No rest

There is not much to report this week. I kept on running regularly every day. I did not rest on Monday and basically ran 9 days in a row, a little record for me.

Monday I did 12k at 4:26 min/km. Nothing special.

On Tuesday I tried something different that I had never done: longer repeats. After my usual warm up I did three 2km repeats at around 3:45 min/km with 2 minutes of recovery. Finished with a bit of cool down. It was a good experience. I am happy I managed to do them faster and faster and felt good at the end.

Wednesday I went out for an easy 13km run. I did it at an average of 4:32 min/km. Even if I was feeling a bit tired it was a good kind of tired, not the type you feel like breaking, but the one that makes you feel like you are doing a good job and pushing yourself further without killing yourself. Once I get to the recover/tapering week I am sure I will get rid of this tiredness and be stronger at the end, ready for the marathon.

To do a bit of hill training I went to Kingston Hill on Thursday. I did five 500mt uphill with the downhill to rest. I could not do them as fast as last week, but I did an extra one.

On Friday I did 10k of recovery as the hills the day before had left a lot of tiredness in my legs and then on Saturday I went for a 21.1k (not casual) run in Richmond Park. It was quite a good day. Running in the daylight is always a plus after 5 days running in the dark. So even if tired (my right hamstring really was asking for a rest) I managed to do the half marathon distance at a 4:18 min/km average, pushing a bit in the last three km.

And that was it for the week. I completed a 9 day streak, ran 6 times this week for a total of 81km and now I am ready to rest. Next week I will only run 8/10km three times and then Saturday I’ll be ready for my second trail marathon. I cannot wait.

Have fun!

Training, training and more training

It has been another week of intensive training. I ran 6 times for a total of 94.7km.

The week started with an easy recovery run on Monday. 10.5km at 4:44. It was a very warm morning. I was wearing my lighter winter kit and it was too hot for that too. The temperatures are very unpredictable these days so I bought a handy thermometer that will tell me each morning what I should wear before heading out.

Tuesday the real training started with a nice set of intervals. After the warm up I did five 4′ at a pace of 3:40 with 4′ rest in between. It was really a killer day, but I managed to do them with Swiss watch precision. I finished with a long cool down and after a total of 13k I was home ready for some stretching. It is days like these that really test my hip, Achilles tendon and right foot (my 3 weak spots).
Luckily I discovered the power of the slow recovery runs which I always avoided (big mistake) and Wednesday I did a slow 10k run and then felt like new.

So much so that on Thursday I decided to try and beat my 5k PB. As I was supposed to run 20′ at a fast pace (above 162BPM) I decided to try and do a PB, just for fun.
I did a 3k warm up and then did 5k keeping the heart above 162 which meant running between 3:30 and 3:40. It was a lot of fun, but left me all broken to pieces at the end. 17:57 to run 5k, not bad considering it was so early in the morning I was still half asleep. I did an extra 1k cool down and then home to check if I had done the PB. Unfortunately I did not manage to by less than 10 seconds.

5k

Friday I took it easy to recover from the day before and ran 14km at 4:45. My legs were happy at the end.

Saturday I could not do the long run as it was raining too much (alternating with some snow) and I did not feel running wet for 3 hours. I regretted it straight away as it stopped raining as soon as I had breakfast, the kind of breakfast you cannot run afterwards, too much milk.
So I waited until Sunday and went out with the plan to do 42k. Armed with 3 gels and a handheld bottle I went to Kingston and then followed the river up to Hammersmith bridge until I had run 21k, then turned around and went back. Unfortunately I took a shortcut and got home after 38km. I was really tired. The run started very painfully from the beginning with my legs hurting from the first km and got even more tiring because of all the mud and the wind. Strangely it felt like running against the wind in any direction I was going! It was a good day anyway, very challenging but fun. I was happy to be home at the end. Final result: 38km at an average pace of 4:56 min/km. I was so tired on Sunday that I went to sleep at 10pm.

Have fun!

Steady diet of running

Another solid week.

Monday was an easy recovery day. I did 10Km at 4:33 min/km. Nothing special but I felt really good. Running long distances during the week end (38km was a lot for me) really adds to my confidence and going out for a short run where I do not have to worry makes it really fun. Also running more kms per week has definitely made me a lot stronger and I can feel it in my legs. I am not as tired as I used to be the first month of waking up at 5am every day. Now it is a routine and the body is ready. Whether it is ready for a trail marathon in a month time we’ll have to wait and see.

Tuesday was again an easy run day. I decided to do more kms than I usually do in the week days. I’ve read somewhere (I think in this old Roberto Albanesi’s book) that a training session needs to be at least one hour long. Most of mine are 10/12km during the week so they last less than 50 minutes. On Tuesday I did 15km. For an exact total of an hour. It was a good run but it was extremely cold, below zero. I could hear the crick crick that the shoes did on the ice on the road. I challenge my friends @unknowndest and @manuontrail to run in shorts in those conditions! (We have an ongoing discussion about long tights and pants).

