I take a rest day every week and have the piss taken out of me by my training group for it on a regular basis. One of the guys I train with recently ended a 10-month streak of running on consecutive days and another recently hit 6 months. I rarely exceed 6 days.
When one of them put it to me recently that I am missing out on 52 days of training every year I retorted by telling him he was missing out on 52 days of recovery. I really do believe this. A guaranteed day off every week ensures that I stay fresh mentally as I am never far from the next break, as well as giving the obvious benefits of proper physical recovery. I’m not running tomorrow morning and am happy with that.
Monday: AM 14km easy / PM 11km easy (25)
Tuesday: AM 9km easy / PM grass session 2*10*400 off 30s (25)
Wednesday: 17km easy (17)
Thursday: AM 8km easy / PM track session – 4 sets of (600 with barriers in lane 2 / 400 flat) – 1:48, 67, 1:47, 68, 1:48, 67, 1:50, 65 (20)
Friday: 15km easy (15)
Saturday: AM parkrun in 15:55, grass session 2*2:00 off 2:00, 6*1:00 off 1:00 / PM 8km easy (24)
After my morning run I settled down in front of the TV to watch the coverage of the London Marathon. Taking place on a unseasonably warm day, it provided plenty of entertainment. If you are a massive sadist who likes to watch people suffer, that is. Fortunately I am so had a great time.
Neither the men nor the women set off at a pace appropriate for the conditions and as a result there were some ugly scenes towards the end as titans of the sport crawled home like the charity runners several miles back down the road. Watching Mary Keitany, normally such a graceful and elegant runner, shuffle the last mile, cooked from having gone out inside world record pace on a hot day, was excruciating.
The men’s race was no different, and in the opening miles the men resembled a group of 9 year old boys throwing rocks at each other to see who would get hit by the fewest. Mo Farah managed to dodge several of them but still grimaced his way to a 4 minute positive split.
It wasn’t just the elites. My friend Dan, in a message afterwards, said “I can remember nothing from the last 12km and woke up under a pile of ice in the medical tent.” Sounds like fun.
I’m sure running a good marathon is a hugely satisfying experience but it seems to go wrong more often than it goes right. This must be hard to take in an event you only get a couple of chances at every year and that requires several months of dedicated training. I’m sticking with steeplechase.
Monday: AM 8km easy / PM 12km easy (20)
Tuesday: 16km easy (16)
Wednesday: 16km easy (16)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM 13km moderate, weights (23)
Everything is sore. Calves, quads, hamstrings, glutes, abdomen, biceps. The list goes on. This week I did the full set – a road session, a track session and a cross country session. The holy trinity, if you will. And for good measure I also did a weights session and plenty of strength and conditioning work.
I can’t always handle the volume and intensity of training I have put in this week (137km, 10 runs, 3 hard sessions) but it is easier to when I am not at work and can therefore get a full night’s sleep. When I don’t have somewhere to be in the morning I can get the 10 hours of sleep I typically need, as opposed the 7 or 8 I usually manage, which enables me to recover much more fully in between runs.
Now I have several consecutive weeks of good training behind me I am looking forward to scaling it back slightly towards the end of next week with a view to racing the county championships in two weeks’ time. In my current shape I feel I can run really well.
This week the quality of my training was limited by the lack of places to run. My usual go-to route on the canal towpath was an ice sheet for the whole week and the pavements on the main roads locally were hazardous for the same reason. Weeks like this are pretty much the only time I ever wish I had a treadmill. Boring though it would be, it would enable me to run at pace on even terrain, something I normally take for granted. Yesterday’s planned session of 9 miles alternating hard and easy quickly became reduced to an hour’s easy running because to push the pace when patches of ice were still lying on the ground would have been foolish.
Still, the snow and ice have largely cleared now and I’m looking forward to getting my lungs working again instead of just my legs.
It started on Friday morning in the early hours and lasted all weekend with a just a few breaks on Saturday. Runners can train in all conditions – extreme heat, extreme cold, heavy rain, strong wind, but snow is the one that causes the most problems. Where do you go? If it’s heavy enough, as it was today, you’re OK as long as you stay off the roads and pavements, easier said than done when periods of snow tend to coincide with the times of year when daylight is hard to come by. Ice makes things tricky; even if you can find somewhere to run you might not be able to run hard enough to get a good training session in.
And yesterday a training session was just what I wanted.
The week was meant to be a taper week ahead of Telford 10k, due to be held this weekend and cancelled on Friday afternoon as a consequence of this current bout of snowy weather. Tuesday’s session was a long track session on very tired legs and Thursday’s was a 6 mile run with the middle two run hard. I felt great and clocked 10:02 for the two miles, feeling strong and as though I could have run for much longer at that pace. This left me excited for what I might do at the weekend and full of ‘what ifs’ the following day post-cancellation. I won’t have another opportunity to test my fitness in a race for another few weeks now and hope I can hold this good form until then.
Monday: AM 10km easy / PM 13km easy (23)
Tuesday: AM 9km easy / PM track session 16*400 with recoveries of 5*60s,5*45s,5*30s, all 68-72 (23)