Training Update and Nutrition

This week my training has gone well – everything still feels hard and I’m still the slowest in my club but I’ll keep on plugging on

My long run on Saturday was a 4 miler – S had a 14km run on his plan for the Saturday so we decided to head up to the canal path near my flat together and then he’d head off in his speedy Gonzalez way to do a 7km out and back and I’d pootle along on my 3.2km out and back.

We’d worked out our respective paces, me just getting the distance in and S aiming for a pace range and found that I should arrive home about 20 to 25 minutes before S.

Throughout my run there were (as usual) so many times I wanted to stop and walk but just the thought of S either catching up with me or even (shock horror) overtaking me was the only thing that kept me running along!

My aim was to be home, showered and changed by the time S got in. On the outside I stated that this would mean that the shower was free for S as soon as he got in, inside I simply wanted to ‘beat’ him! If you can beat someone who can cover double the distance you do in only 20 minutes longer!

I’ll take anything I can get to keep me going though.

My run, once again was hard – I’m seriously praying for the day that things ‘click’ – I’ve been told it will but for the moment running is still very hard for me.

I’m not sure if I should try to stop focusing on my pace and just run – although I’m a complete numbers person and I’m not sure I could do that.

The other thing I was thinking of doing was going out for a run for a specific period of time rather than distance – however the thing I’m not sure about with this tactic is that mentally running for time, for me at least, is very hard as going faster isn’t going to make things go quicker – I like it when, if you’re ‘done’ running, I can speed up a little bit to make the distance tick over a bit quicker and get home sooner. Obviously a timed run isn’t going to give me that.

The plus side of my run on Saturday was a strange one – basically I desperately needed to pee about two-thirds of my way into my run which only got worse as I kept going!

Like I said, I’d decided to run an out and back down the local canal path which means that public bathrooms are nonexistent on the actual route and rather thin on the ground if you come off the canal path into civilization.

My aim now was to get home. I was trucking along at my pretty steady pace of 6 minutes 30 secs per km and managed my last km at a 5 minute 20 second pace! Things were starting to get desperate by that point and I just needed to get home!

In S’s words – ‘if you can hold it for 21km your half marathon is in the bag!’ lol – I’m not sure that’s a tactic I want to employ on the day but thanks for the encouragement S!

Saturday afternoon I went to an endurance nutrition workshop held by my tri coach J

I really enjoyed it and it was incredibly informative – J is very like me and very science / numbers orientated so things were described in a very black and white sense of someone weighing this much, doing this much exercise burns x amount of carbs an hour – so to refuel effectively they need to replenish that much in that timeframe.

Because it was all based on weight and exertion I think it will be very easy for me to work out how that relates to me and therefore hopefully avoid the dreaded ‘bonk’ maybe not in the half marathon but especially in the half Ironman.

There was definitely lots to think about and try out during training sessions in the future for sure.

Saturday evening I had a bit of a snafu, would I really expect anything otherwise, S and I had decided to go out for dinner but were chilling out watching TV for a bit before heading out. When it was time to go I got up off the sofa, I didn’t fall, I didn’t wobble, I didn’t even bend particularly far – I’ve been getting off sofas for most of my life but this day my knee decided to conk out and I got a shooting pain behind my kneecap! I’m not sure what happened but it hurt enough to know that something had gone a bit wrong.

This meant that the brick session I was due to attend as part of the nutrition workshop on Sunday was probably going to be out of the question.

I got up on Sunday and got ready regardless – I really wanted to join in!

After also having some ‘I don’t have a stomach anymore’ issues on the Sunday morning and my knee still giving me bother I admitted defeat and decided to sit and watch instead.

I still learned lots though. J went through transition techniques and tips which was good to listen to even though I couldn’t get the practice in and then the brick session, set up to try out some of the nutrition techniques discussed the day before and included 4 rounds of a 10 minute hard effort bike ride followed by a 1km run every 20 minutes (i.e. 10 minutes taken up by the bike ride and then a rest period between sets dependent on how quickly you completed a 1km run)

It looked like great fun and I wish I could have taken part! Although my kilometer pace is about 6:30 so my rest times would have been pretty short so I’m sure I’d have found it tough – the people taking part all looked like they were having fun though – tired but happy.

