Last week training was tough; I felt a little bit like I was heading towards burnout. The fact I was able to identify and reflect on this is the most important thing though, and this week I have acted. These last 7 days have been focused on looking after myself; life has still been busy with my pattern of early morning running and long days at work still continuing, but I have put things in place to cope with this demand. I feel much better in myself, so I guess it has worked!
MONDAY: after Sunday's Cambridge Half Marathon I was sore today and decided that 'just' doing my Strength and Conditioning for Runners class was enough for this evening, and cancelled my booked Body Pump session - starting the week as I meant to go on in terms of being kinder to myself.
TUESDAY: my quads were still a little tight and sore from Sunday's race, so I was happy to keep my pace under control for today's easy 6 miles. It felt like a nice and needed 'shake out' of the limbs.
WEDNESDAY: two days of gentle exercise demands had paid dividends and today my legs felt much better, which I was pleased about as I met my friend for our now seemingly regular Wednesday morning run. We ran a 7 mile loop and at the start I did fear I was going to struggle to keep up with my friend (I am learning he can be seriously speedy!), but I settled into a stride. We ran at a good pace, all splits sub 8 min/mile except for one with a big hill right at the end of the run, averaging 7.47 min/mile overall.
THURSDAY: I had a 6 mile progression run on my plan - never my favourite. As is nearly always the case when I attempt a progression run, I made an uneasy almost nervy start, trying hard to keep my pace steady and avoid having to sprint the final few miles. I managed it though, and as the faster end miles hit I felt really strong, logging perfect splits of 8.44, 8.25, 7.56, 7.42, 7.29 and 7.24 min/mile respectively. Body Pump class in the evening.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: it was a blustery morning at Lincoln parkrun this week, with the wind blowing through a whole spectrum of weather conditions in quite a short space of time. As I stood at the start chatting to friends (see image) I actually feared I was a little under dressed as dark rain clouds edged closer towards us. The wind was apparent on some sections of the parkrun route, but not too significant, and I ran well. As I raced into the finish funnel and stopped my Garmin it read 20:59 - maybe I could had snuck a sub 21 minute time! I waited until my official email came through later in the day and literally laughed out loud when it read that my time was precisely 21:00! This was exactly the same time as my last 5k and again just 1 second away from being in that next time bracket - I will not be beaten by that little second!
SUNDAY: the prospect of 20 miles made me a little uneasy today. My last 20 mile run completed a couple of weeks ago had been hard work, mainly due to my head being all over the place, and I really did not want a repeat performance. I was already in a much better mindset though having spent an enjoyable evening with my old housemates Saturday night catching up and eating massive ice cream Sundaes (which I now think is perfect long run fuel!) My planned 20 miles were also split into two sections; the first 10 miles were to be easier, followed by 10 miles at 'marathon pace'. This also helped as I approached the run not as a 20 miler, but instead as two 10 mile runs. The first 10 miles were pleasant and felt like a warm up, and I logged an average pace of 8.30 min/mile overall for this section. The second 10 miles I then dug in and focused on my pace a little more, enjoying the new challenge. I had decided pre-run that my 'marathon pace' would aim to be around 8.15 min/mile and I was really pleased by how close I stuck to this, with splits of 8.16, 8.16, 8.17, 8.12, 8.12, 8.16, 8.07, 8.16, 8.16 and 7.42 min/mile. The final mile I went for it and was happy with how much I had left in my legs still; in fact my legs felt strong throughout and coped well with the distance, logging an overall average pace of 8.20 min/mile. However, the best thing was I actually enjoyed the run - which is the main thing after all!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...