This is part of a series of posts reflecting on my experiences in the run up to the Yorkshire Marathon in October. I’m currently on week two of a twelve week training programme. The idea is to write a post every week charting my progress and reflecting on my training.
Running is easy when the weather’s nice and you’re feeling good.
It’s not so easy when you don’t feel your best and the downpours make you consider buying a canoe. That pretty much sums up this week. However, as the spoiler in the title attests, this has largely been a week of “keeping with the programme.”
Sometimes, keeping with the programme is all you can do. You can’t keep beating your times every week and that’s okay. It’s fine to stand still sometimes. I used to be the kind of runner that went out every week striving to beat the previous week’s times and then get disappointed when inevitably this didn’t happen. Nobody can be at their best every week – we’re not machines. Sometimes it’s good to just get out and enjoy running for running’s sake, regardless of the stopwatch.
That’s how I’d sum up week two. I’ve got out there and done what I needed to do, but the conditions weren’t great. Plus I felt a little meh – nothing serious, just the kind of meh that people of a certain age feel like sometimes.
I guess I should say a little bit about the programme and what I mean by it.
As with any serious undertaking, it’s important to have a plan (and to try and stick to it). How else do you know you’re improving and doing the kinds of runs and distances you need to get in the bank to be marathon-ready? I’m using a training programme that’s available to premium members of Strava. If you’ve not used Strava it’s essentially an app for runners (and cyclists) that synchs to your Garmin to provide you with data on your performance. I like it because it’s a bit like a social networking site for runners and a good source of encouragement and motivation (friends can give you kudos for runs and comment too, adding a social dimension to the data side of things).
Anyway, Strava sends me emails everyday reminding me what kinds of runs I need to do in advance so I can plan the week ahead. There are lots of training plans out there if you’re thinking of doing a marathon by the way, including plenty of free ones on the Runners World site, tailored to all abilities. I’m not really in a position to recommend or compare plans, being a marathon training newbie, but the Strava one suits me fine.
Week two has included the following:
- Monday: Rest day from running, but I managed a couple of hours in the gym working on building up my core strength.
- Tuesday: Steady 10k at a fairly slow pace. I found it a little easier this time round.
- Wednesday: Rest day from running, but did a steady session in the gym mixing a bit of cardio (rowing, cross training) with weights.
- Thursday: This day started off early with some fartleks – as I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m not a fan of these. I managed a 15 minute warm up then 6 x 2 minutes at 5K-10K effort, with 1 minute recovery jog between each repetition; and then finished off with a 20 minute cool-down. There were lots of dog walkers in Greenlands park this morning which made this extra challenging. At dinner time I did the Les Mills Body Pump class again. An old shoulder injury flared up during the class and I thought I might have to abort, but I struggled through it to the end. Not easy though.
- Friday: Rest day – and I did rest, well kind of. The day did include a trip to IKEA to pick up some book shelves which I put up in the evening. Not overly taxing, but like with any DIY furniture it did involve a bit of humping around (and expletives during assembly ;-)).
- Saturday: This should have been a rest day too according to my programme, but as it’s parkrun day I squeezed in a cheeky run. Besides, after my personal best (PB) last week at parkrun I was curious to see if it was just a fluke or whether I could replicate it. Although I didn’t get a PB this week, I’m pleased to say I was only 8 seconds off in some wet and windy conditions too. This proved that last week wasn’t a fluke and the training was paying off. I was happy with that.
- Sunday: Long run at a steady pace. Rain was forecast today, but I managed to get out fairly early and miss it completely. I ended up doing over 22 k in 2 hours – meaning I’d met all my training plan targets for the week.
This week has seemed harder than last week somehow. Maybe it’s because the weather has been more challenging and the novelty of training is starting to wear off. I’ve also had a couple of niggles health-wise.
Still, I’m happy with week two overall – only nine more weeks to go …
Apologies to those of you who usually drop by for updates about learning technology – I tend to post about that kind of thing on Jisc’s Inspiring Learning blog. I intend to use this blog for more personal, non-related work posts in future.