21st December 2019
Ten weeks done, effectively I find myself at the end of the year so it will be a good time to catch up on the week’s training and then reflect on my progress to date. Earlier in the process I set some loose year end goals, so I’ll be taking a look at those.
First, let me catch up on the week. On Thursday I held good on my promise and went to the pool after work. It was a good night to go on as even though there was an aquafit class going all three lanes were available and I had the medium lane to myself. With no distractions I was able to plough through twenty lengths of crawl followed by twenty lengths alternating breaststroke and crawl bringing me to the magic 1km mark. I’m not sure whether to swim for longer in the future or to increase my pace. I think I’ll try and work harder on the first twenty lengths and hold on for longer. I don’t actually know what the benefit of these swimming sessions is, it just makes sense that they’re doing me good. Therapeutically they feel very good for run-tired legs, equally swimming is a good all over workout and if I put a bit more effort in there may be some pay off stamina wise as well. Whatever it is, I’m confident it is a really healthy part of my training so I will continue to develop it.
Distance covered 1km
Friday was the last day in the office before Christmas and we had a lightly boozy lunch before heading home. A slight change of plan was scheduled for Saturday as my son fancied volunteering at parkrun, this would allow us the chance to run there and back. Unfortunately, late on Friday evening a route inspection found large areas of the park under water so the event was cancelled. Rather than head somewhere else I took the opportunity to try a treadmill session instead. I’ve never really used the treadmill in anger since I started road running so haven’t really developed the discipline for it but I fired up the latest Mr Robot episode on my iPhone and decided to see what I could get done in an hour. I set off at a gentle 9:30km/h pace to get my balance before moving up to 10km/h, the first thing I noticed was how hot I was getting. Even just in technical Tee and running shorts I was really working up a sweat, very different to running in the open air. The treadmill had all manner of buttons and switches on it so over the hour I spent a couple of kilometres at a 6% incline and another couple trying to stay upright at 12.5km/h pace. Anyway, the hour passed and while I didn’t quite hit the 10k I was hoping for it was an interesting challenge. I guess running is running but as tiring as this was I’m not sure if it really counts, I’ll include it in my weekly record though. I doubt I’d replace a road session with this but if all else fails and a treadmill session is the only option I’d be happy to have another go.
Distance covered 8.5km
That’s the week done and the final reckoning of the year beckons. No proper long run this week but I’m pleased with how things have gone.
Weekly Training Summary
1 Spin class
1 Yoga class
1 Swim session (total distance 1.0km)
3 Runs (total distance 32.8km)
Current weight 12”13’
So, let’s have a look at those year-end targets I set myself back in week 2:
Goal 1: Lose some weight. I started this process at 13”12’, the heaviest I have ever been. First target is to get back to 13 and then try and push on to 12, which I haven’t been for over a decade. If I can be 12 stone on the start line that will almost be victory enough.
Well, look at that. Sneaked in under the wire right at the end. A long way still to go but I have reversed a trend which, seeing as I’m getting into my fifties now, I’m quite relieved to see. Scope to push on in the new year and really roll back the years. Goal Achieved.
Goal 2: Build long run up to half marathon distance and get comfortable (!) running 20k at a time.
Good news, I did two runs of half marathon distance and beyond. I wouldn’t say either were anything but painfully hard work and I can’t claim to be running 20km distances comfortably but I have normalised running 15-16km. There is still some time in the year to fit in one more genuinely long run but even if that doesn’t come to pass I’m going to say that is Goal Achieved
Goal 3: Stay injury free. Running is a non-contact sport so I’m hoping injuries can be prevented through preparation, rest and complementary training.
Despite a couple of scares and one aborted run I haven’t missed a training run or session through injury yet. I’ve no doubt that I’m just loading up a store of bad luck but equally I’m going to give myself some credit for building in complementary training and exercise throughout to balance out the hard yards on the road. For now, that is Goal Achieved
Goal 4: Maintain enthusiasm. Keeping the focus and progression going through the chilly winter will be vital.
I suspect the hard work here is still to come but I think I’m mentally in a good place on this one. I’ve managed the two long runs without hating the running experience. Recent training over the marathon course has boosted my confidence in my ability to succeed on race-day and I’ve tried to be innovative in my training. Given I don’t have a regular training partner I know I will need to continue in this vein to be successful. The weather has been kind to me as well and while it has often been wet it hasn’t really been very cold. I expect the worst is yet to come and those 20 milers in deepest February will be a fresh challenge. Goal Achieved.
Goal 5: Improved parkrun and 10k times. Not expecting any PBs but it would be nice to start closing the gap.
Mixed bag here. Rather than circling the drain at 30 minutes for parkruns as I have been in recent months my last event saw me home in 27:03, my best of the year, and a few weeks earlier I managed a 28 at a tricky course. Still a long way from my best but clearly moving in the right direction. Other parkruns were not so great so I will have to reserve judgement. I haven’t managed any 10k races since I started training so have no idea if I would have got comfortably under 60 minutes. I have to say Goal Not Achieved here and defer to a later date.
I think all these goals will remain live throughout the rest of my training so I’ll have a little think in January and reset them for a midpoint between now and race-day.
I’m not going to take the next couple of weeks too seriously from a training point of view but will catch up at some point to record what I have managed to fit in. That just leaves me to say Happy Christmas to anyone still reading, and thank you to those who have read, commented or otherwise encouraged me in this process. I have so much further still to go but I feel ready for the challenge.