And for the fourth week in a row I’ve had to make some changes to my plan in order to fit in with other things happening in my life. That said, I did complete all the workouts on my plan which was supposed to look like this:
Monday – swim
Tuesday – bike intervals at the gym
Wednesday – hill reps
Thursday – PT session + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun + Hatha yoga
Sunday – long run
The problem arose on Monday when, along with some others, I had the opportunity to visit a friend I’ve not seen in a while. I really didn’t want to miss out on seeing her, so went along thinking I would maybe fit my swim in when I got home. Of course I was kidding myself since I ended up staying far longer than I thought and really only getting home in time to have my dinner, relax for a short time then head to bed. A Monday workout failure, but sometimes something else is more important and the workout can be done another time.
That other time was Tuesday. I had a little more time available to me so decided to have a swim after my bike session. I was clearly in a daydream when I started my workout this week as I forgot to start my watch when I started the bike (I use the watch as well as the heart rate data gets me points on my health insurance, which in turn gets me regular rewards so I make sure I record everything I possibly can for that). Luckily I realised before I finished my warm up so was still able to get decent data. Even though the workout was pretty tiring, it still felt good to get in the pool and I felt that I settled into my rhythm a bit more quickly this week. Still looking for that consistency though so any tips would be welcome!
Wednesday saw me back at the bottom of the hill preparing to run between those lampposts again. It was the same workout as the previous two weeks (it changes next week – eek!) and afterwards I compared my splits with the previous two sessions and was really pleased to see that I completed every single rep a little faster. For the initial reps by about 1-2 seconds then by 4-7 seconds for the later reps. I know I’m working as hard as I can each time so this is an indication that I’m already seeing training benefits and getting fitter, which can only be a good thing.
Wednesday was also Burns’ Night so we marked the occasion with the traditional haggis, neeps and tatties (that’s haggis, turnips and potatoes for those who need a translation). I’m not a fan of mashed potato so just had the haggis and neeps which turned out to be a pretty good way to refuel from a hard workout. Yum!
On Thursday I drove to Steve’s studio after work for a PT session. This week we were working on upper back mobility followed by some work on hip mobility and knee drive using the core momentum trainer. It’s really important to me to keep that hip work in my routine so that I can avoid any return of the problem I had in the autumn. After that, I headed to my Ashtanga yoga class which turned out to be really quiet this week. There were only two of us but it was really nice as it meant a little more attention from the instructor to help in various postures and I always leave this class feeling really relaxed and ready to tackle Friday head-on.
Friday is my rest day and after a really busy day where I had a couple of big things to complete on my to-do list (which I did!) I enjoyed the chance to go straight home and sort out loads of things that I just hadn’t managed to get to during the week. That meant my head felt a bit clearer and I was ready to start my weekend. As usual, Steve and I headed out to eat and I had my favourite: chicken curry with a beer. But this week Steve decided we could also have the treat of a gin afterwards. I chose the rhubarb and ginger gin which goes better with lemonade than tonic and it was delicious.
Saturday morning was interesting. It had been cold and wet overnight so there were some icy patches first things but by the time parkrun came around that was starting to melt so the grass was pretty muddy and the paths were slushy in places. There was a bit of sleet around so I opted for plenty of warm kit and my all-terrain shoes and took it a little easier over the grass as I saw no point in taking a risk that might affect my other training. My time ended up about the same as last week, but I know this was all about the conditions rather than how I was feeling and I was actually much stronger in the third mile which pleased me.
After parkrun I grabbed a quick shower before heading to Hatha yoga for a good stretch and a chance to relax. I was quite excited as my new yoga mat had FINALLY arrived the day before so this was my first chance to try it out and I have to say I really liked it. When I first went to yoga last May I just bought a cheap, basic mat as I didn’t know if it was something I would keep up, but now yoga is part of my life I decided it was time to invest in a quality mat that wouldn’t have my hands sliding around or have indentations from my hands and feet after each posture! My parents gave me some money for Christmas so I used that to get a thick Lululemon mat. If today is anything to go by, I’m really looking forward to using it each week.
To round off Saturday, we had a delicious dinner. Before he was a PT Steve made pizzas for a living (and was very good at it – he’s well known around here for that particular job!) and as we were dithering about trying to decide what to eat, Steve suggested making pizzas. I immediately agreed and requested prosciutto and chorizo as toppings. Later that evening I was presented with this delicious creation. We DEFINITELY need to have this more often!
Sunday’s “long” run was a bit shorter this week as it was a cutback week to let my body reap the benefits of the training I’ve done so far. This meant there were “just” 6 miles on the schedule. I worked out a route then made a few adjustments when I awoke to find our street was an ice rink! I decided to slither out onto the main road to start/finish my run there and opted to run on the road when I could as the surface was much clearer. Given the conditions I was quite pleased to have the shorter mileage as I had to really pay attention to where my feet landed plus it was still really cold! On the plus side, I finally got my long run pacing right as the conditions forced me to slow down!
Post-run it was my usual stretches followed by 10 minutes of “legs up the wall” as recommended by Jasyoga. I started doing this in the autumn and think that combined with my other recovery strategies like compression tights/socks and my evening bath with Epsom salts, it does help me to recover well. It also gives me a few minutes for various social media updates and to check the stats from my run!
And with that, the first month of marathon training is more or less done. There have been a few obstacles along the way but I’m feeling strong and am beginning to see performance benefits. Long may it continue!
What is the biggest hurdle you have to overcome in your training?
What improvements are you seeing from your recent training?