Saturday, 23 January 2016

TRAINING UPDATE: Week 8 of half marathon training

I'm two thirds into my half marathon training and I must say I am feeling a little apprehensive. It has been a manic couple of weeks, what with a new job and just generally getting back into the swing of a normal routine post Christmas. I have managed to upkeep a strong steady plan (I may have missed two sessions though), yet I am feeling utterly exhausted!

Week six of training was my first week in my new job so I had get used to a new cycle route. This one is slightly longer than my previous commute and includes some short, steep hills. Three weeks in and I am already seeing the benefits this commute is having on my cycling. I feel faster and stronger which is an added bonus as it helps set me up for triathlon training in March. Anyway, going back to week six and it kicked off with a swim using my new Garmin watch that I got for Christmas. It quite simply is such a delight to have one of these on a swim now. Gone are forgetting how many laps you have done halfway through a swim and now I can finally see how fast I am going. This watch has an accelatrometer so I have to make sure I push off for the start of a new lap hard enough for it to clock a new length. For this session, I did a simple front crawl swim up to 1250m and was really pleased to come in just over 27 minutes. 
Next up on Tuesday was a paced four mile run where I really struggled in the first mile to reach a 7.55 pace. I was almost 30 seconds behind schedule! So I upped my speed and overall finished the run with an average pace of 7.54. This is great as its my half marathon target pace, however, due to that slow mile, I had to run the last three faster.

By Thursday, I had decided to venture down to the athletics track with my running club to kick off the year with a tough speed session. Annoyingly, I forgot my watch (I was livid!) so I had to run blind a session of:

1200m threshold running
5x 400m @ 5K pace
1200m threshold running
(60 secs rest between each set)

Despite not knowing my pace, I ran the fastest I could and felt super energised at the end - can you tell!?
At the weekend, I rested on the Saturday, rolling and stretching to get prepared for a 10K race on Sunday. This was the normal 10K I do - Mornington Chasers Regents Park 10K. I was oddly feeling quite nervous (even though I have done the race so many times!) about the pace I would be able to keep for this and the weather that particular morning was fecking freezing! By the time I arrived at the park, my hands and feet were frozen. I just wanted to get running to warm up!

Luckily after the first of three laps on the course, I had warmed up and was stripping off my gloves. I tried my best to keep steady throughout and managed to cross the finish line in 46.45 with an average pace of 7.30. I am really happy with this as it has been my target 10K pace in the tempo runs I have been doing.
The next day (and the start of week seven), I opted to do a workout session at home as my legs were a bit tired. For Christmas, I got Joe Wick's Lean in 15 book (which by the way I highly recommend) and he includes some HIIT workouts in there. Looking at the weights focussed one, I thought I could do it so I picked up my 5KGs and got to work. 

Oh my lord it was hard! I had to use these weights for squats, lunges, bicep curls, press up arm pulls and a couple of other things. I had to repeat the workout three times but sheepishly gave up after two as my body felt broken. Man alive I am weak! Give me endurance any day but tell me to do a weight session and I am useless. The next day I felt it too. Lets just say I took the lifts that day at work.
The rest of the week, I carried out a swim, hill repeats and a paced run, ending the week with a nine mile run. Joined by a fellow running buddy, we went out easy and finished with an average pace of 8.55. The distance didn't feel too bad either which must be good!

Come week eight and I am starting to feel tired. Work was particularly busy this week and I found myself staying late some nights, which caused a bit of disruption to my training plan. On Tuesday, I was supposed to get up at 6am for a run but told my alarm to f**k off when it went off. I laid in and woke up with enough time to get ready and dash to work. I felt guilty I didn't go for a run and so I decided to make up for it and would do a quick run session after work before I met my friend for a catch up coffee.  My GPS wouldn't work on my watch so I decided to run hard for 30 minutes. And I really did - so much so that halfway round the outer circle of Regent's Park I tripped and went flying! I managed to save myself from any rolled ankles or grazed knees thank god! I finished in Kings Cross where I met my friend and felt like I had maintained a good pace. When I got home that night, I decided to look at the route I took on MapMyRun and it turns out I did four miles bang on. So in 30 minutes that is 7.30 pace! Wahoo!

After this successful session, it went downhill from there as work was still crazy busy. I ended up missing a planned tempo run on Thursday. I tried so hard to get up on Friday to do it before work but I was unbelievably tired and just couldn't drag my body from the warmth of my bed. 

Do I feel guilty for missing this? Well yeah, but at the same time work has to come first over my hobby and sometimes this just cannot be helped. Instead of feeling bad, I am going to dust myself off and carry on. Next up is a 10 mile run tomorrow where I will again be going casually to get my legs used to the distance. 

To reflect on the past eight weeks and the next four until race day, I feel OK(ish). I don't feel strong and confident to secure the all important sub 1.45 but I am going on the hope that everything will all come together on race day. For now, I just need to keep focussed and simply do the best that I can. There is no point in worrying or piling on the pressure. At the end of the day, whatever I do will be an achievement and who can complain about that. :) 

Lipstick Runner. 

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