As week 3 of my marathon training began, the weather was still bitterly cold here in Scotland, but thankfully this week I was able to complete my planned sessions without alteration (read: no
dreadmill treadmill time this week!). I even found myself gazing wistfully out of the window at work one morning as I rather fancied heading out for a run then since it looked so crisp and bright (and it would be dark by the time I got out), but sadly my working day is not really conducive to heading out for a run at different times.
This week’s schedule included the same basic sessions I have been completing throughout January, the only difference being the increment in the number of cadence drills I complete (an increase of 2 reps per week at the same cadence) and the gradual increase in my Sunday long run (2 miles per week whenever there is an increase). The received wisdom on this is that since a common cause of injury is”too much, too soon”, training load should not increase by more than about 10% per week to help reduce the chance of injury. Having suffered a lengthy injury last year, I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to minimise my risk of injury so will be making only minimal changes each week. And so my week looked like this:
Monday – swim/sauna
Tuesday – 6 miles hilly
Wednesday – conditioning
Thursday – cadence drills then coaching running club
Friday – Metafit
Saturday – Parkrun
Sunday – 12 miles
I think my swimming might be improving a bit. Having had a couple of lessons last year, I understand the basics of what I am trying to achieve and my current plan is to go with perseverance. I figure if I go to the pool often enough and do some slow, gentle lengths my body will eventually work out what it needs to do and my breathing will become much more natural. At the moment it’s rather inconsistent but there’s much less choking at the end of the pool and I do manage the odd length that feels “right” so I’ll keep at it. I’m also finding my time in the pool great for recovery from the previous day’s long run.
On Tuesday I was thrilled to be able to get outside for my run after last week’s treadmill confinement. It was a cold night but the pavements on the route I wanted to run were treated so I could run safely. I still took it easy on the downhill sections though as I was finding the light-coloured grit tricky to distinguish from newly-formed ice under the glare of the streetlights, so wanted to have some control over my pace in case I hit a slippy patch. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed my run and was happy with my performance.
Wednesday’s conditioning exercises had to be squeezed in between an after school meeting and my orchestra rehearsal, but I still found time to complete the full set as it’s really important to me to work on my leg strength and target the muscles which proved to be weaker last year. These exercises also help to stretch out my muscles a bit more which is good as my mileage increases. As I mentioned last week, I want to maintain the successful parts of my plan from last year, so as well as compression gear and my Sunday night bath, plenty of stretching and foam rolling are also a key part of my week.
Thursday was another crisp evening when I set out to complete my cadence drills. The session went well and I know I’m seeing the benefits of these drills in my other runs. I also had the opportunity to see this beautiful view:
Another key part of my plan is to have regular sports massages. Last year I went once a fortnight and am aiming to continue with that this year. There’s nothing quite like a massage to work out the tensions in the muscles, refresh the legs and stop any niggles in their tracks. I had a massage in the first week of the month, so had another one booked for this week. After dashing around completing my own cadence drills then helping Steve with his Zero to 5k group, a leg massage was very welcome and I could feel the difference afterwards.
Friday brought with it a tough Metafit workout. Each one is different and the timings of the workouts vary. I’ve found that the shorter ones tend to be the toughest, and this was one of the shorter workouts so it was an intense session. That said, Metafit has definitely made a difference in my running in the past and other runners have reported similar results from regular Metafit, so it’s worth the hard work. I actually quite like this as a start to my weekend and am more than ready for my dinner afterwards!
Saturday was, of course, Parkrun. Not quite a PB for me this week, but another consistent run. Although the temperature had gone up a bit, there had been an overnight frost making the paths slippy and the grass solid so I had to take care. It was also a busier run this week which is really encouraging for the event. I did, however, have one challenge to overcome when Morven decided I should stay at home instead and got herself settled on my kit!
After my run I really enjoyed catching up with a few people I know and meeting (at last) someone I chat to often via the blog’s Facebook page. Running really does bring people together and runners tend to be a very friendly and sociable bunch!
On Saturday evening we went out for dinner as we had a restaurant voucher to use. I had a delicious 3 course meal with a fantastic steak:
The food was all wonderful, however a 3 course meal, later in the evening, with minimal carbs was probably not the best preparation for my 12 mile run on Sunday morning! As a result, I felt a little sluggish in the first 5 miles, but after my first gel I felt much better and ran strongly. I finished my run knowing I could have gone further and despite a hilly route, ran at a pace which, if maintained, would see me finish the marathon around the 4 hour mark. I still think I can run better, but given that just before Christmas I was running 10k for the first time since May (and finding it tough) it’s hard to be disappointed with my performance just now. My running has improved a great deal in just over a month so there is plenty of time for further improvement over the next few weeks.
All-in-all, another solid week of training. I feel strong, my recovery is pretty good and I’m maintaining my 100% record in Jantastic. Even better, there’s only one more week of January to go and soon, hopefully, some of my evening sessions will have some daylight. That makes me very happy!
How has your training been this week?
What is your favourite workout/session?