Training Diary (28/11/16 – 05/12/16) 8 weeks to go until the Gran Canaria Marathon

Monday was 6 miles recovery in the gym in the morning. This was a nice easy start to the week. My legs were quite sore from the road running I’d done on Sunday and it took a couple of miles for them to loosen up. I’m not sure if your legs get used to road running the more you do it but I don’t really want to take the risk and find out. I think it probably is important to do some road running in training, since my marathon is on the road, but maybe not the long run every week.

Tuesday was 8 miles general aerobic with 10x100m strides on the treadmill. The pollution was bad so I jumped on the treadmill as soon as possible after school, despite the gym being filled with teenage boys lifting weights. The run felt fine and passed quite quickly, although my legs were quite sore from the strength workout I did in the morning. I’ve been doing a lot more strength work in this training plan but I’m still unsure about whether squats and lunges are worth doing. They are supposed to make you less injury prone and it’s true that I’ve had hardly any problems despite doing more miles than ever before. On the other hand, they do make my legs quite sore and that has got to affect the quality of my workouts. As with so many things, I don’t know what the answer is.

Wednesday was 10 miles with 4 miles at threshold pace on the treadmill. Oh dear, I got this one all wrong. It’s rare that I don’t complete a training run but I just had to stop today. After my “suspiciously easy” 5 miles at threshold pace last Friday, I was feeling confident about the one this week and I had already decided to increase the threshold pace to 15.6kph. When I got to the gym, I noticed that it felt quite warm and stuffy but I told myself it would give me an extra level of challenge and I remained confident. I started with 4 miles to warm up and did those with no problem. I noticed that my heart rate was a little higher than it normally would have been but, stupidly, I didn’t adjust my goal. Then I started at the threshold pace. Within 5 minutes my heart rate was way up, the sweat was pouring off me and I was doubting whether I’d be able to hold that pace for 25 minutes. I told myself that my heart rate would even out soon and that I needed to grit my teeth and get the miles done- it was only 4 miles. Unfortunately, it just got worse and worse, even when I eventually gave in and reduced the speed to 15kph. My breathing became more and more shallow and I was starting to lose my form so, after 3.5 miles, I had to jump off and sit down. I got back on to do my planned 2 miles warm down but couldn’t face going back up to full speed for that last half a mile. I need to learn my lesson from this and adapt my threshold pace according to the temperature in the gym!

Thursday was 15 miles medium run outside. This was a really enjoyable morning run before work, although it started badly when I stepped out of the door from school at 6am and realised that the battery was dead on my GPS watch. I like to think I’m not a slave to technology and, on a normal day, I would have just gone ahead with the run anyway but it wasn’t possible today. With only 2 hours 15 until I had to be changed, showered and ready to start work and with my 15 milers generally taking 1 hour 50 there wasn’t any margin for error. To my rescue came Marathon Talk podcast episode 230, which was exactly 1 hour 54 minutes long. I decided to listen to it while running and start heading back to school when it sounded like they were coming towards the end. I got going and felt quite good, given yesterday’s over-the-top effort. The temperature was a little higher than last week and the wind wasn’t so strong. I enjoyed running by feel rather than looking at the heart rate on my watch and it has made me wonder whether I should do that more. The main thing stopping me is a worry that I won’t be able to judge my effort levels consistently. I think it only worked today because I had done an identical run the week before and knew how each part should feel. On the other hand, I’ll never get better at running by feel until I do it more and so maybe I should ditch the heart rate monitor forever. Whatever the answer, today’s run was a good one. The podcast method worked perfectly and I completed what must have been about 15 miles in what must have been about the right time.

Friday was 6 miles recovery on the treadmill. Oh how I needed this recovery day. From Thursday lunch time onwards, each of my legs turned into two blocks of wood joined by a creaky hinge. Standing up and sitting down was a real challenge so I taught most of my lessons from a chair at the front or leaning against various walls of the classroom. Maybe I ran that 15 miles too quickly without having my heart rate monitor to slow me down. Maybe I was feeling the effects of the hard effort on Wednesday two days later. Maybe it was the lack of time for stretching after each of those two runs. Maybe it was the lack of sleep Thursday night. Or maybe it was all of those together. Having said that, the 6 miles went by without incident, although there was a slight pain in the arch of my foot. I also desperately need some new trainers. Shoe companies would tell me those two things are connected but I’m not so sure.

Saturday was 7 miles general aerobic with 3x100m strides on the treadmill. What’s the point in doing only 3 sets of 100 metres? Well, after the third, my left hamstring started to tighten up and so I decided not to do any more damage, especially with 18 miles tomorrow and big week next week. My legs felt sore during the 7 miles and the slight pain in my foot was still there, although everything eased a bit when I got going. I had a good stretch afterwards and hopefully things will be ok for tomorrow.

Sunday was 18 miles long run on the treadmill. Even though it was slightly lower mileage than the two previous, this has been quite a hard week overall and it has resulted in a few niggles. My left leg has a range of possibly inter-connected sore points, including my hamstring, calf and the arch of my foot and so I was a little apprehensive about the 18 miles when I woke up. In the end, the miles went by quite easily, even though it was on the treadmill. Next week is a big week I’m going to keep running as much as I can but need to watch out for the sore points getting worse. One positive I can take is that I’m getting used to doing long runs without food or sugary drinks, which should mean I’ll not need to eat too much in the marathon. Goodbye stomach problems!

Total mileage for the week: 70. Another full week. I celebrated with more dumplings and a single beer.

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