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
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.
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
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