More Cross Training

Tonight was a non-running night, which meant more cross training on the exercise bike.

I did the same 20 minute routine as Tuesday’s workout, except that I tried to get my heart rate a bit higher. This wasn’t easy as, even though my heart and lungs felt more than capable of working a lot harder than they were, my legs didn’t; and what’s more, I didn’t want to take any chances.

Listen to your body. That’s the number one rule, right? Well, it is for me. For the moment at least.

Don’t get me wrong. I am more than happy (quite literally!) to push myself as hard as I can when my fitness is good and I’m injury free, but now isn’t the time for that. I’m using the exercise bike to keep the pressure off the ankle and achilles while building up my strength and endurance, and so far it seems to be working. So there’s no point in risking more damage elsewhere in the process.

Tomorrow, I plan to have a rest day. The first rest day this week.  That means no running and no exercise bike; just the usual mile and a half walk to and from work, which doesn’t really count as training any more. Then, hopefully, I’ll have the strength in my legs to up the distance on my long run this weekend.

How’s your training going? Are you getting enough rest days into your training program? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

3K And An Onion Bhaji

It has been a long time since I went out for a mid-week evening run and I have to admit, I’ve missed it. A lot.

After a long day at the office, heading out into the dark damp drizzle for a run along the seafront was just what I needed this evening. I wasn’t aiming for anything spectacular. Just a solid 3K run to unwind, clear my head and enjoy the peace and solitude of running in the dark. And that’s pretty much what I got.

I started off slow and steady and didn’t even look at my watch to check the pace. I knew it wasn’t fast, and it didn’t need to be, but as I got into the rhythm of running again, I could feel the pace increasing. But I didn’t push it. In fact, I did the opposite.

I focussed on staying relaxed and loose, keeping my posture strong and my strides short and light, making sure that I wasn’t putting too much strain on my ankle and achilles.

In the end, I completed the distance in just under 20 minutes, which isn’t fast by any means, but at an average pace of 6:33 minutes per kilometre is pretty much where I should be at the moment. 2014-10-29_Splits By the time I had finished, I was feeling pretty hungry. That’s the only problem with running in the evening. If I want to get out and run, I have to do it before I eat, otherwise it won’t happen. But on the way home, as I passed one of the restaurants on Church Road, there was a waitress outside giving out free onion bhaji to passers by. Now how could I refuse that?

So, all in all, things seem to be progressing nicely. I won’t run again until the weekend but I plan to use the exercise bike again tomorrow to keep things ticking over.

How’s your training going? When do you do your mid-week runs? Do you prefer to run in the evening? Or are you an early bird who likes to start off the day with a workout? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Oh Go On… Just One More Then

I really thought I had run my last race of the year, but then someone mentioned this…

Santa Dash 2014

Yup, it’s Santa Dash season! And since my local Santa Dash takes place on my regular running route, I figured that it would just be rude not to enter. So, I signed up today and, what’s more, even managed to persuade some of my co-workers to join in the fun.

The Santa Dash, for those of you who haven’t done one, is a 5K charity fun run where you get to dress up in a Santa suit (complete with beard, hat and trousers that never stay up) and go for a bit of a run, jog or shuffle with a few hundred other Santas of all shapes and sizes to raise a few smiles and a bit of cash for charity.

I took part in the Brighton Santa Dash last year and, as my first 5K event outside of parkrun, I absolutely loved it! The atmosphere was amazing and, even though I ran on my own, I found that there were plenty of other solo runners to chat to, which really boosted my confidence and made me realise that when it comes to running you are never really on your own.

Signing up for this year’s event has also given me the motivation to get back to continuous running in some form or another. I know I have to be careful in terms of injury, but the ankle/achilles is feeling ok so I’ll probably go for a short run tomorrow evening, all being well.

I don’t know if the cross training is making any difference or not yet, but my legs felt pretty good today after yesterday’s session on the exercise bike. So much so, that I decided to increase my time on it this evening by an extra five minutes. As with yesterday, I judged the workout by using heart rate zones, starting with five minutes in the lower zone, followed by ten minutes in the higher zone, and then back down to the lower zone for a final five minutes.

Again, it wasn’t a particularly strenuous workout, but it felt good to get some exercise in after a day at the office.

How’s your training going? Have you got any more races lined up for this year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Cross Training

I’ve never really been one for cross-training, apart from taking very long walks, but as I’m still coming out of injury and really need to start working on my half-marathon training, I figured that now is probably a good time to start.

So, last week I ordered an exercise bike from Argos. Nothing fancy. Just a cheap, basic model that can be folded away and put in the cupboard when I’m not using it. This fold away feature is probably the most important thing to look for in an exercise bike as it will stop it from turning into a clothes horse!

