Silverstone Half-Marathon 2014 training : Week 12

Week 12, and I need to keep things going…

In case you do not realise, I am running the Silverstone Half-Marathon in aid of charity, specifically Helen & Douglas House, who provide hospice care to children and young adults, so it is a very worthshile cause.  If you want to sponsor me then you can find my Just Giving page here.

I believe I can fly...

I believe I can fly…

Monday 17 February 2014

I was in the office today, but everything is a bit hectic at the moment so I did not get my morning exercises done.  Today was my VO2 max training, where I run for 5 minutes to warm up, then run three repetitions of 30 seconds hard, each time followed by 30 seconds recovery, then run two repetitions of 1 minute hard, again both times followed by 1 minute recovery, and finally run another three repetitions of 30 seconds hard, again each time followed by 30 seconds recovery, and it felt good and I got to the road at the other side of C.Butt again.

  1. Run (work) – VO2 Max
  2. Squats – 50

Tuesday 18 February 2014

I did my morning exercises and ate an apple during my drive in to the office.  I drank more water through the morning before eating some apple cinnamon chia granola Debbie had baked from the Thrive Fitness book (oats, hemp, chia, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia leaf, sea salt, hemp oil, molasses and apple juice, baked on a low heat), to which I added my usual spirulina, flaxseed, hemp and chia – and if you want to know more about why I am eating what I am then you can read about it in my previous blog here.  Today I was doing an Interval Workout, which would be seven sets of 400 metres at 5km pace, each followed by 400 metres at 10km pace.  I ran 3 minutes of warm up followed by seven sets of 1 minute at the full pace, with a minute after each at the recovery pace.  Doing that in the chilly and very windy conditions I managed to complete one big lap and got down to the other side of the io centre trading estate on a small lap, before I continued on to finish 2.5 miles in 22 minutes and 34 seconds, which is almost 30 seconds quicker than the last time I ran this IW.  I got back into the office and ate a couple of dates while drinking half a cup of milk, did some squats and took my shower, then I drank water through the afternoon and ate some more dates, plus walnuts and cashew nuts, to try to make sure I was ready for the evening.

I ate a banana as I drove to Welwyn Garden City for a Regiment Fitness session taken by mad Steve and Richard.  The weather was mild and dry but the ground had been churned up by the early group.  We began with a running warm up, first of all on the spot and then off and around the nearest goalposts a couple of times, before we went round them again and over to the far goalposts and back, and inbetween we had done short, sharp repetitions of press ups, sit ups, squats and star jumps, and even some burpees because James (not me !) had said the warm ups were boring.  We finished off with a run to the far goal posts and back.  Then we moved on to one of Steve’s continuous circuits, zigzagging from one post to the next until we had done all four, when we ran round the outside to get back to the beginning again.  At each pole we would do an exercise before being told to move on to the next one.  We started with press ups, then sit ups, then squats and finally star jumps, doing 5 repetitions at the first pole, 10 at the second, 15 at the third, and 20 at the fourth, before going back to 5 at the first, and it just kept going and going until we finished it off with two minutes of running around the poles.  We quickly split into two groups and moved on, and I started with the boxing, doing straight arm punches from the sit up position for a minute before swapping with our parnter, and then standing for straight arm punches for a minute before swapping again.  And while the other group did that we were doing jerry can pushes to one end and carrying it back over our head while our partner did burpees with a medicine ball, swapping after each jerry can push and carry.  The warm down brought a full-on, constant movement session to a close, and it had been a lot of fun.

I got home and ate some cottage cheese with hemp, flaxseed and chia.

  1. Run (work) – 7 x 400 Interval Workout
  2. Squats – 50
  3. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Wednesday 19 February 2014

I had to put my car in for a service so decided to go along to the Regiment Fitness session at London Colney while that was going on.  After speaking with him last night, I knew it was being taken by mad Steve, so that was a bonus, and he got all 7 of us going straight away with some running on the spot before we were off running around the track he had laid out for the circuit, down various dynamic movements as we ran, before finishing off with some sprinting.  We moved on to another continuous circuit, running from one gate to the next on the circular track.  We did 5 repetitions at the first gate, 10 at the second, 15 at the third and 20 at the fourth, before going back to 5 and repeating until we moved on to the next exercise.  We did press ups, sit ups and squats, before moving on to running around the track for two minutes until we built it up to a sprint to finish things off.  After a very short water break we continued with the equipment, doing 10 chest presses with the medicine ball, then 10 tricep dips above our head with the medicine ball, before running out to the tyre to do 10 press ups, then running round the far pole, then round the outside pole, before coming back to repeat it all with 15 repetitions each, then coming back to continue with the medicine ball exercises until everyone was in.  Then we ran with the medicine ball to the far pole, did 10 sit ups, then came back to the tyre, did 10 sit ups, and picked up the tyre, ran with it to the far pole and did another 10 sit ups, then ran back to the beginning to pick up a jerry can, and ran to the far pole to do another 10 sit ups.  Now it was time for some abs work, lying down to do straight arm sit ups or crunchies for a count of ten, then leg raises for a count of ten, then alternate leg raises for a count of ten, and finally leg scissors for a count of ten before repeating it all.  And now that we had got all the equipment to the far end we had to pick it all up to take it back to the van, putting a tyre over one shoulder, a medicine ball and jerry can in each hand, and one of the poles which had been set out for the circuit in our other hand.  Precisely.  There was still time for a minute of press ups, a minute of sit ups and a minute of squats before the warm down brought an excellent active session to a close.

