'How has your running been this week?' I asked my friend as we stood chatting at parkrun. 'A bit of a blur!' she replied - and I knew the feeling. This week has been busy for me, with running slotting into life. Whilst this can feel a little hectic, it does make training feel more precious and emphasises why it is important to you. It also shows how running can help you get through the madness of life at times!
MONDAY: strength and conditioning 'stuff' at the gym - a self devised programme which I find a little tedious, but for now have the motivation to stick with.
TUESDAY: a late evening run on a cold and snowy night. To be honest as much as I wanted to run, simultaneously I also wanted this run to be over as quickly as possible, simply so I could get back in the warm! This meant on what should have been a steady run, I found myself pushing the pace a bit. In fact I ran a pretty good 6 mile progression run, with a starting split of 8 min/mile and this gradually decreasing to end on 7.35 min/mile.
WEDNESDAY: early morning intervals with the added bonus of a strong, blustery wind - the joys! The conditions were 'character building' but I managed the 6 miles, with 3 x 1 mile reps and 400m recoveries, that I had on my plan. I aimed to run the mile intervals at around 7:10 min/mile pace, but from the start the first rep was an effort to get anywhere near that; my route took me up a long steady climb for virtually the entire mile, as well as having the battle of a head wind throughout. I logged a 7.55 min/mile split on this mile, but just told myself that this had to be the hardest rep out the way and not to give up. The second two reps were in fact better, with splits of 7.13 and 7.06 min/mile - it seems I just had to mentally get through the first part of the run and not let it defeat me!
THURSDAY: an actual 6 mile progression run was on the plan for today. I am not a fan of progression runs really; I understand why they are good training, but I find them hard to pace and feel the pressure to be constantly doing calculations and assessments in my head. I tried to start at an easy pace to give myself lots of room to pick up speed in the latter miles, but I instantly failed, with what felt like a comfortable stride actually being an 8.19 min/mile starting split. From then on I found pacing the remaining miles hard to judge and it just did not feel a natural run. In the end I logged vague progression splits of 8.19, 8.05, 7.52, 7.54, 7.39 and 7.35 min/mile, but it was not a run to write home about. Body Pump class after.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: a chilly Lincoln parkrun with a light dusting of frost gracing the footpaths. In the conditions I did not expect or put any pressure on myself to challenge last week's parkrun time, when I set a new PB of 20:38. Even as I ran I felt like I was running fairly well, but nothing extraordinary, and definitely did not feel like I had PB potential. As I hit the final few hundred metres I gave it my all, gritting my teeth and pushing a bit of final sprint, a decision I made without even looking at my watch to see what time I might be heading for. As I crossed the line I was pleased I had opted to push myself to do did this - somehow I had shaved a few extra seconds off my PB from last week to run a time of 20:33. A very happy surprise!
SUNDAY: the cold and ice remained today, and with the forecast threatening snow it felt like a case of getting out and getting the 13 miles I had on my plan safely complete before things got even more wintry (see image). I stuck to a safe route of city paths, avoiding rural roads which I feared would be very icy, and just got on with it. My plan said today's longer run should be a steadier pace, as opposed to the easier paced miles of the previous weeks. I aimed for 8.20-8.30 min/mile and wound my way around Lincoln trying to ignore how cold it was! The first few miles passed quick, but as sometimes I find on longer runs, I had a 'mind games' spell in the middle with doubts bouncing back and forth in my head. However, with the final few miles in sight it all suddenly felt achievable, and I quite enjoyed the ending to the run. I had kept a check of my pace throughout, and knew I had been running within my target, and in fact finished with an average pace of 8.19 min/mile. In the conditions again this was pleasing - and even more so was the fact I successfully beat the snow!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...