This week seems to have passed by in a little bit of a blur! Runs have been successfully ticked off the plan though, I feel more content in myself, and the excitement is building for my trip to Australia, with take off in just over a week!
MONDAY: following Newark Half Marathon on Sunday I had a rest day today. I was also participating in a research study that required rest from exercise which may also have influenced my choice – I will not pretend it was solely my decision!
TUESDAY: a hard interval run, which simply felt cruel on my legs. I am still running early morning despite it being less of a heatwave now, but I just seem to be into the routine of waking up and simultaneously lacing up! I think the reason why this run felt so cruel was the amount of reps – 15 x 400m with 200m recoveries, over an 8 mile distance. The repeated stop/start nature of demanding speed from my legs over and over again tired me, and it showed in my rep splits. I started well with 7-7.15 min/mile splits, then had a bit of a slump in the middle when things felt tough, however was able to gather myself and my pace again toward the end. Physically and mentally tough runs hurt at the time, but they feel extra rewarding when you finish. Body Pump class in the evening.
WEDNESDAY: today’s run was hard again, but not really due to the demands of my plan. I headed out for 10 easy paced miles, but my legs just felt so empty and almost unstable. I knew I wanted to play safe, so I cut the miles slightly shorter to complete an 8 mile loop and just focused on getting home in one piece. My ‘easy’ pace was acceptable, averaging 8.27 min/mile, but the unease in my legs meant it felt a run to tick off rather than enjoy. I was proud of myself for not pushing things though, you have to listen to your body at times, and it takes discipline to do that as much as to run.
THURSDAY: waking up to rain lashing against my window, my eagerness to get out running early was tested slightly! I rolled over in bed at first, but my mind wouldn’t settle back to sleep – I wanted to run. Braving the rainfall (see image), I ran 9 alternating miles; 1 mile easier pace, 1 mile harder pace. My legs felt much better than on yesterday’s run, although I did have some on and off quad tightness at times which felt a little strange. I was happy with my splits though, particularly with my consistency after the first couple of miles, logging 8.39, 8.03, 8.19, 7.33, 8.17, 7.33, 8.03, 7.28, and 8.10 min/mile respectively. Body Pump in the evening.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: after going sub 21 minutes at Lincoln parkun last week, I really wanted to try keep some consistency today. I felt I ran well and I was humbled as ever by the little cheers and encouragements the volunteer marshals gave me throughout – it is such a boost and always brings a smile to my sometimes grimacing face! I ran into the finish funnel and felt a little disappointed to read a time of just over 21 minutes on my watch, not because this is a bad time, but because the run simply felt that little bit quicker. Chatting to runners after my time was soon forgotten though, and I was actually more pleased my legs felt strong after a few wobbles in the week. However, later in the day my official time came through as 20:58 – I was very happy! You can sense your runs sometimes, I knew I felt good today.
SUNDAY: the big run - 22 miles. Running this distance is tough enough, but circumstances meant I was making this run even more of a challenge for myself. I had work at 11am, meaning I needed to be out running by roughly 6am to have a bit of breathing space. I usually eat two hours before a long run, but I could not face a 4am alarm, or trying to force food down at that time of the morning. Instead I tried to eat high-carb meals throughout Saturday to fuel my body, and I downed a bottle of Lucozade pre-run and stuffed my Camelbak with as much energy as possible to take during the run. It was not ideal I knew it, but I would just have to cope with it. Although a grey day it was muggy out; my CamelBak annoyed me for the first time, it felt sticky against my back and like I was carrying an extra weight of water I did not really need. The first 10 miles were average, a blustery wind keeping my pace steady, and I took energy on early to try and avoid a total crash. From 10 miles onward though my legs progressively just ground to an almost halt; my quads felt tight and stiff, and steps seemed hard work. At 18 miles I sat down on a nearby tree stump to take on another gel to try give my body a boost, and if it had not been for the fact I was so exhausted I think I would have cried. My legs just hurt so much it was hard to imagine running again! I had to though, not just because I wanted to make 22 miles, but I actually had no other way of getting back other than walking, which would have made me late for work. I restarted my legs somehow and with determination ground out the final miles - pace meant nothing now. I made it home with 22 miles banked, and proceeded to literally collapse onto my hall floor, legs buzzing in utter protest at what I had just made them complete. In that moment I cannot say I felt great, but I did feel proud I had stuck at it. My average pace was 8.50 min/mile - not amazing, but not a disaster either given the circumstances. I am never attempting to run a virtually fasted 22 miler again, but I did make it to work on time!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...