St Albans Half-Marathon training : Week 6

Week 6, I never did get that long run in…so now it is just a matter of making sure I am the best I can be come Sunday…

Monday 03 June 2013

I was back at work and following my usual routine, which was good.  It is the final week before the St Albans half-marathon, so I am not going to push the exercise too hard and I am going to be careful with what I eat, learning from that final week before the Silverstone half-marathon.  I went for a run at lunchtime and put in an easy 3 miles under the hot sun in 30 minutes and 04 seconds, which is about my pace at the moment.  I ate one of the little salad pots from Waitrose for lunch, with a Marks & Spencer ActiveHealth pot for pudding.  I also ate an apple in the afternoon.

I decided to go along to the Regiment Fitness evening session in Welwyn Garden City, and it was another pretty big group who turned up.  We started with a warm up, staying in the group, which finished with a run to a bin in the far distance and back.  This evening’s circuit saw us splitting into two groups and running into the middle from either side (one side further away from the middle than the other) to do the exercise and then run out again, with either running on the spot or plank if you were waiting for others to get back.  We did 30 of each of press ups, diamond press ups, and wide arm press ups; then 30 each of leg raises, arms above the head sit ups, and crossover sit ups; and finished the circuit with 15 burpees.  Oh, before we had to run to the bin and back again.  We split into two groups, and I started to work with a log between three of us, with one person doing shoulder presses in three sets (30, 40, and then 50) with a run to the other side of the field and back after each set, while the second person was holding the squat position, and the third person was resting.  We then did two sets of 15 squats with the log, again with a run after it, and again with the second person holding a squat, and I had to apologise because I forgot someone was having to hold their squat while I decided to take my second set of 15 really slowly.  We swapped groups and moved onto a boxing relay, with straight single punches from the sit up position, starting with 10 and building by 5 each time.  We then held the plank position while we waited for the other group to finish, before moving on to the warm down, to bring another very satisfying session to a close.

I got home and ate a chicken and vegetable broth with peas and spinach, with two boiled eggs.

  1. Run (work) – 3 miles – 30 minutes 04 seconds
  2. Training – 1 hour

Tuesday 04 June 2013

I was in the office again and following my usual morning routine.  It was a lovely sunny day once more and when I got out into it the sun certainly seemed hotter than yesterday.  I ran another easy 3 miles in 29 minutes and 50 seconds, and I feel pretty loose, although my hips could feel a little better.  I noticed that I had picked up a bite at training yesterday evening, on the inside of my elbow on my right arm, and that started to annoy me.  I drank a little milk when I got back into the office, and ate a wheatberry and bean salad, with an Activia breakfast pot.  Real Activia, and not ActiveHealth.  I am in two minds about whether to go to a training session this evening or not…and decided to go for it but ease back on the running a little, with one eye on Sunday.

The session was in Welwyn again, and there was another good attendance this evening.  We started with a running warm up, which finished with sprints.  This evening’s circuit was a minute of each exercise, doing as many repetitions as possible, with a run after each set.  The sets were squats while holding the log, squat jumps, jerry can upward rows, press ups, holding a tyre out in front of us, sit ups, side curls with a medicine ball, and run relays to the end of the playing field with a slope upwards at the far end.  If it sounds easy then you are kidding yourself.  We split into two groups and I started with the boxing this time, punching upwards from a sitting position, and then punching upwards while standing, both exercises working the shoulders.  We moved over to the other group, getting into a circle for controlled press ups and then leg raises, ending with a sprint back to the van.  Everyone then got together in another circle for a series of sit ups, before holding in the half down sit up position as a medicine ball was passed around the full circle, and then repeating the exercise with each person having to answer a maths question before they could pass the medicine ball on.  We finished another varied session with a gentle warm down.  I am really enjoying these sessions.

We went for a short walk into town when I got home and then I ate a leek and potato soup with two boiled eggs.

  1. Run (work) – 3 miles – 29 minutes 50 seconds
  2. Training – 1 hour

Wednesday 05 June 2013

My bite had grown overnight, and getting my blood pumping at training yesterday evening had probably not helped.  Anyway, I would be out this evening so there would be no running and no training today, and hopefully it will work itself out before the weekend.  I ate my Oats So Simple in the office and took my supplements with a cup of milk and my fizzy vitamin C.  During the morning I also ate a banana and an apple.  I do not want to eat too much because we are going out for a meal this evening.  The meal was at The Hand & Flowers in Marlow, turned out to be delicious and you really should go and read about it here.

