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
Friday was a welcome rest day, after three weeks of threshold training and running my quickest threshold run along my nine mile route on Wednesday evening I was ready for my day off. It is the first time since starting my training plan I have felt tired and my legs have felt heavy. To my surprise even though my legs felt heavy I was running really easy and relaxed, my pace was quicker and my heart rate was lower, which is a really good sign that everything is progressing nicely. I ran my first threshold run three weeks ago along the same nine mile route I ran on Wednesday evening at the same heart rate but thirty second per mile slower. Three weeks ago it took me 1:01:21 @ 164 bpm averaging 6:46/mi and on Wednesday evening along that same route it took me 56:25 @ 164 bpm averaging 6:15/mi. I’m running thirty seconds per mile quicker and still only working at the same effort level which I think speaks for itself. When I’m feeling tired I run in the lower part of my heart rate zones because I get the same training benefits from running at the bottom of my zone as I do from running at the top of my zone. The key is not to worry about the pace. I really enjoyed this weeks track session as I have been finding them really hard work and not really enjoying them. This weeks track session was the best I have felt and ran really well. The session we did was 1 x 5 minutes effort with a 2 minute recovery followed by 12 x 400 mete reps all with one minute’s recovery in-between each of the reps. I covered 1500 meters in the 5 minute effort before averaging 74 seconds for the 12 x 400 meter reps all off 1 min recovery. With a tough head wind down the back straight of the track, I was really pleased with how this session had gone. Continue reading
Monday morning run commute problems, how to fit all your clean work clothes and food into a small running bag. It can be a real pain as I have so much stuff to take back to work but the positives far out way the negatives. Running to and from work saves me so much time and helps me to get the weekly volume of training I need to run well. On the plus side my recovery runs are getting quicker which is a good sign and shows my body is dealing with the build-up of lactate more efficiently. Training by heart rate makes training so simple, you just run within the required zone and don’t have to worry about the pace you are running. My pace will vary depending on a number of factors like terrain, weather and tiredness, Monday morning I ran at 7:28/mi @ 154bpm and on the way home my pace was 7:02/mi @ 150bpm so four bpm lower but nearly thirty seconds quicker and still within my recovery zone. If I had run my morning run at the same pace as I did in the evening, I would have worked too hard and not got the recovery run I needed. My threshold runs this week have all been run at a very similar heart rate around 165 bpm but each run has progressively got quicker. We managed to get a good training group together for this week’s long run which I’m still keeping to a maximum of nighty minutes. In the hope to keep my legs fresh for the more important threshold runs which seems to be working well. I feel like I’m having to fight with myself to get into my threshold zone at the minute which isn’t helping me run very fluently but this will start to get better over the next few weeks. Continue reading
This weeks guest blog in Training Corner comes from The Endurance Coach and talks about building a strong endurance base though the winter months.
Winter for endurance athletes can only mean one thing and that’s ‘base training’. It’s a time when we take a well earned rest and then start to build a strong aerobic foundation for next year. The term ‘base training’ is something that all endurance athletes are no doubt familiar with, but we often fail to stop and question what we’re doing and why? What are the real reasons for doing base training? What are the actual objectives we are trying to achieve? If you don’t understand your actual objectives, then how can you possible ensure that you structure your training to gain the most from your winter base phase? Continue reading