Easy Means Easy

I had to adjust the training plan this week due to a social event at work, so I ran this evening instead of yesterday. It should have been an outdoors run but I wanted to eat first and then it got dark, so I opted for the treadmill instead – a bit of a cop out, I know, but at least it was still a run.

In this phase of the plan, the idea is to run easy to make sure that I have enough time to recover before the next one. I still aim to do a bit better each time, whether it’s reducing the ratio or improving the average pace, but ultimately I need to make sure that I can run every third day.

The aim for tonight was run 3:1 ratios and to try to hit something around the 36 minute mark. That would be a huge improvement on my last run, but with the treadmill it’s much easier. Apart form the fact that there’s no wind, hills or obstacles in the way, the fact that the machine controls the pace makes it much easier to keep things nice and even.

In the end, I completed the run in 35:50 and felt pretty good afterwards. Of course, the next run will be tougher as it will be outside, but it’s still good to get it done.

How’s your training going? Do you keep your ‘easy runs’ easy or are you tempted to push harder each time? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Setting The Base Line

2016-08-05_SummaryHaving decided to get back into running shorter distances, I wanted to get out this weekend and see where I’m at in terms of my 5K time. I had hoped that, after last weekend’s exertions, I would be able to achieve something around the 35 minute mark. Unfortunately, however, things didn’t quite work out that way.

I knew I was still not feeling 100%, so I set off at a very modest pace to see how long I could manage without a walk break. As it turned out, this wasn’t very long and after the first kilometre I had to stop and walk. My legs felt ok, but my breathing wasn’t great and, even though I don’t use a heart rate monitor, it was pretty obvious that my heart rate was a lot higher than it ought to have been.

Not to be put off, I decided that I would just take it easy, taking walk breaks at the end of each kilometre for as long as I needed to recover. This worked well until the final kilometre where I had to take an extra break half way through, before jogging the final 400 metres to finish with a time of 37:14.

It’s a pretty slow time, I know, but if that’s where I am at the moment, then so be it. At least it means there’s plenty of room for improvement!

In terms of my sub-30 training plan, I’m going to start off by taking things fairly easy and not worry too much about pace for the first three weeks. The plan will be to run 5K every 3 days (outside where possible), using a variety of different routes to keep things interesting. My hope is that this will bring me back into the 33 to 35 minute range and, ideally, without walk breaks. But we shall see. For now, I’m just happy to be focusing on the 5K again.

How’s your training going? How long does it take you to get back on track after a tough race? please share your thoughts in the comments.

What Did I Do With My Head Torch?

Now that the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, it’s becoming all too easy to come up with an excuse not to run. But not tonight.

I had planned to take my new favourite route around Hove Rec, but unfortunately the House Pixies seemed to have hidden my head torch. With unlit paths made even darker by the bushes and trees on either side, there was no way I was going to risk it, so I headed for the seafront instead for Week 4 Day 1 of Couch To 5K.

I did my usual seafront route, starting at Hove Lawns then down towards the Peace Statue, back up to the King Alfred Centre and then back to my starting point, plus a bit extra to let the time run down.

As I hadn’t run for over a week, I took it nice and slowly and was surprised by how easy it was – possibly because I was back on the flat again, but I’d like to think it’s because my fitness is improving too.

I covered 3K in 21:44, which is fine, but next time, I think I’ll push a bit harder and see if I can hit a 6 minute pace on the running sections.

How’s your training going? Do you avoid certain routes when running in the evening? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Getting My Legs Back

Circle HopIt has been three weeks since my last run. I didn’t really plan on having such a long break after the marathon. I wasn’t particularly broken or injured afterwards – just a bit of tightness and discomfort, but I guess my body needed a bit of a rest after all those month of training.

Today though, I decided that I had rested enough and that it was time to dust of my running shoes and get back out there.

I’d been using a run-walk-run strategy for the last few months to help get me through the marathon without injury, but I really wanted to get back to running continuously without walk breaks again. I wasn’t sure how my body would cope with this, so I set myself a target of 2-3K of continuous running for this morning, depending on how things went, and planned to gradually build up to 5K over the next few weeks.

It was nice and cool when I headed to the seafront just after 7:00 am. There was a bit of a breeze, but nothing to worry about, as I set off along Hove Lawns to the cafe just before Peace Statue. The plan was to run there and back, which would be pretty much 2K, and then maybe do a bit more if I felt like it.

As I had no clue as to how I would manage this, I started off nice and slowly, pretty much ignoring the Garmin and just running by feel. And it felt pretty good, so much so that as I approached the 2K mark, I decided to keep going for another half kilometre.

According to the Garmin, my pace was picking up a bit too, although I couldn’t really feel it. In terms of running by feel, the effort was consistent and comfortable, so I continued to ignore the Garmin and keep going to 3K, then 3.5K.

