C210K Week 13

This past week, I planned to get at least one Week 13 run in and then do parkrun on Staurday. However, after the previous week’s exertions, I wasn’t feeling up to it.

Apart from general tiredness, which is to be expected, I noticed a few familiar twinges in my left leg – nothing serious, but with my history of injuries, I wasn’t taking any chances. So I took it easy.

Rule number one: Listen To Your Body!

This morning though, it felt ok so I decided to head out for my Week 13 run. Unlike most of the C210K weeks, this week had different sessions for each day; and as I’m only doing one a week, this meant I had a bit of choice.

I had planned to do the session with 2 x 25 minute runs and a 1 minute walk break, but depending on how I felt, I might extend at least one of the runs to 30 minutes.

As usual I started out very slowly. When working improving endurance, I try to start of at a slow comfortable pace, and then slow down to my lazy relaxed pace. It doesn’t always work, but this morning I had no problem feeling lazy and completed the first kilometre in 8:21.

Having managed that without any problems, I allowed myself to gradually increase the pace for the next couple of kilometres which meant that after 25 minutes I was quite happy to do another 5 before my walk break.

For the second running section, I kept the pace fairly consistent and then pushed myself a bit for the final kilometre, picking up the pace and even adding a few minutes on to the end so that I could complete a nice round 8K.

My next C210K session will be 60 minutes with no walk breaks, so I will probably leave that until next weekend. Depending on how I’m feeling mid-week though, I might try to slot a cheeky 5K in there, just to get a bit of pace going again.

How is your training going? Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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C210K Week 12

Now that the clocks have gone back and it’s much lighter in the evening for running after work, I decided to ramp up my Couch to 10K efforts with a mid-week run.

I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to do the run. The program said 3 x 18 minute runs with 1 minute walk breaks; but I also thought that maybe I could just add a kilometre each week, so 7K tonight; or even just increase the time each week, which would mean a 50 minute run… or I could just do a 5K…

Anyway, I really wasn’t sure so I didn’t think about it too much before going out. I just got changed, went out and headed to the seafront in the rain.

By the time I got to the promenade, the rain was easing off and there was a lovely rainbow. As before, I wished I’d taken my phone so that I could have got a picture, as it looked like the rainbow was pushing the dirty great cloud over Brighton and Hove from the lovely clear blue sky over the sea.

I was feeling pretty good and the rainbow lifted my spirits even more, so I decided that I would stick to the program and do the 3 x 18 minute runs with 1 minute walk breaks. The trick, as I learned last time, was to run as slowly as I possibly could – which wasn’t too hard!

There were quite a few other runners out on the prom, all of whom were much speedier than me. In the past this would have given me a bit of an itch in my competitive brain to try to go faster, but this evening I was quite happy plodding along.

5K came and went just as I approached my final 18 minutes and I realised that if I kept my pace going I would be closer to 8K than 7K, so I decided that I would try to extend the final 18 minutes to see if I could manage the full 8.

When I reached the end of my planned run, at 56 minutes, I found that I still had quite a bit of energy left so I picked up my pace to see if I could hit 8K within the hour.

check out the kick at the end!

In the end, my 8K time was 59:57. As is the trend at the moment, not the fastest, but I was more than happy with it.

Almost negative splits

How’s your training going? Are you running in the evening now that it’s not so dark after work? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

C210K Week 11

Now that I’ve moved on to Couch to 10K, I need to do some longer runs and, after Saturday’s parkrun, I realised that I need to start getting out more than once a week. So this evening seemed like the perfect time to start.

Despite the weekend’s snow, the temperature was lovely and mild when I got home from work, so I dropped my bag, got changed and headed straight out. I can’t remember the last time I did that!

It was still light at 5:45pm, so I headed to the seafront where I knew it would be nice, flat and fairly safe if it started to get dark before I was done. My plan, if I had a plan, was to try to run 5K without stopping. After Saturday’s parkrun I needed to know that I could go the distance without walk breaks.

With the Burgess Hill 10K coming up in a few weeks though, I also had in mind that I needed to try to work on my endurance and start building up some distance. I wasn’t going to push it, but I figured that if I went slowly enough then I would try to hit 40 or 45 minutes, depending on how I was feeling.

With all of this in mind, I set off at a nice slow steady pace, heading East towards Hove Lawns and the Peace Statue. There were quite a few runners, dog walkers, and dog runners around, but it wasn’t so busy that you had to dodge around people.