It tastes as very good as it looks

It tastes as very good as it looks

  1. The Drill
  2. Plank

Thursday 06 June 2013

I was in France for the day, leaving early to catch the Eurostar.  No running or training again today then, which is probably not a bad thing as I prepare for Sunday.  Not sure the early morning and long day is the perfect preparation, though, and sitting on the Eurostar did not seem to go down well with my knees.  I was tired when I got home.

Friday 07 June 2013

I was working from home today because I have to be in London for a meeting this afternoon, so I took some time to go to the morning Regiment Fitness training session in St Albans.  It was another different session, and completely defeated my thought of keeping things easy before Sunday.  We lined up in pairs for the warm up and this led to a game of trying to knock the other person off balance while in the press up position.  I hit upon the correct strategy, waiting for my partner to launch her attack and then striking for her balancing arm.  I quite fancied keeping the same partner for the next part of the warm up, where we held them under the arms and dragged them backwards to the far poles and back again, but we swapped around so I was with another of the men.  It was tough going.  The circuit was relay based, running to the other end, doing the exercises and then running back, and we started with five sets of 20 press ups, then four sets of 10 split leg raises, and finished with three sets of 10 squat jumps.  We then got into groups of three for a jerry can relay, running backwards with it to the far end and then running backwards to the start; and we finished off that section with log shoulder presses, doing 30, then 40, then 50 repetitions, with a run to the far end and back inbetween.  Then we got back into a group to have a lie down.  Unfortunately, the lie down also involved bringing our knees up at right angles to our body, raising our shoulders, and waving our arms like crazy birds !  This was followed by a core workout in the bicycle position, bringing our elbows into the opposite knee while the other leg extends.  Finally we got to warm down in the sun.  It was another great session, though tougher than I had ideally wanted before Sunday.

We needed to go up to the shops and took a walk down past the back of the Cathedral and into the park afterwards, walking back to the house along the side roads, and it felt very humid.  I hope it does not feel like that on Sunday.  I ate a pesto pasta and an apple and spice live gourmet yoghurt from The Collective Dairy for lunch, and drank a lot of water.  I also went to a gig at The Borderline near Tottenham Court Road in the evening and walked to there from Farringdon.

  1. Training – 1 hour
  2. Walk – 3 miles

Saturday 08 June 2013

I went to training with Christianne in the morning, except that she was away for the weekend, so my session was actually with her husband, Robbie, and it was a very interesting session.  After a warm up we went int0 a circuit which was on a time rather than repetitions basis, beginning with alternating between reaching down from side to side and pushing up with high hands from a squat position; then easy mountaineers using gliding mats, more to stretch than to push, and squats against a Swiss Ball; then twisting on the toes from side to side, and side stepping around the outside of the studio.  We then moved on to a number of boxing exercises, initially working with straight arm punches and little body hooks against a Swiss Ball as he moved around the studio and I followed, and then punching against pads so that I did 5 straight punches to opposite pads, then grabbed his shoulders and brought my knee up into the pads, at whatever height he was holding them.  We worked alternate knees and built it up to 10 repetitions, with him moving at times.  It was great exercise and something else I really enjoyed about the session was the advice Robbie gave me about my running gait, on how to make longer distances easier by not always running on my toes, on how to effectively use an altitude mask to improve performance, all things which will prove invaluable over the coming months.

Debbie had a final rehearsal at the Cathedral when I got back, so I found myself walking there and back five times (because I got half way one time before receiving a text saying they needed to continue for longer), and carrying her bassoon for two of those journeys.  There will be another two journeys this evening for the performance, of course.  I kept drinking water and ate some meusli, an apple, a bit later some pesto pasta with a tomato salad and a couple of boiled eggs, and later on again some granola.  Just snacking because I do not want to eat anything major right now.

  1. Training – 1 hour
  2. Walk – 3.5 miles

Sunday 09 June 2013 – Race Day !

This is it – the day of the St Albans half-marathon.  13.1 miles in and around St Albans, and we set off at 10am. You will be able to read all about it in my race blog, so I will not spoil the surprise here with any details other than my finishing time.

Yummy ice lolly

Yummy ice lolly

I got home afterwards and ate some Jaffa Cakes and then a chicken & quinoa soup crammed with black turtle beans, red peppers and sweetcorn, with two boiled eggs.  I was feeling good after the run, with just some stiffness in my lower back.

  1. Run (St Albans) – 13.1 miles – 2 hours 34 minutes 05 seconds

Positives from this week – I got in some really great training sessions, feel good within myself and think I put in a fine enough performance in the half-marathon.  There is still much work to be done.

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