Training

BERLIN MARATHON TRAINING – WEEK 15 – 17

With the piriformis injury still niggling away in the background, the plan is to continuing with not running for the time being and drop the cycling mileage back as well to give the body a good full resting period to recover. A few things I am going to start doing now is a new twice daily quick core strength workout, see more on this in Week 15 – Monday’s update and I am going to make more of an effort to get to bed earlier and try to get more sleep.

Week 15

 Monday – Rest day again today, the continued resting of the body and more importantly the piriformis injury does seem to be paying off. The pain is getting less as each day passes, but having now missed two weeks off running it is starting to get frustrating.

I have pulled together a new twice daily little routine of a 2 minute plank, 20 press ups, 5 mins of calf & quad stretching, 50 sit ups and some resistance band walk (to strengthen the hips). I am going to try to keep this up as I feel it will improve my core strength and hopefully give a more stable running platform for me. We will see how long it goes on for.

Tuesday – Resting again today. Feels like a broken record this does now and can’t make for exciting reading for you guys, please stick with it, things will get more exciting I promise, I may lift some weights one day and blow your mind.

Wednesday – I am not going to say rest day any more, you will know when its not a rest day if I am running, but good news is, the injury appears to have really improved in the past 24hrs, that dull nagging pain has gone so maybe I could run tomorrow to test it out but then I am thinking don’t rush it, Berlin is just over six weeks away now and I cant afford to miss 3 or 4 further weeks so I am thinking of leaving it until Monday and doing a short trial run.

My new Tri Suit arrived today and I think it fits ok, I went for a medium which feels tight but then I guess thats the point right? I watched one of the GCN videos on power output when cycling and ways to improve this, one thing they said was a open jacket flapping behind you, will cost you around 20watts of power, for someone like me who’s power is most likely going to be around 200watts, this represents a 10% loss! just from a lose flapping jacket, so from now on, its all about skin tight areo package.

Thursday ­– No swimming today or tomorrow as I am not allowed to swim for 10 days after last weeks new tattoo so back home from the nursery run nice and early means I can get in some weights before work and keep working on that core strength.

Friday – Today was a carbon copy of yesterday.

Saturday –Three days of no injury pain has given me a lot more confidence that Monday’s run will go well, so to cheer me up I cycled down to Congleton Parkrun to watch everyone running and then went up to Biddulph Moor and back home over Mow Cop to get in just shy of 20 miles and 1,400ft of climbing.

Sunday – No running, cycling or swimming today but feeling good to go tomorrow.

 

Running Stats: Total Miles 0, elevation gain 0ft, time 0h 0m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 19.9, elevation gain 1,444ft, time 1h 17m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 0, time 0m

 

Week 16

 Monday – Today is the day!! the running shoes are dusted off and on my feet, warm up done and watch charged (although the HRM is dead!!). Having my pretty much injury free since around Wednesday I have put running off until today just to be 1,000,000% sure I was ok to go, still not totally convinced in myself but I ran 2-miles at a slow pace and I think it went ok. From start to finish I wasn’t concentrating on running or my surroundings, my thoughts were oh no, was that the piriformis hurting, does it hurt now? will it hurt later etc etc. All I could think about was if or when the injury was going to show its head. I think this made me believe that it did ache slightly once I had got home, but I think I am ok. Remembering back to my first post left-piriformis injury run back in March I did the same thing and I thought back then that there was a little ache there, then second run it was fine so the plan now…. 2 days of rest then hit another 2-miles but at a faster pace, if that goes well have Friday off and Parkrun Saturday to see how a longer run feels. If they both go well, which I really do hope they do, then I will re-jig the training plan to include one weekly rest day and drop the mileage back and get back on it a week today.

Tuesday –My thighs feel tight today after yesterday’s return to running, clearly they have been enjoying the past three weeks of no running. I gave them a good stretch out as part of my daily routine which is now into week 2 and I am feeling like it is helping me, I am able to hold the plank for longer now. For the past two weeks I have also being making more of an effort to get more sleep, on average I was getting around 6hr 30mins each night so I am now trying to push this up to over 7hr 30mins. Last week I was up to 7hr 19mins and this week so far is up over my target but I am up early tomorrow which isn’t going to help that.

