Silverstone Half-Marathon 2014 training : Week 2

Week 2, and the real work starts here…

Monday 09 December 2013

I ended up working from home in the afternoon and did my run on my large circuit.  This is the exercise from Brendan Brazier’s Thrive Fitness book which is intended to increase my VO2 Max (my maximal oxygen consumption, maximal oxygen uptake, or aerobic capacity) and is intended to be an intense run.  However, it will translate to improved cardiovascular efficiency and, therefore, performance, so it will be worth it, and I will only be running it once each week.  I will run for 5 minutes to warm up, then run three repetitions of 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds recovery, then run two repetitions of 1 minute hard followed by 1 minute recovery, and finally run another three repetitions of 30 seconds hard followed by 30 seconds recovery.  I made it to the Triathlon shop on the Hatfield Road, so that is my marker for next time I am running this at home.  I must say it felt good to be out running again after something of a break, and did not feel too painful !

I did my Thrive Fitness exercises in the evening, doing 3 repetitions of each set within each grouping.  I will describe the exercise for Shoulders this week, which are a Shoulder Blade Pinch and a Seated Lateral Raise.  I do 25 repetitions of the Shoulder Blade Pinch and 15 repetitions of the Seated Lateral Raise with two 12.5kg dumbbells.  The Shoulder Blade Pinch has me standing with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent.  I raise my arms to the side with palms facing forward, bend my elbows, then slowly extend my arms above my head while squeezing my shoulder blades together.  I lower back to the starting position while continuing to squeeze my shoulder blades together, and repeat.

  1. Plank – 150 seconds
  2. Squats – 100
  3. Run – VO2 Max
  4. Thrive – Shoulders
  5. Thrive – Knees
  6. Thrive – Lower Back

Tuesday 10 December 2013

I woke up and was too late to do my plank, squats and Thrive Fitness exercises before heading off to work, so they will have to come later.  I was straight into meetings and only managed to eat a banana and drink some water before going out into the cold for my lunchtime run.  Today I was doing an Interval Workout, which should be four sets of 400 metres at 5km pace, each followed by 400 metres at a jog.  I have no idea how far 400 metres are on my route, so I decided to run 3 minutes of warm up followed by four sets of 1 minute at full pace, with a minute after each at a recovery pace.  The way I see it, I need to be pushing as hard as I can for the minute.  Doing that I managed to get up the main road across from the disabled sign on my big lap.  It felt good, it felt pretty easy, and I think I need to be pushing myself harder in these interval workouts.  I drank a cup of milk as soon as I got back into the office and atesome Go Ahead apple and sultana crispy slices.  I need to get them out of my diet.

I did my plank and squats when I got home and then moved on to my Thrive exercises for the Shoulders.  The Seated Lateral Raise has me seated on the edge of a chair (because I do not have an exercise bench) with my upper body bent forward 45 degrees.  I hold a dumbbell of 12.5kg in each hand under my legs close to the floor, with my palms facing each other, elbows slightly bent, and shoulder blades drawn in.  I slowly raise both arms until they are parallel to the floor and pause for two seconds, before slowly lowering to the starting position and repeating.

  1. Run (work) – 4 x 400 Interval Workout
  2. Plank – 150 seconds
  3. Squats – 105
  4. Thrive – Shoulders

Wednesday 11 December 2013

My plank last night had been hard and now I needed to take it up by another 30 seconds.  I was really not sure this was going to happen but it actually did not feel as tough as the plank last night, and I made it before doing my squats.  I ate some more Go Ahead crispy slices during my drive through the fog into work, and when I got in I drank my water with a fizzy vitamin C tablet, took my Wellman Sport tablet, and drank a cup of milk while I ate my pot of Perkier’s gluten free apple, cinnamon and raisin porridge.  It tastes quite nice, although you can tell it is gluten free because it has that dry aftertaste, but I will stick with it and see how it suits me.  It was cold and breezy when I got outside for my run, and today it was just a straight run of 4 miles, so two big laps and one small laps on the industrial estate pavements.  I want to run the Silverstone Half-Marathon in under 2 hours so I will need to be running at 9 minutes per mile pace, and today I ran the 4 miles in 37 minutes and 16 seconds, which is under 9 and a half minutes per mile, so that will do as a starting point.  I will be running 4 miles on Wednesdays for the next few weeks as part of my training programme, so I can monitor improvements (hopefully there will be improvements !).

4 miles done

4 miles done

I drank a cup of milk when I got back into the office and after my shower ate some Go Ahead crispy slices and an Activia vanilla breakfast pot.  I need to refuel ready for Regiment Fitness this evening, so I ate a banana and an apple through the afternoon, and another apple during my drive down to St Albans, but a late work call and the road conditions in the fog as I drove from Northampton meant that I did not get back to St Albans in time to go to the session, which was frustrating.  I ate a couple of boiled eggs when I got home.

