After struggling through the mid part of week 7 with illness and general lack of motivation, I had a better weekend with a good long run and positive brick run following the Sportive. The plan for week 8 is to get back on track and have a good solid training week, sticking to the plan and getting back on the speed work. Then all being well repeat this for week 9, then look to slightly increase the mileage from 4 mile runs to 4.5 mile runs from week 10 onwards. The scary thing about that is WEEK 10?? where has that time gone!! that will be the half way point of my training plan and just 70 days to go until the Berlin Marathon wow! firstly I need to get week 8 and 9 out of the way.
Monday – Now back on track and feeling better, today was Recovery Monday so it was an easy paced 4-mile run to the train station and back home, pacing at 7:46 which I look at and think that its a quick run, I guess over the period of this training and run streak I am getting stronger and quicker so I can now say 7:46 is an easy paced run. Whenever I am in a long race, so a half or full marathon, I use this 4-mile run as my motivation when I get to mile 7 or 22. I think to myself, 4 miles to go, thats just my daily run to the train station and back. This method does seem to work well for me, I know I can easily run that route so to treat the last stage of the marathon as a simple daily 4-mile run, gets me home quicker.
Tuesday – Today should be sprint training but with a busy day ahead and the very high temperatures (for the UK) I joined the 6am club for another steady 4 mile run to the canal and back. Even at 6am it was already getting warm for running. Also in the afternoon I took the opportunity of cycling to the care home to visit my mother so managed to get in 10.8-miles on the bike with 1,138ft of climbing.
Wednesday – Back in the office today so that means a quick cycle to the train station, a different train station than the one I run to on Monday. When cycling in, I like to get on one stop further down the track, this forces me to get more miles in on the bike and saves £1 on the train fare…. every penny counts. Anyway, in total it was 13-miles on the bike. Wednesday’s run is usually a tempo run, now I am going to mix this up again here (so much for sticking to the plan). Tomorrow I am having a go at a fell race so that can be my tempo run, today can be tomorrows easy run, there is some logic in there at times. It was a 4.2-mile run down the road and back at a 7:38 pace. Tonight’s run was tough going despite being flat. We had a very heavy rain storm an hour before hand but maintained the high temperatures so the humidity was ridiculous, I have never sweated so much on such a short run in my life.
Thursday – As mentioned above, today is race day. Before we go into that I was due in the office again today so back on the bike for the 6.5-mile ride to the station. Today wasn’t quite as smooth as yesterday. This time I had a pedestrian walk out directly in front of me, leaving no braking or reaction time whatsoever so I hit him full force at 17mph. I came off the bike and rolled a couple of times and he fell over. thankfully it was at 7:30am so there were no vehicles following otherwise I could have been ran over. The guy was very apologetic, he hadn’t looked because he did not hear a car coming. shocking really that he would just step out without looking. Cyclist are silent but so are electric cars and buses, is it worth taking that risk just to save turning your head? I came off ok really, just a grazed knee and left elbow, the right elbow was a little worse for wear but will heal up in time. The bike was ok as well, no major damage. After that experience, the evening ride home was pretty shaky and far more sedate than usual, it will take a few rides for me to get my confidence back after taking a fall like that.
So, it is race day today isn’t it! My friend Alan had asked me to join him on the Staffordshire Moorlands AC Summer Series Races, which are eight weekly races throughout the summer through various parks, woods, moors etc. This week was race 3 at Shutlingsloe near to Macclesfield. It was a 3.5-mile fell race with the first 2-miles all up hill, the remaining 1.5-miles then back down hill. Alan had warned me that the hill was steep, the first mile averaged 10.4% with a nasty 22.8% section in the middle. I managed this fairly easily and was making lots of places up, the next 0.2-mile was at 25.7% before levelling off up to 1.5-miles. Then we went downhill for another 0.25-miles which sounds great but running downhill at 22.4% I found really tricky, my calves were burning at this point but I was thinking that its all downhill to the finish now. We turned a corner and I literally near had a heart attack, we were about to run back uphill again but it looked like a cliff face. I took this photo but it doesn’t really give the gradient justice.
