Week 3, and I need to keep pushing on whilst preparing for a half-marathon this week…
This week’s blog is brought to you by Icarus, because after my running of the St Albans Half-Marathon today, him and I have the same view on the sun.
Least I didn’t have to deal with Eddie as well…
Monday 02 June 2014
There is now a Regiment Fitness early morning session at St Albans, and by early morning I mean 0630. I decided that would be an excellent one to add into my training programme as it would definitely start off my weeks on the right foot. Now all I had to do was wake up early enough to get there for the start, and I almost blew that, eating an apple for my breakfast as I went down to the park, running up as the Cathedral bells began to ring, to just about join in the beginning of the warm up being taken by Steve. There were another three people there, none of whom I recognised from other St Albans sessions, and having a small number suits me just fine because my previous experience of that in bootcamps is that it means I get pushed a little more than usual. Certainly there is no room to hide. The rain was holding off but the ground was wet. The warm up included a run over to the drain and back before we moved on to the circuit. This would be a gradual builder, running out to each of five poles and doing 5 repetitions at the first, 10 at the second, 15 at the third, 20 at the fourth and 25 at the fifth. We did press ups, close hand press ups, squat jumps, burpees (which built in 2s and not 5s), sit ups and squat thrusts. I was soaking with sweat at the end of it and it felt harder doing it this early in the morning. There was no time to think about that, though, because we were taking a run over to the sandpit and back. We split into pairs and started off with a tyre, doing as many shoulder presses as we could in 40 seconds, then running out to the poles and back with the tyre held over our head, repeating the whole thing three times. We changed over to the jerry cans, holding one in each hand and doing shoulder shrugs with them for 40 seconds before running out to the poles and back, again repeating the whole thing three times. My shoulders were definitely feeling it. We finished off with boxing, doing 100 high, straight punches, 100 upper cuts and 100 hooks, before doing 200 piston upward punches from a sitting position, which I managed in 45 seconds. The warm down brought an excellent session, and an excellent start to the week, to a close. During the session we had run 1.5 miles.
I was working from home and decided to get in a VO2 Max run. The good thing about my VO2 Max training run is that I can fit it into a small gap in my working day. That is always the theory, anyway, and today I managed it, running in the sunny conditions for 5 minutes to warm up, then ran three repetitions of 30 seconds hard, each time followed by 30 seconds recovery, then ran two repetitions of 1 minute hard, again both times followed by 1 minute recovery, and finally ran another three repetitions of 30 seconds hard, again each time followed by 30 seconds recovery. It felt very good, it felt faster than before, and I got to further than my last time of doing this, and about as far as I have managed before. I could really feel that I had pushed it at the end, and Strava reckons I covered 1.8 miles
- Regiment Fitness – 1 hour
- Run (home) – VO2 Max
Tuesday 03 June 2014
I was in the office and doing an Interval Workout today, which would be six sets of 800 metres at 5km pace, each followed by 400 metres at 10km pace. I was not running on a track to measure this, so instead I ran 3 minutes of warm up followed by six sets of 2 minutes at the full pace, with a minute after each at the recovery pace. Doing that in the very sunny conditions I managed to complete one big lap and got round to the NDG garage on the main road on the small lap, which is further than I managed the last time I ran this Interval Workout, before I continued on to finish 2.6 miles in 22 minutes and 03 seconds, which is getting me back to my best on this Interval Workout. Of course, now that I am thinking about it, this is not a 6 x 800 metres workout, because that would be over 4 miles, with the 3 minutes warm up added to the beginning, so I will have to adjust my timings. I think I just made it harder for myself.
- Run (work) – 6 x 800 Interval Workout
- Squats – 50
Wednesday 04 June 2014
I had signed up for the DUO, an 8 week course of outdoor strength and conditioning sessions from Great Shape Fitness which were designed for runners and cyclists. The fact that the sessions were so designed is what attracted me to them, because I want to do things which will specifically improve my running. The sessions were going to be held at Verulamium Park with the initial meeting point at the far end from me, by the museum, and as the starting time was 0615 I planned to leave the house at 0545. The problem this morning was that when my alarm went off it was pouring with rain outside. Really pouring with rain, to the extent that if I had not been signed up to a course then there is absolutely no way I would have bothered to leave the house. I ate an apple as I walked down and by the time I got there (on time) I was soaked through. Bex and Claire were already there and had got everything set up ready for the group. There were four of us signed up for the full course, with some others due to dip in from week to week, and we had the two instructors, which I consider to be a brilliant ratio – we were very lucky. We began with some mobility stretches before easing into a running warm up in the car park, thankfully under the shelter of the trees. Then it was a quick run across the grass to some more trees where the circuit had been set out. The circuit was made up of lunges, press ups, squats with an 8kg kettlebell, mountaineers, wood choppers with a 5kg medicine ball, and bunny hops over a row of cones, all of which were familiar exercise to me. The way it worked was that after an initial lap running around the outside of the circuit to keep us warmed up, we did 30 seconds of each exercise before moving clockwise to the next one, and once the circuit was complete we repeated it with 45 seconds of each exercise. Then, to break the circuit up a little, we split into pairs to do skipping and abs work (holding a half sit up for 20 seconds while pulling our hands back through the gap between our knees as though we were pulling a rope), swapping over and repeating five times, before we got back to the circuit for 1 minute on each exercise, with a run round the outside of the whole circuit until we came back to the next exercise after each one. The best thing about being in a small group with two instructors was that there was no place to hide, so the focus was very much on form rather than the number of repetitions, and each exercise was scrutinised. That was very beneficial for me and made it into a tough and enjoyable circuit. We moved on to some core exercises, first of all just holding our interior core muscles tensed, before continuing with some plank variations, first of all the standard plank, which we held for two lots of 30 seconds, then side plank on my right for the same amount of time and repetitions, and a much easier side plank on my left, again for the same amount of time and repetitions. It really did feel so much easier on my left ! We finished off with a series of warm down exercises, including downward dog, which felt very good. It had been an excellent session which had tested and pushed me, and I am looking forward to seeing how things progress from here. I had worn my new All Out Rush trail running shoes from Merrell for the first time during a training session and they were very comfortable with brilliant grip. I think my brilliant experience with Merrell looks set to continue. All that was left for me to do was to walk home, with the rain now stopped, and I took the opportunity to put in a run up the hill.
- theDUO – 1 hour
Thursday 05 June 2014
I began my tapering today for the half-marathon on Sunday, although the weather and work gave me no choice in that.
Friday 06 June 2014
It was another busy work day, so while I would have liked to have gone out for an easy run, it turned into more tapering.
Saturday 07 June 2014
A final day of tapering, although I did take a walk out to buy an energy gel for tomorrow.
Sunday 08 June 2014 – Race Day !
The sun was shining when I woke up. It continued shining as I walked down to Verulamium Park. It continued to burn down as I ran the St Albans Half-Marathon, which you can read about here.
A medal and a very welcome ice lolly
Run (St Albans) – 13.1 miles – 3 hours 00 minutes 53 seconds
Positives from this week – I tried something different with the DUO and I finished the St Albans Half-Marathon.