Silverstone Half-Marathon 2014 training : Week 7

Week 7, and needing to push the running and take things up a level…

Monday 13 January 2014

I ended up being too busy with work to do anything, which is not a great start to a week where I really want to be driving things along.  I need to be more consistent with my training.  I need to make sure I do my 30-day challenges every day, which means getting sufficient sleep to allow me to get up in the morning to do them, because that is the time I have available to do them.  It means getting out for a run every time my training schedule calls for it, which means going out of the house even when I would prefer to stay inside.  I do also want to include more of the exercises from the Thrive Fitness book.  So, there is my challenge to myself.

Tuesday 14 January 2014

I had a meeting to go to this morning so before I left the house I made sure I did my plank and my press ups challenge.  I ate an apple as I drove up to the meeting.  I will have to see how long the meeting goes on for to see if I can fit in a run before going to Regiment Fitness this evening, or whether I will have to suffer the consequences and do my run later on.  I drank peppermint tea during the meeting and did manage to get home in time to go for a run – I had half an hour available so decided to do my VO2 Max training run, and I got past the traffic lights at the crossroads, on to the road to the left and past The Breakfast Club cafe, which was a definite improvement on previous attempts.

I was ready for Regiment Fitness at Welwyn Garden Ciy, despite the cold, and was determined to push it this evening.  It was being run by Tom and Richard, who make a very good team, and I felt good during the warm up, which developed into some jumping exercises which reminded me of American Football drills from my past, and we also had the numbers game, getting into groups, which landed me with a forfeit of 5 burpees.  We finished off with a run to the trees and back.  I was still feeling good.  The circuit was a simple and familiar one, running out to the poles and doing a set number of exercises at each pole, either moving up in 3s or 5s to get to 15 or 25 repetitions at the last pole.  3 was the medium amount and 5 was pushing it, and I switched between the two.  We did squat jumps (5), clapping press ups (3), half sit-ups (5), jumping lunges (3), moving our arms from the upward press up position to plank and back again (5), and burpees (3), with a sprint back to the beginning after each set, and I was really going for it with my sprinting.  Of course, we had a run to the trees and back to finish off.  Then we split into groups of three for the rest of the session, starting with shuttle runs to each of the poles carrying a jerry can, then doing a variation on leapfrog with two of us in the down press up position and the third doing two squat jumps to get over us before getting into the down press up position, and the whole thing repeated until we got to the other end of the poles.  Then we did each of three exercises for 30 seconds, holding a squat for the legs, plank for the core, and shoulder press ups for the upper body (with our legs spread we bring our hands back towards our feet and then carry out the press up with the pressure going into the shoulders), and then we did the same thing with tuck jumps for the legs, held leg raises for the core, and close hand press ups for the upper body.  Naturally we had a run to the trees and back to bring a brilliant session to a close before the warm down.

I came away feeling invigorated and did my squats when I got home before eating a Quorn and chickpea curry for dinner with broccoli and cauliflower, to which I added hemp, flaxseed, maca and both white and black chia.  It tasted delicious and I ate loads of it.  Today had been a good day.

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 16
  3. Run (home) – VO2 Max
  4. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour
  5. Squats – 200

Wednesday 15 January 2014

I was tired when I woke up and felt much better after doing my plank and sit ups.  I ate an apple during my drive into the office, and once I was in I ate some dates while drinking my fizzy vitamin C with my Wellman Sports and cod liver oil supplements.  I will be going for a run at lunchtime so during the morning I ate a sweet cinnamon flavour Oat So Simple with added spirulina, hemp and flaxseed.  It looked very green and smelled of grass, but still tasted like the porridge normally does.  I also ate some more dates and drank some water.  I ran 30 minutes of Fartlek and could really feel it in my knees.  The rest of me felt good, though, and I did some squats to warm down.  I drank a cup of milk and ate some more dates when I got back in, and after my shower ate a bowl of Chia Pod (chia seed gel, mango puree and coconut milk) to which I added some maca.  It had quite a nice mango taste to it, and promises to be good for me.  I ate more dates through the afternoon and drank more water.