This was a 1/4 mile stretch that averaged out at 26% but peaked at 42.38% WTF!!! I had to walk, there was no way I could run up this part, I probably could have ran half way up if I had been expecting it but with thinking I was on the run down to the finish to then facing this hill, I was walking. The walk turned into a crawl on hands and knees when we got to the really steep part. Once at the top, then it was downhill all the way, again this was steep too, 49.1% at one point, thankfully it averaged around 10% so needless to say, that last mile was one of my quickest ever at 6:06. My thoughts on my first fell run? I really enjoyed it and will definitely do more, running on soft grass was good on the joints, it would have been more fun had I not come off the bike in the morning, I did ache all over from the impact with the floor and my elbow bled all down my arm which look dramatic as I was running along. In total, those first 2-miles were 925ft of elevation gain!!
Friday – I woke up this morning feeling like I had been in a car accident, every muscle in my body hurt, especially down all down my right side, which took the brunt of the impact yesterday. The cut on my elbow makes it difficult to bend my arm more than 90 degrees without opening it up again, so running is looking difficult today. I shelved the planned hill reps in favour of a more steady 3-mile run. I wasn’t too disappointed about missing the hill reps given I had clocked up a fair bit of gain during yesterday’s run. I left running as late as I could in the hope my body would recover somewhat, sadly it didn’t but I still needed to get the miles in so it was a 7:40 pace 3-miler. Just prior to this run I took one of the new Science in Sport Caffeine shots, to see if it would give me the boost they say it would. I was pretty pleased with this actually, it did give a boost of energy, I can see this giving me a good advantage when doing any speed work, sprints etc, something I shall try out again on Sunday for the Colshaw Hall 10k.
Saturday – Again, still feeling very rough this morning. The original plan was to run the Congleton Parkrun and then add on a further 7 miles to bring me up to my 10-mile long run today instead of Sunday. Given how I was feeling, I very nearly didn’t go to the Parkrun, the thought of not running at all entered my head, as did possibly running later in the day again. I decided to go with the Parkrun and see how it felt, it is best to just get out there and get it over and done with. Whilst running my 2-mile warmup my legs didn’t feel too bad, not great but good enough to run, I thought a steady Parkrun and then make the miles up to a 10k. That steady Parkrun turned into a 6:38, 6:39, 6:40 paced 5k coming in at 20:26 in 27th overall. I was pretty damn pleased with that one considering how I felt. That gave me the confidence that I could actually still run fairly quickly and made my mind up about tomorrow’s 10k.
Sunday – It was the Colshaw Hall 10k today, take a look at my COLSHAW HALL 10k 2017 RACE RECAP for a more detailed breakdown on how this race went. The rest of the day was spent resting up ready to make week 9 more of a success than the past 3 weeks have been. Training has been very hot and cold just lately with illness, knocks and bumps, its time to get things back on track and get working towards that sub 3:30 Berlin Marathon goal.
Running Stats: Total Miles 31.4, elevation gain 1,883ft, time 3h 59m
Cycling Stats: Total Miles 36.1, elevation gain 1,975ft, time 2h 18m
Monday – Week 9 began with a steady recover 4 miler ran at a 8:06 pace and keeping my average heart rate down to 139bpm. When I began running last year I was struggling to get into the low 8 min pace on my fast runs and average heart rate was in the 150’s. Fast forward to present day, I now find it hard to run 8 min pace, even my slow runs are in the 7’s unless I force myself to hold back and more importantly my heart rate today was 139 showing that the cardio side of things is making progress. I now just need to bring up the strength side to that level. Today I took the plunge and signed up for marathon number 6. The ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon in April, this falls two weeks prior to the London marathon, which I am really hoping to run in 2018. I think 2 weeks between the two will be ok recovery time wise, my main target is to run Manchester as fast as I can, the course looks favourable for quick running and early April UK weather tends to be cool so good for distance running. I would love to run under 3:10 and get the Boston Qualifying time I need for 2019, but realistically, running that kind of pace in 2018 maybe a year or two too soon, but you have to give these things a go.
Today saw me back on the bike and cycling into work, the scene of last weeks accident. The morning ride felt a little nervous and shaky but soon got back into the swing of things, it’s just like riding a back…. the ride home was far more comfortable, I got in 10 miles via a care home visit to mum giving me a total of 16 miles for the day.
