The Scribbler

2 August 2009

The training plan

Filed under: Great North Run,run — The Scribbler @ 21:43
Tags: , ,

I’m now half way through the 12 week Great North Run training plan that Ian from Inspire Fitness has put together for me. He’s taken account of the fact that I like to mix things up a bit, enjoy a couple of classes at the gym and make sure I have the strength, stamina and speed to take on the 13.1 mile race.

A typical week goes something like this:
Monday – set of intervals + gym/aqua class
Tuesday – short run (50 mins)
Wednesday – boxercise class
Thursday – PT session / intervals + gym
Friday – pilates class
Sat/Sun – long run (75-95 mins)

The duration and intensity of the runs build up week by week, then eases back for a couple of weeks to allow my body to recover.

Not long ago, I would have looked at that plan and thought ‘impossible’. And when I started out it would have been way too much to take on. But with time and good advice, by building up slowly and focusing on improving my strength, fitness and cardio capacity, that’s where I’ve got to. Hard to believe it’s been less than a year.

My first goal of running 10k seemed impossibly distant at first. I remember getting back to the changing rooms at work, being totally elated that I’d managed to get to the roundabout and back without stopping. It’s about two miles.

And I remember that first 10k very clearly. I’ll never forget it. It was such an important achievement for me. So important to have something positive to focus on on that day. Something that I had control over. And it’s always a pleasure running with Ian.

Most of the time though, I run on my own. And I’ve got better at judging my pace, better at talking myself through a tough patch, better at bringing the odd spots of panicky breathing under control. That’s the benefit of experience I guess.

I’m really lucky to be able to have the time and opportunity to stick to my training plan. It fits around work as I’m naturally an early riser who can head out the door and straight for my favourite coastal run route before breakfast, or skip off to the gym when I’ve finished for the day.

But it’s important to have a balance, not to let the running completely take over everything. That’s why I was quite proud of myself this week when, after a tough Thursday morning training session I headed out early on Friday to do a 30 min set of intervals.

The first time I picked up speed, I ran myself to a standstill, fighting to catch my breath at the end of the two minute stint. I had to stop to get it together. I shook my head, told myself to take it a bit easier and had another go. Same thing happened.

It hasn’t happened for a long time, that scary inability to catch my breath. Running intervals has helped me get used to how it feels to increase my heart rate, but keep going at a sustainable pace. And pilates techniques help me control my breathing.

So when it happened this time, I just shrugged, stopped the stopwatch, took myself off the clock and returned home via a gentle jog along the sand. Not what was in the plan.

It’s good to have goals and targets to work towards, but sometimes, if you genuinely have been working really hard, you need to cut yourself some slack. In the past, I’d have slunk home thinking I failed. This time I just took it easy, and enjoyed a short run. No pressure, no expectations, just me stretching out over golden sands, drinking in the morning air.

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