I Need A Plan…

There’s just over eight weeks to go until race day and my training has hit a slump. I’m not sure what’s going wrong. I try to get in regular runs and gradually increase the distance, but it’s just not working the way that it should.

Maybe I’m expecting too much. After all, I did have a long break from running after my injury. But even with that in mind, I still don’t feel I’m making the progress that I need to.

What tends to happen is that I have a couple of good weeks where things are going well, followed by a slump where I just don’t have the energy to have a decent run, which is pretty much where I am at this week.

This evening though, I made myself get out for a bit of a run. I told myself that even a slow 5K would be better than nothing, but it was slow. I had very little stamina and had to take way more walk breaks than I should have – not good when you’ve got a 50K race coming up and you’re still finding 5K a bit of a struggle.

I think I may have to resign myself to the fact that August’s race is going to be more of a walk than a run, which is a bit of a shame. However I have raised £200 already for charity, with another £40 on its way from last month’s virtual races, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

I just need to come up with a new training plan…

How’s your running going? What do you do when your training isn’t going to plan? Do you adjust your training plan or try to stick with it until the end? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

If You Can’t Run, Just Walk

Ever since my run last weekend, I’ve had a bit of a twinge in my lower calf. Nothing too serious, but when I’m walking I can feel ‘something’ in the inside of my left calf. I’m not sure how to describe it really, but it’s just in one area, maybe about an inch or so in length, and it feels a bit like a bruise, except there’s no bruising.

Anyway, being over cautious about injuries these days, I decided that attempting my scheduled running this weekend would not be a good idea.

Today’s session was supposed to be a repeat of last weekend’s 10K, so instead of running, I decided to walk. To makes sure that I was still pushing myself though, I doubled the distance to 20K instead of 10K.

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 22.50.13The route was similar to the 10K that I did last weekend, but instead of turning back when I emerged from the woods, I continued down London Road to Preston Park, hoping that would be half way.

Unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough, so I had to do a couple of laps of the park before turning back and then take a slightly different route home to make sure I captured it all on the Garmin.

As routes go, it wasn’t that great really. There was too much pavement and crossing roads in the middle section for my liking, so I’m not sure I’ll go that way again. But it was a nice sunny morning and it wasn’t too busy, so I guess I shouldn’t complain too much.

How’s your training going? Did you get out for a run or a walk this weekend? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Walk, Don’t Run

2014-07-27I don’t know what the heck I did to my ankle on Thursday, but it’s still not right. I’ve been resting it a lot over the weekend, but after spending most of the morning watching the Commonwealth Games from the comfort of my couch, I decided that I needed to get out and get some kind of exercise.

The pain level is pretty low, but it’s enough to know that running even a short distance would be stupid. That being said, sitting around was only making it feel tight and stiff, so I decided to go out for a brisk walk.

I’ve been introducing walking as part of my training routine for the last week or so and, even though I can still feel a bit of a twinge while I’m walking, I figured that it would be ok if I wore my ankle support. I could easily slow my pace back down and head back home at the first sign of any trouble.

My goal was to walk at a pace of around 10 minutes per kilometre for about an hour, depending on how things went. And, as it turned out, it went pretty well. I managed to cover 7 kilometres in just over 1 hour 10 minutes without any significant discomfort.

I’m not sure when I’ll get back to my running schedule, but hopefully it won’t take too long and, if I can get a few long brisk walks done in the meantime, it shouldn’t have too much impact on the training overall.

Better to ease off now than suffer later, right?

Too Hot To Run

I haven’t done much running this week and, for once, it’s not due to injury, fatigue or an over ambitious training plan. In fact, the training plan seems to be pretty spot on so far. It’s just that this week other things have got in the way a little bit.

Wednesday was supposed to be my Fartlek day and, in case you haven’t read my blog before, you should know that Fartleks are one of my favourites. Much as I enjoy setting myself specific objectives and pace or distance goals, there’s something about the freedom of running purely by feel, pushing myself as hard as I like, taking breaks when I want and not worrying too much if I change my mind about what I’m going to do half way through. It’s like being a kid again, running for the fun of it. But unfortunately things didn’t quite work out that way on Wednesday.

Work is pretty busy at the moment and I had been looking forward to letting off some steam in my evening run. But as well as being the first week of our ‘busy’ season, we were three members of staff down this week, which is a pretty big deal when there are only twelve of us in the office to start with. So, when one of the bosses asked me if I could work late, I couldn’t really say no. As bosses go, they are pretty good to us and in the two and a half years that I have worked for them, they’ve never asked me to stay late so I didn’t mind. I could do my Fartlek session on Thursday instead.

However, Thursday turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far and, to make things worse, instead of cooling down in the evening, the temperature was still rising even after I got home. I wanted to run, but the fact that I was drenched in sweat from my thirty minute walk home was a good enough sign that it was going to be too hot to run. So I had to call it off.

