Having had a great week of running last week, I started this week feeling very positive. With a muddy, hilly race in some beautiful countryside scheduled for the end of the week I knew it would be a great end to the week too.
This week was actually week four of my training plan. My three long runs so far should have built up from 12 miles to last week’s 16 miles and so this week was a recovery week. With Snowdonia Marathon Eryri at the end of what should have been week one, I had to adjust the first couple of weeks training.
On Tuesday mornings I tend to run when I finish my morning shift in Newbury. Greenham Common is just a 10 minute drive from work and is a great place to train. Being so open means that headwinds can be hard going, but I try to tell myself it’s nature providing me some resistance training! A three mile run today, so I ran the Newbury Parkrun route, which has a testing incline towards the end. I felt good and thought with the cold weather I’d be in for a good 5km time. I started out well, but it soon became apparent that my legs were still not fully recovered from the 16 miles I’d run on Sunday. I slowed with each passing mile and hit a headwind just over half way round, which wasn’t helping matters. I managed to keep my pace inside my ‘tempo’ pace though and finished off slightly faster, so overall was pleased with my run.
Wednesday evening saw the Quads of Fury (a group of friends who enjoy running socially together) getting out for a run together for the first time in quite some time. I’d said that I needed a five mile, easy paced run, so I was route planner! As the South Downs Way isn’t exactly flat, I try to get as many hills into my runs as I can. So I plotted a road route around the west side of Andover, taking in every possible hill. Easy pace runs should be at a pace where you can hold a conversation, perfect for a group social run. We chatted as we ran, and before I knew it we were done, at a perfect easy pace for my training.
Thursday should have seen me go out for another five mile run, but having had a very busy couple of days, my dogs hadn’t had much attention from me, so I decided to put their needs first and spent some time playing with them before heading out for an evening of skittles. By no means an unproductive day with a step count of over 15,000.
After a rest day on Friday, it was then long run day on Saturday with 14 miles scheduled. I had an eight mile race, Roundway Revenge, booked for the morning and had intended to complete a further six miles straight afterwards. I arrived, picked up my number and then spotted a group from Townson Training Bootcamp who I know through having helped coach occasionally. Having not seen them since the summer, it was great to catch up. I also saw my lovely client Lorraine and wished her luck (she’s a faster runner than me so knew I wouldn’t likely see her out on the course). Roundway Revenge is a testing but beautiful race put on by Devizes Running Club. Having had rain in the previous few days, the off-road sections offered lots of mud and puddles, my kind of race! After finishing the race I caught up with Lorraine and the Townson Training gang, everyone had a blast. I knew I needed to head back out for the remaining six miles to complete my long run distance, but having pushed during the race I decided I’d leave it until later in the day. Splitting the distance may seem like cheating to some degree, however it means the pace I ran at was faster than it would have been if I had completed it in one go, with the second part being run on tired legs. I went out that evening for a reasonably hilly six miles, in the dark. 14 miles complete!
My final run of the week was five miles, however I was working at the gym from 8am until 5pm. With a half hour journey each way I wouldn’t have time to run before work and would be too tired to do it when I got home. So I had to hope for some quiet time during my shift to be able to hop onto a treadmill. I make no secret of the fact that I’m not a fan of treadmill running, I find it very mentally challenging and without the open air to keep me cool I get very hot! Mid-afternoon brought a quiet time so I took the opportunity to hop on and get the job done. Although I knew it wouldn’t ever be a particularly fast (for me) run, somehow treadmill running feels more physically demanding than road running. Although I know the pace I ran was slower than it would have been if I’d have run outdoors, I got the five miles done. I’m sure I also gained some benefit from the mental challenge I have with running on a treadmill.
Week four complete, this week brings some longer mileage through the week and a long run of 16 miles. Still a long way to go (20 weeks and lots of miles), but so far so good!
This week is Children’s Grief Awareness Week, if you or someone you know has been bereaved of a child or have/know a child affected by a bereavement, Child Bereavement UK can help. This is the charity I’m raising funds for and the reason I’m taking on the challenge of running 50 miles. You can sponsor me here…