Week three of my current series of “Week in Review” posts where I’m sharing my training for the Paris Marathon in April. As part of this series, I’m linking up with Jessie @ The Right Fits and Jess @ Jess Runs ATL.
This past week has been a tough one for me, not because of training but because of a big and stressful work commitment. I decided to make sure I got in some quality training, but not to worry if I felt that my performance level was down a bit. It was more important to listen to my body and in this early stage of training, staying healthy and avoiding injury is much more important.
The pattern of my week is perhaps becoming familiar now, but here it is again:
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
Monday’s swim was interesting. I’m never very comfortable in the first few lengths as my breathing hasn’t settled into a rhythm and I’m more likely to breathe in water or, on some occasions, actually forget to breathe! But once I get the first few out the way it feels like something clicks into place and the swim feels more effortless. After a questionable start to this session, I finished up feeling really good and like my body was “getting” it. What I really need to work on is consistency, to feel like I can just get into the water and swim comfortably every time. At the moment, I’m not sure I know how to do that, but am pleased with how much progress I’ve made since I began this process.
Tuesday was my second session of bike intervals at the higher intensity I’m now working at. I possibly didn’t work at quite as high a level as last week, but I made sure the effort felt the same. In a week where I was working harder throughout the rest of the day and probably not getting as much rest as I should, this was perfectly fine. Usually I head to the sauna after my gym session, but with lots to do at home I simply completed my workout with some stretching and mobility before hitting the showers.
Wednesday it was back to the hills for some reps. It was the same session as last week, but a little less windy and without the snow flurry! I somehow managed to stop my watch after a couple of reps so had to fiddle around with it so that the rest of the pre-programmed session would work which probably lost me some momentum, and there were also a couple of lengthened rest intervals while I waited for cars to pull in and out of driveways, but overall I was pleased with how I did. Last week I realised that when the main workout was finished I still had to run gradually uphill to get home, so this time took a different route to see how it felt. It did give me a nice downhill stretch, but I’m not actually sure if I preferred it so will return to my original route in the week ahead and maybe alternate them.
On Thursday I had to make a little change to my routine again as I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fit in both a PT session AND a yoga class. With a stressful Friday looming, I decided it would be much more beneficial to go to yoga and I’m so pleased I did. My body felt stretched out and light afterwards, and my mind was stilled by the yogic breathing. I arrived home in the right frame of mind to prepare myself for the day ahead and get as good a sleep as possible.
On Friday morning I had the big work commitment I had been preparing for and was conscious that my body was running on adrenaline. As a result of timing and driving over lunchtime, both my hydration and eating got out of sync. By the time I finished work I felt drained and hungry. Fortunately Friday is my rest day so I once more joined some work friends for a coffee, but since I had missed out on a proper lunch I also ordered a delicious focaccia to fuel me up a bit as it was still a while until Steve and I would head out to eat. That revived me and I finished the day feeling much better and ready for a really good sleep as I’m supposed to be prioritising rest. That definitely didn’t happen during this week!
On Saturday I felt a bit more refreshed and ready for parkrun. I suspected my performance would not be as strong as last week, but accepted that I would go with what my body felt like doing. It was chilly in the morning but the last few days had been reasonably mild which meant the grass section was really muddy and slippy. I definitely felt my pace slow over that stretch after quite a fast start, but I didn’t really lose any position as everyone was affected in the same way. Coming off the grass I had settled into a more steady pace, but did pass a couple of people. Coming into the finish, I was aware of Steve standing at the side indicating that someone else was catching me. Normally I ignore him and just do my own thing, but I glanced over my shoulder and saw Ella and couldn’t resist seeing if I could keep ahead. Turns out she has one hell of a sprint finish in her legs and it was probably a photo finish as we crossed the line side by side, but I was pleased to find a reserve of energy in my legs at a point where I was feeling tired as that’s what I’ll need in the marathon. I was also pleased with my time of 24 minutes exactly as I had expected to be slower this week.
After parkrun it was a really quick shower and change at the gym before heading to my yoga class. I love my Hatha class on a Saturday morning as the gentle stretching after the run feels great and the class is always really relaxing which is perfect to start the weekend. Since I run both days at the weekend, I think this helps me to recover from the hard run before my long run on Sunday morning. I then dedicated the remainder of the day to rest. I read, I took a nap and I cuddled my cat. Just what I needed after a hard work week.
I awoke on Sunday feeling better than I had all week. Taking the time to rest and reset really helped, as did finally getting a good night’s sleep, uninterrupted by anxious dreams! I did, however, wake up to this:
An iPhone snap doesn’t really do justice to how “blue” the light seemed at 8am. With 10 miles on my schedule, I checked the weather app to get an idea of temperature and noticed it said a 10% chance of snow. “Nah, that’ll never happen!” thought I, only to look up and see the flakes beginning to drift down. But rather than be put off, I felt quite excited at the prospect of running in the snow, so after a light breakfast (and prepping the evening meal for the slow cooker) I got myself layered up and out the door.
This week I was much better at reigning in the pace so that overall I was about where I wanted to be. There were still times when my legs wanted to go faster and if I wasn’t paying attention I would settle into a quicker pace than I should be at on these runs, but used my watch to keep an eye on things and slowed down when necessary. The 10 miles flew in as I listened to podcasts and it wasn’t really all that cold once I was moving. I really love these long runs in the early part of marathon training when having built a solid base means that I feel strong and like I could easily keep on going. I know that won’t be the case every week, but for now it gives me confidence in my training and confidence that I can have a real go at getting a new PB in April. Paris, I’m coming for you!
Next week is a cutback week so my Sunday run will be shorter, however since I probably worked at a lower intensity in my midweek workouts this week, I won’t be making any conscious cutback there. Things should also be a little quieter at work so I can refocus on making sure I get some quality rest as I believe that’s crucial to keeping me injury free as training progresses.
How has your training been this week?
What’s your favourite workout?