This week was definitely a little more exciting than my average week, highlights include running with a GB Ultra Runner, my first XC race with Herne Hill Harriers & putting my pacing skills to the test at the first ever Olympic Park Half Marathon!
Week 5 – WC 4th February 2019
AM – Easy/Recovery 3 Miles
PM – Steady 7 Miles
Gym – Strength Training
I always get asked a lot what is one of the most important things about marathon training. I think people often get surprised by my answer… Consistency. So yes, these sessions might not be the most exciting, but its working. It sets me up for the week, the easy run in the morning shakes out any hard weekend runs and I genuinely enjoy getting a good gym session in before I crack on with work and life admin!
So my best advice, find a routine that works for you and your life – and stick with it!
PM – Club Session
Urgh. I wish I could say this session went well, but it was horrible. Why? Because I was a greedy pig and decided to stuff my dinner down me BEFORE my evening session. During the warm up I realised this was a big mistake, I felt bloated, heavy and my stomach was churning like a washing machine. The most annoying thing though was that my legs actually felt great and if I hadn’t messed up my food I would have really enjoyed it! The session was 8 x 3 minute efforts with 60s recoveries. I basically wanted to quit after the 1st one and got progressively slower as I was trying not to be sick in between reps – just keeping it real 😉
I got really frustrated on the way home as this was the 2nd week in a row my club night went tits up. These sessions are really important to me, and when they go well it always gives me a massive confidence boost, so similarly when they don’t go well, it just makes me feel a bit pants! As always though I was probably just being way too hard on myself, as my friend pointed out I did get a 10k PB only two days before, but thats me – always quick to forget the good stuff and focus on the bad! This is definitely something I need to work
AM – Easy 6 miles
So I did something a little different today – no #doubledayz for me, but instead I hopped onto a train and ventured out of the city to the COUNTRY SIDE! I was really excited to be spending the day with Redbull UK, GB Ultra Runner Tom Evans and some other legends from the ‘gram!
We got the train down to Sussex and headed to Tom’s house to meet him and the rest of the team and we were greeted with tea, coffee & a breakfast buffet all put on by his lovely Mum (I almost felt guilty I had already eaten and couldn’t make the most of it!) Tom then gave us a quick presentation, which included talking about his epic CCC win, his average training week & also his plans for this year (which are pretty bloody exciting btw!). Then soon enough it was time for the fun part – running, and we didn’t have to travel far.. we literally ran around Toms back garden, which just happened to be miles of beautiful trails – Not. Jealous. At. All! It’s been a long time since I ran the trails and just really enjoyed running with no pressure on time, pace or distance, its definitely something I want to do more of in the summer!
After a nice muddy run, it was time to clean up and head for some food and then a quick gym session where we went through some basic strengthening & mobility exercises, and finished off with a nice stretch before jumping on the train back to the city.
Normally I completely freak out about missing a run on my plan, and usually on a Wednesday I run twice, but by the time I got home (after missing our original train!) I was knackered, so I made the decision not to head back out. Now I know I said earlier that consistency is key, but so is listening to your body and accepting that sometimes things don’t always go to plan!
PM – Club Session (Hills)
Gym – Strength Training
I was determined that tonights session was going to go well, after messing up my last couple of club sessions I really wanted to have a good one as a confidence boost! I didn’t want to make the same mistake again with eating too much so I had my lunch as usual and then an hour or so before I had a banana with some peanut butter and a red bull, and it certainly seemed to do the trick!
The hill session was a tough one, it was short, but that isn’t always a good thing! In fact normally the shorter the reps & sessions… the harder it is! The session was 4 x Hill Reps, with the main difference being you had to run hard up AND down. Say Whaaaaaaaaaaat! No recovery what so ever, this was pure evil! The hill was around 300m and it was bloody horrible. but I felt strong and actually quite enjoyed running fast down hill…. and the good news is I have the perfect race to practice this on next week!
Repeat after me, rest day is the best daaaaaaaaaaay!
Surrey League XC (5 miles)
Ahhhh… This was such a fun day! My first official race for my new club Herne Hill Harriers and it did not disappoint. It was great to have such a good turnout for our club, and as a team we did really well, with 5 of us finishing in the Top 16 (and I even managed to come 7th!)
If I am completely honest, I would choose a flat road race over XC any time, I always get a little nervous before, but always end up enjoying it. Unfortunately it is coming to the end of the XC season, but there are still a couple of races left, including a big team trip up to Leeds at the end of Feb, although I think everyone is more excited for the night out afterwards!
I had been looking forward to this race for a while, not because I was racing or going for a PB, but because I was having my first attempt at (unofficially) pacing a 1.30 half marathon in preparation for Limassol Half next month!
I headed to the Olympic Park a little earlier then I usually would as I wanted to get a few extra miles in (and also check out the course) before the race. One thing I love about the RunThrough events is how well organised they are, and the races at the Olympic Park are no exception – it was well signposted, lots of marshalls & volunteers helping to direct, and also a nice big cafe to hide in and keep warm at the start! Another thing I love about these races is how many familiar, smiley faces you always see!
The course was, um, interesting! It certainly wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when I first saw the course map, but there were a lot of twist and turns, and also who knew their were so many hills in East London!? If I was racing this or going for a PB, I probably wouldn’t have been a big fan, but it was definitely a good course to test yourself on, and I personally really liked that you could always see runners on the course, I saw loads of friendly faces whilst I was running around!
The miles ticked by nicely, which was helped by having the company of Alex (@quinnphysio) for the first half – before he then sped off and ran a quicker second half and left me! But I was feeling good, the pace felt comfortable and I was managing to keep it pretty consistent. My only little moan about today was that the mile markers between 10-11 were waaaaaay out, which can be a real pain when you are trying to pace. Luckily, I decided to just trust my watch and stick to the pace I knew I was doing and thankfully the course evened itself out as we approached the final mile.
As my watch buzzed 13 miles I realised I had achieved my goal of sneaking in just under the 1.30 mark, as I was on my own I couldn’t help but pick up the pace a little bit for a sprint finish (obvz) My final time according to Strava was 1.29.48, I’ll take that – also, guess which numpty forgot to take the timing chip out of the envelope, whoops! Good job it wasn’t a race I wanted to PB at!
So overall, it was a pretty good week! 57 miles in the bank with some quality sessions fitted in too. I definitely don’t feel as exhausted as I have over the last few weeks, my mileage has been slightly lower, but I am also hoping that it means my body is starting to adapt to all this training?! 5 weeks down already, 11 more to go!