Ben’s training diary: w/c 21 January 2019

by Ben

After only managing 14 miles and 16 miles in each of the previous two weeks because of a cold, I was pretty eager to get back up to the 25 mile figure that I have been carrying around in my head. I didn’t really have much planned for the week, other than a long day away from home on the Friday.

Wednesday: 7 miles along the Tarka Trail
Although technically coast path, the trail runs along the River Taw for this stretch.

I didn’t really manage to get myself going early in the week. Having run Thursday, Saturday, Sunday the previous week, I didn’t want to be out again on Monday, but I could really have done with a run on Tuesday. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage it while I was at work, and then the cold rain put me off at home. This then started to put the pressure onto me to get something done on Wednesday. Thankfully, I finished work early enough to be able to get out for a run while I was out and about. As I was working in Barnstaple, I opted to get along to the Tarka Trail. I had previously run part of this out-and-back from Barnstaple to Fremington, so this time I drove out to Fremington (about 15 minutes) and ran from there.

This section of the Tarka Trail is an old railway line, and as a result it’s pretty pancake flat. Across the whole 7.33 miles, Strava reckons I did 37 feet of climbing! The terrain is all very easy going too – in fact, I should have been wearing proper road shoes, rather than my inov-8 Parkclaws. That poor shoe choice meant that I had sore soles by the end of the run, but no real harm done. I was feeling pretty good on the run, and managed a pretty decent pace, averaging 8:04 per mile, and being pretty consistent throughout.

Wooo wooo! (Everyone makes train noises through tunnels, right? Right?!

I enjoyed this run, and I enjoyed pushing on a little faster again than I’ve been recently. On the one hand though, I need to be careful to keep most of my runs at a gentler pace for a while, as I build back to base mileage, but on the other hand, I do need to start pushing myself.

This was also part of the coast path, and so works towards my very long-term goal of running the entire South West Coast Path. Yay.

Friday: Moors Valley Forest Trail

After not running again on Thursday, I was really feeling under pressure to run on Friday. My brother and his wife were coming to visit us, and I had a horrible day planned on Southampton and Ringwood, so I wasn’t sure whether I would manage anything. Thankfully, I managed to leave early, and the work wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, so I was able to sneak over to Moors Valley Country Park (much to the annoyance of Lolly), which is one of the best places to run.

Another train related image – the miniature railway at Moors Valley. It wasn’t running on a school day in January…

I decided to head off in a different direction to my previous runs in the park, and explored the lakes and ‘forest trail’. The place never disappoints, and it was another lovely little run. Unfortunately, the emphasis was rather on the ‘little’. Having not planned the run, it ended up coming in at 3.2 miles, which was probably a little bit shorter than I would have liked in terms of accumulation for my weekly total. But… I did need to rush back, so I couldn’t really faff about adding more on.

Saturday: Henstridge Airfield parkrun

I’ve mostly written about this in another blog post, but for the purposes of my personal running, this wasn’t that significant. I ‘ran’ the 5 km with Lani at a pace of 14:16 per mile. Great for her, but not particularly relevant training for me. I had intended to head back out for a couple of miles immediately after, but didn’t. Enough said.

Sunday: 10 mile long run

It’s more or less the theme of the week, but I felt under real pressure to get the miles in on Sunday. It was also the theme of the week that I didn’t just knuckle down and get it done early. I didn’t end up going out until almost three in the afternoon.

But, in the end, it was a pretty positive run. I clocked up 10.6 miles on a variety of terrains, and ticked my ‘novelty’ box with a new area explored around Knapp. The combination of wet, muddy fields alongside a fair bit of road running meant my shoe choice was inevitably going to be wrong in at least one part of the run, but it was great to be able to get out on some decent trails without having to go for a drive. I always forget that I can actually do that! As you’d expect, my pace was a bit all over the place, but I averaged 8:53, which given how muddy some parts were, seems pretty quick for a long run.

The sun sets on a good week on the trails…

Speaking of a long run, this was the first time since 15 July 2018 that I’ve run 10 miles or more. So that’s a nice little boost.

Weekly summary

Okay, first up: I don’t want to put myself under this much pressure too many more times. As a result, I need to make two main changes going forwards:

  • Get out for a run on a Monday or Tuesday.
  • Have a training plan coming into the week, rather than just making things up ad hoc.

Other than that issue, the running I did this week was all pretty good. I ended up hitting 24.3 miles for the week (including the parkrun). In general, things were a little quicker than they have been so far. This is good and promising, but I do need to be careful not to overstretch myself and risk injury. The most important thing I can do is get running and keep running. Over the last five years I’ve not improve anywhere near as much as I would have liked, and the single most significant reason for this is a lack of consistent training due to injury and illness. I generally train well and train hard when I am training, but all to often, I’m not training at all.