Weekly Training Review: 30 Dec

This post originally appeared on Ben’s old blog, Running From the Physio.

Nothing complicated; hopefully a reasonably quick review of the week’s training runs. I’m now into the seventh week of my half marathon training plan, and after the exertions of the Stoke Stampede last Sunday, and a couple of cheeky quiet weeks over Christmas, the week saw a return to some heavy mileage.

Tuesday: 2.20 miles @ 10:03 min/mile
This run was exciting in some ways, and very boring in others! It was the second time that I used my new heart rate monitor, that my parents got me for Christmas. The first time I used it, I just tracked my average heart rate, but didn’t really know what to do with the information that I was getting. After that run, I did a bit of research into how HR monitors can be used to help training and racing. As a result, for this run, I set maximum and minimum heart rates on the monitor, set to beep if I exceeded them in either direction. The hope was, that as a slow recovery run, the heart rate monitor would help me to run slowly, something I’ve always had problems with. (I like to run fast, irrespective of the distance or the type of run I’m meant to be doing: this might be one reason I’m so prone to injury.)

The HR monitor certainly did its job. After some initial wobbles, when I wasn’t sure if it was recording properly, and so more or less sprinted for a while, I settled into a dreary, dull and doddery pace. For the first two-thirds of a mile, I kept hitting the maximum mark, and having to slow back down again, but after that I learnt the right pace and settled into it. On reflection, I probably need to run slightly quicker, so for the next slow run I use this for, I will probably set the maximum slightly higher, but on the whole I was pleased with the results.

Thursday: 7.32 miles @ 9:12 min/mile
Thursday is meant to be my “tempo/interval/hill/something interesting” run. I’m not very good at those sorts of runs. I tried it for a few weeks okay, maybe just once but never really got the hang of it, and then the mileage had built up to the point where the distance itself was a challenge. As a result, this was just a “roughly seven mile, as fast as I can be bothered, but not too fast or too slow” run. My legs were tired throughout the entire run, and mentally I was quite daunted by the distance, due to a combination of the easy weeks over Christmas, and the 10 km race on Sunday. Nonetheless, I ran reasonably well until the last mile or so, when my left knee started to hurt quite badly, particularly if I tried to raise it too high. Shortly after the run the pain subsided, but I remained worried about it.

Muddy

Saturday: Parkrun, 5km (3.11 miles) @ 7:34 min/mile
The best day of the week: parkrun day! Perhaps the only thing to consistently successfully get me out of bed before 9 am at the weekend, it is fair to say that I enjoy my weekly parkrun. I generally run it with a friend, Al, and his son, but they didn’t arrive in time this week, so I ran alone. The first lap I settled around another pair of runners and happily ran their pace, but second lap I kicked on a little on my own. The course, as has been the case for a few weeks, has a few diversions and alterations to avoid us running through the River Tone. Even so, the course remains exceedingly wet and muddy, as evidenced by the back of my t-shirt (right).

I had gone into this run extremely worried about my knee after the trouble it gave me on Thursday, but I had no problems at all, and all things considered I was very happy with my time: not a personal best on the course, but given the weather a very good one for me.

Sunday: 8.15 miles @ 10:29 min/mile
The long run. And long it was: the longest I have run since October 2012. And after that run, I was injured for the best part of four months! Despite having had no real issues with my knee during my parkrun, I yet again went into this run worried about my knee, and unfortunately they were justified. I first started really noticing the pain around five miles in, and adapted my run to minimise the pain: I slowed down, and shortened my stride length. I continued on around the eight miles, and it never got too painful, although I was always aware of it there on the edge. Having slowed down because of my knee, I ran a pretty slow time, and fitness wise it didn’t really strain me at all. After the run, I looked back for the exercises that my physio gave me when I had knee issues last year (after that October 2012 run.) I completed those, and hopefully by the time I run again next week, the issues will have subsided.

Otherwise, this run went reasonably well: mentally I wasn’t too fazed by the distance, and kept up a reasonably positive dialogue with myself (I don’t listen to music when I run.) I remain positive about my chances of remaining fit for the next couple of months in order to complete my scheduled half marathon, although I might have to adapt my training schedule a bit if the knee continues to give me trouble. Only time will tell!

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