Archive for February, 2012

Running Post-Christmas

Written February 14th, 2012 by
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So it took approximately 8 weeks to progress from only being able to do 10mins running to being able to do 40mins running.  On July 22nd I’m going to have to be ready to run a marathon which starting on December 26th gives me 30 weeks training.   If progress were to continue to be as slow as my post-Christmas running it would be a tall order, although not impossible.  For me to be ready to run a marathon after a not very leisurely 2.4mile swim and 112 mile bike…. well I’d prefer not to think about that right now!

Having just finished training week 7, I’m pleased to report that progress has been much quicker than I’d hoped and I’m sure that the sensible slow build up pre-Christmas has served me well.  My Christmas present Garmin watch has been invaluable for monitoring what I’ve been doing and also for pacing during my sessions.  Looking back to week 1 when I first used it, I monitored what I was doing for a few 30 min runs – 3.5miles/8:40pace.  That wasn’t too bad as a starting point, but the real aim was to increase the distance so I dropped the pace and tried not to let my hr go to high.  I gradually pushed it out to 5miles, then 6miles so that by the end of week 3 I’d managed the big 8miles.  It was tough and each time I tried to squeeze that extra bit of distance I’d feel the pain.  But I made sure I didn’t do anything silly because making sure I create that good running base over the next few months is the most important thing.  Forcing too much distance or pace at this point is not clever I really don’t want to be carrying any injuries from such an early point.

So the big question I keep getting asked is ‘what pace are you doing?’ Whilst building up to 8miles the pace would keep coming in at 9:10 every time – I’m pretty consistent at least!  Going into week 4 I had a bit of a recovery week and did two shorter runs but this time sticking a bit of pace on it. I went and did a circuit that I’d started on in November that had taken me about 25mins to hobble round in with lots of pain.  Bang!…5mins knocked off that I did 2.6miles in 20min/7:45pace.  The next one was a 6mile loop in 51min/8:35pace which was a big improvement from where I’d been a couple of weeks previously.

Weeks 5, 6 and 7 have been interspersed with keeping pace anywhere between 8:30-8:45min miles for 5-6mile runs and keeping the longer runs at a slower steady pace between 9-9:15min.  The next break through run has come just at the end of week 7 where I managed 10miles quite comfortably at 9:15pace for just over 1hr30.  It’s such a great feeling to be able to do something that really did feel impossible not that long ago.

One of the things I have to be strict about is keeping my training steady and forcing myself to run slower with a lower hr than I’m used to doing.  You always have to keep the long term goal in mind and that is to run 26miles after the swim and the bike.  I’ll never get to that 26miles if I don’t run controlled and within myself.

As for targets, well it’s still quite unknown.  I’ve no idea how much and how quickly I can progress?  9-9:15 pace feels quite good at the moment and I will try to keep that up and extend the distance.  Over time as I get fitter and better I might find a bit more pace on the shorter runs then maybe find I can knock a bit of pace off the longer runs.  But realistically, the pace to finish the marathon at the end of the Ironman can’t be much more than I’m currently doing.  It would be good to know the experiences of other people in their running training, what kind of progress experiences they’ve had etc.  Another area I’d like to look at is body weight and how much difference that can make to running speed.  I know how much 1kg less on a bike can make to speed and power output, but not sure how to quantify it within running.  If I were to get serious I think I could get lighter by 6-7kg and that will surely have a big impact on my running speed!

For now though, despite the cold, I’m having a great time and loving the running.  I’ll post another blog soon and tell you all about my swimming….!!!!!

Running Pre-Christmas

Written February 14th, 2012 by
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Fundamentally I’m pretty lazy and after I stopped cycling in September I didn’t do much exercise for a while. Come the end of October I decided that I really shouldn’t let things slip too much so set myself up in the garage doing a fitness dvd workout called ‘Insanity’. Insanity is pretty much what it says – Insane! I’ve never struggled so much with all the jumping, plyometrics and full body work-out torture it puts you through. Around that time I also decided I wanted to start trying to run. Running is a great way to keep fit, doesn’t cost anything, is time efficient and can be done anywhere – perfect for a busy lifestyle. So that was my plan for the future, to throw in a mix of regular Insanity workouts and runs, and that would keep me ticking over and able to consume the odd bar of chocolate (actually, make that regularly consume big bars of chocolate!) without any guilt.

In my lifetime I’ve done hardly any running. When I was at senior school I was the one who was made to run the 1500m at sports day (the longest track event) because I was the ‘sporty one’. But to me it was ghastly and like running the Marathon. Because it was such a ridiculously long way and took all afternoon, I placed a water bottle at the start line so I could drink after each lap – laughable I know! When on the rowing team we would at random be made to go running. I was the worst in the team, it would be agony and my heart rate would be at maximum just shuffling along very slowly. A few years ago I attempted a bout of running training in order to get the benefits of some cross training. But my efforts were futile because I could only get as far as 30mins maximum and that was with the last 10mins being an agonising hobble because my knees or hips would be giving way.

So at the beginning of November I decided I was going to have one last attempt to beat my running phobia and try and become a better runner. This time though I was going to do it properly. None of this thinking I was a fit athlete and should be able to churn out a 30 min threshold run just like that. I was going to take it incredibly slowly and build up steadily so I began with a very easy 10mins. At 10mins my knees were feeling it and when I stepped it up to 15min I had to stop and walk the last few minutes home. A few days later I tried again, I managed 15mins and only got pain just at the end. A few sessions keeping it at 15mins and it started to get easier so I pushed it out to 20mins. When 20mins was ok I’d look to extend it in small increments, always finding that I would go through the same scenario of stopping with pain, walking the rest, recovering for a few days and trying again. It was a slow but controlled, sensible build up of running to get my body accustomed to it and with a diligent stretching routine I gradually made progress and could focus on increasing the speed I was doing these short runs at. It was just before Christmas that I hit the 40min marker. This was a massive break through for me – I’d never run continuously for that long ever!

Around this time the thought of doing an Ironman as one last sporting challenge had been floating around. I guess having run 40mins and enjoyed it (something I hadn’t ever thought possible six weeks previously) gave me the positivity and motivation to believe that anything could be possible! Just before Christmas I signed up to do the Ironman and firmly laid it down as a goal to achieve. My Ironman training officially started on December 26th and with my new Garmin running watch I started my run training with the aim of turning that 40min achievement into a 26mile marathon achievement.

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