Wednesday – Continuing on with my “Daily Routine”, it was a little tougher doing it today. This was the first time I have been back in the office for three weeks so the first 5am alarm call for sometime, as mentioned yesterday my increased sleeping has been going well so an early start felt 10 times harder today, but situps, plank and press-ups were done in the morning and again in the evening. As I was in work I cycled to and from the train station, no extended ride back today due to rushing home to allow time for visiting mum in hospital so just 12.7-miles today.

Thursday ­– So the day didn’t start off too well, being stuck in roadworks meant I was 20 mins late dropping my daughter off at nursery and then the knock on of that meant I was in heavier traffic which resulted in me missing swimming. Just have to make sure I get it done tomorrow now.

I did however manage my second 2-mile run of the week and this time had no pains or thoughts that the piriformis may not be too happy about me running again. I pushed it a little harder this time and all felt good and happily back under 7 min pace, albeit only over a flat 2-mile stretch but hey, thats 2-miles further than all of last week.

Friday – No running today as I slowly build it back up and hopefully get in a 5k run tomorrow. I had hoped to get my morning swim in but I had to call around my mothers to collect some things which meant I did not have enough time to do the 1k swim, that will have to wait until next week now.

Saturday – After two good 2-mile runs this week it was time to step up the mileage to 5k and make my return to the Congleton Parkrun, I haven’t ran here for 1 month so it was nice to get back out and run and on a good flat route. I wasn’t aiming for anything time wise, for now it is all about getting some miles back in the legs and building up the cardio fitness levels again. I lined up 3/4’s of the way back so I wouldn’t fall into my usual trap of giving it all “yeh i’m not racing, just taking it easy” and then sprinting off to keep up. So it really was a steady one this week with a chip time of 21:44 coming home in p30, I haven’t even bothered to look on the spreadsheet to see age cat or gender position. Good news is, no injury pains what so ever, but I can definitely feel the fitness has dropped slightly which I guess is understandable after 3 weeks of not running.

My highlight from today was meeting Joanna Rowsell Shand who was tail running today as part of a UK Sport scheme to use past and present sport stars to promote Parkrun and getting more people out and being active. Jo is one of my favourite track cyclists who I loved watching over the past 10yrs especially the world record and gold in the Team pursuit during the Rio games last year!!

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Sunday – Having worked 23:00 – 04:00 overnight, I have no running planned for today, but next week I will resume some resemblance of my training plan, but on reduced mileage whilst I build that back up.

Instead, today was about riding with one of the guys I met whilst out in Death Valley, Phil. I recently met up with Phil in London where we did the Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest together and had planned this ride for some time. We dropped on well and had a sunny, fairly warm ride where we covered 46.8 miles with 3,100ft of climbing. That despite saying we wouldn’t do a local sportive because we didn’t want much climbing. This ride was more about riding together, chatting and catching up on life. Something that I do not get much chance to do, pretty much all of my cycling is by myself slogging away to get the miles in at a fast 17-18mph speed (fast for me).

IMG_3590

Running Stats: Total Miles 7.1, elevation gain 187ft, time 51m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 59.6, elevation gain 3,540ft, time 4h 32m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 0, time 0m

 

Week 17

 Monday – After working all night on Saturday and waking early yesterday for the ride with Phil, I was feeling really tired last night, I took the decision to take the short 2-mile ride into the station today to give myself an extra half an hour of sleep and again coming back home I took the 2-mile route back. Once home and feeling more awake than yesterday I got in my 4-mile run. It set off as a easy pace run but the first mile felt good and with not running much just lately I opted for a progressive 4-miles and this felt good no side effects other than feeling it on the last mile.

Tuesday – No running today, with looking after my daughter during the day it meant running at night, Tuesday are usually sprints but as my section of road for sprint intervals is unlit, I cannot do these in the evenings now so today was a bit of a fail, but live goes on. I will revamp my training plan so that the Thursday easy runs move to a Tuesday and sprint intervals can move to a Thursday where I can do them during my lunch hour.

Wednesday – Busy day today, I ran 4-miles on my lunch hour, nothing special just a 4 mile run at a fairly fast 7:12 pace. In the afternoon I was off down to London to visit the Science in Sport HQ and take part in an Ironman focus group. Personally I found this really useful as I learnt a lot of tips from the other people taking part and I think the SiS will have got a lot of useful information from the group as well. It was nice to give back and help out for a change.