After that, however, I did start to feel a bit tired so, not wanting to push things too hard on my first post-marathon run, I decided that I would stop when I got to 4K.

I felt really good afterwards and pleased that I had managed much more than I’d expected. The left hamstring was a bit uncomfortable and my calf started to tighten up as I walked home, but it was nothing compared to what I’d been having before, so maybe the three weeks of rest wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

The most surprising thing about the run though, was that I managed to run negative splits for each kilometre. I hadn’t expected that at all, but perhaps it was just my legs waking up after their rest.

2015-05-02_Splits

How’s your training going? How much time off do you take after a big race? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Taper Time

Circle HopI’m officially tapering now. Or at least I think that’s what I’m doing.

I was supposed to do a longish run (20K or so) this morning but changed my mind and decided on a 5K instead – I guess I just wasn’t really in the mood for a long one.

Of course, I know that’s not the right attitude. When it comes to the marathon, I’ll have to get out and do it whether I feel like it or not. So, I made a deal with myself (I seem to be doing that a lot lately) and decided to do the longish run tomorrow instead.

Even though it will be less than half the marathon distance, I’m going to treat it as a mock race day by making sure that I eat well and rest properly today. That way, there can be no excuses.

Today’s 5K went ok. I set out nice and early, before 8:00 am, for a short run to Portslade and back again. The weather was cool and drizzly, which was pretty nice to run in, and there wasn’t much traffic to bother me at the road crossings.

Although it was a slow run, it felt more ‘moderate’ than ‘easy’ as I found myself checking my GymBoss more than usual to see how much longer I had to run. That hasn’t happened with a 5K in a long time, but perhaps it was just because I wasn’t really in to it.

Still, it felt good to get the run done and I’m feeling positive about tomorrow’s longish run too. Only two weeks to go! Yikes!

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Bouncing Back

I know I should be tapering for the Marathon now, but after having to wimp out of my final pre-marathon long run at the weekend, I decided to make my midweek runs a bit longer than usual to compensate.

Normally, I just do a couple of 5K (or thereabouts) sessions during the week to keep things ticking over. I like these runs because I know that I can make them as easy or as challenging as I like, and they don’t take up too much of my evening. I can get out, get it done and be home in time to have some dinner, write up my blog post and still have time to chill out for an hour or before bedtime.

This evening though, I figured it would be worth taking an extra half hour of running to get myself back on track – if not physically, then at least mentally. My leg is feeling a lot better now and, while I can still feel a bit of discomfort in the hamstring and calf, it’s nothing compared to what it was. So, I figured it would be safe enough to head for the seafront for a nice easy 10K.

It has been a while since I’ve run 10K, so I wasn’t sure about pacing. In the end though, I just decided to go by feel, taking it nice and slowly to make sure I didn’t aggravate anything in my leg. I also wanted to make sure that I didn’t tire myself out too much as I’m aiming to do another 10K on Thursday and a longish run on Saturday – probably something around 15-20K, but we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the run was fine. I started early so that I’d have to slow down to cross the main roads and navigate the poorly lit uneven pavements. And it was slow. Very slow. But it did the trick. I completed the 10K route in just over 1 hour and 10 minutes and felt pretty good at the end of it. Ok, so the old leg was a bit tight again, but nothing that a bit of stretching couldn’t sort out.

More importantly though, I’m starting to feel more positive about the marathon again. After the weekend’s set-back and with less than three weeks to go until race day, I really needed a confidence boost and this evening’s run certainly gave me that!

How’s your training going? What do you do to help yourself bounce back from a disappointing run? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

A Nice Easy Mid Week Run

In my last post I got a bit confused and said that there was a little over four weeks to go until the Brighton Marathon, when in reality it’s only a little over three weeks – scary thought when you think about it, so I decided that I’m not going to think about it.

Luckily though, my training plan is correct though as my final long run is on Sunday and the taper starts three weeks before race day. That means two weekends in a row when I won’t have to spend the whole of Saturday morning running, the rest of Saturday stretching, moaning and devouring the contents of the fridge, and the whole of Sunday watching Netflix and dozing on the couch.

Still, I will be doing that this weekend so I wanted to make sure that I got a decent run in this evening to get myself back on track after my less than consistent training over the last couple of weeks. The problem I had though was that while I felt I needed to up the distance a bit for this evening’s run, I didn’t want to tire myself out for Saturday.

In the end, I decided to extend the distance to 8K instead of the usual 5K, but made sure that I kept things nice and slow. Starting the run early so that I would have to cross some roads before reaching the seafront helped in that respect and I completed my run in just under an hour. A very slow time for me, but it’s good practice for Saturday’s pace so I’m not complaining.

How’s your training going? Do you find yourself flagging on the build up to your final run before you start tapering? How do you keep yourself motivated to get out there and get it done? Please share your thoughts, tips and ideas in the comments.