I am now in week three of my marathon training and starting to find my stride properly. I was struggling to settle into a routine, not helped by a hectic work and social schedule, and I personally find it a bit demoralising and unsatisfying to not have at least a vague plan in place to give meaning and structure to my runs. Without creating too much pressure on having to achieve set runs, I do like the feeling of ticking a box.
This is something I’ve really been able to do this week – I managed to fit in a postponed long run from the previous weekend, as well as this week’s, a speed session with a new running club, a shorter run and all three of my Move Eat Smile workouts, which I also reviewed this week here.
Monday – A Slightly Late Long Run Home
With a couple of extra twists and turns I was able to change my run home into a delayed long run with some very cold hands at the end of it.
Tuesday – Workout A of MES and NRC Speed Session
After only just defrosting from the night before I decided it was unwise to leave the warmth of my home earlier than strictly necessary. I did Workout A from the comfort of my room using a chair for the tricep dips and a stiff pilates band for the bicep curls.
After work I went to the Nike store at the Westfield Centre in White City for my first ever Nike Run Club. I came away cold, tired but feeling like I’d had a great session. Essentially you split into pace according to either a 7:30, 8:30 or 9:30 minute mile, and then run within those groups to complete the distance or speed session that has been set. This means that you’re able to push yourselves against those of a similar ability and stay motivated.
We did 8 sets of 300m at 5k pace up an incline and 200m at mile pace back down the incline.
If that wasn’t all good enough then you get a loyalty card and a stamp for each visit, getting you a free t-shirt at stamp 10. If you’re struggling to find the motivation to train for a race, or simply want to work on your running fitness more sociably then I would definitely recommend checking out a NRC near to you.
Wednesday – Workout C of MES
This is definitely one of the harder workouts of the early stages of MES, mainly as a result of the back to back mountain climbers and jump squats with burpees soon after.
Thursday – Run to Work
I felt like I was really struggling with this steady-paced run, and when I looked down at my watch at the end I realised it’s because I was running closer to my Half Marathon pace than a steady one. It’s good to know I can push myself but I probably should have listened to my body a lot sooner and slowed down.
Friday – Rest Day
Saturday – MES Workout D and a visit to the physio
Visiting home for the weekend always means lots of food, but my mum definitely knows her way around a gym so I took her through Workout D for a quick challenging workout.
I check in with a physio about every 4 weeks to try and sort out the various imbalances I have in my running, most of which relates to my weak glutes and particularly on my right leg. I’m doing lots of exercises like box lunges and hip bridges to try and correct this. If you feel a little niggle then I really recommend relaying these concerns to a physio as soon as you can and trying to take some proactive action, rather than waiting for it to become full blown problem and you’re stamped as ‘out of service’.
Sunday – Long Run
The long run was an undulating one back in Sheffield, and I ended up pushing myself a little harder than I meant to but still managed to achieve my desired distance rather than burning out at mile 8.
Something I’m really trying to achieve at the moment is a consistent and steadier pace for my longer runs, and I’ve had some successful runs and some not so successful runs, but I am learning a lot about the mental processes I go through when I’m running and how best I can achieve a steady pace.
I initially started really berating myself for going too hard on this run, but realised that that was pointless and the best thing I can do is recognise where I go wrong, understand the reasons why and try and put them into place in the future. I think its amazing how running can really open your eyes to your own behaviour, both in the sense that I got carried away with a strong pace and that I initially tried to blame myself so severely.
This week I ran 9 and 11 miles, both of which are the furthest I’ve run since the London Marathon last year. I find it really easy to get caught up in the details of training and often forget the bigger picture of what I’ve achieved. In these circumstances its definitely worth taking a step back and focusing on at least three positive things you can say about your run to try and refocus your thinking a little.