This post originally appeared on Ben’s old blog, Running From the Physio.
So, as I mentioned before, this week was a “recovery week”. This is a new concept to me in running, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’ve never really strung together more than two weeks of proper running. And secondly, I’ve always sort of made up my own training plans. This time, having been completely overawed by the array of different plans I could choose from, I adapted a custom plan generated by Runner’s World’s SmartCoach. In my fifteen week plan, it inserted three easier weeks; the first one was the week commencing 16 December, when in place of my normal runs, I ran 3 miles each time. I didn’t really notice that though, partly because I was still running distances that I was comfortable with, and partly because I slacked off over Christmas anyway. So with the mileage now ramping up towards the limits of my past failed training, and the cumulative effect of sticking to a plan for a change, I was really, really looking forward to this week!
Tuesday: 3.95 miles @ 9:00 min/mile
This run felt a little odd: normally at the moment I am running two miles on a Tuesday, so in actual fact, my nice, easy recovery week started me off tougher than usual! I was starting to worry whether my training plan was in fact just lulling me into a false sense of security. But actually, four miles is a pretty comfortable distance for me, and this run went pretty well. As documented, this was the first run on which I used my new running shoes, and I had a bit of teething trouble with them. In general though, this was pretty much exactly what it says on the tin: a decent, pretty easy recovery run.
Thursday: 4.10 miles @ 9:05 min/mile
Somewhat lacking in imagination, this was actually exactly the same route as I ran on Tuesday, but the other way around, and with an extra lap of my estate slotted in at the end. Call me silly, but it annoys me when I go out planning to do a four mile run, and then map it and find it was only 3.95 miles. In my head, 3.95 miles is a three mile run. I know. It’s stupid. Anyway, stupidity aside, the pace was pretty consistent with Tuesday, and was also pretty comfortable. My trainers started to feel more like running shoes than clown shoes, which I reckon is a bonus too!
Saturday: Parkrun, 5km (3.11 miles) @ 7:25 min/mile
However much I tell myself that at some point I need to start taking it easy a bit on the parkrun to make sure that I don’t get injured in the run up towards my half-marathon, I don’t listen. I more or less adapted the same tactic as the last couple of weeks: I slotted myself behind I runner I figured was around my pace on the first lap, and then sped up or slowed down as I felt appropriate on the second lap. I think overall I probably pushed a bit too hard this week, especially given that I hadn’t really had anything to drink since getting up to feed my daughter at half six. I’m not a morning person, especially at the weekends! All that considered, I probably shouldn’t have been as disappointed as I was with my time. Especially as I’ve only completed the course quicker than that twice.
Sunday: 4.12 miles @ 8:15 min/mile
Either my recovery week has proved extremely good for me, and my pace improved accordingly, or I’m mismanaging my pace! I know in many parts of the country, Sunday was a bit horrible, but in Somerset it was gorgeous. To be honest, I was a little disappointed that I was only running four miles, but I figured that I should stick to the plan. I took advantage of the weather by running along the canal, something I have rarely had the chance to do recently as I mainly run at night. One downside of the plan was that everyone else seemed to think that it was a good time to walk/run/cycle along the canal as well, which did mean that I spent half the run dodging around people.
Oh, and the dogs. I have nothing against dogs, or dog walkers. But I’m nervous around dogs: I wish I wasn’t, but I am. So what should have been a completely lovely, tranquil run was actually a lovely, tranquil run frequently interrupted by periods of anxiety as my mind went something like:
|Oh my God: it might kill me!|
- A dog.
- Is it on a lead?
- Yes. -> What if it is let off the lead, or the lead extends, or it jumps at me as I go past because the path isn’t wide enough to avoid it.
- No. -> Arghhhhhhhhh!
Which was a little silly, because most of them were pretty much the same size as my three-month-old daughter.
As for the run itself, dogs aside, it was too good: I enjoyed the weather, the scenery and the running. As a result of this, I ran at a much more natural pace than I have been lately, and so probably went a little too fast. But I don’t care, because I enjoyed it!
Next week, I’m back to my training plan as standard: unlike at Christmas, I’m not going to be able to find an excuse to continue the easy runs. Which is good, because while it is nice to have an easy week from time to time to help recovery, I’d go mad if that was all I ran. Oh, and my half-marathon would be a write-off!