Training week -14 begins

13th January 2020

I’m into week three of the training plan now and I still don’t feel like I’m getting it. For the first time I actually had a look at the introduction section of the VLM plan and there’s a whole section about the different kinds of runs I will be doing as the weeks progress. I’ve heard mention of these before and for those who have followed other training plans they will probably be familiar but to be honest I don’t properly understand them. There are the Easy Runs at less than 60% of maximum effort up to Tempo Runs around the 80% mark with Steady Runs in the middle. There is also the Long Run for endurance with the opportunity to practice your target marathon pace, but no mention of relationship to maximum effort. Surely marathon pace is my maximum effort otherwise I’d just go quicker.

OK, so what is maximum effort? Is that sprinting? I assume not, so does it mean my current PB pace at particular distance. I do a lot of parkruns over 5k and I know my current best pace is around 5:30 m/km but for 10k races last summer I was closer to 5.50 m/km. If I take my 5k pace as maximum effort then for an Easy Run this would mean, what, running at 8:00 m/km? For Tempo Runs it would be closer to 6:30 m/km and both of these seem slow for training purposes. Or is maximum effort more subjective and relative to how hard I think I’m working, how do I judge that?

If I take my marathon targets as representing my effort levels then it looks more like this. My baseline target is 5 hours, this will require an average pace of around 7:00 m/km. My stretch goal, having seen the course and throwing in a little ambition is 4 ½ hours requiring a pace a little under 6:30 m/km. Surely all my training effort can’t be done slower than that. I want to follow the training plan but I just don’t feel I’m quite getting it yet. For now, I’ll continue as before with tempo pace for those runs between 4-8km and steady pace for those between 9-15km, all relative to my best 5k pace. Any runs over 16km will be treated as long runs with pace dictated by conditions, gradients and increases in distance. If I fit in any events in the build up these must be at maximum effort presumably.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at the VLM Beginners Training plan for Week 3:

DayVLM Training PlanWhat I did
SundayREST DAY – You’re doing a great job. The more you do the easier it feels! Steady Run 65 minutes, 10 minutes brisk walk (10km)
MondayRUN/WALK 40 MINUTES – 5-minute walk, 30-minute easy run, 5-minute walkSteady Run 35 minutes (5km)
WednesdayRUN/WALK 50 MINUTES – 5-minute brisk walk, 40-minute easy run, 5-minute brisk walk 
ThursdayREST DAY 
SaturdayRUN/WALK 80 MINUTES – 10-minute walk, 30-minute jog, 10-minute walk, 20-minute jog, 10-minute walk 

Rather than go to my usual spin class on Sunday morning I decided to take in a run while my son was at hockey training. The last time I did this route was at the beginning of December when I really hurt my ankle and had to cut the run short. I still don’t know what triggered that but it was good to be back to this route as it makes for a very pleasant run. I’m going to call this a Steady pace run, I worked hard but still had some gas in the tank and included a lengthy warm up / cool down walking section to top and tail it.

Distance covered 10.1km

Monday should be a rest day but I couldn’t help going for a quick run around a local loop before finishing the day with a yoga session. I probably should have made the run at Tempo pace but stuck to a comfortable Steady level as it was my third running day on the trot. I’m due a rest day so will probably skip the club run tomorrow and aim for a long run on Wednesday. I might also get my bike out for a ride this week as I haven’t used it for a few months now, maybe I’ll scout out some longer routes in the process.

Distance covered 5km

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