Sunday, August 5, 2018

John takes on the hills while Kelly starts Chester training

Chester Marathon Training 10 weeks to go!

Cotswold 100 Training 8 weeks to go! 

Blue - both of us 
Black - John (apparently orange was difficult to read?) 
Purple - Kelly 

For the first time in our history, we are training for very different races. This means that not all of our runs will happen together :( luckily, we both understand each others respective goals and (most of the time!) manage to plan our runs to suit both of our needs. 

This blog will explore the highs and lows of our training over the next 10 weeks. We hope you enjoy reading it! 

What we've been up to...

In the few months since our last blog, I've been working on building up a really solid base. The first, and most exciting piece of news is that I'm heeled; my Planar Fasciitis has completely gone and I'm running pain-free! It went pretty much over night - one day it hurt and then the next it didn't! It took almost exactly 3 months to heal. During that time I did a number of things which (I hope) sped up the recovery process. 

-Dropped down to 20 miles a week.
-Ran every other day at first and then gradually increased to 4 or 5 days a week running.
-Rolling my foot with a golf ball (Graham) every day and before every run.
-Rolling my foot on an iced bottle of water after every run.
-Regular physio sessions with Jenny Buckley (who is brilliant!) 
-Lots of yoga sessions at Pure Yoga Wapping Wharf 
-Regular PT to improve strength and conditioning with Jules (who is also brilliant!) 
-Not running in shoes that have done more than 300 miles. 

I don't think that 1 of those things alone could have cured me; it was the combination of everything. 
So, I'm obviously delighted that I'm recovered and running pain-free again. The only problem is that I obviously lost some fitness. I still haven't had a single PB this year (which mentally is tough given that I PBed in every distance last year). Consequently, I'm putting all of my efforts into getting one PB that I really care about  - in the Marathon. 

Despite not getting any PBs yet, I have had some successes since the London Marathon. I've won the Eastville Park series (it's a small, local event but it's always nice to get a trophy!) and been first lady at a few parkruns in recent weeks. I feel that I'm getting stronger and I'm learning to train
cleverer (!?) so that I don't get injured during this next build up. 

I have decided to do an intensive 10 week block of training for the Chester Marathon with my goal being sub 3 hours. I'm more determined than ever to reach this goal and prepared to really work for it. I prefer Autumn Marathons because, being a teacher, I have 6 weeks off. This means that I'm effectively a full time athlete! Woohoo! Based on his excessive reading and knowledge of marathon training, John has drawn me up a plan which I am going to follow. Read on to find out how week 1 of training has gone. 

As KD has said, we are training towards different goals this summer. In the next couple of months I'll be taking on the Ring of Fire - running the 135 mile coastline of Anglesey over 3 days and the Cotswold Way 100 - running from Chipping Campden down to Bath along the Cotswold Way. I don't really have timed targets or aspirations of PBs. I just want to finish these races and in doing so really test my endurance and true grit! I've been training properly now for four weeks, focusing on accent over distance and slowly upping my height gained goals by 10-20% week on week, the stats look like this:


Week on week increase for time on feet and climb. 50 miles a week seems to be a good number for me at the moment. Happy that my economy has stayed low - Economy is heart beats per mile - I'm usually 950/1000 when in peak marathon fitness and running flat road miles. The less beats per mile the less your heart is having to work!

Monday 30th July 2018 

One new element to this training plan is that Monday is going to be a 'rest day'! Initially I didn't like the sound of this. I find it hard to not run and I used to feel that it was a day wasted. However, coming back from injury has shown me that it really is important for me to let my body recover after the weekends hard efforts. I have also found that I run better when I've had a rest day the day before. 
Rest day doesn't mean that I do nothing however! 

Today, I did Yoga at lunchtime. It was a really gentle session focusing on stretching which was ideal for me. Later, I had a 1:1 PT session with Jules (as John was at work). It was a pretty full on session with lots of squats and core work. The only problem is that it left me wondering how on earth I was going to do my speed work session tomorrow!