Wednesday was the interval training day so after the usual 20 minutes warm up I did 4 x 4′ at 3:40 min/km with 4 minutes rest. 4×4+4. The day of the 4s. I ran a total of 14km in exactly an hour (Albanesi would approve).

Thursday I again went out for an easy recovery run. It was a bit of a suffering due to cramps. I went really slow, accelerating only at the end to go to the toilet as quickly as possible. 10km in total, but not much fun. Wind and ice did not help either.

Friday I woke up, saw that there was a storm outside with horizontal rain and decided to be lazy and went back to sleep. Obviously regretted it as soon as I woke up 2 hours later.

Saturday I was supposed to do around 60% of my longest run of the previous The Cool Impossible training plan part one, but as I skipped the day before I decided to do a bit more. I left home as the sun was coming out: beautiful clear sky, frozen ground, very few people around, a light fog on the river, perfect. Having rested the day before I felt really good and did a relatively fast 30km run (my new 30k PB) through Bushy Park, the Hampton Court’s river side, around the whole of Richmond Park, Kingston to Teddinton Lock and then home. When I stopped I still had a lot of energy. I am really proud of myself. In less than 5 months I went from running 21k to 30k with the same effort. Running 30k now seems really easy.

A good week then, 79.2k in total. One more normal training week and then I will rest a bit during the Chirstmas week. The first marathon is approaching!

Go outside and have fun!

Ciao

Follow the river

Last week I did not run much so I had to go big this week.

Monday I did an easy run. With the new heart zones calculated last week things got a little bit faster. 13km at 4:16 min/km.

Tuesday was more intensive. After the usual 15/20 min warm up I did 5x(3′ at 3:35 with 3′ rest). It was fun and tiring. It also marked the end of my Brooks Glycerin. At 800km it was time to retire them. I ended up liking them a lot. I did not think any shoe could beat my favourite Asics Nimbus, but they are not that different, a bit harder but definitely a lot longer lasting. I might get a new pair when the current Nimbus get to around 400km, to alternate them.

Wednesday I did not hear the alarm clock and woke up too late to go out running. 😦

Thursday I did 40 minutes at a steady 4:19 min/km and then 8 ten seconds sprints between 2:50 and 3:30. Seven minutes of cool down and I was home happy. It was definitely getting colder and colder each day.

Friday was a lot of fun. I did 4km of warm up and then 6 fast km at 3:47. Two cool down kms and then home for a big recovery protein smoothy.

Saturday’s plan was to run more than what The Cool Impossible training schedule suggested. I need to put more kms in my legs to get ready for the next months of marathon running.
It was crazy cold, zero degrees at 8am and it did not get better, it was 1 degree when I got back home. I decided to follow the river and run away from home as much as possible and then turn back. I fist did a couple of km towards Kingston and then followed the river until I had run 21km and then turned back. The idea was that if I felt like it I could do the same route back and end up doing 42km like a real marathon runner or if I felt tired I could stop earlier, skipping the initial loop to Kingston. That’s what I ended up doing for a total of 38km, which I think is still good as it is the longest I have ever run.

The trail on the river is all flat so I could keep a good pace and I ended up running with an average of 4:48 min/km. The story really changed after 32km, keeping under 5 min/km was a struggle. The freezing cold did not help either. The trail was either frozen hard mud or slippery ice. At the 24th km I even slipped on a downhill wooden ramp and fell like an idiot. Luckily I did not hit the ground too hard as I was quite far away from home. It actually helped as for the next 4 or 5 kms I was all energized by the fall.

I had a gel at 15k and one at 25k which really helped. I also ran for the first time with my new Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0. I loved it. I only carried one bottle and drunk very little as it was very cold and, I have to admit, I only understood how to drink from it once I got home (I should have tried it before starting running). Once I got the strap in the right configuration for my body it really felt comfortable and did not hinder the run at all. I might try and get soft bottles to replace the ones that come with it. I have not tried carrying anything on the back as I did not need to, but I am sure I found the right vest/backpack for my future trail marathons and for the NDW50. As always the Brooks Cascadia did their job. As my experience teaches me, only ice can beat them.

Overall it was a very good run, I enjoyed it a lot and it took me to places I had not been in ages, like my very first office in Mortlake.

longSaturday

I will probably do another long run just after Christmas and then taper until my first marathon.
Here are the next challenges:

I think that should be enough for the first half of 2015.

Overall, good week: 5 runs for a total of 88.2km.

Ciao!

Full Throttle

After a couple of weeks of intense running but not for long distances this was the week I wanted to go back to running every day. It was also the last week of The Cool Impossible training part 1. So even in the rain and the cold I managed to run 6 times this week.

Monday I took it easy, 10km of recovery run (at 4:37 min/km). I needed it after Saturdays’ race.
Tuesday again, 10 easy km at 4:28 min/km. The legs were recovering and I felt full of energy again.
Wednesday it got serious. 15 minutes of warm up and then 5 four minutes repeats at 3:45 min/km (or faster) with 3 minutes rest. Quite tiring.
On Thursday I was really sleepy but managed to go for a 10.5km run at 4:33 min/km and then Friday I went for another interval training. This time 8 twenty minutes sprints with 2 minutes rest. I enjoy those quick sprints. Actually I enjoy any type of running, from long slow runs to 10 seconds sprints. I did most of the sprints under 2:50 min/km which feels very fast for me.

