Sunday, 7 September 2014

TRAINING UPDATE: A week to myself

I have been dying for this week to come! Time off work is something I have been craving for weeks. I've been starting to get the constant feeling of exhaustion and I can tell by looking at myself in the mirror that I need a break. Skin is grey and dull, eye bags are drooping down to my toes and my hair is limp and lifeless. When my fiancé's family asked if I could puppy sit their two French Bulldogs whilst they were on holiday, I didn't hesitate. A week out of London to recuperate? Yes please!

Another great thing about this week off is that I get to use my time to get out running and cycling in Essex countryside. This has definitely been a real treat, especially when you are limited to city routes on a daily basis. I arrived here on Friday night and straight away on Saturday morning, we were up and out to do a nice 10K training run. In my last Training Update, I mention at the end that I wanted to try a 10K and try and hold a steady pace. We started out running through some residential areas and the first mile or two I did feel really tired. I am noticing this a lot when I run. It takes me ages to get started and I do find it hard to get a rhythm working.

I started with a couple of 8.50 miles which was really bumming me out. Pre-injury, I would run 10K on a training run at around 7.50 miles, so knowing I am a minute slower is really getting me down. Still though, halfway in we had reached the winding county lanes and picturesque villages so having the nice scenery helped to pick me up. We ran down little lanes, past corn fields, horse stables and stunning views. It was super lovely! I returned back home to complete 6.2 miles with an average of 8.33 miles. This run did involve a lot of stopping and starting so really not pleased with my time BUT no point in dwelling and I must keep my patience intact.
The next day, we both went on a bike ride. It was really great to head out as a couple as my fiancé doesn't keep his bike in London. We headed out the same direction as we did for the run the day before but extended further into small quaint villages. This was only the second time ever I have cycled my bike without locks clamped to the rack and a huge backpack weighing me down. It felt soo light and quick - it was great!
When the start of the week came round, I tried to keep to a similar fitness routine as I would on a typical working week. Monday's is Nike Training day so I opted to do a 30 minute session working on key core and strength exercises. I am starting to look forward to these sessions now as it's a nice change to high intensity workouts. It's also a great time for me to stretch out my ITB and work to rebuild it's strength. 

As I am in a house this week and not a top floor apartment with thin wooden flooring, I took the opportunity to actually complete a full Nike workout. When I wrote my review on this app (see HERE) I mentioned that I have to pick carefully each step I take as ones involving jumping, hopping, running aren't suitable to do in my apartment. I'd fear I could fall through the floor into downstairs living room! However, with a huge living room to do my workout in this week, I chose the Slim Chance workout in the Get Lean category.

This workout got my heart rate working! With light jogging, split jumps, high knee runs and side hopping intwined with press ups, mountain climbers and Russian twists, I was pooped by the end! My core however felt the burn from it which can only mean it's working.
Tuesday I opted to do a standard four mile run. I've got into a routine of doing this. It's long enough to feel like I've done a workout but short enough to ensure I have plenty left in the tank for a speed session and long run later in the week. Again, like my 10k at the weekend, I found this run so hard. I was hot and bothered and had to stop early in to use my inhaler, something I hardly ever do! I completed the four miles with an average pace of 8.21 per mile and again, I am feeling a bit low that I am not getting any faster. What's gutting is that I feel incredibly tired during my runs and right now, I can't imagine running 10 miles, which I have to do in six weeks! Right now, I'm not sure how I ever managed to run at a sub eight minute mile pace for this sort of distance and sadly, I don't think I'll reach this standard for a long time.

Wednesday I headed out on a cycle, again heading back to the country lanes I went down at the weekend. I absolutely loved going back along this route. As it was mid week the roads were empty and at one point I stopped in this field and just stood there. It amazed me that there was not a sound to be heard. It was refreshing to be surrounded by this compared to the hectic rat race of London.
During the cycle, I noticed so many hot spots for blackberry picking. I mean loads! So with that in mind, the next day I came back out on this cycle, three tupperware boxes in the rucksack to get on a major blackberry picking spree. It was really therapeutic to be back out in the country, minding my own business and I also got tonnes of juicy blackberries. Check out my post on my findings and how I used them HERE.
On Friday, I was working from home so had a pretty busy day glued to my laptop catching up on everything. I worked straight through to 5.30pm and after staying in the same spot all day, I felt like I needed a good run. This was the perfect time for a HIIT session! My aim was to do three miles so I chose to do 800m warm up followed by 4x 800m at 5K pace and 2x 400m at 3K pace. It felt good pushing myself - hard but rewarding. Comparing my times to the last speed session I did (read about it HERE) my pace stayed exactly the same. I was slightly disappointed that it hadn't improved but at the same time, I've got to appreciate that it wasn't any slower.
Saturday = rest day. It was lush!

Sunday was long run day. I had been dreading this a little bit since my awful 10K a week previous. So, instead of going first thing in the morning, I opted to go at midday. Two reasons - 1. I wanted to watch Mo Farah in the Great North Run and 2. I wanted to see if running a bit later in the day, post breakfast and fully awake would make a difference. 

Turns out, it does. I had a fabulous run! I managed to complete seven miles and my pace was slightly quicker than the 10K. I'm absolutely thrilled with this result. I did feel tired but not extremely fatigued and even more importantly, the ITB band held up! I did get a bit choked two miles in when I passed a field being harvested (the dust in the air was horrendous) but this was the only part of the run I struggled with. I definitely think going a bit later helped. Having a bit of fuel in me gave me a boost, especially as this was going to be the longest run I have done in around five months. 

(me feeling super happy with my run!)

Overall, I am chuffed to bits with my training this week. I have managed to cram in a lot of workouts in-between chasing a four month old puppy around the house. I will definitely miss being outside of London, the country bike rides and generally spending all my time doing what I love. But, work is calling and it's time to face the city again. This next week, I make my return to the running club which I am so excited about! Let's start seeing those miles build up!

Until next time.

Lipstick Runner.

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