I hit the first kilometre in 7:30 flat, which I figured should be slow enough to make sure I got my distance done, and managed to maintain that same pace through kilometres 2 and 3.

As I turned and headed West towards the lagoon, I noticed for the first time that there is a wind farm in the sea just off of Hove beach. I know it’s a while since I’ve trained along that stretch, but I had no idea they were putting in wind turbines – makes sense I guess as it can be pretty windy down there.

This evening though, there wasn’t much of a breeze and the sea itself was calm and flat. It looked lovely in the twilight with a beautiful orange sunset over the sea beyond Shoreham. I really should take my phone out with me when I run so that I can share these things.

Anyway, the run was going well. I felt happy and relaxed as I shuffled along at my 7:30 pace. 4K came and went and I knew that I had the 5K in the bag so I decided to run to the end of the promenade by the lagoon, turn round, and see if I could keep going all the way back to my starting point.

I had no idea what the distance would be, but I reckoned it would be about 6K, which with my steady pace should bring me in at about 45 minutes. As it turned out, it was 6.16K in 45:57, so close enough to the mark.

But the best part about this evening’s run was that, even though it was slow, it gave me the confidence to know that I can run at least 5K and that I’ve still got a good chance of achieving 10K by the beginning of May.

Also, the clocks go forward this weekend, which means an extra hour of light in the evenings to get some more mid week runs in after work. I can’t wait!

How’s your running going? What time of day do you like run or train? Does your routine change when the clocks change? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

 

Experimenting With Gels and Ratios

With all that data stuff yesterday, I nearly forgot to post about yesterday evening’s run.

I considered having a little practice run for Saturday’s 10K. The plan was to run about a 6:10 pace for 0.9 each kilometre and walk for the remaining 0.1. With a walking pace of around 9:30 minutes per kilometre, that would give me an average pace of 6:30, and a PB of 1:05:00 for the 10K. Predictably, however, it didn’t quite work out like that.

Before heading out, I decided to experiment by having an energy gel. I had one in the cupboard that I got for free at the L2B Challenge, but didn’t want to take it at the time as I’ve never tried energy gels before. So, since I was in the mood for experimenting and trying new things generally, I took the gel.

It wasn’t as unpleasant as I’d thought it would be; in fact, it actually tasted quite nice – almost like the citrus flavour promised by the packaging. I was kind of expecting it to have a horrible after taste like some of the energy bars that I’ve tried before, but it didn’t, so that was a good sign.

The temperature was about 20C when I headed out and the breeze on the seafront was a bit warmer than I like would have liked. This, coupled with the smell of barbecues and people smoking spliffs on the lawns (don’t they know it’s illegal to barbecue on Hove Lawns?), made things a little bit uncomfortable, but I was still determined to try out my walk run ratio.

While I did manage to keep a fairly decent pace, I soon realised that there was no way I could keep it going for 10K. So, rather than run the risk of overdoing things before race day, I decided to call it a day at 3 kilometres.

2014-07-01_Splits

I’m not sure what went wrong really. Perhaps it was the heat, or the energy gel, or maybe the pace I’d set for the ratios was just too much, but I know I won’t be doing that on Saturday. Instead, I’m going to just run it as best I can and take walk breaks if needed. However, I do still have a race plan which, even with walk breaks might just work.

The plan is to run kilometres 1-3 at 6:45, which I know I can do; then, I’ll try to pick things up to about 6:30 for kilometres 4-6, which is also achievable. The challenge will be to get to 6:15 for kilometres 7-9 and then try to push as hard as I can for the finish, depending on how much energy I have left in me.

Of course, if it doesn’t work out like that, I won’t really mind. My main objective at the moment is to get my running fitness back, so as long as I get the run in, then it’s all good.

A Bit Sciencey

Why, oh why did I sign up for Training Peaks? For someone like me, who absolutely loves data, this was probably not the best idea in the world. I mean, it’s an incredibly useful tool in explaining why my training has gone the way it has over the last few months, but when it comes to using it as a planning tool… well, that’s when it all starts getting a bit obsessive. And I’ve not even had the thing for 24 hours yet!

What The Heck Is Training Peaks?

Training Peaks is basically an on line program that you can sync with your GPS to analyse and plan your training. Here’s a screenshot from the Training Peaks Performance Manager, showing my Garmin activity since December:

2014-07-01_TP-Year
25/12/2014 – 31 July 2014

Basically, it analyses your workouts to show your fitness, fatigue and recovery over a period of time, as well as enabling you to plan your future training and make sure that you are at your peak for race day.

