never been more within reach but I still need to make sure I can do it.
With the great weather in the early part of the week, I got the bike out to cycle to and from work. I recall this kind of training helping me a couple of years ago in the build up to Loch Ness at the end of my big challenge and so I wanted to add that back into the mix. I’ve also added in some more yoga-style workouts to help improve my flexibility and hip mobility. I do a lot of mobility training anyway so this feels like a great compliment.
I ran across to work on Wednesday afternoon then, as I was finished early, enjoyed a great run home in the sunshine. My studio is 2 miles away from home and so had a road run across late afternoon but on the way home, I took a detour and ran up St Magdalene’s Hill, across Craigie Hill then home. I’ve seen the path from the road hundreds of times and so decided to see where it led. It was a nice path/trail mix and mostly uphill but that was all good and a route I might choose again. I’ve been up the hill a few times from the other direction so good to see where other paths lead.
I was out again on Thursday evening with my Run Faster running group. We normally do pace/technique work but decided to take them on an actual run with a mix of uphill and downhill stretches to work on. Getting the technique right on both can be pretty useful when going into a race like Loch Ness which has a mix of both and if you can get the downhills right, they can act as good recoveries as well as going faster!
For the first time ever, I got down to Parkrun in plenty time so spent a bit more time warming up. I added some hopping drills to this and it certainly paid off in the run. I felt I started off a bit slower than I normally do and felt in control and able to speed up at any time. I passed through the first mile in 6:15, only 5 seconds slower than I’ve been doing lately and still with more to give. I worked my way through the field and continued to feel good on the grass section on the way back, going through mile 2 in 6:15 again, feeling in control and still with more in reserve. Until my 18:57 run a few weeks back, I was hitting mile 2 in 6:30 so this is a major improvement for me. I crossed the line in 19:07 and when I checked my splits, I noticed that I ran the third mile in 6:15 and the first time I have ever run 5km with even splits!
Making the time to do a warm up and including the hopping drills made a huge difference and I felt strong the whole way round. It’s only a few weeks ago where I would’ve considered a 19:30 run to be very good but this run felt much easier than 19:30 did! Spending more time working on technique and doing the hopping on the day of the run has worked very well and something I’ll add into my weekday training also.
I finished the weekend off with a long run today. I had arranged to go for a run with my friend Graeme and decided to run across to meet him rather than take my car as per usual. I enjoy our runs as it’s about the chat as much as the run! The chat certainly keeps our pace in check but it allows us to run further than what we may do otherwise. It was good for him to get 8 miles in as he’s not trained for a couple of weeks and by the time I got home, I had clocked up 11 miles.
The mission for me now is to structure next week’s training so I can get some better quality runs done with a healthy mix of mobility and technique work so I can feel like my training is better planned than it has been.
What do you need to work on to make your training better?