Training

BERLIN MARATHON 2017 TRAINING SUMMARY – WEEK 12 – 14

After a big week of running in week 11 my legs are feeling a little tired but no time for rest now, these next four weeks see the two longest runs of my training plan with an 18 mile run in week 12 and 20-miles in week 15. I have spent the first 10 weeks of my training mostly working on speed and hill work, whilst I will continue to do the speed and hill sessions, I am now shifting focus to endurance work, getting in those long runs, getting the body and legs ready for a 26.2-mile run through Berlin in just under two months time.

Week 12

 Monday – 4 recover paced miles today. My usual 4 mile route takes me to the train station and back but I spotted a path over the canal last week so I took that tonight and I was so glad I did do. It brought me out in the middle of the fields which were yellow and ready to harvest but with running whilst the sun was setting, the view was amazing! I had to run back to get my camera to take some photos. Sometimes you just have to forget about running set times and setting Strava PR’s and enjoy the natural beauty around us.

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Tuesday – Sprint intervals were on the plan today, it was really hot and sunny for this lunchtime session but I managed 8 x 30 sec sprints with a 60 sec recover. It felt like such a struggle and tough run whilst I was out there but comparing the sprint times to the last few weeks, I ran all 8 splits quicker than previous weeks and in the hot weather… PROGRESS!!!!

Wednesday – Another hot muggy lunchtime run, this time a 4-mile tempo run. I ran along the canal and off the path through the fields, this wasn’t the best idea given the humidity. The moisture coming up from the grass made it tricky to breathe. Pace for the 4-miles this week was 6:28 so really pleased with that.

Thursday ­– Easy paced 4-mile run to the train station and back, another lunchtime run but somewhat cooler today, pace was down from yesterday’s 6:28 to 8:21. I felt a little pain around the piriformis area on the left side (I know this area well from a previous injury in February). I managed to finish the run ok but the pain did continue to niggle for the rest of the day. I took the decision to take some Ibuprofen to help it out.

Friday – So yesterday’s piriformis pain didn’t feel too bad this morning, it was still there in the background but not hurting too much. I decided to head out for my hill rep session, thinking that the slower pace shouldn’t aggravate it any further. I hadn’t properly hydrated this morning so I wasn’t really feeling it today and around a mile into the run I could feel that pain still niggling away. I decided to scrap the hill session and head home, listening to my body and taking it a little easier.

Saturday – No Parkrun this week, my wife is trying out a spinning class at our local leisure centre at 9:30 so I was got my run in before she went out to that. I was glad to not be running Parkrun in a way given I have this pain that doesn’t seem to be shifting and I just know if I was at Parkrun I would end up racing and running too fast. Instead I ran along the canal at a slow recovery pace to see how it feels. I am still able to run at this pace ok but I can feel the pain there, I’m not sure if it is actually pain or if its just me being hyper aware of it because I know its not happy and I had this issue at the start of the year. I ran 5.8-miles at a 8:02 pace which puts me back on track for my planned weekly mileage. Tomorrow is an 18-mile long run on the plan but to be running that distance right now given the pain I have would be very irresponsible.

Sunday –With running early yesterday I thought I would run late on today to give a longer recover period between the two runs and hopefully give more time for the piriformis to heal up, I am not doing the planned 18-mile run but will opt for a short 2 or 3 mile run and add in a pool swim and some cycling too, so a mini afternoon long triathlon in a fashion.

I went for a pool swim at lunchtime clocking up 1,025m in just over 23mins, you can read more about this experience here – MY FIRST POOL SWIM FOR 23 YEARS. I followed this up with a 20-mile ride on the bike with 2,100ft of climbing averaging 14mph for the ride, topping out at 37.4mph on one of the downhills. I have always been very nervious about coming downhill at speed but starting to get a little better at this as time goes by.

So it came to run time, I was still feeling the piriformis pain before running and was in two minds whether to run or not, I opted for a slow run and just see how it goes, but 1.5-miles in I thought that it is just silly running like this so I went back home to bank 3-miles. That was when I thought I am just running now for the sake of it to keep this Run Streak going, there is little benefit to forcing myself to run 2 or 3 miles at a really slow pace.

Running Stats: Total Miles 27, elevation gain 1,014ft, time 3h 38m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 20, elevation gain 2,100ft, time 1h 25m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 1,121, time 23m

 

Week 13

 Monday – REST DAY!!!! After the piriformis pain of the last 3 days I have now taken the decision to have a few days off running. I have booked in for a sports massage on Wednesday to see if he can trigger point it and release the tension in the muscle. I have had the mindset of I need to run to keep the Run Streak going but with Berlin 2 months away I don’t really need to push myself now to just keep the streak going, there is no medal, no reward for running everyday (besides the obvious fitness benefits). A few days off running will do me good, it will give me time to recover and for the injury (note I am using the I word now not pain or niggle) clear. I know that I can comfortably run a marathon under 4hrs and I have 13 weeks of training already in the bag so a couple of days maybe a week off is not going to be the end of the world. This will give me time to work on some other areas, more strength work, more cycling, more swimming.

Tuesday – Having taken yesterday off running, the first day with no run since 26th April, 87 consecutive days of running. It was really hard not lacing up the shoes and getting out there. I have got into the lifestyle of running daily now so to have a second day with no running just feels wrong, surely my legs are going to fall off or I am going to lose all my running ability with having two days off. To fill the void I cycled into work and back again clocking up 16-miles with 1,000ft of climbing in there as well. This will come in handy getting more cycling in now given that the Grand Canyon Cycle Challenge is only 9 weeks away.