Tuesday – Today was pretty much a repeat of Monday, back in the office meant cycling to the train station in the morning and back home in the evening. The only difference being, I came straight home tonight giving me a total of 12.2-miles on the bike.
I should have been doing sprints tonight but with time being time, it meant I could only run as soon as I got home. I thought sprint intervals after just getting off the bike is probably asking too much, so opted for a far more sensible 4-mile brick run at a 7:39 pace. I did notice this morning that I had nearly completed the Strava July Run Climbing challenge, the one where we are challenged to climb 2,500m during the month. As I was only 70m from completing this, I took a more hilly route for the run and happy to say, I have now completed the Strava challenge. This is the first time I have completed the run climbing challenge, following on from May being the first time I had completed the distance challenge too. All being well, June should follow up in the coming days.
Wednesday – The sprint intervals that I put off yesterday, and for the past four weeks actually, are back on the agenda today. It has been pouring with rain and my calf ached a little, my hair was wet, you can’t sprint on a wet road, I don’t want to get my new(ish) shoes dirty, all of these excuses went through my head, even whilst out running to where I do my sprints I was still contemplating running a nice steady 10k instead of putting in the hard work. This week, I did it, I actually did my sprint reps 8 x 30 second sprints and a jog back which took around 1:07 – 1:15 so not much of a rest. I actually quite enjoyed do the sprints this week. It may have been because I have figured out that my watch has a lap button so I can time a 30 sec interval. I kinda got the impression that the distance of my previous sprints was a lot further than the 30 sec sprints I did today, so a shorter sprint but able to go harder.
In a bid to be green and save fuel, I cycled to the care home again to visit my mum tonight. It is only a 5.5-mile each way trip so not much on the mileage count, but as I live on the opposite side of Mow Cop to mum, that means 1 mile of the 5.5 is the 580ft 11.8% Killer Mile climb, which I am still yet to do without having to get off and push up the final 25% incline. Anyway, its all good, free cardio work and I get to see mum earlier than I would if I had to wait for my wife to get home with the car. Winner winner, chicken dinner… speaking of which, it is dinner time so, on you go to Thursday….
Thursday – No cycling today, just running. Set off on a 5-mile run and after a 7:26 first mile I thought that would be a good challenge to turn this into a progressive run. I managed to get quicker in each of the five miles…. just, the last mile included a hill and I went a bit too fast in mile four with a 7:00 mile but pushed it hard on the last mile for a 6:44. I like these types of runs when you are up for it from the get go and go push yourself hard through the pain. Great training for race day when the pressure and pain are at their highest.
Friday – A bit of a crappy day today to be honest. The daughter was ill so had to come out of nursery meaning it was Daddy Day Care for her, this put pay to my lunch time hill reps but I was glad in the end. It would have been Tuesday Brick Run, Wednesday Sprints, Thursday Progressive Run, Hill Reps today, long run tomorrow and race day on Sunday. Maybe that would have been a bit too much so today was just a 4.4-mile steady 7:44 run in the dark. Again it was wet, grey and miserable.
Saturday – With running the Alderley Edge 10k tomorrow I bumped the 16-mile long run forward to Saturday. The plan was to get in 13 miles before the Congleton Parkrun and then run that to bring me up to 16 but I got to the Mere a little later than planned so I only managed to get in 8 miles before the Parkrun but 11 morning miles before 9:30am is good going. The Parkrun went a lot better than expected considering I was already 8 miles up. I got around in 21:14 coming home 23rd overall and 1st in my age group. It was then a quick drive home to watch the second half of the New Zealand vs Lions rugby match and a quick 5-mile lunchtime run to make up the 16 miles.
Sunday – Raceday again today, this week at the Alderley Edge Bypass 10k, check out my race recap for a more detailed breakdown. ALDERLEY EDGE BYPASS 10K 2017 – RACE RECAP
Also got in 22-miles on the bike whilst the sun was out this afternoon, its nice to finally start building up the milage on the bike again after so many months of just running.
Running Stats: Total Miles 43.6, elevation gain 1,457ft, time 5h 31m
Cycling Stats: Total Miles 61.9, elevation gain 3,740ft, time 3h 57m