25 August 2013

1h30 @ 70% MHR

We were in Belgium for the weekend celebrating a wedding and this run was set for Sunday morning after a late night, little sleep and a heavy run yesterday. It was not the most enticing prospect when I was woken at 7:30 am by the alarm to get the run in before breakfast.

I felt lousy for the first few paces. When I say lousy, I mean really useless. My legs were like lead, my heart wasn't in it and I just wanted to finish before I'd even started. It was only my commitment to the marathon training programme that kept me going. I had 90 minutes to do and I only thought about running as comfortably as possible and perhaps running 18km for the session, it was that bad. My Garmin showed 4'49" for the first kilometre and I was actually pleased. It felt as though I was running slower than 6' km pace and this was a distinct improvement. I thought that I'd try and improve slightly on this as I went on but it was going to be tough.

I was very tired too. The lack of sleep meant that I was running with one eye closed. Luckily the terrain was flat and my pace was steady gradually improving to 4'35" pace over the first 10 kilometres. I turned around and headed back the way I came hoping not to get lost in the process as I'd taken many small roads and numerous junctions for the first half. It was about now that I decided that I could possibly run 19km, despite having turned around at just over 9km.

The speed improved inversely proportional to the weather. As the rain got heavier, I moved faster and by the time I finished I'd actually run just over 20km in 1h29'47". Good to finally relax and enjoy my Sunday now.

24 August 2013

2h40 with 3 x 30' @ 85% MHR

A long run in perspective for this monster session where we begin to train at marathon pace. I can't say that I was looking forward to this but then I haven't been looking forward to any of the training runs on this marathon programme really. I was lucky enough to have Laurence to accompany me on the bike and she agreed to carry the water and food bars so that was a one worry less, having to manage a rucksack too.

I set off easily on a cool, damp morning and ran through the forest at around 4'45" pace until the club and then through the forest on the other side of St Germain and up Princess Road. I calculated that with over 90 minutes of effort the usual long loop was going to be too short if I started from the top so I changed my intended rout with a double back to St Gemme before heading back down Princess Road home.

I set off from the top of Princess Road as planned and the sensations were fairly good. I definitely wasn't comfortable at this pace but I wasn't distressed either. It was hard work but manageable. Laurence kept a close look at the watch for the 30' and when she called time, I was almost at St Nom la Breteche after 7.7km of running and an average pace of 3'52" / km. The second interval was going to be harder as I would have to run uphill to start.

The uphill section was hard after this initial effort and the first kilometre was managed in 4'29". I almost gave up there and then but I reached the top of the hill back towards St Gemme and I thought I'd see how it panned out along the flat. My pace went up to under 4'00/km and I carried on. It was easier now but definitely harder than the first interval. I gritted my teeth and ran to the end of the 30' finishing on the uphill just before the flat section at the top of Princess Road. 3'57" / km average pace for this section.

Another 5' recovery and some more water and cereal bars and I set off again. I started on the flat section and after the first kilometre headed down Princess Road where I ran a couple of kilometres at 3'35" pace. The hill up to the Lycée slowed me down but I still covered the kilometre in under 4 minutes and I ran on until just after the club before stopping. An average pace of 3'50" over this section, aided by the downhill of Princess Road.

39.5 km all up in just over 2h52 so an average pace of 4'22" for the session. Pleased to have finished and happy with the distance.

22 August 2013

20 x 500m

It was that time again. The classic session in every marathon training that I've done for 4 years now: the 20 x 500m interval session. It's like a hump in the back of the marathon training programme, probably the worst session of the plan, and when you've done this, you can finally feel that you're over the worst.

It was hot (26°C) and I didn't want to start. I even felt pretty lousy on the warm-up with a pain in my inner thigh on the right leg. Nico was full of energy and running well and that just served to make me a little more despondent.

A 4km warm-up through the forest and then we began, having decided to let each other lead for 2 intervals each before swapping the lead etc. There was a little debate as to the recovery as I wanted 200m and Nico 100m. We finally agreed on 100m and 1'15" of recovery after each interval.

A quick hello to Momo, Mireille, Bruno, Philippe, Sébastien on the track and we were off. They went by fairly well with Ilyes accompanying us for the first 6. Times were as follows :

1'43", 1'40", 1'40", 1'39", 1'39", 1'37", 1'42", 1'40", 1'40", 1'39",
1'40", 1'40", 1'39", 1'41", 1'40", 1'40", 1'39", 1'39", 1'39", 1'39"

So very regular and a good pace. Happy to finish as the last 5 started to tire me out with an accumulation of fatigue on the legs.

