Training Diary - week ending 15th June 2014

It's amazing how the passage of time can feel totally different depending on your context. Last week was my first full week of training after the marathon. I had a two week rest period. The second week was partially enforced by a stomach bug that the whole family came down with in the space of about 12 hours and knocked us out for three days.

It felt brilliant to get back to consistent training again. In fact, there are signs that I might be getting almost addicted to running. On Friday I woke up at about 4 am with the dawn chorus. The windows were open because of the warm weather. Although it was relaxing listening to the bird song, I wasn't able to get back to sleep. From about 5 am I found I couldn't wait to get up and get out for a run. I knew the weather was going to be good. It would be sunny and there would be the fresh feeling of early morning. I got up at about 0545 and I was out of the house by 0555. The conditions were just as perfect as I had been expecting and I had a beautiful easy trail run on my regular five mile loop.

The training in the week may prove to be a sort of template for my summer's training. That is, there isn't going to be much of a template. I will probably end up with a very mixed set of training sessions each week. I think this will turn out to be good for me. For example, last week I totalled 48.5 miles. I didn't manage to fit in any double run days, but I did manage to fit one strength training session in and I managed to run on six days.

We were visiting friends in Hove on Saturday and Sunday. In another pattern that's going to be repeated, I went for early(ish) runs after helping Helena with the boys' breakfast. Saturday morning I went for a 16 mile run along the Hove and Brighton seafronts. It was nice to go on a long run that was basically flat. On Sunday I did an easy 6.5 mile semi-trail run with Alex. We went up onto the South Downs. The scenery is brilliant. The downs are so open you get that amazing sensation of running along a ridgeway looking down on the scenery on all sides. I could see the attraction of the South Downs Way 100, which was run the day before.

That Was The Week That Was - training breakdown

Monday - 5 mi easy run at 7:45 min/mi at lunchtime + Strength Training session in the evening
Tuesday - rest day
Wednesday - 10 mi hilly trail run
Thursday - 6.2 mi easy road run
Friday - 4.75 mi easy trail run
Saturday - 15.9 mi easy long run
Sunday - 6.4 mi hilly semi-trail run

Totals: 48.4 mi; average 8:17 min/mi; 732 m total elevation gain; 7:20:46 training time (include strength session)

The Week Ahead

Next week will be an interesting training week. I have three days of meetings in London. These meetings mean catching trains early enough that I may not have time for early morning running. I'll probably look to get an evening run in to compensate on a couple of days. We are at home at the weekend, so I'm hoping to experiment with a long hilly trail run that involves doing the Slaughterford 9 route back-to-back for a total of 20 miles and about 750 m of total elevation gain. I reckon this will take about three hours. This is not far off the ratio of elevation gain to distance that the Beacons Ultra has, so it should be good preparation. However, the Beacons Ultra route does rather condense the climbing with about 400 m gain in about 2 miles (twice, because it's a two lap course).
I'd like to fit a couple of strength training sessions in next week, but I think that may be unrealistic given my work schedule.


Just lift your head

So, I'm back into my regular training routine. I try to run six days a week and to find at least one day a week where I can double up with a run in the morning and at night. Usually I double up by running to and from work.

Today was a double day. I woke up at my usual time of 0530. Because I'm getting up so early, it means I have chance to get a proper breakfast. I had a couple of slices of marmite toast (of course) and got myself ready to go. There was even time to say "Good morning." to the boys before I left the house at 0715.

It was a grey, damp, morning. It was a little colder than it has been for the last few days. Maybe it was the weather. Maybe it was my third run in three days after a week off. Maybe it was the fact that I'm back on calorie control (aiming for net 1500 calories after subtracting estimated calories from exercise from the amount I've consumed). Whatever it was, I felt pretty lethargic. My legs felt a bit stiff and tight. I didn't feel like I was running hard. It just felt like a slog.

After about three miles I realised I'd run most of the distance staring down towards my feet or the ground one or two metres in front of me. I realised that I was kind of missing the point. One of the points of running is to get outside and enjoy the countryside that I'm so lucky to live near. So I realised that I just needed to lift my head and enjoy the scenery.

Guess what? I immediately felt better. I felt lighter on my feet, me legs felt bouncier. I started to enjoy the run.

Running is about freedom and enjoying being outside. I am training hard and consistently, but it's still fun. So, any time it feels hard, the key is to just lift your head.