Friday, 18 February 2011

Now then, Albert

Nearly another week's training in the bag, and a good one overall.

After my hard session Monday and a gentle recovery Tuesday it was off to London for a couple of days.  I stayed near Victoria in what I previously knew as the Victoria Thistle (also "the worst shithole of a hotel I have ever had the misfortune to spend a night in") but has cunningly rebranded itself as "The Grosvenor".  I met an old colleague on the train on the way down, and he was going to a big awards do at the real Grosvenor, but I had to run instead.  Past the Grosvenor, as it happens.

I got the route from the Serpies website, and ran along to Buck House then round Green Park.  It was pretty much dark, but I managed to stay inside the park and see ok by the lights from Piccadilly.  Across Hyde Park Corner reminded me why running in cities is a pain, then off round Hyde Park anti-clockwise.  At Marble Arch I turned left and along Bayswater Road, before going down past Kensington Palace and all those embassies and consulates.

They all stand gracefully looking out at one another, with fairly subtle security, until you get to the bottom of the road and there's the Israeli embassy all spiky fences and tank traps, saying "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough".

Past the Albert Memorial and the Albert Hall (no sign of the Fuhrer's missing gonad) then back to Hyde Park Corner, down Constitution Hill and repeat - 13 miles at about 8 min mile pace.  Decent mileage for midweek.

Thursday off, then today was 20 miler number 3 - the half way point of long runs.  Finished work at 2 then off to Silsden.  I ran this one a wee bit quicker, maybe 7:50 a mile on average to 14.5m at the Micklethwaite road, then tested my legs out with a few miles of faster running.

The first effort mile was 6:48 and felt "comfortably hard", then the next was 6:45.  I decided that if I'd done 2 it'd be rude not to do my traditional 4, so the next 2 were 6:39 and a cheeky 6:31 to finish.  I was blowing hard by the end but it feels good to have got the first 3 20 milers done before a bit of a cutback week next week.

The plan is then to do a couple of 22's before another week of lower mileage, then the pinnacle of my LR training will be a slow 24 miler at the end of March.  Gulp...

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Still at it!

Took Sunday off, as the weather wasn't great and I felt I needed it, but Monday was my (now) regular "hard one" up on the canal.

The Herb was out for once, so I took the opportunity to run with a chum for a bit, which turned out to be 2 1/2 miles, a bit long for a warm up, and which left me running fast at points when I've usually slowed down.  The pace seemed faster tonight, and indeed it was, with several miles nearer to 6:40 than 6:50, and even a couple below the 6:40 mark.  The benefit of the longer warm up, of course, is that when my 6 miles of effort had finished I only had a mile and a half to go to get my 10 miles in.

Can't quite decide whether I should push these MP sessions out to 8 in 10, or even up to 10 in 12 - but to be honest I think I might be better lengthening my MLR out to 14 (maybe run home mideweek through March?).

Anyway tonight was a recovery that's best described as "character building" - long day in Newcastle, home about 6:30 and straight out into the teeth of a howling wind with rain as a bonus.  Just 4 miles, very steady but I got it done.

Longer steady run in London tomorrow - going to try a couple of laps of the Serpies Hyde Park circuit.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Another one bites the dust

Well what a cracking little run out that was.

After Wednesday's steady effort, I got another 5 in after work Thursday, as I knew I wasn't going to be able to run Friday, so after an amusing journey home involving the train driver forgetting to stop at Newark (which is an anagram of wanker, as I discovered yesterday),  it was a night in the spare room and up at 0630 for my "long run with a difference'.

Straight into the car, and a cheese sandwich and a bottle of banana milk later I was parked at Bowland Bridge in the semi-dark of the pre-dawn, trying to decide whether I needed a headtorch or not.  Not, was the decision, so I set off towards Ilkley on the Nesfield road.

The theory was that it's 5 miles to Ilkley, then run the "Beamsley Bash" with the club, then back to the car - 20 miles.  Easy.  Only it's actually only 4.7m to Ilkley, meaning complex calculations would be required.

As I got to the Old Bridge a few minutes early I jogged up the road to have the watch on just over 5m, then waited for the crowds to arrive.  Jules carter was first, so we talked marathons for a bit, and eventually there must have been about eight or nine folk.  The plan was 2x5min efforts and 5x6min.  I'd decided to run somewhere near the back, but of course that was never going to happen, was it?

I found myself running somewhere between Jules and the quicker ladies, and without actually pressing the lap button it's hard to know what the pace was, but I think it was around 6:40 most of the way - and it felt pretty easy.  I even managed a chat with Jules as we trotted along. 

