Blue Runnings

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

Marathon Training – Week 4

on 24 January 2016

I’ve had a bit more success hitting my workouts this week, even if I’ve had to swap a few days around to do it. I’ve managed to do a core training session and a home workout, even though work once again stopped me getting to the gym, and I’ve gotten 3 running sessions in – from 3 miles at Blackhill Parkrun right up to my long run of the week, 14 miles in high winds.


All the work-related sabotage of my plans is starting to tell on my monthly mileage total, I’ve not missed a long run but I was really hoping to hit 100 miles this month for the first time ever, and while it’s achievable still, if I miss anything it’s going to be very out of reach rather than within a mile or two’s grasp.


P reminded me that I need to be careful I don’t do too much just to hit some arbitrary target I’ve set myself, there’s always next month, and he’s right – I would be more gutted if I hurt myself trying to do too much on Tuesday’s run trying to hit it, and then was 20 miles off because I missed my training session and my long run, than if I was 1-2 miles off but ready to tackle next month’s training in a fit shape. I’m going to play it by ear and see how I feel but I’m still hoping to scrape through to the big 1-0-0.

I was feeling very stiff on Monday after my last long run, thanks to my rest day being a little too restful with an all-day meeting, so I was moving so little I stiffened right up! By Wednesday I was feeling more myself again, but knew that trying to run 11 miles off the cuff was going to be stupid so I decided to go for the more realistic target of 8 miles along the river, with J accompanying me on her bike as distraction and safety guardian – lone running in the dark in areas with no street-lights and few people is silly. I felt pretty ok with this, but I would have struggled had the terrain been any tougher than flat or if I’d had to go much further. A small amount of rubbing on my right arch, presumably from some squelchy mud or something but escaped unscathed apart from that πŸ™‚


I’d missed my gym session being at work far too late (again) to get there and do anything before having to pick P up from work at 7pm, I think I got to the local store for a few things and that was it. I swapped my rest day from Friday to Thursday after my longer run (still trying to work out when 8 miles suddenly became my “casual mid-week running distance”, it was 3-4 mile last time I checked!), and was thus able to do a workout at home on Friday evening while P was on nightshift. I did a core session as I’m wanting to try and get those worked into my week somewhere, and then moved into a weights session. Normally I would do this three times but with the core session and an extra legs session before I only did two circuits – using the lighter weights for any arm exercises and going a bit heavier for leg ones. I felt stronger doing the core section than I have while doing it previously, and I was definitely feeling that I’d done something by the time I’d finished and was stretching off.

I did make Blackhill parkrun on Saturday morning, for the first time this year πŸ™‚ I’ve set myself a task for 2016 of running 15 parkruns (compared with the grand total of 3 I’ve done previously…) so it’s good to get one ticked off already πŸ™‚ I also started the year with a pb which I’m really pleased with πŸ™‚ I’m really hoping to get that elusive sub-30 on this tough course by year end, but am usually several minutes off. I’ll get there πŸ™‚


Parkrun is one of those things that always seems like a good idea when heading out the door, but I always find myself on the second loop trying to remember if I have to go round three times and praying it’s only twice (it’s not). The only flat bit of Blackhill Park is the bit by the bandstand so there’s not really much opportunity for a breather, and I find if I try to take advantage of the downhills too much and zoom down I have no puff left for the next uphill! I may go on a local parkrun tour this year, try some flatter ones, but my target will still be sub-30 at Blackhill regardless of what I get elsewhere!

My long run for the week was on Sunday morning with personal trainer J accompanying on her bike to make sure I went out. I wasn’t really in the mood first thing in the morning but moped my way out anyway. I wanted to try and match the 14 miles of last week, without the assistance of the downhill and flat one-directional route I’d taken down the Derwent Walk, so we headed out to Morrisons to do a there-and-back along the Waskerley Way with it’s lovely hills and and exposed pathways. I hadn’t factored the wind into my ‘slightly tougher terrain’ plans, and it was brutal. I always find it harder going out than coming back on this route – it’s more uphill and into any wind anyway – but today I must have done 5 miles into 20mph headwinds on the 7 miles out and it was really hard going. J was stopping to talk to pretty much every poochy we came across on the first two miles out (and a horse on the way back), but she stopped this frivolous behaviour when we hit the open country mainly because even on a bike she was struggling to catch up, the wind was that strong.

I’ve never gone further than 5 miles along this route before, and the next few miles were out over open heathland through the sort of country P and I love driving through when we’re taking the ‘scenic’ route to get anywhere. I was getting into a groove between miles 6 and 7 and would have liked to just head off and see where I ended up, but the prospect of the return journey had to be taken into account and I knew how bone-tired I’d been at the end of last week’s run so I dutifully turned around at my pre-determined distance. J only breathed a small sigh of relief as this meant we’d be travelling with the wind and she could go back to zooming instead of slogging along behind me! I’ll explore that horizon on another run πŸ™‚


We had a bit more breath for chatting and enjoying the scenary on the way back, and I got back some of the pace I had been definitely lacking with the headwinds on the way out. It wasn’t the quickest time I’ve hit the half marathon distance, but considering the terrain and weather I’m pretty pleased with my 2:33 – I only lost about 12 mins from my non-downhill-assisted half time which with 5 miles slow time I’m pretty happy with. I still had heavy legs for the last mile, but they weren’t as heavy as last week, and I’m managing the stairs with only a little knee-awareness rather than the sore of last Sunday. We’ll see how easily I get down them in the morning.


I’ve always been a bit dubious of the effectiveness of the protein shakes the young gym-obsessors at work inhale on a daily basis along with 50 chickens and 20 eggs for breakfast and lunch, but I must admit I’ve been trying to have a protein bar or shake after my exercise sessions (immediately afterwards that is) for the last fortnight and my legs have been a lot less stiff and sore than I’ve expected for the amount of miles I’ve done sometimes, and it’s taken me a lot less time to feel back to normal again. I’m only taking the extra protein straight after exercise, not randomly through the day or on rest days, but I am noticing that ‘recovery window’ for repair foods – half an hour after exercise load up with proteins and carbs – seems to be holding true with me. That or it’s that huge quantity of chocolate I’ve been eating πŸ˜‰ Healthy eating going really well here…



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