I can’t believe I’m already nine weeks into my training plan and only eight weeks until race day. To give me an idea of the shape I’m in I have entered the Lincoln 10k on the 17th April which is only five weeks’ away. It will be a great little sharpener before I start tapering for the North Lincolnshire Half Marathon. This week has been my birthday week and all of the treats have fuelled a really good week of training. I managed to work all of my training around going out for meals and visits from my family whilst keeping my training volume the same this week. I’m starting to consistently run low 6:00/mi threshold runs and was keen to keep the momentum going. Thursday track sessions are getting quicker as the training group gets fitter and this week the pace was a little spicy. Despite going into it with heavy legs from running a threshold run the previous evening, I managed to just about hang onto the front group for the whole session. We have been doing our club track night based on timed reps rather than distance as I think it works better for a group. The feedback from the club members was that they also felt that they get a much better work out this way. When we do distance some of the group finish before others who still have reps to do meaning they tend to cut the session short. When we do time based reps they will dig in and finish the whole session as everyone is running and resting at the same time, meaning everyone gets the most out of the training session. The signs of spring are starting to show and there have been great running conditions this weekend and for the first time I have been able to get out training in my shorts. Another great weeks training was finished off with a coffee and homemade cake.
The last couple of weeks have been really busy for me as I’m currently doing my CIRF (Coach in Running Fitness) while still trying to fit all my training around everyday life. I spent last weekend down in Birmingham at the Alexander Stadium on a two day coaching course so didn’t get the chance to update my blog.
I was hoping by reducing my training volume in week six it would have left my legs feeling fresh and ready to push on with my training over the next few weeks but I felt like it had completely the opposite effect and left me feeling sluggish. My legs were heavy and I was lacking energy, it wasn’t until the end of the week that I started to feel refreshed. I wanted to get my training back to normal which includes three threshold runs and a tempo session on the track, this stress load seems to be working really well for me at the minute. The key to heart rate training is sticking to the correct training zones even if it means running slower than you have been at the same heart rate and trusting what your body is telling you. I still get the same training benefits by doing this but it’s hard when you see that you’re running slower than you have been. I really didn’t feel like running a track session on Thursday evening as I was shattered and could have done with a good sleep. This is were having a good training group really helps to motivate you to keep training hard even when you don’t feel like it. Continue reading
I wouldn’t call this week a recovery week but after finding Tuesdays recovery run home from work a lot tougher than it should have been, I decided it would be a good time to have an easier week and took Wednesday completely off. I still wanted to include the sessions that give me the biggest training benefits but felt I could sacrifice my recovery runs for the rest of the week. I know when I’m feeling tired as I start to get really grumpy and snappy with my wife and this allowed me to catch up on some much needed sleep. Previously I would have kept pushing my body until it was my rest day and stuck to my training plan but I’m slowly learning. The more time I spend training the more I’m learning about what does and doesn’t work for me. I’ve started listening to what my body is telling me. If I’m feeling good I will make the training run count, if I’m not feeling good and I’m having fight to get my heart rate up I will have an easier day. I wouldn’t have gained anything by having another high mileage week and probably would have ended up injuring myself. In the long run it would have caught up with me and eventually had a negative effect on my performance, when I needed to find that little bit extra. This week was more about quality not quantity, my sixty four miles still included two threshold runs which are the most important of all my runs. A speed session and a nighty minute long run which I think made a very good weeks training. I have twelve weeks until my target race to hopefully get in to PB shape. Hopefully having a couple of treats this week and the reduced training load will help me to recharge and freshen up and allow me to make the same improvements in my next block of training. Continue reading
I had originally planned to have Monday as a recovery day after Sunday’s Inter Club XC race, but on my recovery run to work my legs felt really good so I decided to swop some of my training days around. This enable me to take advantage of feeling good and run my normal threshold route home from work. It’s normally Tuesday when my legs feel heavy after racing and this week was no different. My decision to be more flexible with my training enabled me to have a better weeks training and have my recovery day when I needed it more. This week is the first time I’ve been able to run sub 6:00/miles in my threshold zone which is really encouraging that I have got my training right. The lower my heart rate is getting the quicker I’m having to run to get in to my threshold training zone the harder mentally I’m finding it to run towards the top end of my training zones. When I was wasn’t running as well and not as fit it was a lot easier to run towards the top of my zones. I would be thinking I should be able to run faster at this heart rate and would keep pushing on. But know I’m thinking the complete opposite I look at the pace and think I shouldn’t be running this fast at such a low heart rate and start to back off. This is the reason I broke my Saturday threshold run in smaller efforts with a short recovery jog in-between each effort. The aim was to try and run towards the top end of my threshold zone to build my confidence at maintaining that speed and effort. A little recap on my training since I started training by heart rate five weeks ago. I did my first 9 mile threshold run in 1:01:21, 6:46/mi @ 165 bpm and this week that 9 mile threshold run was done in 54:45, 6:04/mi @ 161 bpm. Which is a massive improvement of over six minutes and a drop of four bpm while running forty two seconds quicker per mile. Continue reading
My training is pretty straight forward as it’s all about spending as much time as possible in my threshold heart rate zone (159 bpm – 169 bpm). By completing and increasing the time and number of threshold zone runs, my body is able to build up a greater ability to maintain this effort for a significant amount of time. This means my training doesn’t really change from one week to the next. The only drawback I have found from training this way is the difficultly to train with other people, you need their heart rate zones and pace to match your own zones or one of you is not getting the desired work out. I can’t say to someone I’m going to run x amount of miles at a certain pace as I never know what my pace will be until I start running. Last week my threshold run was 6:24/mi @ 165 bpm and this week the same run was 6:07/mi @ 163 bpm, sometimes you set off running and everything comes together. I’m still running all of my runs at the same heart rate but this week I have made big strides forward on the pace I’m now running them at. It may be simple but it seems to be very effective. This week has been no different to any of my previous training weeks other than swopping some of my workouts around, to allow for the Inter Club XC race on Sunday which I used for my hard tempo run of the week. I’m very structured when it comes to my training and I like to know any family plans we have so I can plan my weeks training around them. I included a body conditioning and drills coaching session with Coach Jamie Miller who came to take are weekly club training night. With a massive turn out of thirty plus runner’s it showed how much people wanted to learn about an area of training that most of us put off. The little things like how to correctly do high knees and heel flick drills. I’m sure a lot of people who haven’t got a running back ground from a young age like me will be doing them wrong. I’ve spent years doing them how I was taught as a child playing football when we warmed up before a game but they are not a warm up. They are drills to help correct running form. Hopefully it can help me to improve my running technique and to run a PB of a sub 73 minute half marathon. Continue reading