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 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 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