Sub 17 5k – Week 12 training diary

Two weeks until the next cross country fixture and I’m hopeful of putting the finishing touches together to run a big race.

The next fixture is at Jarrow, it’s a course that suits me as its a little shorter (just under 6 miles) and fairly benign with no real hills. The only thing that defends it is the mud.

So I’m hoping to get sharp.

Training diary

Plan – 45min recovery

The only thing I don’t like about heart rate training is how temperamental the damn things are! I’ve been having a lot of issues with mine of late and its just a bit annoying. I suppose I am a bit addicted. I like stats and I like them to be right.

Anyway, felt strong tonight despite the HRM issues. I ran 6.50 miling for 48 mins averaging about 156bpm (when it finally kicked in). Felt like I was flying with little effort.

Plan – 45min threshold

Decided to go to the gym. Time was tight so I decided to cut this down to a 20minute harder threshold. I ran 20mins at 5.45/mile. It felt tough but more due to the heat in the gym. Did a 10 minute warm up and warm down making it 40mins total running.

Plan – 50 min recovery

Felt tired tonight and had one eye on the threshold tomorrow. At about 30mins felt drained but got it done.

Plan – 45 min threshold

Bit of a strange one tonight. Struggled to keep the heart rate above 165bpm but still managed 7.4 miles @ 6.16/mile which I think is the strongest 45min threshold I’ve done. Still felt a bit disappointed but I think I’ve just lost a bit of perspective. When you start increasing the amount of running you do it’s quite easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. That’s where having a coach helps a lot.

Plan – rest

Was glad of the rest. I was worried about the tempo run tomorrow. Tempo running for me means getting my HR >183bpm and I haven’t run that hard in a long time. I looked for a 10k race to help me but there was nothing. So I planned a parkrun and decided I’d run that hard in tempo and add an extra 20mins after. An early night for an earlyish drive to the Riverside.

Plan – 45min tempo

Got up at 7.30am and had my usual glass of water and a few dates. I had some beetroot juice in the fridge so had a bit of that as well. Enjoyed the drive over as the roads were quiet.

Although this was just a training run I did wonder whether I might have a chance to finish first, what with the Northerns being on in Pontefract.

Those hopes were slightly knocked when I pulled up and saw Terry Scott and Marc Fenwick. I had a quick warm up (it was very cold) and noticed that the pavements were fairly icy. Not to worry. Luckily the HRM seemed in good working order during the warm up. Important because I needed that to get the HR up over 183 and to help keep it there – if I got lazy I would push on.

3,2,1 and off. I started strongly and ran straight into first. This was the first time this has ever happened. About a quarter way into the first lap I glanced at the watch – heart rate 120bpm! Fuck! The HRM isn’t working!

It felt weird. Here I was running hard in first. I couldn’t hear anyone behind me. I didn’t look round. But what to do?

I pushed on, prodded the hrm but it wasn’t working. I forgot about it and focussed on running. But mentally I wasn’t there. I hadn’t really prepared. I’d prepared to run >183bpm and because I didn’t have the data (and because it’d been December since my last hard 5k) I was not in tune with how hard I was working.

I went through the first mile in 5.36. That was about what I wanted. But I didn’t feel great about it. And the icy pavements were starting to take their toll. Coming into the second lap I was aware of a long shadow of the second placed runner. I knew it would be Terry, I know him from Newcastle parkrun. I knew he is capable of 16.– 5ks. I wasn’t intimidated but I knew I’d struggle to stay in front, and I wasn’t up for trying. That said I pushed on and kept in front until about 3/4 round the second lap.

We came to lap some runners and Terry showed me a clean pair of heels. I was alone in second. A chance to glance at the watch. The HRM had come to life – 178bpm! I was still in threshold but felt like I had not much left to give…

I kind of kept on one paced for the last lap. Terry was away and I was spending my time slipping around and struggling at every corner, almost stopping to avoid falling over.

Only other thing to report was Terry taking a wrong turn at the end and having to run back down the finish straight and back again. He was so far in front it didn’t matter. I’d like to think I would have done the gentlemanly thing had it meant I’d caught up.

Coming over the finish line I’d finished in 17.57. I wasn’t that tired and I was confused as to why I couldn’t give more out on the course. Why can’t I get my heart rate above 180? My max HR is estimated at 204. I feel like I’ve got at least 10bpm I’m not utilising in a 5k. Maybe it’s tiredness, or maybe a little bit over training. Maybe running my easy runs too hard and threshold runs too easy.

Whatever the reason, again, I was a little bit disappointed despite knocking 52 seconds off my Riverside Parkrun pb. Again I think I’m losing perspective. Conditions were poor and I’m running well. Need to take the positives.

I was coughing like a dog after a 2 mile warm down. I’d decided against more hard running.

Plan – 80min recovery

Had at least 9.5hrs sleep and woke about 9.30. Wasn’t in the mood for a run but was really lucky to have a supportive girlfriend telling me “go and do it”.

Enjoyed the run and the conditions were much better underfoot, the sun was shining brightly.

Ran 10.5 miles in 75mins. The quads were burning towards the end but a strong longer run.

