Ups and Downs
It’s the end of Week 2 of my new training plan and, somewhat predictably, I’ve already missed two sessions. On Thursday, I was supposed to be practising my target 10K pace on a 5K run, but I just wasn’t feeling right.
I hadn’t been feeling great for most of the week, so much so that on Wednesday morning, I decided to book Thursday and Friday off work. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if I missed training on Thursday and would probably do me some good to have a bit of a rest before Saturday’s Parkrun.
However, by Saturday morning, I still wasn’t feeling great. I really wanted to do my scheduled Parkrun, but my body was telling me that something wasn’t right. So I skipped that one too and had a fairly easy day.
I know that my main problem here is nutrition. Although I don’t really eat much junk food, I am pretty lazy when it comes to cooking, so I think that a big part of it is that I’m just not getting enough calories. This is something that I really need to sort out if I’m going to up my distance and take part in longer races.
Which brings me on to this morning’s run.
After getting plenty of rest and making sure that I ate a bit more than usual over the last few days, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good about my long run. According to the plan, I was due to run 11K, but as I’d already run 11K last week, I decided to make up for my lost days of training and go for 12K – my longest distance to date.
It was a nice morning, sunny if a little bit windy, so I decided to try out a new route. Instead of doing my usual run back and forward between Hove Lawns and The Lagoon, I choose to run down past the pier and towards Brighton Marina. I hadn’t checked the exact distance on the map, so I thought I would just run until I hit 6K and then turn around and run back again to my starting point.
It was still nice and quiet at 9 am as I ran along the seafront, past the old West Pier and towards the Palace Pier. I wasn’t paying much attention to my pace as I went, just the occasional glance to make sure that I was staying somewhere between 6:45 and 7:00 mins per kilometre.
There was a slight incline just before the Palace Pier, as I moved up to the road, but after that it was flat again until I reached the Marina. In my head, I had imagined that I would hit 6K round about the Marina, but unfortunately I had imagined wrong! I still had another kilometre or so to go and the road that climbs high along the cliffs was looming.
Still, I was taking it nice and easy so I figured that a bit of hill work would do me some good. And besides, it would mean a nice gentle run on the way back down.
As it turned out, the climb wasn’t too bad as the path from The Marina zig-zagged nicely up to the road. Of course, once I was on the road, I was still climbing, but the view of the white cliffs in the distance was absolutely stunning against the clear blue sky.
In a way, I felt a bit sorry that I had to turn round as it really was quite beautiful running high above the sea, but being 6K from home already, I knew that I didn’t have much choice if I didn’t want to end up walking home.
So, I turned around and headed for home, passing various packs of runners coming in the opposite direction, as I made my way back down to the Marina and on towards the pier.
As I passed the Palace Pier, I was still feeling pretty good and was surprised that I only had 2.5K to go. For a moment, I considered picking up the pace to see if I could beat my 10K time, but only for a moment. I was doing well to be out running after feeling so bad all week, so I wasn’t going to risk it.
In the end, I completed the 12K in 1:22:13, with fairly consistent splits and an average pace of 6:51. The best part, though, was that when I got home and checked on my Garmin stats, I discovered that I was only 36 seconds away from my PB at the 10K mark.
I figure that’s not bad going with 2 kilometres still to run and, even with missing two sessions this week, I feel like I’m pretty much on target so far for the BM10K in 5 Weeks time.
I guess today’s training is a reminder of what I already know – that I tend to progress more when I listen to my body and make time for rest and recovery.
How’s your training going? How often do you take rest days? How do you feel about skipping training sessions? Please share your thoughts in the comments.