Back off the couch

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Week 5, Day 2

Well, that was enjoyable. I decided to go to the club C25K session tonight to offer my help if needed. It was week four which meant 3, 8, 3 and 8 with two minutes walk between each stage.

I remember doing this before and really worrying about the step up to eight minutes – and so did everyone else –  so it was wonderfully reassuring to not give it a second thought this evening.

That said, I appreciate how daunting it is to those who haven’t done it before so it was good to chat to a couple of people beforehand, hopefully putting them at ease if even just a little bit.

Out on the run itself, it felt really good to go at a very gentle pace. This was my fourth consecutive day running (or my fifth in six days) so I got the sense it was really beneficial for me to use this as something of a recovery session, rather than just doing sod all.

Now, the question is, do I do both my other scheduled runs this week – 2o minutes and 30 minutes – or just do one and make tonight count for the other, or does tonight replace one of those I missed in week two?

I’m guessing it’ll be a case of seeing how I feel tomorrow.

London Marathon Training (64 miles – 16 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 5.5 miles (2 runs; average 2.75 miles per run)

Stars on 45

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Week 5, Day 1

And so onto week five, and supposedly an easier week but, I’ll tell you what, tonight’s run was anything but easy.

I decided to move up to the 45-minute group at tonight’s club training session. I had debated whether to do it or stick with the 30-minute group given my efforts over the weekend, but I decided I would never know how I’d cope if I didn’t give it a go.

It started off ok, a reasonably sedate pace, but the speed steadily increased and whilst I wasn’t left behind I did find the going a little challenging, partly because my legs were a tad heavy after Sunday.

I made the mistake the last time of doing the little shuttle sprints up the Frys Road so I elected to sit them out this time.

I felt bad about that because there were only six or seven in our group tonight and I was the only one not to do them …… but last time they totally drained my legs and I really struggled in the second part of the run. I knew the same would happen tonight so I decided to put my sensible head on.

This all sounds very negative but it’s not meant to be. I suspected the group leader was thinking that’d be my mindset because, towards the end, he said to me that I’ll likely go home and beat myself up over the run tonight (hello Stephen if you’re reading!).

Yes, I was towards the back of the group but I wasn’t spat out. I managed, by and large, to keep pace with everyone else and that very definitely wasn’t the case the last time I tried the 45s.

On top of that, looking at the stats, tonight’s run was 39 seconds per mile faster than my previous outing with the 45s and, indeed, at the end we were told that tonight’s run is regularly a 50-minute session so for us to do it in the time we did gives you an indication of how fast we were going at times.

The distance covered tonight meant I’ve done 62 miles for the month, my best ever, and with 15 of them coming this weekend alone I think I deserve a little rest.

That said, I’ll likely go to the C25K session tomorrow night just to keep active but my runs for the rest of the week are just one 20 minute and one 30 minute session in preparation for the London Winter Run 10k on Sunday.

London Marathon Training (62 miles – 15 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 3.6 miles (1 run; average 3.6 miles per run)

Consistently consistent

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Week 4, Day 4

fullsizerender-10If it’s Sunday that means a long run, and today that was nine miles according to my training plan. The idea is to increase the long run by 1.5 miles per week so that by the first Sunday in April I’ll be up to 19/20 followed by three weeks blissful tapering. A slow, gradual build-up rather than the steep curve I had to endure last year.

My goal today wasn’t speed – I did that yesterday – but to work on my stamina and to build up time on my feet. With that in mind I felt the run today was a success. I was aiming for marathon pace and achieved it, more or less. That meant I was slower than last Sunday but that won’t have been sustainable long term anyway.

I started, as usual, at the top of the Antrim Road but instead of heading towards the dual carriageway I decided to run down Ballee Way, a nice descent to kick things off. After that it was up the Wakehurst Road, into and around the industrial estate, down past Tesco’s and into the town centre.

From there, it was along the Cullybackey Road and up Princes Street the opposite way, out the Galgorm Road, past Tullygarley, down the Toome Road and home.

That was all well and good, apart from me not realising just how many sharp climbs there were! What was I thinking when I plotted that route? Schoolboy error.

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But it all worked out well. As I said, I was slower than last week but that was intentional. Apart from the first two kilometres the entire run was conducted at a very consistent pace. I seemed to settle into a rhythm early on and stuck with it throughout. Indeed, if anything, I started to increase the tempo a little towards the end.

Time wise, I’ve only done this distance as a stand alone run once before and that was back in March 2016. Compared to then I was 66 seconds quicker per mile today, I’ll take that.

My legs seem to be holding up well. That said, I woke up with a slight ache in my thighs but that disappeared once I got going. Hopefully that was just a consequence of yesterday’s fast run and what will be, by the time January is finished, my most miles in as month since I started all this.

An easier week next week, as per the plan, finishing with the London Winter Run 10k on Sunday. Penguins and a medal, what’s not to like?

And now a shameless plug for the Virtual Run I’m organising to help with my fundraising. It’s quite simple …. donate £8, run or walk etc. 5km, send me the proof and receive a nice shiny medal for your efforts. More details here.

London Marathon Training (58 miles – 14 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)