I went to Regiment Fitness in St Albans in the evening and it was being run by Steve (not the mad one), who had set things up on the other side, away from the waterlogged areas, although it was still wet in some of the places we ran into.  The weather was very mild compared to other recent evenings, although the wind did have a little bite to it, and even though it had rained as I was driving into St Albans it was now dry.  It was a running warm up which built up into a series of sprints against different partners, with a 10 press up forfeit for the loser each time (and I did ten press ups each time anyway), before we ran through some of the wetter places, with a sprint from the gate, to get over to the hill for inverse sit ups, before running back to the van, with a sprint from the gate.  The circuit was an interesting one which saw me working with a heavy tyre going from 10 repetitions down to 1 repetition of squats, shoulder presses and press ups, with a run zigzag between the poles between each set.  The repetitions were fine, but the running was tough.  We then moved on to interval training for two periods of two minutes with a 30 second rest inbetween, sprinting the long sides of a poled rectangle area and walking the short sides.  Next up was the boxing, working in pairs for quick punches of straight arm, high arms, and upper cuts.  Then we added in some motion, one person moving around as the other performed a combination of two left jabs and a right punch, before we did the same thing with a combination of a low punch followed by a high punch.  Of course, there had to be some running included, so next we did ten straight arm punches before running to each of the six poles in turn.  Then more sprinting as we ran to the far end of the rectangle and back.  Twice.  There was still more boxing with walking forward while punching in our pairs, with the walking backwards taking the punches being the harder part of that, and we finished off with more straight arm punching in the standing position, building in sets of ten from 10 up to 50.  We had a final sprint into the van and my legs seemed more than ready for that for some reason.  Then we were over to the fencepole for then inverse press ups to finish off a fun session.  We finished with a quick warm down and the rain had held off the whole time.

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 20
  3. Run (work) – Fartlek – 30 minutes
  4. Squats – 50
  5. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Thursday 16 January 2014

I ate an apple during my drive into the office and followed what will now be my morning routine once I was in there – fizzy vitamin C with my Wellman Sports and cod liver oil supplements, and some dates.  I drank more water through the morning.  I ate a golden syrup flavour Oat So Simple with added spirulina, hemp and flaxseed.  Again, like yesterday, it looked very green and smelled of grass, but still tasted like the porridge normally does, so I think that works until I actually get round to just making my own porridge.  The weather was mild and dry when I got outside, with the occasional gust of wind, and while especially my left knee hurt for the first big lap that eased off as I progressed, until it came back during the second small lap (I ran two big and two small laps).  Overall I was not disappointed to run 5 miles in 51 minutes and 27 seconds, which is about 10 minutes and 17 seconds per mile pace, which will do for me for now.

5 miles...yes, 5 miles at lunchtime...how on earth did I get to this ?

5 miles…yes, 5 miles at lunchtime…how on earth did I get to this ?

I got back into the office and drank a cup of milk, and ate some dates with a bowl of Chia Pod (chia seed gel, blueberry puree, blueberries and coconut milk) to which I again added some maca.  It tasted of real blueberries, by which I mean it did not taste of sugar, which is hardly surprising because none is added.  Chia Pods get a thumbs up from me.  I ate more dates through the afternoon, and a banana.  And one thing I am noticing is that my legs do not ache like they used to after my lunchtime runs, whether that is because they are getting more used to all this running, or whether my recovery process is better than it used to be.  We went to yoga when I got home…except that we had got the timings wrong and arrived halfway through the class, so we turned around and walked home through the rain.  Damn.

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 22
  3. Run (work) – 5 miles – 51 minutes 27 seconds
  4. Squats – 50
  5. Yoga

Friday 17 January 2014

I had a conference call first thing and so it was not until late in the morning that I actually got to my plank, press ups and squats, and thanks to the volume of work that turned out to be it for the day.

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 24
  3. Squats – 200

Saturday 18 January 2014

I woke up and did my plank and press ups.  Maybe I did not need to do them today because Regiment Fitness are running training sessions to help us cope with their Warrior Adrenaline Race on 26 April 2013.  The sessions are free and open to all, so as I need all the help I can get I went along to the first one and you can read more about it here.

Just gotta keep pushing it...

Just gotta keep pushing it…

I did my squats in the evening.