Weekly Totals

Running ~42 miles

Without realising my highest ever mileage week. Mentally not appreciating what I’m doing. My training paces are improving all of the time and just need to keep perspective. Just need to be positive.

Mentally I need to get stronger and learn how to channel my fitness into a performance in a race. I don’t want to leave it all I training.


Sub 17 5k – Week 11 training diary

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So I ended last week on a slight low. All runners experience the disappointment of getting ill or run down at a time when everything was ticking over nicely. It’s very easy to try to plough on but I’m a big believer in resisting temptation to do so. Your body will thank you for it and 9 times out of 10 it will come back stronger and more hungry to get back into it.

As it happens this week I also have a work trip to Barcelona from Monday to Friday. So it will be tough to get back to completely normal training as its a task to just keep ticking over, especially as I found out the hotel doesn’t have a gym. I’ll do my best to get some runs in.

Training Diary

Note – plan is what I would have done at home.

Plan – recovery 45mins

My flight wasn’t until the afternoon so I got out early for a run. I don’t like running early in the morning and stupidly I couldn’t be bothered to put my contact lens in! So it was a pretty miserable run and didn’t enjoy it at all, especially since I had some stomach troubles half way through! Only managed about 35mins and 4 miles.

Plan – threshold 45mins

Turns out Barcelona city centre is a runners nightmare! I knew that, I’ve been enough times but I hadn’t made the connection as last time I was there I stayed next to the beach which is runners heaven!

That’s the good thing about Strava though. You can sit in the hotel and explore the nearby area for segments. It turned out there was a small park about half a mile away. So I jogged down there and then did a basic 30min easy run as time was tight before going out for dinner. I got some quizzical looks from the locals as I had my shorts and t-shirt on (it was about 14 degrees C).

Nothing much to report except Spanish dogs are a lot more well behaved than those in Kenton!!! Actually I can report that I felt sluggish, but couldn’t read much into it as I wasn’t wearing my HRM.

Plan – recovery 50mins

Made my way down to the same park again but this time had a bit more time so wore the heart rate monitor and got in 40-45mins easy. Pace was normal for an easy recovery effort so felt a lot better about myself on the way back to the hotel. I had been getting concerned that I was throwing away all the good work I did over Christmas, what with the head cold and travelling, but I think it’s the usual runner/exercise addict paranoia!

Plan – threshold 40mins

Absoloutely no chance for a run as worked until 7pm and out for dinner at 8!

Plan – rest

A full day working and travelling so no chance to switch the missed run from yesterday in here.

Plan – threshold 45mins

I had quite a stressful trip back home, thinking I was going to miss my connection in Paris. Actually the connection turned into a training session as I had to run from one plane to the next. The upshot was I got home late and felt exhausted on waking. So I wasn’t looking forward to a run. But strangely I felt good. Making sure to keep my heart rate between 150-160 (recovery) I ticked off the first 4 miles sub 7mins/mile and generally felt good. Ended up with 6.6miles in 45mins and was very happy with it after the week I’ve had.

Plan – 80mins recovery

Woke up to a thin layer of snow on the ground. I wondered whether to go to the gym but decided I’d give it a go outside and just go as slow as I had to for safety. Actually the footing was quite good and I enjoyed the run. I ran about 9 miles in about 62mins. I was well short of the 80 minutes plan but there was no point pushing for it given I missed the long run altogether last week and hadn’t been on plan all this week.

I listened to the Swans album “To Be Kind” which I absolutely love and find perfect for a longer run.

Felt very good afterwards which is always a good sign for these longer runs.

Here’s a silly photo I took today. This was taken whilst running. I was thinking about stopping to take a proper photo but I didn’t want to stop! Once I start running I hate stopping until I’ve done the time allotted. I’m a bit weird like that. The reason I wanted to take a photo was I was running round an area near Fenham where my dad used to take me to run on a Saturday. It’s nice for me to run there and it reminds me what I’m doing this for now –

Weekly Totals

Running ~30 miles

Coming home from Barcelona I was a little bit in the dumps about my running and concerned I was throwing my fitness away after some great progress over Christmas. But the two runs at the weekend have put me at ease somewhat and I’m hoping to get back to some decent threshold runs this week to really see where I’m at before sharpening up for the next cross country fixture on 31st January.

Sub 17 5k – Week 10 training diary

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After a lower mileage week over New Year its time to roll the sleeves up and get stuck into to a higher phase of strength building.

Since I started working with Dave Tune at Blizard Physio at the end of October I haven’t done 1 speed session. All the work has been “recovery” or easy and lactate threshold. Even so I have gone from strength to strength and the plan is to keep this going as the cross country season continues and we begin final preparations for a 5k race and also a 10k.

The only tricky part is finding a decent local 5k race as they are hard to come by. I’ve provisionally pencilled in the Blyth Valley 10k in April.

Plan – 45min recovery

This was the staple route and completed 6.6 miles at an average HR of 159bpm with nothing else to report.

Plan – 45min threshold

Decided to get in the gym to keep it controlled. After a 5min warm up got stuck straight into it. I knew this would be >7 miles. I’d be lying if I said these runs aren’t a little daunting. I sweat buckets in the gym and the tough part is just staying focussed.