Wednesday – So the sports massage went ok, he did a really good job on my calves, they feel great now. Probably the best they have felt since I started running last year. He did some trigger point work on my piriformis muscle and did agree that it felt really tight and tense. His advise was to give it 12hrs to calm down a little and see how it feels. If there is still some pain there then it is best to take a week, or better still two weeks off running to let it rest and recover properly. 2 WEEKS OFF?? lol if it is two weeks then that is fine with me, last time I missed five weeks of running so we will see how it goes. I am happy with my fittness levels and just need to maybe reassess my goals for Berlin if I miss much more training, the hope of running sub 3:30 may go on hold until the Greater Manchester marathon next April. To be running Berlin is going to be a great experience so we will see.

Again I got in another 15.5-miles on the bike with 1,000ft of climbing cycling to and from the train station. The same route as yesterday but half a mile shorter? how does that work lol.

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Thursday ­– Started the day with an 8am swim, another 1km swam, slightly slower than on Sunday at 2:35/100yrd pace but that was as planned. I wanted to go slower this time and concentrate on my breathing. I watched some videos on YouTube around breathing whilst swimming so wanted to put this into practise. I found that I could swim a lot further with my head in the water, breathing every other stroke for the time being. A good improvement on Sundays swim. At lunch time I headed out on the bike again, a 16-mile loop which I have done many times but today I finally hit the 18mph ave speed for the first time on any ride. After 3 days of riding I am starting to get my cycling legs back, just in time for the Grand Canyon Cycle Challenge in October.

Friday – Today was a straight repeat of yesterday. 8am 1k swim at 2:38/100yrd pace today but the breathing felt easier and less forced than yesterday so thats a positive. The more I swim the more natural it will become and also improve my aerobic capabilities. Lunchtime I got in a 20-mile ride averaging 16.6mph, somewhat slower than yesterday but today was really windy and pouring with rain, thats my excuse.

Saturday – Today was Tough Mudder Yorkshire, have a read of my race recap here – TOUGH MUDDER FULL – YORKSHIRE 2017 – RACE RECAP or check out my YouTube video from the day here – Tough Mudder Full – Yorkshire 2017

Sunday – Another day, another race. This time my first ever triathlon, the GoTri Biddulph, take a look at my race recap here – GOTRI BIDDULPH – RACE RECAP

Running Stats: Total Miles 11.4, elevation gain 1,401ft, time 2h 37m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 87.7, elevation gain 4,259ft, time 5h 23m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 2,323, time 1h 00m

 

Week 14

 Monday – Rest day today, to be fair, with not running most days feel like a rest day right now. Today was the day when I finally made the decision and signed up to Ironman UK next July. I think my cycling and running are ok enough to get me around, my swimming needs work but I am pretty sure I can swim the distance within the cutoff time now so with 12 months of training I should be somewhat better off.

Tuesday – I have booked this week off work so that I can get 4 days of cycling in and hopefully get somewhere close to 200-miles. A little test run out to get ready for the Unit & Bike Against Cancer – Arizona to Las Vegas ride I am doing this October. Today’s ride wasn’t the best start to this week. I got a puncher 20 miles into a 64 mile ride, right in the middle of nowhere and to make matters worse my pump did not work!! rather luckily a passer by stopped and asked if I was ok, he very kindly went home to fetch his pump so I could blow up the new tube. Without this kind deed I would have been facing a long walk to the nearest town and a expensive taxi trip home.

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Wednesday – Following on from yesterdays ride, I got in another 52 miles on the bike today, although for the second day running it absolutely poured down for the whole ride. I arrived home wet, cold and shivering…. ITS AUGUST!!!!!!

Thursday ­– After two days of riding in the rain I have decided against going out in it again today, so thats the end of my 200-mile plan, spoiled by the weather again. Instead I just did my now regular Thursday morning 1,000m swim. This week in 27:24 so slightly faster than last Friday.

Friday – Again, its pouring down today so no morning ride, plus I wouldn’t have had time to get in a long ride as I am booked in for a tattoo at lunch time… exciting stuff! so, like yesterday, just the morning 1,000m swim although today I broke the 27min barrier. I did it in 26:34 my new fastest time for a 1k swim. I did notice that when I pull through with my left arm it kinda waves around in the water, not pulling straight back, I think that this isn’t delivering the full power of the stroke so I can now work on correcting that and see how it affects my time. My breathing is now becoming second nature so that is one positive to take from my first four swims.

Saturday – Rest day again today, I need to leave some time for my tattoo to heal up. My piriformis injury is still giving me quite a bit of pain when walking, sometimes it gets to the stage where it is difficult to put weight on it, but then other times it feels fine. I am thinking another week off running and see how we feel next Sunday.

Sunday – A second consecutive rest day in the hope that 2 or 3 days of no exercise will allow my piriformis to calm down enough and get me ready to start running again in week 16. Whilst on my rest day I decided to sign up for my first open water swim, the 2 mile challenge at the Swim Serpentine event in London, nothing like jumping in at the deep end to test your skill and ability to the max.

Running Stats: Total Miles 0.0, elevation gain 0ft, time 0h 0m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 116.4, elevation gain 3,694ft, time 7h 17m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 2,187, time  54m

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