With only one week until the Lincoln 10k, which will be my first road race of 2016. I wanted to make the most of this week and get some quality training sessions in before I started my taper. I had planned to run seventy five miles this week by reducing the distance of my recovery runs which allowed me to run my threshold runs towards the top of my heart rate zone between 165 bpm and 170 bpm. This is where I get the maximum training benefits from my threshold training, but maintaining this kind of effort level is mentally tough and feels more like racing instead of a training run. When I first started training by heart rate I couldn’t maintain a sixty minute threshold run. I had to slowly build up the time I spent in my threshold zone and over time I got stronger and started to be able to spend more time in this zone as I got fitter. With marathon season in full swing our Thursday training group has dwindled down due to the Manchester and London marathons being imminent. This week I had planned out biggest track session to date, 1x4min, 10x2min, 1×4 min all with 60 seconds recovery which is a long track session when you add in a three mile warm up and a two mile cool down making a total of eleven miles. The recovery time was kept short which made for a tough but very enjoyable track session which quickly passed by as we aimed for 5k pace for the entire session. Saturday’s nine mile threshold was mentally tough as my legs felt heavy from Thursdays tough track session and I nearly decided to do a recovery run. I managed to get it done by telling myself it was the last one for eight days and was really pleased to run at the bottom of my threshold zone averaging 6:08/mi @ 164 bpm. Sunday I reduced the distance again just to try and freshen my legs up with an easy 75 min recovery run before I started my taper for the Lincoln 10k. Continue reading
Last week I decided to reduce my training volume and have an easy week to allow my body recover and adapt after eleven weeks of hard training. Most of my runs were kept to thirty minutes as I don’t think it’s worth putting my trainers on for a shorter period of time and anything longer than thirty five minutes isn’t a true recovery run in my opinion. The biggest sign that I’m starting to feel rested is that my heart rate drops and my pace starts to increase, which makes me have to work harder to get it to my training zones. I included a couple of short hard training sessions to keep my legs turning over. Wednesday’s threshold run was a perfect example of this as I ran a very quick threshold run averaging 5:43/mi @165 bpm which felt very comfortable. I had to swap my rest day around this week from Thursday to Friday as I had to be observed coaching a session to add to my evidence folder which is going towards getting my coaching qualifications. The biggest change that I have made to my training is starting to run to and from work, as it only takes me ten minutes longer than driving. This way I can get a thirty minute recovery run done in the same time it takes me to drive to and from work or I can just add the extra miles on I need to. Saturday saw the running of the first Poolsbrook Park Run which is only a mile down the road from where I live and will be a perfect training venue for me. I ran it as a 5k time trail to see where I was at with my fitness and was pleased with my run of 16:40, 5:17/mi @ 175bpm. Continue reading
I can’t think of a better way to end this block of high mileage training then to spend the week end training in the Peak District. I started running three years ago after entering the Ultra Tour of the Lake District, a one hundred mile ultra-run in the Lake District. This is where my love for running started or obsession if you speak to my wife, but back then I would do anything to avoid running on the roads, only running on the fells and trails. It was great to be back on the fells and reminded me just how much I love running in the hills. The last eleven weeks of training were spilt into two blocks of five weeks averaging 80 miles per week with an easy week in-between. I’ve been able to complete every session I had planned and more importantly stayed injury free. My training has been very consistent and has been pretty much the same week on week apart from this weeks Peak District trip. Where I still ran the same heart rate zones as I would have done on the road but it was just at a slower pace. To give you an example of how effective training by heart rate can be, week one of my training I ran a seven mile threshold run @ 6:31/mi 163 bpm and this week I ran a eight mile Recovery run @ 6:37 149 bpm. A big part of my training that I haven’t spoken about yet and I think has made a massive difference to my running is doing three or four conditioning and flexibility sessions per week, which I do in the evening while watching television. I did some test to see how strong my core was and to see how flexible I was when I first started running. The results weren’t great to say the least, one of the test I did was the sit and reach test to test my flexibility. I couldn’t even touch the slider to push it along the scale but now I can achieve I score of +15. Which is a massive improvement if you consider the scale start at -15. Continue reading
I feel I run best off a high mileage training plan and my body seems to be able to cope well with a high amount of stress. I’m averaging eighty miles a week and going from strength to strength due to consistently running three threshold runs a week, which I think is key to me running well. My local running track was closed this week on Thursday evening for maintenance which is when I normally do my speed work. To fit in all my key session in I had to swop some of my training days around, which allowed me to get to the track on Tuesday evening. I repeated a session I had previously done in my build-up of, 1 x 5 min (2 min recovery) 12 x 400 (60 seconds recovery) but this time I progressed the training session on by doing, 1 x 1mi (2min recovery) 10 x 400 (45 seconds recovery) 1 x 800. Even with the longer reps at the start and finish and shorter recovery’s, I managed to run all my reps quicker which must mean I’m getting faster and fitter. At the minute I’m running a threshold run the day before I do my speed work, the reason I’m doing this is to make me slightly fatigued going in to my speed session. This means I don’t have to work as hard to get my heart rate up to the required zone and I can run my reps a little slower. I feel more relaxed and in control of the session instead of having to force my pace to get my heart rate up. The advantages of this are that it doesn’t take as much time to recover from and I can run a threshold run sooner. My rest day had to be moved to Thursday meaning I had to run back to back threshold runs on Friday and Saturday. In twenty four hours I ran twenty seven miles with nigh teen of them in my threshold heart rate zone around 6:05/mi pace. This left my legs feeling heavy and I wasn’t looking forward to Sunday’s long run. Luckily my wife knows how to do sport massage as she started to study to be a physiotherapist before becoming P.E teacher so I’m very lucky that I can get a sports massage done at home.
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