Unfortunately the heart rate monitor failed at half way. That was a bit distracting but I resolved to focus without it. I was in the right zone and it was just a case of finishing it off.

In the end I did around 7.4 miles in 45mins. I would guess my average HR was around the low 170s.

Plan – 50min recovery

Some runs are just tough and this was one such run. I was in a bit of a rush to get out and just get it in which is never a good start. First 30mins were fine but then it felt like I was hitting the wall even though I was slowing down to 150-155bpm.

No real reason other than the culmination of consecutive days running so I just took it really easy and got 46mins in. I had one eye on the threshold tomorrow and thought about food and rest.

In the end did 6.32 miles in just under 46 minutes with an average HR of 156bpm.

Plan – 30min threshold

I wasn’t sure what to expect after yesterday. I was planning on going to the gym but decided against it and did the usual loop.

After a short warm up I decided to just go for it. The first mile was done in about 5.45 and the second in 5.25. That was a 2 mile pb! I felt like I was running fast but the heart rate was around 170-175. I can push harder. If anything I need to work on leg strength and core strength to support how fast I’m now able to run at threshold!

The 3rd and 4th miles were also strong, around 6min miles or just under. I was aware that I was probably on for a 5 mile pb so I pushed on the last mile even though I was turning back towards home and slightly uphill.

I was starting to tire a little but overall felt much stronger than last night. In the end I did 5 miles in around 29m 5s which is a massive training pb. I completed 5.16 miles in 30 minutes.

I’m starting to think I need a 5k race soon…

Plan – rest

A welcome rest after 6 days consecutive running. As if by magic, feel like I’m getting the dreaded lurgy. Not surprised, my girlfriend has been absolutely loaded with cold… Hoping to fight it off but might need to change weekend running plans.

It’s funny, I’m always ill when the winter run XC is on up in Edinburgh. This year might be no exception. Fingers crossed its nothing.

Plan – 45min threshold

Still not feeling great. It’s just sniffles but no point pushing it and would be irresponsible to do so as I have a week long work trip abroad next week to think about. The fitness I’ve gained will be better preserved with rest than stupidity.

I’ll see how I feel tomorrow and consider a shortened recovery run if I feel ok.

Plan – 80min recovery

Slept for around 11 hours and still felt rough. Took the decision to have another rest day. With no racing until the end of the month and travel next week felt it was the right thing to do

Weekly Totals

Running ~ 25 miles

I could come out of the week disappointed but I’m not as I put some very good training in Monday to Thursday.

Unfortunately succombed to a cold. These things happen and I feel comfortable with where I’m at at this time of year. I’m very confident I’ll get back strongly in good time.

I’ve learnt from experience to just chill out and relax. Fitness is not lost in 3 days and you do not go back to square 1.

Sub 17 5k – Week 9 training diary

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Great weeks training last week despite Christmas etc. and some good numbers seen. I was especially pleased with the 40min threshold and a new 10k training PB of 37.52.

Definite signs that I’m moving nicely towards my goal but I was aware that this week would be disrupted by a trip to London for New Years Eve.

So the usual 6 runs per week would be reduced to 4 at most and as it turned out I only got out for 3.

Training Diary

Plan – 40 minute threshold

Got down the gym for another 40min threshold. Paced using the foot pod and carefully monitored heart rate.

I was knocking out miles progressively improving from 6.21 mile 1 to around 5.55 last half mile. It meant about 6.6 miles for the 40 minutes (6.05) with an average heart rate of 168bpm. Given that my lactate threshold HR is measured at 183bpm it represents great progress and there are a lot of gears to be called on in a race situation.

Plan – 45 minute Threshold

I was a little bit apprehensive about this run following the New Years Eve celebrations but I needn’t have worried.

I got out strongly and actually ticked off the first 3 miles more quickly it felt like than before New Year. It seemed like the 3 days of no running had done me good.

That said things did get tougher. It wasn’t that I was having to work harder. It was the usual route which is stiffer second half than the first and I felt myself getting a bit lazy coming home.

Not to worry, it was a decent run and I did around 6.6 miles in 42 mins at 167bpm. Good to be back.

Plan – 70 minute recovery

I would have to confess that I am not a fan of the long run. The longest I usually get out for is an hour and even an extra 10mins didn’t appeal.

That said I loved this run. The sun was bright, the air was crisp. I listened to a Smashing Pumpkins album, put my new sunglasses on and enjoyed every step.

Even more pleasing was the fact I was running miles comfortably at 6.50-7.00/mile within my recovery zone of 151-163bpm.

In the end felt like I could have run a half at 1.30 pace but I’ll save it as I have some solid training to come over the next week’s and months.

There is no better feeling than each footfall feeling at one with the ground, gliding, strong…

Weekly totals

Running – ~25miles

It was always going to be a lower mileage week what with being away from home, New Year etc. but happy that I’m still where I was coming back and next week will get fully into the routine.

I’m feeling mentally ready and recharged to go after, in this training block, what I’ve been aiming for since starting this blog – the sub 17 5k.