As we enter the 10th week, the half way point in my training plan I think this would be a good time to take a look at how the first 9 weeks have gone. A quick round up – I have ran PB’s in 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon, so I am really pleased with that progress. I am feeling generally stronger at running which was the whole point of me running everyday during this “Run Streak”, the consistent running will help to build the running muscles and then condition them, helping to prevent injury as well as giving more strength and power when running. Also the cardio side seems to be feeling better than 9 weeks back, the VO2 max figure on my watch has increased from 54 up 59 at one point but now back at 58, which I am not totally convinced is an accurate figure but as long as it is consistently inaccurate then I can see improve there.
Last week was the first week in the last three where nothing went wrong or little knocks, bumps or crashes set me back. I got in a good strong week, my highest weekly mileage to date and managed all of the planned runs as well as increasing my cycling.
The coming week sees my first attempt at an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) on Saturday and then my last running race until September, the plan is to increase the mileage from now until week 19 where I start to taper and I cannot wait to start slowing down and dropping the mileage, only 10 more weeks to go lol.
Monday – The week began with a 3.6-mile recovery run at a 7:39 pace, I took the opportunity to run back in Biddulph whilst visiting my mother. I had not ran around here since I left school 19 years ago. Part of my route was a trip around the block where I would occasionally run as a kid, what seemed like a long run back then turned out to be 0.75-miles and I am sure it used to take me 20 minutes to run, I used to time my runs back then using the timer on the cooker, long before I had a mobile or invested in GPS watches. Anyway, I was a lot quicker than that today.
Tuesday – My least favourite day of the plan, only because its so damn hard. Sprint intervals. Back on the same stretch as last week and continuing with the new format of 8 x 30 sec sprints. This week, rather than slowly running back to the start point and going again, I kept my recovery time to 1 minute throughout and yes this made it feel 10 times harder than last week but it will do me some good in the long run.
Wednesday – I gave blood at lunchtime today so it was just a matter of getting some slow steady miles in the bag this evening. 4-miles as ever, tempo run can move to tomorrow. It was really humid and pretty warm tonight, even when running at 9pm. I was in the office again so that means cycle into work, 6.3-miles in the morning with a further 17-miles on the way home.
Thursday – Back on the bike at lunchtime, cycling to my mothers house and back again, both via Mow Cop to get some good climbing training in. 10.7-miles in the sun, it was really nice to be out cycling in the sun and feeling some heat on the legs again, it reminded me of riding in Death Valley last year, ignoring the green grass and trees lol. Running wise, I set out at 7pm planning a tempo run but it was hot and humid, I got in the 4-miles at a 6:59 pace but it was a hard slog, running fast in the heat does not suit me well at all. I felt a little disappointed to only run at 6:59 pace at first but after some thought I felt ok with it, I just had to remind myself that 12 months ago I couldn’t run under 8 min pace one a good day so to be under 7 mins in the heat is good. Plus it is great warm weather training just in case its a hot one in Berlin come September 24th.
Friday – Hill reps again today, this time rather than the usual 6 reps of the lower section of the Killer Mile I mixed it up a little and ran the full Killer Mile right to the top of Mow Cop and back down plus two reps of the lower part, giving a total climb of 915ft and two very tired legs.
Saturday – No Parkrun today as I was in London for the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest OCR, have a read of my reace recap here – MEN’S HEALTH SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST OCR (LONDON) – RACE RECAP
Sunday – Today I was due to be running the Vitality Move 10k followed by running the Disney Music Mile with my daughter but unfortunately I had to miss both. My mother had a fall and broke her hip meaning I was in the hospital with her for 13hrs. She is ok now as at the time I am writing this (a week later). This meant that I had a big choice of whether to continue with the Run Streak or get some sleep. Obviously I chose the Run Streak lol, setting off for a run at 10pm was different and running in the dark felt very strange. All I had to eat today was a cinnamon swirl and a Starbucks latte to drink with being stuck in the hospital, I was not expecting a good run tonight but it felt pretty good. I ended up running 5.9-miles at a 8:21 pace, not quite the 10k I was planning on running but I was pleased to get out and get some miles in. Being out running really helped to clear my head and running at that time, it was so quiet. I saw two cars, 2 trains and no people.
Running Stats: Total Miles 33.0, elevation gain 2,287ft, time 4h 53m
Cycling Stats: Total Miles 34.1, elevation gain 2,648ft, time 2h 16m
Monday – So the plan is to steadily increase the mileage over the next 9 weeks starting today. I ran a 5-mile recover run on a new route from Scholar Green to Rode Heath and back, I thought this route was pretty flat but according to Strava & Garmin I clocked up 220ft of climbing. The usual 4-mile runs are now being increased to 5-miles which should boost my weekly mileage by 5 miles. I did toy with the idea of increasing to 4.5-miles first but I will see how I get on with this increase of around 18%.