Like I said, I was annoyed having to watch and not join in but there were some seriously nice bikes and some seriously impressive riders to watch so that dulled the blow of disappointment.

Hopefully the knee will be better in a few days, I’m foam rolling and icing like a champ here!

Training Update

This week my training has gone as well as can be expected – a lot of it felt hard and I felt sluggish but I’ve been hitting my times and the fact that some mornings I even got up and went is a miracle and I’ll take that!!

Monday Morning – Speedwork – simply put, speedwork at 6am on a Monday morning (especially after my disaster long run the day before) shouldn’t be allowed!

It took forever (or so it seemed) for my legs to wake up – I felt like I’d put concrete boots on instead of trainers. My goal was to do 2 miles (3.2km) of intervals – 6 500m intervals running off of 3 minutes 30 seconds followed by 0.2km cool down jog to complete the distance on my plan – I managed 4 intervals and then decided to just run the remaining 1.2km because my legs really weren’t cooperating.

I got the distance done and called it good for the day.

I combined this with a bit of arm work on the lat pulldown machine and the chest press for a 45ish minute workout. Usually this is a good way to start the day / week but Monday wasn’t working out for me – I spent the rest of the day yawning, tired and regretting making a plan to only drink one cup of coffee a day!

Monday Evening – PT session with M – this, in complete contrast to the morning session, was a good session – I worked on my deadlifts again and then more lat pulldowns and leg press (plus a couple of other weights exercises that completely slip my mind right now!) – I went heavy with all my weights and as usual, strength work always makes me feel good.

Tuesday Morning – 3 mile run – treadmill run once again, considering my events don’t take place on treadmills I really should get more used to running outside! It’s weird because I actually prefer running outside but for some reason, early morning treadmill sessions always seem better than running on the roads – I really should soak up this nice kinda weather while I can, soon enough it’ll be hats and gloves and base layers again and I’ll be dreaming about treadmills!

Once again my legs felt really heavy (something I’ve been eating maybe?) and did not want to get going to run. I had a 5km on the plan and planned to take it steady and make sure I ran the whole thing (I’m terrible for stopping and walking which is fine for longer distances but I should be blasting out 5kms like they’re nobody’s business by now! Plus I always want to stop and walk but whenever I do I find it really hard to get going again – I really need to remember that next time I want to walk!

Anyway my 5km went as follows

First k – pace: 6min / km – this isn’t going to be too bad, legs still asleep but that’s usual for me for the first km.

Second k – pace: 6min / km – ok so this is harder (6:00 minute km is actually quite fast for me) I kinda want to walk, I know, I’ll make a deal with myself. I can walk when I reach the halfway point.

2500m – pace: 6min / km – yeah I really really want to walk now – but I’ll drop the pace to my usual 6:30 and agree that if I make it to 3km I can walk for a bit then

3km – pace: 6min 30secs / km – jeez my legs really didn’t hear my alarm clock did they! Still feel like lead!

3400m – pace: 6min 30secs / km – right, just 4 laps around a track, I can do that!

3800m – pace: 6min 30secs / km – jeez those ‘tracks’ take longer to run around than I thought! They look smaller on telly!

4km – pace: 6min 30secs / km – right. Only 1km to go, that’s a 6.5 minute run, I can do anything for 6.5 minutes! Just think of all the 6.5minutes that fly by when you’re doing rubbish like watching crap on the telly or googling stuff you don’t need! – At least my breathing has calmed down finally!

4430m – pace: 6min 30secs / km – ok so I’ve got 570m to go, that’s once around the pond we use to do intervals at tri club – that’s tiny – I can do this!

4500m – pace: 6min 30secs / km – 500m to go, that’s 3 minutes 15 seconds of running to go – I can do that. I think!

4750m – pace: 6min 30secs / km – jeez, it takes longer than you think to run 250m! And here I was thinking 250m was just ‘over there’!

5km – pace: 6min 30secs / km – stop the treadmill as soon as it ticks over to 5km! And done! Seriously have not clock watched like that before!!

