This has been a tough week of training, largely due to the intensity rather than the volume undertaken. I know I lack basic speed and have really been trying to address this in my training recently, prioritising the sessions that require me to run close to my top speed.
I tend to find that the sessions I look forward to the most are usually those of least benefit to me. The converse is also true; the sessions I dread the most, for example Thursday’s 10 reps of 400m with long recoveries, tend to be exactly what I need. Give me a 10 mile tempo and I’ll be the cat who got the cream; give me short reps on the track with long recoveries and I will dread the session all day. This is not just a running phenomenon. People often favour activities that do not take them out of their comfort zones, even though those that do have value. I am starting to find, though, that the training I like the least generally isn’t as bad as it seems. Once I have got my head round the idea that I am going to be off the back and getting dropped, I relax and just get on with doing the work. And it tends to be over quickly!
I was particularly pleased with this session. Every rep was between 61 and 63 to the nearest second, whereas I completed exactly the same session last year with times in the 63 to 65 range. On Tuesday I will race over 1500m and have the opportunity to see whether the hard work is paying off yet or not.
Monday: AM 10km easy / PM 11km easy (21)
Tuesday: AM 9km easy / PM track session – 4 sets of 800,400 off 100/200 jog, 4*200 – 2:17,2:16,2:18,2:17 66,67,67,68 30,30,30,28 (22)
Wednesday: 16km easy (16)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM track session 10*400 off 3:00 – 62,62,62,62,61,61,62,63,63,62 (24)
This troubles me greatly; I regularly think about the fact that I have not yet ticked this off my list despite years of trying. (As an aside, this is not even a joke. I literally do have a ‘to do’ list by the front door with a series of tasks crossed off, with a sad, lonely ’14:59′ uncrossed at the bottom of it. It has been sitting there since last July.)
Not realising that I possess ample amounts of intrinsic motivation already, my wife has decided that doubt and provocation are now the best ways to ensure I achieve my goal. Where carrot has failed, stick is its substitute. It started again yesterday:
“I don’t think you’re ever going to break 15 minutes.”
“Yes I am”
“How do you know?”
“Look, I’m going to alright, I just haven’t done it yet”
“I don’t believe you”
And so on.
As it turns out, I need neither carrot nor stick right now. I give myself plenty of stick already. I know I’m going to do it. Those 5.6 remaining seconds are going to be sliced off my PB and one day I will wonder what all the fuss was about. I just hope that day is soon.
Monday: 15km easy (15)
Tuesday: AM 10km easy / PM hurdle drills + track session – 4*1000,4*600,4*400 off 200 jog – 3:03,00,58,58 1:47,45,46,44 70,68,68,67 (27)
Wednesday: rest (0)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM 15km easy, weights (25)
I decided to adopt a new strategy yesterday at the Warwickshire Cross Country Championships. With no team points at stake and with the race solely about individual performance I decided to just go for it. I won the race to the first corner, I won the race up the first hill, I even won the first lap. It’s just a shame the finish line was at the end of lap four.
As it turns out, the top three would have beaten me whichever way I had chosen to race. I probably would have hung on to fourth had I raced slightly more conservatively and sat in the pack for the first two laps, but sometimes you just need to get out there and go for it to really know what your limit is. Mine seems to be 5th in Warwickshire at the moment.
Next week we’re back at the same course for the third Birmingham League of the season. I might try this strategy again; I might revert to type and try and pick people off in the second half of the race, such is my normal cross country strategy. Either way, I am looking forward to it.
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.