Then the big day arrived. Saturday is the long run day. I wanted to run at least 3 hours and maybe aim to beat my 38km records. Unfortunately I had to be home at 9 to take my youngest daughter to an event. So I had to leave home very early and that meant I could not run in any park for most of the run as it was too dark. I ended up doing a long road detour so that I could get on the river side by the time there was some light and then went into Richmond park so early that I almost met no one. Which is a good thing. On Saturday it is always packed with runners while at that time in the morning it was just me and the deer.
Everything went fine until the 20th km. I started having some really bad cramps then but managed to run them off. They re-appeared a bit later again but I was already on the way home and as I really had to arrive by 9 I could not stop. I ended up doing 34 km in 2:45. I whished I could do more, but the race the week before and the 5 training days really sucked all the energy I had left in my legs. I had one gel sachet and drank most of my pint of water (with added salts), but I should have had a bigger breakfast. Well, you always learn something.

I am happy of the week as a whole. I ran a total of 87.6km which is my weekly record.

Next week I will take it easier and probably do the Cool Impossible tests to fine tune the second part of the training and maybe take part in the Bushy Parkrun on Saturday. There is also th eoffice Chirstmas party, that will make me less sporty.

Have fun!

Back in action

It has been quite a crazy week. Very tiring for many reasons, so my running suffered a bit, but I still managed to clock in a total of 65 km.

On Monday I had to skip training as we arrived home from Portugal at 2am. Three hours sleep is not enough to run and then work a full day.

On Tuesday I took it easy as I had not been running for 5 days. So I only did 10 km. I wanted to keep my heart below 140bmp but I forgot to check once in a while and went faster. It was fine, I needed to release some stress.

Wednesday was more interesting. After the usual warm up I did four 5 minutes repeats at 150-158bmp (around 3:45 min/km) with 3 minutes rest.

Then Thursday was the killer day (my favourite type). For two reasons, the training and the weather. It was really cold. The internet said 2 degrees, but I think in some areas it was closer to zero. There was ice on the street! My hands suffered the most, I should have worn gloves, but it feels too early for that! Good thing I covered my head with my new Buff. I am such a trendy runner!
Anyway, I did the usual 20 minutes warm up and then did four 2 minute uphill repeats at a relatively fast speed and then rest on the way down. The heart was racing! I always go up and down the same road when doing hills training when the park is closed. I find it fun to think about the people sleeping in their houses with a mad man running up and down their street.

tinyElevation

Then to finish the day off I did five 1 minute sprints faster than 2:20 min/km with 2 minutes rest. It felt good.

Friday on the other hand I felt really lazy and when I woke up, heard the heavy rain falling, felt a little pain in my right leg/hip, I thought about the day ahead and decided to sleep more.

That was a good call as on Saturday I felt fresh and ready for my long run. I decided to run less than the last long run but do at least 30 kilometres. As I will be running the Dirt Running Half Challenge next week end I wanted to try and run a bit faster than I usually do in my long runs. I aimed to always stay at around 4:30 min/km. I did 31km, beating my 30km personal best, in the rain, mud, wind and then sunshine. The bit that hurt the most was my right shoulder. I am really weak if I cannot carry a water bottle for 2 hours!
It was a lot of fun, felt good and I did not suffer from my usual endless hiccups in the afternoon.

Next week I will take it easy before the race on Saturday, but I am very much looking forward to run with my new Asics Nimbus 16.

nimbus16

Yes, I went back to my favourite shoes. It is probably my 8th pair. I liked the Brooks Glycerine I was running in, but not as much as the Nimbus. Let’s see how they go next week. I am not abandoning Brooks, I still have my Cascadia for my long Saturday’s runs (where I try to run on trails as much as possible) and they will play an important role on next Saturday’s race.

Have fun!

40 40 40

40 years! Not kilometres! (sadly)

This has been a very short running week. I only trained three days as the rest of the week I was away.

Monday I did a fun interval session. After the usual 20 minutes warm up I did 3 x 8 minutes running with a heart rate higher than 150bpm (which translated to around 4:00 min/km) and 3 minutes rest. It was the first rainy day in months. Not that it never rains here (it’s London after all), but for some strange alignment of planets the last time I ran in the rain was last July. I actually love running in the rain, especially if it is not torrential.

Tuesday was an easy run day. 13km at 4:23 min/km. Nothing special to report apart form the fact that now that the clock has gone back one hour I can run on the river again (only at the end of the session and it will be too dark again soon).

Wednesday: again an easy run. 10k with some sprints at the end.

And this is all I did this week running-wise. A mere 36.5km.
Then we went to Portugal for my 40th birthday and completely disregarded any sense of diet and drinking restraint and enjoyed the holiday as much as I could. This is arunning blog so I am not going to bother you with stuff like quality family time, sunshine and bacalhau. Eh eh.

Have fun!