Blue Runnings

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

Marathon Training – Week 5

on 1 February 2016

Another week down, and as I sit here this morning it’s actually my triceps that hurt more than my legs! This period from New Year to Easter and my first marathon run, is also my first attempt at writing and following a training plan for an ambitious target, and this week has been as much learning about myself, my limits and listening to my body as it has about cranking the miles out.


After J & I’s monster windy session last Sunday, I had Monday off and then headed out to Run England on Tuesday night. In myself I felt fine, pretty neutral, not ready to go zooming off the starting blocks but not dragging myself out the door either. My legs had other ideas; knees twingy and pace very slow for me for this session. With group 2 I’m usually near the front and manage 5 miles in the hour without too much hassle. This week, I really wondered if I was going to hit 3 I was that slow. It was only an hour out the door, but I found the session very humbling – I was obviously asking my body to do a little too much but bless its cotton socks it was still plodding along carrying me around to the finish again with every little bit of drive it could master.

I decided as I plodded along at the back of the group that I definitely needed a re-think for this week. I’d missed a full fortnight of gym sessions (all of them basically since I got my program set up) and that certainly wouldn’t be helping as I continued to push the distance up every weekend. There’s an important balance in any running venture between endurance and strength building, and I was doing a lot of one and very little of the other – which is a sure recipe for injury. I scrapped Wednesday’s training session. If I was struggling to potter about the roads then a hill session was just going to push me to exhaustion, and I did a home workout instead working through my core training sequence, an extra leg strengthening one and my normal weights one for my arms and legs. All low impact for my joints and I definitely felt better for doing it.

I kept Thursday as a rest day and hit the gym after work on Friday. It took me 1.5hrs to get through everything, and I’m really happy with what the nice lady has set out for me. There’s a really good mix of cross-training cardio and various weights, and this time it’s not my threshold weight that’s listed so I can actually achieve at least one full set!


A couple of things to do differently next time – I’ll be taking regular earbuds instead of my bone-conducting ones, all I could hear was the treadmills! I shouldn’t assume there will be water in the drinks vending machine incase I end up with cola. I should remember to put the ball shaker or the mesh thingie in my shaker bottle. Either would be fine. Neither is a little lumpy.

As well as my workout, I did enjoy the fact they didn’t have Jeremy Kyle on the TVs (not the ones I was watching anyway!) so I learned many things about food and caterpillars/butterflies (not on the same program fortunately), not all gym sessions are this educational. 😉

I’ve started logging how each session goes in my notebook and then on my computer so I can see how I’m progressing week on week – something I didn’t do last time I was coming with any regularity, and it was a bit frustrating knowing I wasn’t working at the level on the program but also couldn’t remember what I’d managed to do the week before so progress was only seen via other activities. I didn’t go all out on the cardio knowing how tired I’d been on Tuesday and that I wanted to do a long run the next day, but I’m pretty pleased with how much I did do. I’m pretty much there on some of the weights, and if I can do this level 2 weeks in a row I’ll put it up, others are a struggle to do for more than one set so I’m knocking them down for the second and third set; I’ll work on getting them all up to target weight before tagging more on.



I missed the leg press because it was the last weight machine in my sequence, and someone was using it so I just hopped straight on the treadmill, did my session on that and then the cooldown before stretching off. I was quite impressed with the intervalling on the treadmill – I covered 2 miles in less than 15 minutes before doing the cooldown, which would have had me on track for a sub-25 min 5k time! Might have to try going for the distance next time and see what time I get when something’s keeping my pacing. Next time I’m out on a flatish route (so, not round Consett…) I’m going to try intervalling on the paths and roads and just see what time I can get when I’m not trying to push it for the full duration.


I didn’t figure out how to get it to show the full workout until I’d finished the cooldown <_< When I pushed pause it was flashing a zero time for some reason. Will figure that out another time. Baby steps.