  1. Plank – 180 seconds
  2. Squats – 110
  3. Run (work) – 4 miles – 37 minutes 16 seconds

Thursday 12 December 2013

My legs were aching when I woke up.  Round the back of my shins, to be precise.  Well, it had been a while since my last run before yesterday.  I have a Christmas meal at lunchtime today, so I will skip my run today and do it tomorrow instead, which should help my legs recover.  Not that it stopped me doing my squats in the morning, and they did not feel too difficult.  They certainly did not feel as difficult as the 3 minutes of plank, which was a killer.  I finished off with the Thrive exercises for my shoulders before I headed into the office.  I was going to a Christmas dinner during the day so I decided to just drink some milk in the morning, knowing I would fill myself up later and probably not be doing any excessive exercise today.  I also made a point of walking to and from the venue, and went with some of the more healthy menu options, having the leek and potato soup with sage and onion fritters and white truffle oil; the pumpkin and herb gnocchi with mushroom and spinach fricassee, roasted pumpkin and crispy onions; and the Hopping Hare sticky Christmas pudding with brandy butter and satsuma anglaise.  It all tasted very good.

Pumpkin and herb gnocchi with mushroom and spinach fricassee, roasted pumpkin and crispy onions

Pumpkin and herb gnocchi with mushroom and spinach fricassee, roasted pumpkin and crispy onions

You can see more photos from that meal here.

  1. Plank – 180 seconds
  2. Squats – 120
  3. Thrive – Shoulders
  4. Walk

Friday 13 December 2013

Plank was tough again this morning but the squats are still progressing nicely.  I was in the office and followed my usual morning routine and got myself ready for a lunchtime run.  My pot of Perkier was fruity berry flavour and I also drank a cup of milk and my fizzy vitamin C.  Today I was doing a Fartlek run of 40 minutes and it was overcast, dry, cold and windy in gusts, some of which felt very strong.  I ran for 3 minutes to warm up and then ran 1 minute hard followed by 3 minutes of recovery, before repeating.  The run went very well and I completed three big laps and got down to the bottom of the driveway, which in total is around 4.5 miles.  I drank a cup of milk when I got back into the office and ate a banana with some muesli from rude health.  I won the Christmas jumper contest at work.

And the winner is...

And the winner is…

  1. Plank – 180 seconds
  2. Squats – 130
  3. Run (work) – Fartlek 40 minutes

Saturday 14 December 2013

I need to think about how I am going to use my Saturdays going forward, because I tend to end up doing very little with the whole day.  Plank felt fine and I continue to be happy with how the squats are progressing.  I will keep on with an amount of both once I finish this 31-day challenge.  In the evening we went out for a meal with my parents as they will be away for Christmas and I had the rabbit casserole for my main course because I am sure at some point on the recent Masterchef series they had mentioned that rabbit was a lean meat.  Anyway, it tasted very good and came with mountains of vegetables.



You can see more photos from that meal here.

  1. Plank – 180 seconds
  2. Squats – 135

Sunday 15 December 2013

Everything got a little confused today.  We were going to go for a walk but then it became very overcast so we changed that plan, by which time it was too late for me to get down to the morning session with Regiment Fitness.  Plus twice I had to move when I was almost so close to making it 3 and a half minutes of plank.  I did manage to do my squats and took a walk into town in the rain.  I also started getting all my kit and clothing ready for our time away in the Lake District over Christmas.  In the evening I went for a run, completing 2 big laps and 1 small lap at home, which makes 5.1 miles.  I always find the home circuit harder than the work one, so I am never surprised that my speed takes a knock on it, but I also found that the home circuit was more suited to the course for the Silverstone Half-Marathon, so I am taking the fact that I ran 5.1 miles in about 10 minutes per mile pace as an encouraging sign because that is around 2 minutes per mile faster than I ran the race last time.

No, it's not wet-look gel...

No, it’s not wet-look gel…

I had watched Liverpool beating Spurs 5-0 online before I went off for my run, and when I got back I watched the Miami Dolphins beat the New England Patriots 24-20 online.  It had been a great sporting day.  I finished it off by making my 3 minutes and 30 seconds of plank.

  1. Plank – 195 seconds
  2. Plank – 195 seconds
  3. Squats – 140
  4. Walk
  5. Run (home) – 5.1 miles – 51 minutes 17 seconds
  6. Plank – 210 seconds

Positives from this week – I have got back into running and am at a good starting point to achieve my target time.  My plank and squats are progressing nicely.

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