If you read my blog a few weeks ago….
you’ll know that I’ve been having some issues in training and getting the bigger mileage in for the event.
I knew I need to follow a plan – I need that kick up the bum to get me out of the door, so I tried a few:
– my.asics – Good app, but plan doesn’t take into account existing base mileage & starts from 4mile long runs and only goes to 18mile 3 weeks pre event.
– Hal Higdon – Really good plans and based on the type of runner you are – however I found paper based difficult and easy to skip.
– mBition – recommended to me by Nic and I did set it up online. However the lack of an app and ability
So I decided I needed to up my game. I contemplated getting a coach after seeing how well Jenni (@Jen_mo) was doing with having a coach and a plan for London. I looked at those guys but they were fairly expensive (~£300 for 6 months).
I had been chatting to Michelle (@shellmoby) lots on twitter and she said that she was always happy to help me out. I checked out her website (http://www.mileswithmichelle.co.uk/) and was really impressed and I couldn’t think of having anything better than a coach on Twitter, IG and Strava to give me a massive kick up the bum or tell me to have a rest day when needed.
So, a few days later we had a chat about goals, which programme, my race calendar and aim for Berlin. Before long a new training plan dropped into my inbox – I’ve never been so excited. Conveniently at that stage Berlin was 20 weeks away and Shell arranged it that I would start training properly after London 10,000 – i.e. once I’d got a few busy weeks of racing out of the way.
The plan is 17 weeks long, longest run of 22miles and includes rest/low mileage week, tempo runs, progressive runs, hills (I only spotted the hill session yesterday – thanks Michelle) and guidance on how I should run my races – Easy, Progressive and including warm ups and warm downs.
This is how things have gone:
To be fair I did not have the ideal start to the week. The Monday of the first day of my plan was the London 10,000 here is everything you need to know about how that went -> https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/05/28/westminster-mile-london-10000/
Tueday was a Rest day and Wednesday was Chase the Sun up on the Common. I was looking forward to seeing a few familiar faces and getting on with it and putting Monday behind me. It was nice to see everyone and it lifted me lots seeing everyone and the thought of Beers and Burgers afterwards with Ciara and Will.
The race itself couldn’t have gone better. I found a really nice rhythm about 1km in and kept my eye on a couple in front who I wanted to chase down – I caught them about 2.5k in and was quite pleased when I got overtaken by another couple of and so I had someone else to try and stick with.
I kept with them (about 10-20 yards behind) all the way until 4km and they started walking – I’d managed to run the whole way. I closed and closed and the guy was trying to get his partner to push as he could see me closing up. I overtook them with half a kilometre to go and I wasn’t going to let them get me back.
Now I’ve done this race before and I know the common fairly well, right hand turn, over the road and swing round to the finish. I spotted a fluorescent sign in front (thinking it was the turn right sign) and went for it, until it came into sight – why is it a turn left sign? – I’d gone to early. My mind instantly said, you can’t keep this up to the finish, but I replied “I’m sure as hell going to try”. I had a sneaky look around and saw they were a good way behind me – and picked up the knees for the finish.
My achilies had been a bit sore of the Westminster Mile where I wore my Hoka Clifton with thinner insoles and that is what I ran Wimbledon Chase the Sun in. The following day, my Achilies was sore again so I skipped my 3-mile progressive run .
Parkrun Saturday was a very easy run/walk in an effort to preserve as much energy for the London 10mile the day after.
London 10Mile I really enjoyed – you can read the blog here -> https://bigcarlrunning.com/2017/06/04/london-10-mile-review%EF%BB%BF/ I faired really well compare to the London 10,000 the week before where I really struggled. It was a hot day and the hills were killers but I was still pleasantly surprised with my pace and how I was able to keep running. I was a minute per mile quicker than at the London 10,000 the week before.
Week 1 – 4/4 runs completed = 22miles (25 projected)
Week 2 kicked off with a 30min recovery run – something I wouldn’t usually do after a long race. I’d been literally hobbling around the office all day so it took some convincing for me to get out – but I promised myself I’d get changed and it was only 30mins and I could walk if I needed.
Well, I couldn’t believe it, I felt amazing and I zoomed around the 2mile route feeling amazing and ended up not actually doing a recovery run and beating some of my Strava Segment PR’s.
Wednesday was another Chase the Sun at Clapham Common. The nice thing about the plan is that it mixes things up a bit and gives a different target than just PB or Run all the way. This run called for a progressive 3miles (each mile quicker than the last).
There was a great crowd at Clapham – the usual guys were there, Nic, James, Louise, Melissa but it was nice to meet up with Georgia from Runners World came to say hi, and it seems like the whole Chasing Lights Collective crew had turned up too.
