Too much tempo and some Parkrun tourism

My weekday runs this week were scheduled to be the same mileage as last week. So Tuesday was a seven mile run, which I did at Greenham Common. A wet morning almost made me wait until later in the day, but there were no guarantees it would dry up as the day went on, so I got out and did it after finishing work in Newbury. I managed to gradually increase my pace through the run, with my first mile taking 11 minutes 26 and the seventh mile almost two minutes quicker at 9:29. A good run with the majority being within my tempo pace range, albeit very wet.

Wednesday brought a five mile run, which should have been at an easy pace, I was feeling good and didn’t make the effort to hold myself back. Which meant I had now completed two tempo runs two days on the trot. Its a big rule of run training that you should not do hard training back to back and should always have a rest day or easy pace run in between. Although the run felt good at the time, having had a very busy couple of weeks this hard training may have had some impact on what happened in the next couple of days.

On Wednesday night I managed to get a rare early night. I hadn’t slept well the night before, having a restless night. I had a repeat of this, but worse on Wednesday night. I woke in the early hours with all sorts going through my head, including whether the route I’d planned to run Thursday morning would be safe before sunrise. Once I’d cleared my head of all of that I then started coughing, which then stopped me being able to settle for quite some time. So after very little sleep and then not feeling well at all, I ended up taking two days off of work and again not completing my Thursday run.

After two days of complete rest, sleeping lots and eating well, I did some Parkrun tourism on Saturday morning. Marlborough Common Parkrun, a run around the common on a mix of grass and gravel trails. I’m not sure it was still quite freezing when I arrived there but I started with both feet and hands numb from the cold. Wearing several layers, including sleeves (unusual for me), I started in the middle of what was quite a small field of runners compared to what I’m used to. Not being able to check my watch meant that I just ran to how I felt, something it seems I should do more. My pace stayed sub nine minute miles throughout and was my fastest Parkrun since June! More elevation, a tougher surface being completely trail and faster than last week, yet it felt easier.

I had another 15 miles to complete on Saturday to take me up to 18 miles for the day. I’d plotted a route from my parent’s house, just outside of Devizes. I ended up setting off later in the day than I’d hoped so I knew I’d be pushing it to get done before I ran out of daylight, as I hadn’t taken my run light with me. The route would be mainly hilly roads, with a flat section along the canal before coming back onto the hilly roads again. I started out well, feeling good running at sub 10 minute miles. I was running along some roads I hadn’t been along before and somehow missed a turning, by the time I realised and got back on track I had run almost a mile extra. I kept going and by the time I’d got to eight miles the light was starting to fade. I had another mile to run along the road then I’d be down to the canal. By the time I’d been on the canal for a mile, 10 miles into my run, it was getting darker by the minute. The path was very muddy in places, where canal boats moor regularly, and with the combination of mud and lack of light my pace slowed somewhat. By mile 12 it was almost pitch black so I called for backup, Dad to the rescue! In one mile I would come to a point where I could come off of the canal and onto the road in a place I knew he could park to pick me up. So that’s exactly what happened. 13.1 miles completed, slightly disappointed not to have managed 15 miles but very pleased with my performance.

Sunday was due to be a five mile run, but I decided to tag on the two miles extra from Saturday’s long run. I ran a route planned for a Thursday morning so I could familiarise myself with it, and feel better about running it before sunrise. Another rather hilly route but also one I managed to complete within my tempo pace range.

I now have no reason to be worried about running early on a Thursday morning, with a route planned and tested that I’m happy will be safe enough before sunrise (I’ll be wearing a run light too).

Onwards and upwards to the week ahead, which brings exactly the same distances scheduled as last week.

I’m running South Downs Way 50 in aid of Child Bereavement UK. You can sponsor me here…

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