Total time: 31minutes 38 – average pace: 6 minutes 20 seconds / km

Wednesday morning – 3 mile run – Same as above but with the legs turning over a bit better – the first 2.5km went by faster than usual and the next km ticked by quite nicely – as usual the last 1500m took its toll and I was ready to be done by 5km but it wasn’t the devil child the run the day before was.

Total time: 31minutes 15 – average pace: 6 minutes 15 seconds / km

My aim of this summer is to get a sub 30 minute 5km so I’m starting at a 6 minute km pace and trying to hold it for as long as possible – I’m hoping that this and my speedwork sessions will help my brain remember that my legs can go faster than they want to.

Wednesday Evening – PT session with M – pretty much an entirely HIIT session on the functional rig combining ring pull ups, rope throws, weighted high knees, crunches, clean and press using the vipr and a shocking display of planks. After that I did 10 minutes of intervals on the wattbike going all out for 10 seconds with a 50 second rest in between – my legs were definitely goosed by the end of that!

All in all though it was a good session – I left feeling exhausted but in a good (and very sweaty) way.

Thursday morning was an impromptu rest morning because the gym I go to was getting the air con fixed in the ladies changing room – it was a bit annoying to miss a session but not nearly as annoying as the heat and humidity has been in the changing room for the past few weeks! Each time I got out the shower, I instantly felt like I needed another one!

Thursday Evening – Tri club run training – It was recovery week this week at tri club which I was very grateful for – we were doing the 570m intervals around the lake as usual but on recovery week we usually do less reps and at a slightly easier pace – this allows us all to recover from peak week the week before and be ready for the next block of training to start the week after.

My aim this week was to get consistent intervals, I’m well known (as in I get shouted at by J my tri coach pretty much every week) for going out too fast for the first 1 or 2 intervals and then die on the rest!

I was running off of 4 minutes so I was told to aim for 3 minute 25 second intervals each time and there were 6 intervals to do in total.

I came in from my first interval at 3 minutes 22 seconds which was an improvement on last week when I came in at 2 minutes 55 seconds and promptly got a kick up the arse from J! lol

Interval 2: 3:23

Interval 3: 3:25

Interval 4: 3:22

Interval 5: 3:23

Then J told me I was allowed to push on the last lap as I’d done so well with my pacing previously. I laughed at him and asked him what I was supposed to use to push with and even volunteered S (who is crazy faster than me) to run behind me and do the pushing for me!

I started the final interval and was annoyed with myself because it felt so hard even from the start and I really wanted to make a gain on this one – I desperately tried to catch and keep up with the next nearest runners but I felt like I was losing them with every step. I got to my reference point in my lap and was bang on target for another 3:22 / 3:23 which is good that I wasn’t as behind as I thought but I was annoyed because I wanted it to be a decent last lap.

So I pushed with everything I had left and came in at 3:15! I even got a punch on the shoulder (harder than I was expecting) from J – he was pleased so I was pleased! Bring on next week and the next block of training!

Disaster Run (kinda)…

This weekend just gone I had one of my first ‘long’ runs of my half marathon training plan. Now when I say ‘long’ run as I’m in the first few weeks of my plan the distance isn’t overly long but I’m mentally trying to get used to running long for when the mileage racks up so I’m calling my long run day just that even now.

My long runs are usually going to be done on a Saturday morning mainly to get them out of the way for the weekend (like I’ve said before running isn’t a pleasure yet) and I also do Park Run on a Saturday morning so my plan is to run Park Run (5km) and then continue running afterwards until I’ve hit that week’s distance target.

I did this the weekend before for my 4 mile run and although it was tough, park run always is for me for some reason, I got through it and because I was already in my running kit and sweaty I was less inclined to not do it, knowing that it’d bug me that I’d wimped out and would have to attempt the distance on the Sunday.

Like I said though it was tough, the park run I go to is basically three mile long loops so although I’d kept telling myself that I only had to tag on an additional loop to get my 4 miles, that ‘extra’ loop felt like a huge distance! My brain and legs have obviously gotten used to the three loop deal because they really didn’t want to go round again!