17.7 km all up in 1hr20 and an average pace of 4'31"/km for the session.

45' @ 70% MHR

Just an easy run around town this morning. Tuesday and Thursday are my double session days for the marathon training plan so they involve an easy session in the morning followed by the interval training in the evening. I couldn't help but think about the 20 x 500m session this evening as I ran this morning, spoiling what otherwise would have been a very gentle, pleasant session.

IT was cool again this morning and the loop was very similar to Tuesday's session. First kilometre in 4'37" and then under 4'30 for the rest of the way. After 5km I picked up the pace and ran each kilometre in under 4'15".

10.6km all up in 45'53" or 4'17" per km on average. Let's see how this evening goes and we'll be over the hump in this heavy running week.

21 August 2013

1 hr @ 75% MHR

God it was early this morning. I woke up and pulled on my running kit and left the hotel in a daze. I ran in a daze too for at least 5 or 6 kilometres. The weather was perfect and it was decidedly cooler than the last few days. The moon was just setting over the horizon and it looked huge as I was running in my deamlike state.

I set off easily, running the first kilometre in 4'31" which is quite normal but I didn't speed up as radically as I normally do. The next kilometres were run at 4'24" pace and I decided that this would do me for this morning at least. I felt the fatigue from my previous sessions in my legs and running any faster was only likely to provoke an injury so I settled for this.

I ran my loop around Sedan, passing the swimming pool and the football stadium, before heading out past the station towards Charleville Mézières and the only hill of the day. Once I'd negotiated this, I'd already run 7 kilometres and the downhill gave me some pace and set me off anew as I clocked a few kilometres under 4'10". In fact I didn't go over 4'10" for the remainder of the loop and finished back at the castle in 1:00:23 and 14.25km. How's that for timing ?

4'14" average pace over the loop and a good deal faster over the second half compared to the first as I woke up and ran out the leg fatigue.

20 August 2013

5000m + 3000m

I wasn't looking forward to this session. Not one little bit.

The 5km was supposed to be run in 19:30 so an average pace of 3'54" /km and the 3km was supposed to be run in 11'15" or an average pace of 3'45" / km. There was 3' of recovery in between the intervals but you were wupposed to speed up between the two.

I left the hotel and it was a warm evening so I took along a bottle of water to keep me hydrated after the intervals. It is unbelievably annoying to run with a bottle in your hand. However you seem to hold it, you can never get comfortable. If it wasn't so warm, I would have thrown it away after 500m but I figured that I'd need this later on so I held on to it.

I warmed up for 4km at 4'45" pace before setting off along the main road to Charleville Mézières. Although there was a fair amount of traffic, I decided that it was one of the flattest roads in the area and I wasn't going to make this session any harder by throwing in some hills too.

A slight decline to begin with and a good fast start for the first interval :

3'33", 3'36", 3'39", 3'39, 3'37" and I'd finished the first one with the last 1.5km a bit of an effort and I had to grit my teeth to maintain my pace. 18'07" in total for a target of 19'30".

The 3 minute recovery went by far too quickly and I was off again :

3'35", 3'38, 3'35" and it was all over. 10'48" in total for 11'15".

I almost gave up after the first kilometre on this last session. I was hurting badly and I desperately wanted to throw in the towel. My legs were aching and I was overheating. It was a real relief and a pleasure to have smashed the allotted times with some very regular running. These times confirm my form for the moment as they are in line with the 8k I ran on Sunday at around 3'38" pace.

A jog back to the hotel and 18.2km all up in 1h17. Average pace of 4'14"/km for the session. Going well.

Marathon training - 45' @70% MHR

Ran from the hotel this morning for 45' at an easy pace. Had managed to get a good night's sleep in and was fully hydrated after the 1h20 that I ran yesterday in the heat.

I set off on a shortened version of my loop around Sedan as I was only aiming to run 10km and the normal loop is 13k. The morning was cool at around 8°C so it was a refreshing change from most of my runs recently. I felt the tiredness in my legs from the marathon training. This is the third week now and the fatigue is starting to accumulate, having clocked up 122 kms each week for the first two.

The watch showed 4'35 for the first kilometre and I tried to keep just under 4'30 for the remainder of the loop. Mission accomplished with a loop of 10.7 km run in 47:22 and an average pace of 4'27" this morning. Lovely weather for a morning run - just what the doctor ordered.