Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 5K run (new PB set) + PUNCH and AB-BLASTER class at Gym
Thursday: 6.5 mile run around Richmond Park – on the bridal path – sandy and muddy
Friday: Upper body and core strength session at the gym plus 10 minutes on the rower
Sunday: Long run around Richmond Park – 7 miles on the bridal path
The next 5 months are filled with hard training and although my recent running efforts have been full on, satisfying and successful, in the hours following the half marathons I felt that I could have run a little bit faster or trained somewhat harder. Sure, I’ve been physically and mentally fatigued and I certainly feel that I gave the races and training runs my full attention but something was lacking – it was all a bit too easy. I am committed to 5-6 months of hard training and I really want to run my first Marathon sub 4 hours.
How to fix this? How do I make sure I am training as hard and fast as is required to meet my goal? I remember reading that to determine good training pace it is best to work off of your 5K Baseline – but the last time I ran a 5K I completed it around the 25minute mark – a pace that I am quite comfortable with – not exactly an effective baseline.
Time to get a new measurement so I went out on Tuesday afternoon to set a new 5K PB. It was pleasant in the park, although the deer are in the middle of their rutting season and were particularly horny (both physically and sexually) – a little unsettling but once into the run, the sound of the grunting/howling stags was primeval.
I decided to run the road that cuts right through the middle of the Park from Ham gate to Robin Hood gate – I especially like this route because 2/3 of it is cut off to the regular park traffic and the last 1/3 only goes up to the Pen Ponds Car Park so it is usually quite quiet. My route was to run down hill from Pen Ponds Car Park to the Robin Hood Gate (Park) roundabout, then turn around and run all the way to the other end of the road at the top of Ham gate, then turn for the final time to finish the 5K just after the Pen Ponds Car park. at 13:57 I took off.
I like to work in both kilometres and miles, my watch records a lap as a mile but my pace in KM – I find this helps me make any quick adjustments to my pace – if I have a slow mile, I can run faster for the next K. I sprinted off and found myself running at a sub 4 minute/K speed for the initial 500 meters, of course I was fresh, enthusiastic and on a slight decline so that sort of speed was easy to reach but hard to maintain, as the slope levelled out my pace dropped a bit, but I managed to run the first kilometre in 4 minutes and the first mile in 7. Great, I thought, that’s all my incline out the way and I just ran a 7 minute mile.
Now comes the long part, the stretch of road between pen ponds and ham gate is just under a mile long and I had to run it twice. My hard push settled into a pace around the 4:45/K mark – I was still averaging just under 8minutes a mile – I was well on target for a good 5K time. When I returned to Pen Ponds, I had .2 of a mile to go until I hit 5KM – I gave one last push, getting my pace down to a low 4minute/K pace. Huffing and wheezing, legs burning, I watched my meters creep towards the golden 5K goal and the seconds edge towards 24minutes. 23:36 after sprinting off, and about 300 meters further down from where I started I crossed the 5K mark. Yes! I thought, however now, I have to walk back home.
The PUNCH and Ab class that evening was a killer. PUNCH was especially tough as our class was at an odd number and I had to train with the instructor which mean’t I didn’t get the usual 3 minutes break from boxing with my turn as the pads.
Wednesday and Thursday were killer. My activity on Tuesday had left me sore and stiff – great as I had not felt that way in a long time and despite some painful sessions on the foam roller, getting in and out of the car was tricky. This stiffness was compounded with a 6.5 mile run around the Bridal path in Richmond Park – mud, sand and horse poop.
On Friday, I was booked in for a PT session at the gym but my trainer had forgotten so instead I did a general Ab and upper-body workout – felt good. I also gained an extra (free) PT session with my trainer and was able to brief him with my current training needs – I feel my session on the 28th will be particularly tough on the legs. My upper-body strength is increasing also, I was able to do 3 sets on my arms and shoulders at ‘the next weight up’ – big improvement 🙂
The end of the week. One final free run around Richmond Park Bridal Path – no speed requirements, no time to beat – just a steady run along the mud, sand and poop of the bridal track. The run was good but particularly hard – must warm up better next time. I still managed to get around the 6.5 miles in just over an hour which gets me around at ‘slow run’ speed.
Next week, marathon training starts (with a couple of trail run races thrown in to see the year out). I’m following the Hal Higdon Marathon 3 plan – will blog more about that in a few days.