Thursday ­– Sprint Tuesday!!! oh hang on? so this is the new home for sprint intervals whilst the dark evenings are creeping back in and to be honest, I do prefer to get them done at lunch time anyway, I have more energy at this time of the day. The plan was for six sets of 30sec sprints with a 1:25 recovery run back to my start point (the big oak tree). This is a few reps less and a longer recovery run than pre-injury sprint intervals but I thought I would see how it goes. Annoyingly I did 5 reps as I miss-counted.

Friday – No running today after two consecutive days, it makes me laugh now taking a day off after running for two days given I ran for eighty seven consecutive days but I need to ease back in carefully now, I cannot risk picking up another injury so close to Berlin. I am thinking for this last month of running it will just be a matter of running the miles, getting back into the swing of things running up to half marathon distance again, the revert back to sprints, hill reps, tempo runs etc post Berlin when I am gearing up for the New York & Las Vegas Marathons.

Anyway, I did do some exercise today, I did my longest pool swim at 1,500m, just shy of 1 mile. I felt pretty comfortable swimming that distance, I had thought I may start to tire but I felt strong and kept a consistent pace throughout, this gives me confidence that I will be ok for the 2-mile Serpentine swim next month.

Saturday – Parkrun number 15, I felt quite good and thought I would go for it and see just how quick I can run now, I knew that I would be a little slower than a month ago but just how much slower. So I gave it my all, lined up near to the front, went off quick, probably too fast with a 6:17 first mile, the second mile felt really slow but was a 6:24 then that final mile, wow that was a tough one, one of those miles where you just want to stop and walk, I thought I have done well so walking now and getting my breath back wouldn’t be so bad. Then I thought no chance, lets keep going, keep pushing and see just how fast we are. That third mile was a 6:44 so some what slower than the previous two but come on, 6:44? 12 months ago I was ecstatic if I ran a low 8 min pace. So I got home with a “chip time” of 19:58 in 9th place overall and 1st in my age category. That time is nearly 2 mins down on my 5k PB but only 16 secs off my Congleton Parkrun PB. All in All I was pretty pleased with that, its not my fastest run but I pushed on through the pain and got it done, the weather was really warm and muggy which never does any good for me. The 9th place looks like it was more down to people being on their summer holidays than pace, I have ran quicker than that 4 times at Congleton and not broken the top 10 before.

Sunday – My first long run since then injury, by long run I mean 7-miles so not the longest run in the world, but its a step towards my half marathon goal for the next few weeks. It was a early morning 7 miler along the canal at a 7:54 pace, quite happy with that pace, I was aiming for a marathon paced run but thought I will push myself a little more for the next couple of weeks given I have had 3 weeks of rest.

In the afternoon, I went to Boundary Park near to Knutsford, where uSwim run a Open Water swim twice weekly. This was my first open water swim, first swim in a wetsuit, first outing for the trisuit and first swim with the trisuit under the wet suite. A day of firsts. Being really honest, I was quite nervous about this, its something new and different so I had doubts, would I look silly in the wetsuit, would I be able to get it on by myself, would the water by cold, would it have weeds in, would I be really slow. The usual thoughts you get when you are starting a new journey or trying something for the first time. I did struggle to get my wetsuit on, my one practice attempt at home, my wife helped to zip me up, this time the zip came lose but someone saw me struggling and came to help me out and gave me advice on how to get the suit on easier next time. Once in the water I was hit by how much colder it was than a nice warm swimming pool but then also that how much the wetsuit shields the body from that cold. The first 5 mins were difficult, I struggled to get my breathing right which I think was due to the cold water on my face. Once I was used to the cold I got into it and really enjoyed myself, I only had time to do two laps but to get in 1,299yrds on my first open water swim was good and the pace of 2:13/100yrds took me by surprise, that was 27secs per 100 yards quicker than my best pool effort. Prior to doing this swim I was told that the wetsuit will be with buoyancy and keep my legs up high in the water and it really did help a lot, I felt comfortable after the initial shock, I felt good swimming in a wetsuit and the trisuit felt ok under the wetsuit. All good experience for a proper open water swim leg of a future triathlon. The plan now is to go back Thursday and Sunday’s for the next few weeks before doing the 2-mile Swim Serpentine event on the 16th September.

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Running Stats: Total Miles 21.2, elevation gain 404ft, time 2h 40m

Cycling Stats: Total Miles 4, elevation gain 190ft, time 17m

Swimming Stats: Total Yards 2,940, time 1h 12m

 

 

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