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.
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
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