Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Marathon Training – Week 2

on 10 January 2016

Ok, week 2 complete, slightly less according to plan than I was hoping but that throat tickle I had last week turned into a throat infection and now a cold which has been a big contributor in my not hitting the mileage I was after.

I’ve put a copy of my marathon training plan on the menu sidebar so you can see what my intended activity for each day was, and I’m also tracking how well I’m sticking to it. This week I’ve unfortunately been a not-insignificant 9 miles shorter scattered across 3 different runs (click on pic to see bigger).


I lost 3.5 miles off Tuesday’s run – I was intending to go out with Run England and got home from work late, which made it easier by the time we’d had dinner to wimp out because of the rain. The other 1.5 and 4 miles were directly related to my cold and while I’m a little disappointed, I have to make my health over the next few weeks a higher priority than pushing myself way too far for one day’s figures, so I’m trying to focus more on the fact I went out at all and achieved the mileage I did despite my throat and headcold, rather than having made the runs for this weekend shorter. A bit of give and take needed to keep me going.

I did my first training session of the year which was…interesting. It was a new format compared with the hill training and intervals I’ve done before; we were doing 7x 3 mins effort, with 1.5 mins recovery between each set, and the idea is that you should pace yourself to be able to do about the same distance in the last set as you did in the first. I failed miserably at this, setting off far too fast in my first two sets (<9min/miles) and as a result feeling my leg twinge in set 5, walking set 6 and just jogging set 7 (which by that point even that felt like hard effort!). Back to the drawing board with that one. Still, I know for next time! We’ll be doing that one again over the next few weeks.


On the plus side, I have finally figured out how to use the ‘lap’ button on my watch! Not actually complicated but I have previously worried if I pushed the wrong button I’d lose all my route data or something.

I did go to the gym this week, not for a full hardcore training session but to get a program set-up. I went round the equipment with one of the instructors and she’s taken down all my seat positions and threshold weights for the weight machines, and my steady speed etc. for the cardio machines to pull together a list of times and reps on each piece of kit, so I’ve spent a moderate amount of time on the cross-trainer, bike, stepper and treadmill, but not as much as the actual full gym session will have, and done 2-3 reps at threshold level on my major muscle groups.

My first session is on Thursday next week so we shall see how I get on. I’ll be packing a notebook in my gym bag so I can keep track of what weight I manage for each set – last time I had a program drawn up it had 3×10 reps at my threshold weight – which wouldn’t make it my threshold weight if I could do that many reps at it! I was setting it a bit lower and hoping over the course of several weeks I’d be able to work up to even one set at my threshold weight, but I never really logged what I was doing so it was harder to see if I was doing heavier or longer durations than the previous visit. We’re all set and ready to go anyway, just waiting on my shiny new gym bag arriving 🙂

My gym program doesn’t actually feature any of the planks and gym-ball sit-ups that it did last time I did it, and expecting this I didn’t do any core work during the week at home so I’m behind where I wanted to be on that one. I did do the full thing (cut a plank and some sit-ups out last time) and seem to have found a better balance of stretches so I didn’t have really sore shoulders and abs this time. I’m hoping to get a minimum of 2 and ideally 3 sessions fitted in around the week.

My weekend plans got changed around a bit – which I knew about before I made a digital version of my training plan hence why it doesn’t show on the summary at the top. The cross-country session at Town Moor that was originally going to be for Sunday has been post-poned until February (which I haven’t put onto my schedule yet) due to the weather being far too cold for the marshalls to be standing in for hours, and the ground being too muddy for the tent village not to cause damage to the ground – we’d rip all the grass up. I’d capped my Saturday run at 10 miles originally knowing that I’d find Sunday tough pootling round in the mud, but after hitting 11.5 miles on New Year’s Day with J I was hoping that if I did a shorter run on Saturday I’d hit the full 13 miles on the Sunday.

I was intending to do the hilly Leadgate route that I’d done with J and N the weekend before, but add on the extra loop towards Shotley Bridge to put an extra hill in and bring the distance from 4.5 miles up to 6. I did the same route, but the extra loop never happened; nature called most urgently and my nose was getting very very sore from being abused with tissues that morning and then dragged out into the cold and salted by my sweaty face, so I hustled my bustle homewards. I’m pretty pleased with my pace on this anyway, 10:25min/mile average, and I was hitting the 5k marker at about 32 mins which considering the size of the hills by that point – I’d run up two and was on my way down the second, I thought was pretty good – if I’d been on a flat I’d probably have been on track for a pb.


I’m also pretty pleased with how steady my pace was until the last hill, which was a push to get up without walking – it’s very loooong and pretty steep. Made it to the top and pushed on though 🙂

Next day’s long run was a different story. I’d decided I wanted to try for 10 miles – go out along the Waskerley and get to 5-5.5 miles at least, and I could try adding an extra mile or so on if I had anything left in my legs when I got back to Consett. That was the plan anyway. I could tell not long after we set off that this was going to be a slow one and possibly something of a struggle by the heaviness of my legs. It wasn’t helped by us running into the wind all the way out. N was heading for 10k so turned back just past the three mile marker, and J accompanied me on her bike to 4.5 miles. I couldn’t face going much further than that, and to be honest 9 miles with a headcold and half of it into the wind (which was HORRID), isn’t bad going.

I found it easier going back, as I always do on this route – going back is the predominently downhill direction, and I’d had half my Clif bar at mile 4 so that was starting to kick in, the wind was behind us and my home-string was reeling me back in rather than pulling me back. I did manage to run the full 9, but there wasn’t much left in the tank at the end of it. Just to really clinch not facing going back another half a mile, it started to rain just as we were getting back to base, fortunately into the back of us at the time, but there were some rather soggy shoulders, backs and bums at our post-run nutrition reload in the café at Morrison’s afterwards!


N also made cupcakes, one of which I have already scarfed down when I got home. I might offer P the other one if I’m being generous…or I may not tell him and hide it away for my lunch tomorrow 😉

I’ve been continuing my food tracking with MyNetDiary. I’ve still been eating pretty much anything that’s been put in front of me but I am at least seeing what I’m eating in a bit more detail. I’ve been trying to cut out the eggs, butter and full-fat milk from breakfast as it’s been whacking up my saturated fats, and I was getting informed on a daily basis in the report that I was eating too much. In a typically contrary manner, my weekly report has determined I am not getting enough calcium compared to its randomly determined recommendations. Ditto for iron. I don’t know how accurate this is as it may be that particularly for some contributed items the breakdown is not in enough detail to include this, or if I genuinely am not eating enough. Can’t seem to win – eat dairy: you are a sat fats pig, don’t eat dairy: you need more calcium in your diet.


One thing I have noticed from my daily tracking (again, potentially vulnerable to poor reporting) is that I am consistently not hitting the 100g of protein a day I should be hitting for muscle repair with the amount of running I’m doing and wanting to build up to. So, after trying a sample protein shake I got in a race pack and had hidden away, I have decided that while they may sometimes look like a glass of mud, they don’t actually taste that bad and have decided to try ordering some on Amazon…watch this space for how that goes…


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