I’ve never done progressive before so had a plan in mind
Mile 1: 14:00min
Mile 2: 13:45,
Mile 3L 13:30.
I started running with Caroline but looking at my watch I couldn’t slow it down enough, so I told Caroline to crack on. I couldn’t believe how much I had to plod and slow down to bring my pace down.
Mile 1 was ok albeit a little faster than I’d have liked, Mile 2 was a struggle, I felt like my stride was huge and trying to pick it up again for Mile 3 felt impossible. Meg and Donna from Backpackers came past and gave me a cheer and got me moving a little better. I checked my watch and figured I wasn’t too far from PB’ing even though that was nowhere near my intention.
I turned into the final straight to see the clock still in 40mins territory – so I gunned it for the line and came out with a progressive run and a PB by a huge 50seconds – that was a shock.
Mile 1: 13:40
Mile 2: 13:35
Mile 3: 13:16
Thursday was polling day and should’ve been a rest but I love running with Backpackers and I had to go for our medal ceremony (we all get presented with the bling we get since we last went to backpackers by Leeanne). It was just a gentle run/walk down to Downing St and back to Lululemon on Regent St, nice and relaxed and a good chat with Katie about the upcoming Shrewsbury Half.
Friday was one of the longest training runs I’ve done in ages – probably since before Brighton Half in Feb. I don’t really train specifically for Half Marathons any more, I just keep my running up and put in a couple of 10k+ runs. So 8.5 miles after work on a Friday it was. I decided to hit the Royal Parks, started by looping Regents Park, down to Hyde Park and up to Kensington Gardens before heading back to waterloo via Green Park & St.James. I’ll be honest after PB’ing at Clapham and Backpackers Thursday it was a bit of a struggle after passing 10k mark – plus my Aftershokz ran out of battery too. But the miles were done – however slowly and I was happy to get it done and that I didn’t stop when I really wanted too. This training plan isn’t just about the miles it’s about the mental capacity to carry on when things get tough.
To avoid four days of straight and tough runs I skipped Parkrun and went to my club run on the Sunday morning instead. It was a glorious morning and it was lovely trotting around the trails.
Week 2 – 5/5 runs completed = 19miles (41 miles in total)
Tuesday was planned to be 7miles and it coincided with an exciting event with Polar I’d been invited to testing out their new Polar M430 – blog and stuff to come when I’ve tested it properly. My plan was to do the proposed 5k with Polar and then run back to Waterloo. Only their plan was to do 3x8mins at Progressive HR Zones.
I’ll skip through the details but essentially by the end of it, I was shattered & my Achilles wasn’t too happy with some of the warm up exercises we were doing – those last 8mins at HR Zone 4 was pretty tough. So I bailed on the remainder and figured I could do the 10k at Chase the Sun the following day to pick up a little bit of mileage.
I woke up the next day with pretty bad Achilles pain – I took my things to do race at QEOP race but I didn’t think it was sensible, so I skipped the Chase the Sun race, despite the offer of chicken wings post-race from Melissa. I binned the 4 mile lunch run Friday too with Shrewsbury in mind for the Sunday,
Shrewsbury, well the achilies felt better, I’d had it taped up all week and used half a roll of Rocktape on the morning to reapply and keep it tight and make sure it stayed in place. I was feeling good, but it was incredibly warm and I knew there were big hills.
Week 3 – 1½ runs completed – 15 miles (56 miles in total)
So I’m into my fourth week now and I am really enjoying my training – compare that to a few weeks ago when I could barely get out for Parkrun I can’t believe what a difference having a structured plan has made.
The other stark realisation is that Marathon training really does take a lot of commitment. I’ve heard friends say they’ve been restricted to none/2/3/4 marathons because they’re not around and they’re missing out on things and I didn’t really get it until recently.
There are things I want to do, I want to try Stand-up Paddle boarding (SUP), but finding a day to do it, or at least a day after not having done a race or a 15mile run is almost impossible. For the same reason I haven’t been on my bike since March. I really do take my hat off to those who run marathons while having a kids or a partner that doesn’t run or a particularly demanding job – I’m only just realising how lucky I am.
Not to delve too much into the next tranche but week 4 has already been busy with recovery run, two Chase the Sun races and Backpackers, but it has gone well apart from cutting Tuesday short. To finish I have a 14mile run scheduled for Saturday – it will be my longest run to date (ever). I’ve struggled getting out for these long runs, but I like that Michelle has recommended I do a Parkrun in the middle or at the end.
My plan is split it up into three runs – a 10k, then a 5miler, then Parkrun (progressive if I can) at the end. I’ll let you know how it goes at the end of Week 6.
I am now only £100 away from my Charity target for Prostate Cancer UK