Anyway, this weekend my plan said to run 4.5 miles (or so I thought I’d read – more on that later!) so my intention was once again to go to Park Run and then do an extra 1.5 miles after finishing and getting my barcode scanned. However Saturday morning my silly nonexistent stomach had other ideas. I woke up feeling really sick with a churning stomach and there was no way I was gonna be doing any form of running at that moment in time. S decided to use this as an excuse to not go to Park Run either and have a bit of a lie in, he had 9km on his plan (he’s done a couple of half marathons before so he’s adhering to a more advanced training plan as he has a target finish time in mind)

So we both stayed in bed longer than planned, me feeling ill and S being lazy!

About mid-morning once I was feeling a bit better, S headed out for his 9km run while I got ready for the day.

This meant that I had to tackle my ‘long’ run on the Sunday and woke up dreading it – I really wanted to skip it but I know that I’m only going to hurt myself on the day and be disappointed in my performance if I don’t get the miles in now. And let’s face it if I can’t stand the thought of a 4.5 mile run now then how am I going to feel when it says 8 miles on my plan?!

I got dressed into my running gear and went to turn my watch on and it beeped at me to tell me it was low on battery! I knew, the way I was feeling, that if I stayed to wait for it to charge I wouldn’t go at all so I decided to risk the battery life and just go.

S and I had run a 4.5 mile run back when we first met, yes we are one of ‘those’ couples who go for runs together, so I decided to follow that knowing that if my watch conked out on me I should, in theory, have still covered the distance required.

I set off and things seemed to be going ok for me – yes it was tough, yes I wanted to stop and walk every five minutes and yes my breathing still needs work but other than that I was putting one foot in front of the other and covering ground at a fairly decent pace, for me.

Then things started to go wrong – my watch died at 5km so I had no idea of my pace or how far I’d gone and then I was running down by the river near where I live and I must have forgotten to make a turning at some point because the route I was running down was looking less and less familiar.

Just ahead of me I saw a road bridge over the river so I climbed up the stairs to get to street level in the hopes that I’d see something familiar from up there. Nope. Just houses. I looked left up the street and that’s exactly what it did, it went up and quite sharply so I looked right and it sloped downwards ever so slightly. Never one to take the harder route than necessary I decided that right was the way for me. And off I went.

Luckily (kinda) for me, going right took me onto a main road which I know very well – in fact I know it so well that I know it’s a lot further from my house than I should have been had I taken the correct turning down by the river. Oh well, there was no pressure on pace as my watch was dead so off I ran up the road towards home.

This wouldn’t have usually bothered me but I’d been my usual petulant childish self that morning and refused to take my phone with me. I’d told S the route I was taking and that it’d take me about 50 minutes to an hour but no, I didn’t need my phone. I’d gotten the stink eye for that one from him as he worries about my blood sugar levels and I think he wanted me to have the ability to call him if I needed to. The reason this bothered me was because when I’m running I lose all concept of time i.e. I think I’ve been running for ages and its only been minutes and because my watch had died I had no idea how long I’d been running for, the only thing I knew was I was further from home than planned and not on the route I’d mentioned so if S had started to get worried that I was late and gone out to look for me I wouldn’t have been anywhere where he’d be looking.

I got home, incredibly, sooner than expected (48 minutes) early enough for S to utter the words ‘that was quick!’ which then sent me in a panic that I hadn’t actually covered the required distance – I’d have been annoyed with myself if I’d gone out and fallen short.

It took me until that evening to plot my route online to see how far I’d gone, taking into account me getting lost. The route actually plotted out at 4.73 miles! Woo hoo! I’d gone longer than needed, not ideal in terms of burn out but better than not covering the distance at all! So not only did I cover more than my planned distance, I got round faster than S and I expected too.

Maybe the run wasn’t such a disaster after all…

Until I got to work the next day and looked at my training plan and saw that I only needed to do 4 miles!! Ha ha, I’ll get the hang of this training thing one day!!

It’s been a while…

I know its been a while since I’ve written anything – nothing bad has happened and training has been going to plan but the problem with work being quite busy and meeting all my training sessions means that I have even less time to write everything down.

