Training Diary (07/11/16 – 13/11/16) 11 weeks to go until the Gran Canaria Marathon

Monday was 6 miles recovery. The pollution was gone for the day so I ran round the school playing fields, dodging U11 girls’ football practice. Nice to get out.

Tuesday was 10 miles with 4 miles at threshold pace on the school fields. A second day in a row outside- what a treat! The pollution was just starting to scrape 100 and I might have decided to stay in on another day, but I felt like I needed to get a hard outdoor run under my belt. I averaged 6.23min/mile for the 4 miles at threshold pace, with my heart rate averaging 162, which I think is about right. It didn’t feel too hard and the miles went by pretty quickly. Loved running through the crunchy leaves. Listened to a Marathon Talk podcast on the way home, which included an interview with a pro-fat, anti-carb nutritionist. He was quite convincing about the long-term health benefits of not relying on carbs alone as a fuel source but less convincing about the performance benefits. I won’t be switching to the Paleo diet any time soon but I will try to eat fewer carbs, especially before runs.

Wednesday was 10 miles general aerobic on the treadmill. I could feel yesterday’s hard effort in my legs, especially when I introduced hills, so there was nothing fast about this run. I got through the miles quite easily though and it didn’t feel like a long time to be running. I also managed to do 30 minutes of strength work this morning before school, which means the first of this week’s three double days is done.

Thursday was 4 miles recovery AM on the treadmill and 6 miles recovery PM on the road (I came home first and then went out). This is my first double running day of the training plan and I’m glad there won’t be too many more! In terms of distance and intensity it’s no problem, and running twice does help with recovery, but it’s difficult finding the time to get changed twice, run twice and stretch twice on an already busy work day. I listened to the second half of the Marathon Talk nutritionist interview that I mentioned on Monday and picked up another tip: the carbs you eat during a marathon aren’t providing energy to your muscles, but they are useful to remind your brain that there is some energy left and not to give up. It makes sense to me because, on my long runs on the treadmill when I’m sweating a lot, I sometimes have an artificially sweetened electrolyte drink. It has absolutely no nutritional value other than providing rehydration salts yet I always get a boost from drinking it. Surely it’s my brain’s reaction to the sweet taste. This means I only need to have a little taste of something sweet when I’m racing and will mean that I can avoid the stomach problems associated with eating too much sugar during a race.

Friday was 12 miles medium run on the treadmill. I made it to Friday! I need to get used to long runs at the end of the day Friday because they’re only going to get longer as the weeks go on. This felt pretty good and I was almost at marathon pace while still within the right heart rate range near the end. Maybe didn’t drink enough as I was running and so felt a bit weak near the end.

Saturday was 6 miles recovery on the treadmill. I take these recovery runs very easy. That’s not to say that they don’t take any effort: it’s nearly always feels like an effort when you’re running on the treadmill and you can’t exactly relax when running around Beijing streets. But I have found the right pace (about 8.20 min/miles) at which to do the six miles and I am learning how to stay relaxed while maintaining good form.

Sunday was 18 miles long run on the treadmill. This was a killer and I’m not sure why. Long runs are always hard on the treadmill but this one seemed to take an eternity. It might have been because I introduced about 4 miles-worth of 5% hills to the middle third of the run, which meant I slowed down quite a lot and the time dragged. It might also have been the warm gym. It might have been the effects of the extra mileage this week. Anyway, I did it and I can move on.

Total mileage for the week: 72. A full Pfitzinger! Considering this is equal to the biggest mileage week I’ve ever done, my legs feel surprisingly fresh. Let’s see if that continues into next week.

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