As you can see from the blue ‘fitness’ line, my training for the first half of this year went really well and, even though I was pretty fatigued about a month before the London to Brighton Challenge, reducing my training over the month before the big day meant that, even though my fitness dropped back down a bit, I had gained enough recovery to get me through the 100K walk.

Of course, since then, my fitness has dropped significantly. Even though, according to the orange line on the chart, I have recovered enough to get back into a regular training routine again, I haven’t really had the energy for the same volume of training that I took on at the beginning of the year, as you can see from the highlighted blue fitness line in the chart below (if you click on the chart, you can see it better!):

25/05/2014 - 31/07/2014
25/05/2014 – 31/07/2014

The red area shows a steady decline in my fitness level, but now that I am starting to get a few more training sessions in, this is beginning to level off in the orange section. The white box shows where I should be in terms of fitness and recovery for Saturday’s race.

The plan, therefore, is to train enough over the next month to prevent that blue fitness line from dropping any further, while at the same time getting myself used to running regularly again. Then, once I’m back into the swing of things, I should be able to start building up the longer runs again, which is what seems to make the biggest difference in getting that blue line moving up the chart again.

have you used Training Peaks? Do you use data to analyse and plan your training? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Playing With Pace

I decided to go for a run this evening. I don’t know why, but for some reason I just felt like it.

With less than a week to go until the Race For Life 10K, I realised that it would be a bad idea to do two long runs back to back, so I opted for some speed work instead. Nothing too strenuous. Nothing too rigid. Just a quick short run along the seafront.

To be honest, I’ve kind of missed doing speed work. Much as I love pushing through those long slow runs on a Sunday morning or after work, there’s nothing quite like that feeling when the momentum takes over and your legs really start moving, going  faster and faster until your lungs start to burn and your heart feels like it’s going to burst through your chest. No, really, it is a good feeling. Honestly. Although, to be fair, I don’t have to run very fast before that happens.

Anyway, this evening I wanted to run fast so I set off at a good pace and managed to sustain an average of 5:44 for the first kilometre before slowing to a walk break. Now, I know I’m not even close to being able to maintain that kind of pace over a longer distance, but it didn’t feel as hard as I thought it would, so maybe this is something that I could work on after next weekend’s 10K.

2014-06-29_Graph

The second kilometre, however, was made up of a couple of shorter walk breaks and running segments, working out at just over 50% running (in terms of distance), so the average pace was much slower at 7:13. In saying that though, the running sections were a bit faster than in the first kilometre, which was good in one sense, but was probably the reason I had to walk for longer.

The final 500 metres was kind of interesting though. Although I walked about 100 metres of it, my average pace came out at only ten seconds slower than in the first kilometre, which has got me thinking about the whole run/walk thing again.

2014-06-29_Splits

I know Jeff Galloway has built this whole training philosophy on how to use run/walk ratios and, much as I hate to admit it, I’m starting to like the idea of it.

Of course, I’m not going to give up non-stop running. A huge part of what I love about running is the ability to push on and to keep going without stopping or walking, even if it does mean that I’m slow, but in terms of achieving quicker times over longer distances, it is an interesting idea.

How do you feel about using run/walk ratios in races? What type of difference does run/walk make to your average pace? Have you tried the Jeff Galloway program? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

10K At Last!

2014-06-28_10KAt last! Today I finally got myself back up to 10K. Ok, so I took some walk breaks, but I still went the distance, which makes me feel like I’m getting myself back on track.

The surprising thing about this morning’s run though, was that even with the walk breaks, I was pretty much at the same pace overall as I was back in February when I ran in the Chichester Priory 10K. In fact, today I was a whole second faster!

With only one week to go until the Race For Life 10K, I know that I’m not going to run anything close to my PB, but I don’t really mind. I’m gradually learning to accept that progress isn’t always a linear thing. Sometimes we have to go back before we can move forward, and I’m totally fine with that.

I’m not planning on doing any more races for a while after next weekend. Instead, I plan to get back into parkrun and just have some fun with my running without the pressure of race days and training schedules.

Of course, I’ll still be running and blogging as always, but I’d like to try out some different types of workout and just enjoy running for the sake of running. Besides, it’s summer now and I’m just not very good in the heat.

How’s your running going? Do you have any races lined up for the summer months? How do you cope with running in the heat? Please share your thoughts in the comments.