Exercise BikeThe second most important feature of the exercise bike is that it actually works and, unfortunately, this is where my exercise bike has failed. Yes, I can exercise on it, but there’s something wrong with the connections between the bike and the monitor. I can get a pulse reading, but the whole speed and distance thing just reads zero – and yes, I have connected the wires properly!

Of course, it will have to be replaced, but as I’d already assembled the thing before I plugged the monitor in, I thought I might as well use it until I can get a replacement.

So, this evening I completed my first cross training session using the exercise bike. I didn’t want to do too much as my legs were still feeling tired after yesterday’s run, so I did a 15 minute workout using the heart rate/ pulse monitor as a guide.

I set the resistance level to the second lowest setting and started pedalling, keeping an eye on my heart rate until it reached the zone that I wanted. Then I stayed in that zone for 5 minutes before climbing up to the next. After only 10 minutes my legs were feeling pretty tired but my ankle and achilles felt fine. No pain at all! Not wanting to overdo it though, I decided to slow down a bit and let my heart rate drop down to the previous zone, where I stayed for another five minutes before cooling down again.

It’s wasn’t much of a workout, I know, but it was good to try it out and start to get a feel for the exercise bike. I’m planning to use it on all of my non-running days for the next month as I promised a fellow blogger at Willbfit’s Journey that I would join her in an exercise streak as we both get back to training regularly again. So, counting yesterday’s run, that makes Day 2 of my training streak and a pretty good start to the half-marathon training program.

How’s your training going? What types of cross training do you do as part of your training program? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Increasing Distance

I’ve been a bit worried about how I’m going to get myself ready for the Brighton Half-Marathon in February, given that I’ve only really been running once a week for the last month – and only doing Run-Walk-Run instead of constant running – but this morning I was pleasantly surprised by my progress.

The plan was to increase from last week’s 4.5K to a full 5K using a 3:1 Run:Walk ratio, but I also hoped that I could do a little bit more than that in order to give myself a better starting point for my Half-Marathon training, especially as I’m also hoping to get a late entry for the Brighton Marathon in April.

So, after a good night’s sleep and an extra hour in bed, I headed for the seafront for my usual Sunday morning run. The temperature was comfortably cool, with a decent westerly wind to offer some resistance training on the long stretch out and a helping hand on the way back.

As usual, I took it fairly easy with the running sections to make sure that I could complete the minimum distance I had set myself and, I have to say, it felt really good. Even as I passed the 5K mark, I was still feeling pretty strong. Knowing that I only had to run for three minutes at a time made it much easier to keep going and, as I didn’t really want to stop on a walking section, I managed to push myself to bring the total distance up to 7K.

This made me feel much more positive about my training. Even though I’m only running once a week at the moment, I am still able to make a decent amount of progress on these long runs and the overall pace isn’t slowing down too much either! This week’s average pace was 6:40 per kilometre, which is the same as last week and isn’t too far off my best 10K race pace.

2014-10-26_Graph

Going forward, I am hoping to get back to some continuous running over the next few weeks, but for now I am more than happy with my weekly runs using the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run approach.

How’s your training going? How often do you run each week? Have you used the Jeff Galloway Run-Walk-Run method? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Four Months To Go!

Four months seems like a long way away. Too long in some ways; not long enough in others. Either way though, it’s about time I put my half-marathon training plan into action. So, starting from tomorrow, I’m officially back in training for my biggest race so far.

The Brighton Half Marathon

Have you run a half-marathon? What are your top training tips for a first time half-marathoner? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Stepping Up And Making Plans

Ever since I started running last year, my goal has been to run a marathon. However, not wanting to rush things, I thought it best to build up slowly, starting with some 5K and 10K races this year and a couple of half-marathons next year, before doing the Brighton Marathon in 2016.

So far, I have managed to resist the temptation to sign up for the marathon, which isn’t easy when so many of may friends are regular Brighton Marathoners. But I’ve just about managed to convince myself that running a marathon without at least a couple of half marathons under my belt would be a bit premature to say the least.

And then this happened…

Brighton Marathon

That’s right. The good folks at Brighton Marathon have decided to re-open general entries for one day only. Why they decided to do this, I have no idea. But they did. And I signed up.

Well, ok, I haven’t committed to it fully yet. It’s all a bit secretive the way they are doing it. First, you have to register your interest before the end of the month. Then, at some point in November, they will send you an email announcing the special registration date. They say this will happen 48 hours before registration opens and that you have to be quick off the mark as the registration window will only be open for a maximum of 24 hours.

So, this means that now that I have registered my interest, I’m not only checking my email religiously in case the announcement comes early, but I’m also trying to figure out how the heck I’m going to get myself ready to run the Brighton Marathon in April while training for the Half Marathon in February!

In theory, this should be totally doable, but with my recent injury problems I also need to be careful not to try to do too much too soon. So, I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me as I re-plan my recovery and get myself ready for some serious training this winter.

How’s your training going? Have you got any races coming up in the next few months or are you starting to plan for next year? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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