Tuesday –Sprint intervals again, I am growing to not hate these so much now, which I guess must show that I am getting better at it and fitter so the pain is not so bad? well kinda, the pain is still there but I must be pushing harder during the sprints. This week was the same as last week. Either 30 second sprints with a 60 second recover jog in between. It was very wet and slippery today so its not a great comparison but my pace was similar to last weeks. Maybe if we get a dry run next Tuesday I can get a better idea of progress.
That run completes day 75 of my Run Streak, the half way point to my planned 150 day Run Streak or Run Steak as I have mistaken spelt it on numerous occasions now. A Steak after a run sounds really good right about now. Anyway, half way through the streak, half way to Berlin in both the Run Streak and training plan. Marathon number three is starting to creep up fast. If you would like to find out more on how my Run Streak has gone so far you can take a look at my 150 DAY RUN STREAK… HALF WAY UPDATE blog.
Wednesday – Again, today was another really long and very stressful day in the hospital with mum. It was hip replacement day and after being given a 50% chance of dying during the operation, mum managed to pull through and now has a brand spanking new hip. Just got to get through the physio and get walking again now. Things like this are not really running related or anything to do with my training but I thought I would include in my blog to give you a little of the non-running side of things. Plus it really puts things into perspective when someone close to you is going through a tough time and struggling to just walk, something that us runners take for granted and something that would be so devastating to us if we couldn’t walk let alone run. I for one was moaning a lot back in March when I was injured and not able to run for five weeks.
So running was late today, not as late a Sunday but I just did not have the time to get in my 5-mile tempo run, I did manage 2.2-miles at a 6:53 pace which isn’t that quick given the short distance but again like Sunday my felling and hydration was a mess today, I just got the miles done and got stuck into a Dominos pizza. I am planning on adding the missed 2.8-miles onto Thursdays 5-mile easy paced run but again that depends on time.
Thursday – The plan was to make up for the missed 2.8 miles yesterday as well as run my planned 5 mile easy pace run. I went out at lunch to get in the 7.8-miles on a new route, but this turned out to be dead on 7 miles as I got home so my runners OCD kicked in and I was happy with a 54 min 7 mile lunch run. This evening I decided I would join my friend Alan and run the Staffordshire Moorlands AC Summer Series Race 6 at Biddulph Grange Country Park. I made this decision an hour before the race started so no time for my usual race fuelling but I was only planned on taking it steady anyway. The course was on mixed terrain, gravel paths, dirt tracks and across the fields, not my usual road running, but it works the calves running on the uneven ground so its all good. I came home in 30:45 for the 3.8-mile course, I hadn’t realised that it was so hilly and running two laps meant I knew what was to come second time around. All in all we clocked up 568ft but more importantly for the runners OCD I got that 0.8 of a mile in so its all evened up again now.
Friday – Hill Rep Fridays again, by my reckoning I have 8 more weeks of hill reps before I start to taper ready for Berlin. I have been giving this taper a lot of thought this morning and on the run. I want to be as rested as possible for Berlin but still want to keep on running daily leading up to and past Berlin, I tested out a mini taper before Liverpool where I ran everyday but dropped the mileage down to 2-miles per day at my marathon pace. This seemed to work pretty well, I ran 26 mins faster than Paris but I have to bear in mind I was only 3 or 4 weeks into my training plan and Run Streak back then, my Berlin taper will be 22 weeks into the Run Streak so a great deal more miles in the legs. Anyway, thats for another day, I just thought I would share some of the thoughts I had during my run today.
So the run, thats why we are all here. Back over to Mow Cop again for 6 reps of the bottom half of the Killer Mile route, then I decided I would throw in a 7th rep this week where I run as far up the Killer Mile as I can without stopping, which was roughly 3/4’s of the way up. Now there is a target / challenge for each of the next 8 weeks. I struggled to get my breathing right again today, maybe it is due to pushing hard or tiredness from two runs yesterday? Today’s reps clocked up another 1,102ft of elevation gain. Now I know Berlin is flat on paper, but there are always some hills or bumps so hill training is important. It also gives me some variety in my training plan alongside Sprint Intervals, Tempo Runs, Easy Runs, Long Runs and races. I think that my mix of speed and endurance work will put me in a good place not only when I get to Berlin but I also have the New York marathon six weeks after Berlin and then the Las Vegas marathon the week after New York as well as a 575km cycle challenge 2 weeks after Berlin. The fitness levels are seriously going to be tested this autumn.
Saturday – Congleton Parkrun today, just a 1.4-mile Warmup followed by the Parkrun this week. Back to running the Parkrun quickly after using it as part of my long runs for he past 4 weeks. I struggled with my breathing from 1 mile on again but made it around in 19:53 coming in 13th overall on my 13th Parkrun.
Sunday – 10-mile long Sunday run this week. I set off at 06:55 in the pouring rain to get it done and dusted nice and early. 5 miles down to Congleton and 1 lap of the Parkrun course before returning back home. That completes week 11 and my biggest week of running with 43.6 miles.
Running Stats: Total Miles 43.6, elevation gain 2,822ft, time 5h 44m