Tuesday 31st July 2018 

Sometimes there are sessions that I just dread. Today's was one of them. John had planned for me to run 2 sets of 3 miles at 6:30 min mile pace. Technically, I should be able to do this as that's my current half marathon pace. However, at the last towpath 10k race I couldn't sustain 6:30 mm and ended up running closer to 7mm pace for most of the race. This was slightly worrying as my target marathon pace is 6:45! 

I spent half of the day worrying. My legs felt really achy after PT and I didn't think I'd be able to do the session. John was at work and I really didn't want him to come home to me saying that I failed at the speed work. I really wanted to have a successful first speed work session of this training plan and I really wanted to tell John that I'd done it and nailed the session. So I focused on that. It became a mental training session as well as a physical one. 

I headed out at 4:38pm. It was pretty hot but I just put that out of my mind. I did a 1 mile warm up to the start of the Portway. I stopped. Psyched myself up and then began. 3 miles out along the towpath. The first 3 miles would be slightly uphill and the last 3 more downhill. Luckily, the wind was really strong and helped up on the uphill sections. It hurt. It was really hard but I focused on that feeling of tell John that I'd been successful and pictured his face beaming with pride (I hoped!!!!). I tried to ignore pain in my legs. 

mile 1 -  6:32
mile 2 - 6:30
mile 3 - 6:30 

wow! I couldn't quite believe it. I'd reached halfway and done the harder half (due to the uphill nature of the route). I was exhausted but elated. I also needed the toilet....luckily, I'd stopped right by the Rugby Development Center which our running club uses so I popped in, went to the loo and splashed my face with cold water. 

Walking back to the half way point, I was super tired but also full of adrenaline. Keen to get it done, I headed back down the portway for the last 3 miles. Once again it hurt but I took my mind off it by singing to myself! I often find that singing (in my head) helps to distract me from pain! Although it was downhill - which I was loving- I hadn't thought about the fact that the really strong wind, which was helping me uphill earlier, was now blowing right in my face! Battling through it I managed to keep pretty my at my goal pace. 

mile 4 - 6:33
mile 5 - 6:36
mile 6- 6:34 

Total - 6 miles at an average pace of 6:32. BOOM! I'd done it. I couldn't quite believe it! Such a mental boost to know that I can hold that pace. The only problem is that John says I have to do it again next week...but for even further! 

Great speedwork from KD - a tempo run - who knew we'd see the day?!?

Wednesday 1st August 2018 

I made the most of being on holiday today with a sports massage from Jenny in the morning. I then spent a lot of the rest of the day relaxing and resting alongside doing a few little jobs around the house. This meant that I actually felt pretty well recovered for our evening run. 

I drove up to club and we did the 10 mile route at a good average pace of 8:32 which I'm pretty pleased with considering the route is rather hilly. I also had a bit of a go at a strava segment in the woods - a short but steep downhill segment. Success - I've moved up to 2nd lady of all time (just 2 seconds off the crown) - will have to have another bash next week and see if I can move up to first! 

I ran to club from home via Nightingale Valley - half a mile with 300+ feet of climb. Similarly to KD - I was feeling strong today so some of us decided to partake in some segment hunting. I managed to steal Dan's downhill segment through the woods - how long will I keep it? 15 hilly miles (1400+ feet overall) and feeling strong and ready for a big workout come the weekend. 

Thursday 2nd August 2018 

Another rest day today. I started the day with a yoga class. Nothing too challenging but really enjoyable. It woke me up and got me ready for the day. 

In the afternoon, I went to the gym. I did 3 miles on the cross trainer followed by some squats, core work and weights. Nothing too full on but I do want to improve my strength during the summer while I have the time. 

Friday 3rd August 2018 

I was up early today to join John on a 3 mile recovery run. Haven't ran with him much this week and I'd really missed it. That's part of the problem with training for different things alongside him working while I'm off. 

After the run, I decided to go to yoga again as it was so good yesterday. The only problem was, I didn't realise that it was power yoga! Power yoga is similar to regular yoga but more intense. You hold the poses for longer and the poses are more challenging with no rest at all during the class! I found it very hard but I could feel the benefit. It was definitely another great form of strength training. 

