Monday, 15 November 2010


Its the first recovery week of the marathon plan.

I don't really feel I deserve it yet as the top mileage week has only just nudged over 30 miles - a distance that was the norm from late spring through summer. However, its part of training and if it helps keep me fit and healthy ahead of the mileage increases then all well and good.

This week keeps the same themes as previous weeks - drills, resistance training, hills, intervals etc - it just cuts back on the mileage.

Mentally I tend to find cut back weeks to be a time for reflection and planning: reflecting on accomplishments to date and looking forward towards increased challenges ahead. This post is the reflecting - the looking ahead can be summed up in 30.5, 34.5, 34.5 as the mileage for the next 3 weeks.

Overall I'm pleased. I've adapted to the demands of consistent 5 day a week running (ironically it'll be 6 this week) without obvious injury; I'm cross training once a week, doing a reformer class and doing resistance exercises; as well as completing running drills and flexibility work.

Injury wise the groin seems reassuringly dormant (as it were). Sure there's occasional slight twinges but they're very isolated and probably no different to the momentary twinges I'll get elsewhere in the body every day. Cautiously optimistic there. Probably a slightly bigger concern is the left Achilles. I've had some tenderness there for many weeks but there's no sign of swelling or growth and the physio seemed unconcerned. Interestingly its been far better the last couple of days when I've been rubbing on some arnica oil to the wider area and spending an hour or so in a warming neoprene support. Optimistic that keeping that up along with lower volume of running will help fix that this week.

The running drills have been good even if I do have to find places to do them where I wont be seen or sectioned. After completing them I do feel my gait alters and I hope a little of that trickles through to the regular runs over time - I presume that's the theory.

Running at base pace has proved simple and made me wonder if I had a tendency to run too fast before, and that the secret to high mileage is making sure much of the running is low intensity - lower than I'd thought.

Recovery rate running I find more difficult - that's 9.20 - 10.30 pace and I find that strangely tiring. At present I only have to do it during warm up and cool down either side of hill training and in the recoveries between hill repeats.

Hill training itself has been good though. Its one of those sessions that's undeniably tough but a nice kind of tough - one that leaves me feeling relatively youthful and self satisfied. OK, its a difficult one to convey.

Interval training I've enjoyed for similar reasons and its got me back to doing some runs along the canal which gives some variety. Its been intervals at mile pace so far but as the length of intervals gets longer the pace drops over coming weeks to 3k pace, 5k pace, 10k pace, half and marathon paces. Interestingly though, even through the later weeks some faster 3k and 5k paces are included - its not all long and slow.

The dynamic flexibility exercises have seemed strangely tough, simply because I always find myself red in the face at the end of them! I'd like to extend their use further or supplement them with some static stretches and self massage, mainly due to the experience with the achilles. That's a focus for this week.

Talking of focuses...they've gone OK-ish. I'm meant to consider a different theme each week throughout each run and whilst that was fine in weeks one and two I completely forgot it last week, even to the point where I frequently forgot the week before's while running too.

Resistance training has been another winner though. That started as 1 set of each exercise twice a week and increased to two sets and three sets. They'll now stay at 3 sets but the mix of exercises will change. The ones so far have largely been 'introductory' and often simple Pilates moves. Its meant that between these, the reformer class and the two lots of dynamic 'stretches' (that include 2 types of lunges for example) I'm doing some sort of work on core/glutes 5 times each week.

The endurance runs* have been fine too. They're the one area where I've cheated the plan a bit. They should have been 5 miles, 6 miles and 8 miles whereas I've done 7 miles, 8.5 miles and 10 miles, but these are still well down on previous running and haven't caused a problem so I have no concerns. Its a policy I'll maintain for the next 4 weeks (if only for the practical reason that I have 10 and 11 mile races in that time) but my guess, and without checking the plan's requirements, is that by mid January at the latest the prescribed distances will be the ones I do.

Cross training has been fine too. Its only a once a week requirement and the only challenge has been to slow myself down as its meant to be completed at 'recovery pace' whereas I've always tended to keep myself interested on CV machines by pushing myself to hit certain targets.

*In Brain Training what might be thought of as the Long Slow Run (LSR) is called the endurance run. I suspect there's two reasons for this. Firstly LSR simply describes what the run is - long but slow - whereas 'endurance' describes what the type of training will test and what it will build. Also, a traditional LSR is single pace and typically far slower than marathon pace - maybe 90s a mile slower. In Brain Training the endurance run is 30s - 60s slower than marathon pace but some weeks may include far faster paces, so, for example a 16m run might have 8 miles at base pace then 7 miles getting progressively faster from marathon pace down to 5/10k pace before a final base pace mile at then end. That trains you rather differently to simple long and slow and I'm hoping that works well as it does this in place of doing more of the longest runs.


Alison @ Running From, Running To said...

I have to say this sounds like a really excellent plan. Perhaps a little more advanced -- I'm thinking esp. of the LSRs @MP -- but then that's where you are with your running, so it seems a great fit.

runningcupcake said...

On the marathon talk podcasts they have training talk and have often advised doing some long runs, with bouts of marathon pace interspersed in the run- to build you up ready for running faster in the race. Sounds like a good plan, well thought out.

Running Rob said...

Thanks both - reassurance always welcome!

What are the podcasts...or more accurately...where do they come from?

RoseC2 said...

I like the idea of the 'endurance' run rather than the LSR.... whenever my kids sk where I 'came' in a race I always tell them I'm built for endurance and not speed!!!!!!!

Am also interested in where to get hold of the marathon talk podcasts please!


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