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 26
  3. Regiment Fitness – WAR training – 1 hour 30 minutes
  4. Squats – 200

Sunday 19 January 2014

I woke up, ate a breakfast of muesli with hemp, flaxseed and spirulina, then did my plank, press ups and squats, before jogging off to the park in St Albans for a “quick ten minute” sprint session that Claire Baldwin had decided was a great idea after the WAR training camp yesterday.  The quick ten minutes was scheduled to last 20 minutes, and would finish before Regiment Fitness in the park.  Everything about it screamed ‘mistake’, so I said yes, of course.  We did it at the running track by the park, and it started with myself, Claire and Ollie, and we were soon joined by Mark, John and Amanda.  There was nobody else there so we figured it would be all right to use the track.  I ran six sprints of 30 seconds each, with a minute recovery inbetween.  I definitely pushed harder than when I am running my own VO2 Max training and looking at my watch, and the 30 seconds definitely felt longer.  So I put it down as a very good session, and hope we can repeat it in the future.  As we walked over to the Regiment Fitness van I wondered what effect this little session would have on the main event.

The Regiment Fitness session was being taken by mad Steve, which was good because I had not seen him for a while.  We had all noticed the standing water around the park as we walked over and the training area turned out to be as waterlogged as expected.  There were six poles marking out a rectangle and we soon moved on to a running warm up going around those poles, which then moved on to some sprints, and I began to feel that the warm up would be more than enough for me today.  The ground was wet and muddy and my legs were tired.  We took too long getting from the warm up to the start point for the circuit so Steve beasted us some more before we got going.  The circuit itself was one of Steve’s perpetual motion ones, where we move from pole to pole doing exercises for a given amount of time rather than for a given number of sets.  So we would do ten repetitions of an exercise at each of the poles and keep going until told to change the exercise.  We began with sit ups along the orange poles and press ups along the yellow poles, which was fortunate because the yellow poles were pretty much submerged so doing sit ups along the line of orange poles was slightly less uncomfortable.  We did ten repetitions at each pole, continuing around the rectangle until the exercises were changed to squats and jumping jacks, and then continuing again until it was changed completely to 3 minutes of sprints.  Because I really had not done sufficient sprints already this morning.  While we had been doing the circuit the standing water had grown larger and spread so that as we came back to the van we could see a stream had developed through the boxing gloves and around the van.  A quick decision was made that we would not be doing any boxing, and while the others took on some water I helped John recover the boxing gloves.  The taking on of water took too long and so we got another beasting before we were ready in teams of three with a medicine ball, a jerry can and a log.  We would be doing shuttle runs out and back to three poles while carrying the medicine ball over our head, or doing upward rows with the jerry can, or squatting while supporting the log.  I did them in the reverse of that order and found myself at the far end as Steve called a halt to that part of the session, so like a lunatic I sprinted in to finish.  At which point Steve told us we now had to run out in our threes with two pieces of the equipment until he told us to turn around and run back in.  Because I needed more running after that final sprint.  I ran out at the front of the log, until suddenly everyone came to a halt, although I am not sure we had been told to.  Confusion reigned until I think Steve took pity and told us to turn around and run back.  Now I was at the back of the log and found that easier than being at the front, so we ran it back in.  Steve decided to put us through the British Army’s Basic Fitness Test, or at least two aspects of it, so we would do as many press ups as we could in 2 minutes and then do the same for press ups.  I got to the required 56 press ups, took a breather and then carried on to complete 75 press ups.  I know I can do press ups.  I managed to do 85 sit ups, although a few of them may have been a bit too half-sit up to count.  Just for good measure we finished off with a run through the swamp out to the far hedge and back and I was done.  The warm down felt good and I had a good chat with Steve at the end about the importance of sprint training and cardio work.  Then I jogged back home to spend the rest of the day doing very little indeed.

Regiment Swampness

Regiment Swampness

  1. Plank – 120 seconds
  2. Press ups – 3 x 28
  3. Squats – 200
  4. Run (home) – 1 mile
  5. Sprint training
  6. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour
  7. Run (home) – 1 mile

Positives from this week – I did push things on this week and I feel like my running is improving.  I really enjoyed the WAR training camp, and, dare I say it, the sprint training.  There is lots to build on here.

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