Enough gym stuff for now I think! Retail therapy time maybe? I still had a bit of time between finishing and picking P up from work, so I thought I’d go check out the new Sports Direct at the Metrocentre that J has been raving about and look for a chunky foam roller – my smooth one is not cutting it for really tight muscles. I did find some foam rollers, but with the cheapest being £30 I think I’m going to take my business to Amazon where I can get one for £15, and £30 will get me a fancy set with a foam roller, roller wand thing and two foot-massagers… I did get a few bits from Sports Direct when I was there; they had Clif bars in stock, which I’m out of so I picked up a few of them, and I have no idea what I’ve done with my bottle from the Butterwick Hospice run but I’m always scrapping round for a post-run drinks bottle, so for £2 I picked up a new bottle too. My normal ‘waterproof’ over-layer has turned out after several washes to have only been showerproof, and as I found at the end of the Waskerly run last weekend appears to have lost any water-resistance it had to my washing machine. I umm’d and argh’d for a while and did eventually pick one up – bonus for being only £16 rather than the marked sale price of £25 (AND it’s not neon yellow or bright pink! Hurrah!).


J & I went out for my long run on Saturday, going for 16 miles if possible down the Derwent Walk and out along the river, the same route as I’d done for my first 14 mile run in week 3 but a bit further down towards Wylam rather than stopping just past Newburn. Next time I’m hoping to keep going straight down to Wylam, but knowing how my knees had felt on Tuesday (they’d been ok-ish on the treadmill on Friday) I asked J to leave her car at Newburn so if I needed to bail out earlier and walk it wouldn’t be miles and miles to the car without a jacket in the cold and I could go past and run back if I wanted to.

I managed 15.6 miles in total, and I think not running since the previous Tuesday except for the treadmill session and concentrating on the strength side was a good move – my legs didn’t actually hurt at all – my knees and shins were quiet but my legs were just generally very tired from about mile 10, and even in the first few miles I knew I’d set off much slower when we got on the flat than last time. Up to that point I can’t even blame the weather! We’d had all of it (wind, rain, hail and sunshine) in the first 1.2 miles from my house down to the Derwent Walk, but I was in pretty good humour and pace as we headed down the hill in the sideways ice squalls. J not so much 😛

It was the last 4 miles when we hit the river that really got me. I normally don’t take gloves when running as I get too hot in about half a mile, and when I have taken them have never put them on again after taking them off, and for the first half I was fine, but when we hit the waterfront it was FREEZING. My hands swelled up like they belonged to someone several stone heavier than me and buttons and zips were difficult. It took a while after we finished for them to warm up again. I think next time we’re predicted gale force winds, I’ll avoid the river (I was fine on the moors in similar weather the week before), and/or take gloves with me! I’m also thinking of tucking my new waterproof into the elastics on the front of my camelpack just incase, also means I can put it on when I’ve finished as an extra layer to help prevent chills when I stop rather than relying on having a jumper in the car.

Just to really add insult to injury, I got home to absolutely no power so couldn’t jump straight into my hot bath as I normally would as the boiler was out (I’m blaming this for my tight calf), so I pootled about feeling very sorry for myself with my headtorch, got into my pyjamas and a massive hoody, made a fire and a hot drink (thank god for gas hobs) and huddled up by the log burner with a quilt until I warmed up and felt slightly less pathetic! About an hour after I got home, the power clicked back on and I was straight upstairs to run a hot bath incase it went out again!


Do not underestimate how much I credit hot baths after exercise with not pulling muscles and being able to walk vaguely normally the next day. Buying stock in Radox would totally be sensible.

I plugged my watch in to upload my route data (after the power was back!), and was faced with this:


This meant that Sunday, a rest day, found me pulling my trainers on and going for a VERY slow and knee-protesting pootle down the flat road out the village and back for 1 mile, no more and no less.


100 miles in 1 month done. For the first and possibly last time.

I’ve decided that trying to increase my mileage every single weekend is a bit too much right now, and doing ‘miles under trainers’ junk runs needs to be put on hold until I get this marathon out the way so I’ve had another re-jig of the running plan for next week. I’m NOT doing a long run on the weekend – hoping I’ll be back to fighting fit for a 17 mile the following weekend. I’ve got Gibside nightrun on the Saturday evening, I’ll do the parkrun in the morning if I’m feeling particularly energetic, and 10k somewhere on Sunday just to try and help get my mojo back a bit. I don’t want to feel tired even setting off for every run.

Monday’s another rest day – definitely need 48 hours to loosen a very tight calf and tired legs after Saturday’s freezing winds session, I’ll be hitting the gym on Tuesday (originally going to be Monday), and then the training session on Wednesday. Friday will be a home workout session and then into the weekend. I’m wanting to focus on strength and endurance building, and any ‘junk miles’ that aren’t contributing to that are going out the window during the week and on long-run weekends. We’ll see how that goes but hoping to feel a little less stiff and a little more back to better energy levels soon 🙂




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: