Running Post-Christmas

Written February 14th, 2012 by

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….!!!!!

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