I’ve been pleased with my training sessions recently – I had a major breakthrough with my running the other week which was great!

Sometimes in my PT sessions we start with something called a cooper test which is basically a 12 minute run which starts at a steady pace and increases every minute up until the 12 minutes are over.

You’re meant to finish the 12 minutes as spent as possible but obviously the trick is to learn how to pace yourself enough that you can last the 12 minutes and have enough of a kick to be able to increase your pace.

Now I’m not a fast runner at all – I’m actually the slowest runner at my tri club training sessions which doesn’t bother me most times but sometimes gets me down that I feel like I’ve been running for long enough now that it should feel easier than it does – running is still very hard for me, I know I’m never going to be a ‘natural’ runner by any means but I would like to be able to have an easy run pace – I’m a very numbers orientated person and so I’m always looking to improve my pace etc but I would like to get to a point where on a lazy Sunday morning I can go out for an easy run to start the day – quite frankly none of my runs are easy and the pace I run at (10:30min / mile) if I slowed down any further I’d be walking! I would love it if my runs could get to an 8:30 minute mile and then I can go out and do a ‘social’ run at about my current 10:30 minute mile pace. That would be my perfect goal anyway.

Anyway, back to the Cooper test thing. I was getting more and more disheartened because I couldn’t for the life of me get past the 2km distance in the 12 minutes. I’d reach about 1.97km each and every time and just couldn’t get past it!

After whining and moaning to my PT about it he decided to change it up a bit for me. Still using the same steady pace start and gradually increasing speed format of the Cooper test he got me to change my objective and instead aim for the 2km distance instead of the 12 minutes in the hopes that I would be able to gauge my effort better based on distance rather than time.

My first attempt at this got me to 2km in 12 minutes 19 seconds – how annoying is that!

But the distance thing worked for me – the problem with having a set time to work to is that it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, you are still going to be running for that length of time – for me, mentally that’s really hard as I tend to hold back in the thought that I have to run for that set period of time. When using a set distance I find it easier to push myself because the faster you go the sooner it will be over! Lol – what did I say about not enjoying running still!

Anyway – last Monday morning I went to the gym with the intention of doing my 2km run test thing and have a quick swim before work.

I’d had a terrible night’s sleep the night before and was shattered so when I forgot my phone (intended to use to take a picture of my distance and time to show M what I’d done) at the gym I didn’t think about going back for it because ‘today was not going to be a PB day’ – oh how wrong I was!

For the first time ever I made it to 2km in under 12 minutes! My actual time was 11 minutes 57 seconds! I couldn’t believe it and the best part of it was that it was tough but not vomit inducing – I definitely felt like I had something in the tank to gain a couple of seconds eventually.

I was so annoyed that I didn’t have my phone with me to take a picture! Oh the irony! The gym was quite quiet, mainly guys doing their morning weights session so I tried to quickly go back downstairs to the changing rooms and grab my phone from my locker. I went back upstairs to my treadmill but the summary screen had timed out and try as I might I couldn’t retrieve the last workout summary from the console(turns out you can’t on my gym’s treadmills!)!! Gutted! I need verification from others to prove that something happened especially with regards to fitness. The last thing I would want to say is that I’d done something and then never be able to recreate it again – if I do something once in front of someone, even if I never manage it again at least there’s a witness to confirm that it actually happened! I know I’m crazy!

So anyway, I went to PT that evening determined to re-produce my morning’s success.

I usually get to the gym about 5 – 10 minutes before my session is due to start and hop on a treadmill to do a bit of a warm up before M comes over to meet me and tell me what I’m doing that session.

When I got into the gym I saw M in the office having his afternoon snack so I quickly jumped on the treadmill and after a very short warm up walk I re-started the treadmill and started running just as I’d done that morning.

I’d been running for about 5 minutes before M came over and laughed as I garbled why he couldn’t make me stop running and how I was determined to do my 2km again.

I couldn’t believe it but I managed it again! I did my second 2km of the day in 11:55!! I’d not only reached a goal that eluded me for months twice in one day but I’d even gained a couple of seconds on the morning’s run!

Needless to say I felt like I could take on anything that day!

Now I need to think of a new goal…