Saturday 4th August 2018 

As we had a wedding to go to today, we decided that we'd be in no fit state to run long tomorrow. Therefore, we planned our long runs in for today. When I woke up, John had already left and started for his 20 mile run. I only had 13 on the plan with a parkrun in the middle. The plan was to meet each other at parkrun after I'd done 8 miles, do parkrun and then run home together. 

I ran around the harbourside, up the portway and then along the towpath. My legs felt great and I was managing the keep the pace around 7:45 min miles. I arrived at Ashton Court parkrun with plenty of time for a trip to the toilet and a catch up with some friends before I was off again. 

The whole first mile is uphill and my legs felt like jelly. I was all un-coordinated and was dropping back through the field pretty quickly. I then realised that I was in 4th position with all 3 women ahead of me quite close in front. I planned an attack on the plateau! 

As soon as I reached the flat ground, my legs felt better and I was able to up the pace and overtake two of the women. Just one to go! At the half way point, after waving to the Vicar, (it was a very special wedding parkrun for some of our regulars!) I wasn't far off the lady sat in first place but I could tell that she wasn't slowing down. 

I really worked hard on the downhill and managed to close the gap. With just 3/4 of a mile to go, I caught up with her and sped past her. Convinced that she was chasing me down, I powered downhill and ran as fast as I could towards the finish line. 

I finish as 1st lady and (I later found out when I checked strava) I'd ran my fastest ever 1km! A PB! My first PB of the year! Marathon training is already making a difference! I finished with a time of 20:48 - not too shabby considering how I felt in the first mile. 

With two miles left to run, and a wedding to get ready for, John and I headed home. 

13 miles done at an average pace of 7:36mm. Really pleased with that. 

19+ miles for me with 2500+ feet of climb - all before 10AM! I set out feeling knackered - waking up early is becoming hard work, especially in the heat. A couple of steady flat miles woke me up a bit before getting to the familiar and peaceful off road setting of the Towpath, Leigh Woods and Ashton Court. Although Bristol is very hilly, I needed VERY VERY hilly and consistent trail-y terrain to emulate the future planned races. So I set out to run this Nightingale Valley loop, 5 times! I had the up hill and the downhill to emulate the upcoming race conditions but I also needed to practice racing - so I walked. When racing an ultra of 30+ miles along the coast line or anywhere really, you can't run it all. For me, to get the best from a race of 26.2+ miles and hilly challenging terrain I find it's best to walk all the uphills and run the downs and the flats. I think it helps me race faster. I was walking up Nightingale Valley roughly 2 - 3 minutes slower than I would run up it but by the time I got to the 3rd lap I was still feeling fresh and strong and this allowed me to run at good pace back down the hill to the start of the loop. Each loop was 2.5 miles and had 300+ feet of elevation - great race practice and not too boring as it was all through the woods. The only distractions I had was bumping into Chrissy Wellington and scaring someone who was taking a selfie. I got to parkrun after doing my 5 hilly woodland laps - knackered - I was being egged on by KD and the Maestro to have a race at parkrun but there was no chance. I got round and added another 300+ feet of climb to my run. We quickly said goodbye to everyone and rushed off as if I'd stopped for a coffee I don't think I'd of started again to make the 2 miles from parkrun to home!

Really pleased with this run. Although it was hard and I finished knackered, I'm running for longer and higher every week - steady progress which will hopefully continue and get me into shape for the two big adventures; Ring of Fire and the Cotswold 100.

Sunday 5th August 2018 

With the long run done yesterday - thankfully as my stomach was feeling a little sensitive after the wedding festivities! - I only needed to do 7 miles today. 

I was anticipating feeling rather tired after my first week of training but I felt really good. I ran the first couple of miles with John but he only needed to do 3 miles so he left and headed home while I continued down the towpath. 

The 7 miles went pretty quickly. I was running at a decent pace but I felt comfortable and in control. Tomorrow is a rest day so I've got time to recover before Tuesday's speed work session. 

Total for the week:

Kelly - 40.3 miles 

John - 52 miles and 4700+ feet of climb!! 

I want 5K+ feet of climb next week!!! A great start to marathon training for KD and hopefully some realisation that there's more to running structured speedwork sessions if you want to succeed rather than just churning out tonnes of miles. 

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