Time for the second in my series of regular “week in review” posts to document this cycle of marathon training. Like last week, I’m linking up with Jessie at The Right Fits and Jess at Jess Runs ATL since I really enjoyed joining their linkup for the first time last week. If you write a weekly recap and want to be part of the linkup too, then all the information is here.
This past week was the first of the new school term. That meant a bit of a shock to the system at being up earlier and being much more mentally challenged day-to-day whilst still maintaining the consistency of my training, hence my reference to “settling in” in this week’s title. In order to capitalise on the base I’ve built, consistency is key to further improving my fitness and preparing for the demands of the marathon. The pattern of my training remained the same, it was really just the time of day that I trained that was affected by a return to my “normal” routine (which meant fewer photos as there was a lot of working out in the dark!).
Monday – swim
Tuesday – bike intervals at the gym
Wednesday – hill reps
Thursday – PT session plus Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun plus Hatha yoga
Sunday – long run
Whenever I write about my training I always include a reminder that it’s important to make your plan fit around your life, not the other way around. Sometimes that means making a few tweaks and adjustments when you know you won’t be able to fit a particular session in. Already, I’ve had to make an adjustment as I knew I couldn’t get to my Saturday yoga class, but since my teacher also has a Monday evening class, I switched to that one for this week. It was actually a really nice way to relax after the first day of school and the timing fitted well with my swim session after work.
Tuesday saw me back at the gym for my weekly session of bike intervals. Having completed the last workout in my previous cycle (pun intended!) of these last week, it was time to move on. This meant dropping the reps back down but putting the intensity up. I’ll now add on a couple of reps each week until I get to the same number I reached at the previous intensity. It’s always a funny moment when I get to this point. On the one hand, the workout is about ten minutes shorter, but on the other it feels just a little harder. Not impossible, but my body has been used to a particular intensity and now that’s changed. It’s definitely worth it though as these progressive workouts are what makes me feel stronger and, in turn, this helps me to run well.
I had another new workout to begin on Wednesday with my hill reps. Like with the bike, I reached the peak of my previous sessions last week so Steve devised something new to move me on. This meant a new hill and a new workout. Rather than a repeated point-to-point, this time I’m running between lampposts e.g. 5 to this one, 4 to the next, 3 to the next. When I first arrived at the bottom of the hill I thought maybe the first set wouldn’t be challenging enough, but I wasn’t taking into account the “sting in the tail” with this hill which gets steeper as it goes on. By the time I was on the last, most challenging set, I had the added bonus of high winds and the beginning of a snow flurry as well, but I got it done. It was the sort of workout which will not only make me physically stronger, but mentally stronger too or, as Steve says, it was “character building” ha ha!
Thursday is often one of my favourite workout days of the week. After work I have a PT session with Steve. We have been focusing a lot on core strength and mobility using the core momentum trainer, but Steve varies the exercises each week. In the main, we’re making sure my hips remain strong after the problems I had in the autumn. Just because I rehabbed that problem at the time doesn’t mean it can’t return so I do need to keep that as a priority.
I go straight from that session to the yoga studio for my Ashtanga class. My last one was mid-December as they were closed over the festive period and I was really looking forward to getting back as it helps me to relax and focus towards the end of the school week. I also love seeing the progress I’ve made since starting last May and realising my body can now move in ways it just couldn’t before. I was worried that I might have lost some flexibility during the break, but I don’t think I had, so that’s good news. My only disappointment was that the new mat I ordered hadn’t arrived yet, but hopefully I’ll have it for my next class.
Friday is my rest day and I sometimes take advantage of that to go for an after school coffee with some friends from work. This week, four of us managed to get together and have a really good catch up which was really nice. We don’t always see much of each other in the hustle and bustle of the school term (we don’t all teach the same subjects) so taking the chance to get together out of school and catch up on the news is great. It doesn’t happen every week, but even with a longish drive home afterwards I still love it when we do go. A great way to start the weekend, followed up beautifully with eating out with Steve (our Friday night tradition since we moved into our house almost a year ago).
We had a bit of a cold snap with lots of ice and some snow which by Saturday was frozen pretty solid. There was a small question mark over parkrun on Saturday, but fortunately after an inspection of the course it was deemed safe enough, albeit with reminders to run with care. I decided this was the ideal time to wear my all-terrain Adidas Boosts and made sure I was well wrapped up against the elements with thermal running tights, a Climaheat top, my favourite running hat and two pairs of gloves since it’s usually my fingers which get cold. Given all that, I didn’t really expect much of my time, simply running was more important. So nobody was more surprised than me when I finished in 23:46 (the time on the photo below is pulled from Strava rather than being my official time). This was faster than the week before Christmas when I was thrilled to sneak in a sub-24, and my fastest time for the parkrun year so far (our parkrun year began at the end of November). I’m crediting my shoes with this one since although the course was mostly covered in ice/snow, I felt secure when I landed and was able to run with confidence. The improvement in my time in a month also tells me that the training is working, so I’m pleased with that.
Finally, Sunday and the long run came around. The temperature had picked up a little so most of the ice had melted although there were still a few slippy patches to watch out for. I had 8 miles on the schedule so planned out my route, loaded up the latest Marathon Talk podcast (my favourite for long runs) and set off. I’ve been trying to run my long runs quite slowly to help build endurance and trust that this will make me faster on race day, however I’m pretty sure I went too fast today as my average pace was 9:20 per mile, even with a big hill towards the end. I should probably be aiming closer to 9:30-9:40 (and definitely slower on the flats and downhills!) so will need to try and take it a bit easier. I still felt strong all the way round though, so felt pleased with that.
So that’s week two done. The week ahead is going to be a busy one, but I’m hopeful I can still get my training done and get some quality rest.
How was your training this week?
Any obstacles getting in the way of what you want to do?