This evening wasn’t much better so I decided early on that I wasn’t going to run. Besides, tomorrow is my longer run and there’s no way I’m doing Fartleks the day before a long run. For me, that would be a recipe for disaster!

However, I couldn’t really justify yet another evening without training, so I decided to go for a brisk walk instead. The plan was to walk for an hour and try to keep my pace at less than 10 minutes per kilometre. That didn’t quite work out either, possibly because of the heat, but judging by the Garmin data, I think the GPS was probably out a little bit too.

Still, the important thing was to get some exercise in without jeopardising tomorrow’s session. Let’s hope the weekend pans out a bit better!

What do you do when life gets in the way of your running? Do you skip your session, reschedule or do a different type of workout to make up for it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments.

Sunday Stroll

This morning I went for a Sunday stroll to introduce some cross training into my training plan and see what kind of impact it would have on my Training Peaks data.

The aim was to walk for one hour at a fairly brisk pace of under 10 minutes per kilometre. This is a bit faster than my normal walking pace and, although not nearly as tiring as running, it did get my heart rate up enough to make it feel like a workout rather than just a long walk.

I managed to keep my pace to an average of 9:47, which was pretty good considering that I had to stop for traffic a couple of times. The roads were still fairly quiet but there was enough activity to make me have to pause a few times. In saying that though, the fact that it started to rain quite heavily towards the end of the walk probably helped me to keep the pace up.

Looking at the Training Peaks data, it seems to suggest that doing this once a week will make the difference that I need to get my general fitness moving in the right direction; and, if it all goes according to plan, hopefully it will help to prepare me for the increase in the number of training days required for half marathon training in the Autumn.

2014-07-13_Chart
Click On The Chart To See A Larger Version

Of course, I still need to make sure that I don’t do so much walking that I’m not able to run the next day, but I don’t think an hour or so on a Sunday morning will interfere too much with the running schedule. Well, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

How’s your training going? What type of cross training do you do to improve your general fitness? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Trying To Pace Myself

I completed the first week of my Base Training program this morning and, I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good so far.

Today’s run was all about building aerobic endurance, with a 45 minute run at a nice easy pace somewhere between 6:45 and 7:00 minutes per kilometre.

The first two kilometres went according to plan and, on average, I managed to stay within the prescribed pace range. But once I got into the third kilometre, I found it difficult to rein it in and ended up averaging around 6:30 or 6:29 for each of the final four splits.

2014-07-12_Splits

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but I do need to be careful to stay within range as I build up the distance in order to avoid overdoing it.

According to the Training Peaks performance manager, however, at this stage I’m definitely not overdoing it. In fact, I’m not making any measurable progress at all.

2014-07-12_TP-Chart
Click On The Chart To See A Larger Version

Even though my fitness is levelling off now, rather than decreasing, if I continue with the current phase of my Base Training as planned, it doesn’t look like I’m going to make any real progress in terms of fitness. Which leaves me with a dilemma.

Do I ramp things up a bit and run the risk of being too tired to complete some of my workouts later in the week? Or do I continue as planned, ignore the chart and just enjoy getting into the habit of running regularly for the next few weeks?

I know myself that the first option would be a huge risk. Running three times a week every week isn’t easy for me and I need to get better at running more frequently before I start my half marathon training; but I’m also motivated by data. I know the chart doesn’t tell the whole story, but I also know that seeing progress mapped out in this way will help me stay on track. Once that blue line starts to go up, I won’t want to see it go back down again!

So, I’ve come up with a plan that might just help. Instead of adding extra running sessions or trying to run too hard or too far too soon, I’m going to introduce some walking into my training program. Nothing quite as strenuous as my day long hikes in the earlier part of the year, but something a bit more challenging than my daily foot commute to and from work.

I’m not sure how or even if it will help, but I plan to do an hour of brisk walking tomorrow morning to see what difference it makes to the chart as well as its impact on Monday’s training run. I guess time will tell.

What training do you do other than running to help increase your fitness? Do you walk, cycle or swim? What impact does it have on the rest of your training?

VRUK Blog Hop #4

Circle HopI didn’t get a Virtual Run in last month, which is pretty bad since I’m supposed to be hosting the thing, but I have my reasons.

Mostly, it was because I was training for the London 2 Brighton Challenge, which meant lots and lots and lots of walking!

So, even though I didn’t manage to run 10K or even 5K for the whole of May, I did manage to walk a total of 119K in May, with a bit of jogging thrown in here and there.

This month though, what with Juneathon and a new 10K training plan, I’m trying to get back into running again. It’s not easy after the last couple of months of walking, but I’m slowly starting to build it up again and am looking forward to seeing if I can get back up to speed for this month’s Virtual Run.

One of my favourite things about Virtual Running though, is that you get to connect with new runners through the Virtual Running UK Blog Hop. It’s still quite small as blog hops go, but I kind of like that as it means that you can get round all of the other blogs more easily. Here’s the link if you’re interested: Virtual Running UK Blog Hop.

Have you tried Virtual Running yet? Click here to find out about this month’s virtual races.