Ninth week done

14th December 2019

As week nine closes I’m beginning to feel some progress and I can see the benefits from this time spent on early training. I got back to the variety I have been striving for with swimming and yoga back on the schedule and although I only managed two runs both were very encouraging and ground breaking in their own ways.

Tuesday’s run covered the middle section of the London Marathon course, around the Docklands and Tower Bridge area. This was reassuringly flat and ‘doable’ and I’m drawing a lot of confidence now that I have first-hand experience. I have one more week at work before Christmas and I will try and get two more lunchtime runs, one to cover the route from Tower Bridge to Cutty Sark on the south side of the river and one to cover from Tower Bridge to the Mall on the north side. That will be virtually all the route covered and I feel pretty good about myself when I think that.

I drew a blank on Thursday, as term time comes to an end my daughter’s dance classes are winding down meaning I didn’t really have time to get to the gym, plus I was saving my legs for Friday’s efforts.

Friday’s plan was to run home from work, heading out of my office on the north side of Tower Bridge to the outer reaches of the London/Kent borders, just shy of the M25. According to Google maps this would be just over 13 miles and as I would be following its verbal commands I figured it would end up a little higher once my inevitable mis-steps were incorporated. The first half of the run would be through areas I barely knew so I really was at the sat nav’s mercy.

I was a little daunted by the thought of this run and it dominated my thinking for much of the day. In fact, I had been planning for it all week and I felt under some inexplicable pressure through the afternoon to the point that when I set off I felt very low on energy and it took quite a while to get into a rhythm. This wasn’t helped by the rather fiddly route required to get out of the London Bridge area and the decidedly sketchy areas I was being directed through. There were too many gloomy estates, underpasses and dimly lit parklands for my liking and I was happier when I hit the half way mark and found myself on more familiar ground. To be fair, the route was pretty good for running with several lengthy sections that allowed me to strike a regular pace but when you haven’t heard a direction command for several minutes it is easy to wonder if things haven’t disconnected so there were a number of occasions when I slowed to double check my phone. There were a few tough hills on the way and I never really hit the levels of Tuesday’s run so overall pace was a little off. I should give some thought to the differing energy levels between the two runs and see if that is something I can influence. Anyway, I keep reminding myself that pace is not a key factor on these long runs and the fact that the distance is increasing is the metric I need to worry about. I really felt the extra miles on this run and the last 5k was pretty tough going, I’m beginning to understand the idea of ‘getting miles in the legs’. By the end my pace had slowed to the point where I wasn’t tired, or out of breath, but my legs were done and 24 hours later they still ache when I go down stairs. This was a personal best in terms of distance so I will take that over the temporary pain.

Distance covered 23km

There was no parkrun this week, a family trip to a Christmas themed escape room early on Saturday took precedence. I’d like to take credit for any success but the reality is the kids did all the heavy lifting while I lucked into solving a couple of clues. Lunch in Nando’s and a little Christmas shopping filled the rest of the day, although to be fair I spent most of the time in Runner’s Need choosing a spare pair of running tights and gloves. I might look at a new pair of running shoes in the new year, now that I’m running longer distances I’m not sure mine are entirely appropriate.

Weekly Training Summary

1 Spin class

1 Yoga class

1 Swim session (total distance 0.9km)

2 Runs (total distance 39.4km)

Current weight 13” 1’

One more week of term/work before the Christmas break. That’s one more week of routine followed by a fortnight of, well, chaos might be putting it a bit too strong but certainly a disrupted training plan is to be expected. Oh well, as long as I can get a couple of runs in each week I should be ok.

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