I got home and ate some cottage cheese with flaxseed, hemp, chia and maca, and two hard boiled eggs.

  1. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Thursday 20 February 2014

I did not manage to get a run in during the day but did go along to the Regiment Fitness session in Welwyn Garden City in the evening, which was being taken by Tom and Richard.  They got us started with a running warm up, moving in chaos rather than in a circle of people, so very active and dynamic movements, and also including getting into numbered groups (and I managed to avoid any forfeits !), running off to the goalposts and back, and arm pumps, so all the usual good stuff.  We did not get to the start line for the circuit in good enough time, so we did all get a burpees forfeit, doing them as Tom explained the circuit to us.  We would be running to the far side and doing 40 repetitions of each exercise before running back to the start again.  The exercises (and I am pretty sure I have forgotten one…) were press ups, squat jumps, full sit ups, squats, burpees, moving from the press up position to plank and back, superman sit ups (starting with the arms and legs outstretched and bringing the elbows into the knees in the middle of the body), tuck jumps, and Turkish get ups, with us getting back to the start line and holding plank until everyone else had finished inbetween each set (although we did hold the squat position after the squat jumps, because obviously squat jumps are simply not squat enough).  We split into two groups, and then split into teams for daisy-chain shuttles, and our team of four had to run as a four twice because the other teams had five in them.  Something is changing for the better because I normally struggle with the daisy-chains but this evening I blasted through them.  We then split into pairs for tyre shuttles, running to the other end and back four times with the tyre, so I took it on my right shoulder twice and my left shoulder twice, and once again I blasted through it.  I was feeling very good.  The groups swapped over and we got into pairs for the boxing, beginning with a combination of standing straight punches, hooks and upper cuts, doing each for a set period of time before moving straight on to the next.  Then one of us was sitting and punching upwards while our partner stood behind us with their hands held above us so we could punch up to them.  We still had some time left so we moved on to three alternate sets of ten seconds of straight punching, and I really put everything I had left into that.  It had been a brilliant session which I had really enjoyed.

I got home and ate some cottage cheese with hemp, flaxseed, chia, maca and some walnuts, before eating tomato, borlotti bean and kale soup with two hard boiled eggs.

  1. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour

Friday 21 February 2014

I had a work meeting which was likely to last all day, so I did not expect to get to do any exercise today.  And as it turned out, I did not do any.

Saturday 22 February 2014

Something really is changing.  I drove over to Dunstable Downs for my hill climbs and ate an apple on the way.  I followed the same route as last week, setting out along the top away from the Visitor Centre, until it drops down into a clearing from where I can follow the bottom track until it gets to Regiment Hill, and this week I did that in 17 minutes and 56 seconds, which is almost 4 minutes quicker than last week.  I did 4 hill climbs, running as far as I could before walking the rest of the way to the top, then very carefully coming back down again because the ground was slippery and my trainers have no grip.  I passed Dean as he was setting things up for the Regiment Fitness session and we had a quick chat.  Once the Silverstone Half-Marathon is done I will try to add in that session after doing my hill climbs on a Saturday, but for the next week I do not want to overdo things.  I should be tapering !

  1. Run (Dunstable) – 17 minutes 56 seconds
  2. Hill climbs – 4

Sunday 23 February 2014

I felt all right when I woke up, although still tired, and after eating some walnuts and an apple I ran down to St Albans for the morning session with Regiment Fitness.  However, once we moved across to do the warm up my body (and especially the small of my back) felt tight and my legs felt stiff, which was not a good sign, and definitely not how I want to be feeling next Sunday morning.  The session was being taken by Liam and Steve (who was new to me), and Steve took us for the warm up, including some Steve Says, during which I managed to avoid any forfeits.  We finished things off in pairs in the press up position, trying to take away our partner’s arms, and that was when I really began to feel the pain in my body.  I think this week was catching up with me, and the run over to the other side of the field and back was not a fast one for me.  With that in mind I decided that I would try the hard version of the circuit and see how it went.  We would be running out from the starting point to a pole, doing 30 repetitions of an exercise, running back to the beginning and then running out to do the same thing at three other poles.  There was a closer pole to start from, and in the end I started from the further pole each time and used the closer pole to run back to for the remaining poles of each set.  We did half sit-ups, squat thrusts, squat jumps and press ups, and doing the exercises themselves felt fine even if the running was tough.  We split into two groups and Steve split us into teams of three with two jerry cans, one tyre and one log for each team.  One of us would run out with the jerry cans to the pole and back (twice the second time), while the one with the tyre did shoulder presses the first time, press ups the next and tricep dips the final time, and the one with the log did shoulder presses, squats and sit ups.  I was feeling better by this time and was able to push it with the jerry can shuttles.  We swapped over for boxing with Liam and I was able to put everything into this as well, as we started with a minute of straight arm boxing, then another minute of that for good measure, then added a squat into the movement, before finishing it off with punching upwards.  I really am enjoying the boxing in these sessions at the moment.  We got all the equipment back into the van and finished off a great session with the warm down.  I had grown into the session and walked home feeling better than I had done an hour before, with some great advice on tapering from Oli and John.

I got home and ate some cottage cheese with avocado, hemp, flaxseed, chia and maca, and decided to do some squats to stretch my legs a big, and the Thrive Fitness exercises for my shoulders, which always feel good.

  1. Run – 1 mile
  2. Regiment Fitness – 1 hour
  3. Squats – 50
  4. Thrive – Shoulders

Positives from this week – I got some good sessions in and felt a real improvement, hopefully at just the right time !

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