Training Diary (14/11/16 – 20/11/16) 10 weeks to go until the Gran Canaria Marathon

Monday was 13 miles medium run outside around the school fields. On what was forecast as the only non-polluted day of the week, I took the opportunity to get back among the crunchy leaves of the school playing fields. I shuffled my schedule around so that I was doing 13 miles rather than 6, just so that I could get more outdoor miles under my belt. It did meant running a 13 miler the day after an 18 miler and my legs did feel quite stiff to begin with, but they loosened up as I got going. In the end, I really enjoyed having to push hard, increasing my heart rate every few miles, as I always aim to do on long and medium runs. After a hard day at work, there’s nothing better than a run in the cold fresh air to clear your mind. I just wish I could do it more often.

Tuesday was 5 miles recovery AM outside and 5 miles recovery PM on the treadmill. I sneaked in an extra 5 miles in the morning before the pollution descended. Legs feeling quite tired after 18 followed by 13 on the previous two days. The double recovery runs and double stretching did definitely help.

Wednesday was 8 miles general aerobic with 10x100m strides on the treadmill. I included about 4 miles worth of hills as well because I don’t do enough of them. The whole thing seemed to drag because I’d had a long day at work and I didn’t feel much like running on the treadmill. I had to resort to counting my steps to keep going.

Thursday was 13 miles medium run on the treadmill. In contrast to yesterday, this 13 miles absolutely flew by. I was feeling great and my heart rate was very low in relation to my speed. The only issue came at about 10 miles, when I increased the gradient a few per cent and my knee starting feeling funny. I slowed down and it felt fine enough to keep running but I didn’t want to push too much. I think it’s a symptom of a tight hamstring. I’m not sure if cycling to and from work is making my hamstrings tighter- I’ve heard that cycling can do that- but it is definitely the part of my body that starts complaining first when I increase the miles. I do stretch them before and after every run but I can barely touch the top of my shoes, even after stretching. I might have to cycle slower or take up yoga. Not sure if the half hour strength session this morning might have affected it too – I did do some squats. The whole thing is a mystery. Hopefully it’s a small niggle and I’ll be ok for Saturday’s big run.

Friday was 6 miles recovery on the treadmill. I took it very easy with tomorrow’s effort in mind. My tight hamstring felt fine.

Saturday was 19 miles with 10 miles at marathon pace (6.40min/mile or 14.5kph) on the treadmill. The big one! On paper, this is probably the hardest workout in my whole 12-week training plan. 19 miles with 10 miles at marathon pace so early in the schedule is a big test and it’s only two weeks since I barely scraped through 17 with 8. Knowing that it was going to be tough, I did everything I could this week to be ready for it. I backed off near the end of the 13 miler on Thursday, I took it even easier than usual on Friday and ate a few more carbs than normal last night. The sweet potato chips set me up perfectly because I completed the run at exactly the right pace the whole way. It was definitely not easy- that was clear from my involuntary grunts and permanent grimace throughout the last 40 minutes- but my average heart rate was only just over 160, which is about right for that kind of effort. I also didn’t need to eat anything, which means I didn’t have to worry about stomach problems. There were just two negatives: the funny feeling in my hamstring/knee returned and, although I was able to keep running with it, my knee is definitely not happy now. I’ll have to foam roll and rest it as much as I can in the next few days. The other is that I emerged from gym into bright sunshine and blue skies. If I had waited another hour or two, I would have been able to do the run outside on the roads, which would have simulated the marathon even better. Oh well, I’ve learned not to trust the pollution forecast so much. The run is still a big confidence booster and makes me feel like I’m really making progress.

Sunday was 6 miles recovery on the roads. The rain has come and the pollution has gone! It was supposed to be snowy today but I’m glad it wasn’t. Instead it was the kind of fine drizzle that you get so often in the UK and it was lovely after a week on the treadmill. The run felt easy, despite using up all of my three-beers-a-week allowance earlier in the day. The hamstring is feeling ok but I’ll take it easy tomorrow as well just to be sure.

Total mileage for the week: 75. A full Pfitzinger!

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