These sessions usually have standing or walking recoveries, but I tried to keep running up and down, in an effort to get a few extra yards in as much as anything.  The middle nine miles of my run passed really quickly - and if I could be arsed to get up early enough I'd do more of my LRs like this, as the run back to the car (plus a little wiggle at the end to make it 20) was a nice steady end to a cracking run.

That makes 50 for the week, so I think I might even drag myself out tomorrow for a few short recovery miles, before it all starts again on Monday!  Cutback week the week after, which is good, as I've just felt a few ITB twinges this week - never whilst running when everything's feeling really good - but in bed or when I've been sat in meetings.  Nothing to worry about, but maybe time I got that sports massage sorted out...

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Half way through the week, and half way to 50

Quite pleased to have got half way through the week, and have got two of my tougher midweek runs done.  Monday was the real stinky MP session - 10m with 6m at MP with a howling wind to contend with.  And the dark.  Managed to crank 6m out at around 6:50 pace or a bit quicker, with my HR staying really pretty low at around 145.

Yesterday was meant to be a very steady recovery run from work down the canal to the Aagrah at Shipley, but our strategy day finished a bit early, so they moved the booking forward - the net result being a more hurried 5 mile run on the canal in 38 minutes.

Then today was another canal run, in the dark by headtorch - but this time it was a steadier run, starting very slow (slower than it felt if I'm honest) and ending up feeling fresh enough to do mile 9 in 6:38.

So - 25 miles done, with a few steady ones tomorrow before London (and no running) on Friday, meaning this week's long one will be on Saturday.  Yuk.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

One in the bag

It's been hideously windy and rainy for a couple of days, so as I sat in the office watching the big trees outside bend and twitch in the westerly gale I must say I was dreading the thought of running for over two and a half hours, with the second half into the teeth of it.

However with half a day's holiday booked The Plan said run, so run I did.  Into our delightfully posh changing rooms then into the car via the shop for a bottle of banana milk.  I drove up to Silsden as per usual, having toyed with the idea of doing my run the opposite way round to give me the wind behind on the second half.  In the end the thought of battling Saltaire roundabout at rush hour made me "man up" and do my usual.

I'd decided to take this first proper long one very easy, and that in the conditions yesterday that proved to be around 7:50 pace with the wind behind.  My HR was staying nicely low at about 128, and all was feelijg good.  The only problem really was the mental one of seeing the long run stretching out in front of me, but after a while the miles started to flow.  Past work with five on the clock, then quickly through seven as gravity helped me down 5 and 3 Rise locks.

It got very puddly through Shipley which was distracting and irritating, but with under 1:20 on the watch it was time to turn for home.  The pace slowed fairly significantly for a couple of miles as the wind pushed me back towards Leeds, but in the end I got into a rhythm and before I knew it I was looking at 5 Rise again and what I always think of as "the beginning of the end".  In previous runs I've put the hammer down once I cross the Micklethwaite road, but this was going to be steady all the way.

My legs coped pretty well, and I got back to the car feeling reasonably fresh with the watch on 2:39, so a gnat's under 8 min pace and a commendably low HR of 131 average.

Today Lily decided she wanted to go to the Parkrun by way of practice for the N Yorks XC finals in March, so I was glad to get out for a slow steady recovery acting as Lily's personal drinks and clothes carrier.  We ran about 27:44, so 5k at an average pace of about 8:55 - just the job.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Eee, that were 'ard...

'Ard mentally and 'ard physically, actually.  Plan was to get out at 4ish to get an hour of daylight, but meetings intervened, so at about 4:45 I made use of our splendid new changing facilities at work - so much nicer than having The Herb's arse in your face as you ratch around trying to find your socks.

The darkness made it mentally tough to get out, and still sore legs from the weekend meant I was looking for excuses to run slower than The Plan said.  I set off with 10 miles in mind, but not sure what the efforty bit would look like (if indeed there'd be any efforty bit at all).

In the end I warmed up for a mile then just set off at something that felt "a bit faster".  This turned out to be just under 7 min pace, so a couple of miles went by at 6:55 or so.  One of my options had been to run 3x2m efforts with some recoveries, but in the end I just kept going into the increasingly strong wind. turning just before the watch beeped for 4 miles. 

The wind helped on the way back so the pace increased whilst the effort didn't, so in the end I finished with a 6m effort averaging 6:52 pace, 10 more miles in the bank and a decidedly sore lower back.  I think the back pain is a result of running over frozen, rutted ground on Sunday, so hopefully a couple of days of steady running up in the north east (one of which should be in daylight!) will see it loosen off before Friday's Big One.