Christmas training

28th December 2019

As we entered Christmas week my training expectations were low but I will try and get some runs in and maybe some time at the pool as well.

Now that the whole family has broken up for Christmas we headed off for a couple of days to the New Forest to enjoy some peace before a hectic couple of days. If it was summer we would’ve taken our bikes with us but for now we settled for a gentle hike near Lyndhurst and some nice food at the hotel. On the way home we called in at the Mary Rose exhibition and this was fascinating. I remember being at school as this was being raised in the early 1980’s when it filled the news and a few years back we went to visit when restoration was well underway. Now this work is complete it really is a good place to go and it provides an engaging window into Tudor life. The scientific and engineering achievements involved in completing this restoration are incredible and it’s really worth a visit.

On Christmas Eve I took myself out on a run with my son. The conditions were excellent; a little brisk but sunny and this made it really enjoyable running through the woods. I saw several groups from my running club out and about and we had a good work out. My son was generous and slowed to my pace for the first half but even so he pulled me along quicker than I would have gone on my own. 

Distance covered 8.6km

On Christmas morning we were well organised and had the dinner well underway by 9:00 so took the opportunity to take in a Christmas parkrun. With no gym open my wife decided to join me as well. I thought it would be a quiet affair with just a few families and dedicated club runners but there were over 800 in all, as many as on the best summer Saturdays. The course is all on tarmac for the winter but even so there were stretches under a couple of inches of water which made the start a very stodgy affair. I ran with my wife for the first three kilometres and once I was happy that she would see it through I pushed on at my own pace. My overall time wasn’t great but the last two kilometres were done in 25-minute pace, so I was really pleased with that.

Distance covered 5km

Christmas running related gift summary: Marathon socks / Gel Sachets / Hooded base layer / Jelly Babies

The rest of Christmas day was pleasantly relaxed with no food related dramas or inappropriate presents and with distended bellies we spent the afternoon and evening vegging out on the sofa. Boxing day is traditionally spent with my extended family and as with my dad’s big band gig earlier in the month several generations were represented. There were more than twenty of us and it is always like the busy Christmas’s of my childhood with ‘help yourself’ food and plenty of little ones to play with. My brother and two sisters are spread out over nearly twenty years in age (I’m the youngest) so for the last thirty odd years there have always been babies and toddlers to keep things fun. Now that mine are teenagers the oldest nieces are bringing theirs and the generations move on.

I had contemplated trying to build a long run into the day but the 25-mile journey across south London to my sister’s felt a bridge too far so I took a day off. I’m of the age where my earliest running memories are of the Coe v Ovett rivalry and how they dominated the sporting news and coverage. I remember an interview with Coe where he talked of training on Christmas morning and then rather than relaxing spent the day worrying that Ovett had gone out for a second training session in the afternoon. I do sometimes find myself in the position where if I’m feeling fit and well and haven’t done something for a day I begin to feel a bit antsy, I really need to bottle this enthusiasm for when I don’t have a marathon to aim for. Anyway, obviously I was an Ovett man; he always looked more relaxed and I loved his wave to the crowd on the home straight while Coe always looked so serious. Having said that I ran a fun 1500m race with Coe back in 1981 (I was racing even if nobody else was and I did him on the line) and he couldn’t have been nicer, chatting with everyone and signing everything thrust his way. So, I guess I liked them both.

On Friday the gym reopened and I signed myself up for a 45 minute spin session. This was a different instructor to my normal class and she had a different approach. My normal class has a high level of intensity and variation and really works up the heart rate. This one was much more focussed on resistance and we were constantly encouraged to increase the levels and slow the pace. A very enjoyable class and nice variation. I also took the opportunity to run there and back along a very familiar route just to keep things ticking over.

Distance covered 10km (2 x 5km)

To make up for the missed opportunity before Christmas my son and I volunteered at our local parkrun on Saturday. This is a very busy event and this morning saw 650 or so coming through, strangely that’s 200 down from Christmas day. We were funnel managers and it was a busy role managing the flow of runners through the channels to ensure no congestion built up and everyone was processed in the right order. It did give me the opportunity to run there and back, although my son got the bus home, so I could continue to keep things moving in the right direction. 

Distance covered 9km (2 x 4.5km)

I haven’t managed a long run this week and I’m looking at our planned day trips over the rest of the holiday to see if I can use one to run home from but nothing stands out so far.

Weekly Training Summary

1 Spin class

0 Yoga class

0 Swim session

4 Runs (total distance 32.6km)

Current weight NA

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