The Scribbler

24 July 2010

Great North Run training – 8 weeks to go

Filed under: run,training — The Scribbler @ 17:22
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I could hardly believe I’d run my longest distance of the year to date last Sunday as there were no signs of aches (even the good ones) on Monday morning. My legs felt fresh and I began to congratulate myself on how strong and fit my running had become and remind myself that the slower pace and a day’s rest beforehand may have played a part in that. I’m sure the company and post race fuelling helped too.

I’d already decided to mix up my training days this week, and was half-minded to throw in a run on Monday evening, to test my ‘legs feel fresh’ theory, but I remembered the benefit of that reluctant day’s rest before my long weekend run. And when it came to it, by the end of a busy day at work, the effects of a later than usual bedtime caught up with me, and although my body felt fine, I was tired. With the rain pouring down, and a muzzy head, I opted out of my planned kettlebell session and settled for an early night.

Tuesday morning, I’d dithered over the options. Wake up and run 10k before work, or drop my car off at the garage and run a similar distance into work. I woke before the alarm and peered out to see grey, overcast skies and light drizzle – good running weather. So up, kit on, ready to go.

As I opened the door the rain was bouncing off the pavement. But I’d dithered enough. A quick dash back upstairs for a light jacket and a cap and out, before I could change my mind again.

I actually like running in the rain, provided it’s not too cold. I’ve gone out in the drizzle before and been caught in a downpour, but I’ve never deliberately headed out when it’s been pouring. The cap did the trick of keeping the raindrops off my glasses and I enjoyed the slightly crazy solitude of a run, splashing through puddles, surrounded by the soft grey damp of the coast.

One solitary fellow runner smiled and shouted “It’s a lovely day for it,” as we passed in opposite directions.

By my half way point, the rain had eased and the sun was braving the grey clouds. I paused at a bus stop to de-steam my glasses and decided to take off my jacket as the sleeves were clammy, wet and sticking to my arms.

I was happy to see my fellow runner on the way back, enjoying the improving weather as we waved and said hello again, both satisfied that we knew what we’d been through to get there.

That run gave me energy. Energy enough to plough on through a good chunk of work, and energy enough to tackle that kettlebell workout in the evening – even if the rain did chase me indoors for the final set.

And so to Wednesday and the session that I know I can drop if I need to, and probably will over the next few weeks. But I do enjoy my boxercise class. It’s always a whole body workout and it’s a good way to get rid of any frustrations and untapped aggression. This week we did a circuit style class and kept changing partners, so at one point I was with a big guy who punches hard. So I was really chuffed when we got to the push-up station and I managed to keep going, while he had a little rest.

My training normally builds towards Thursday morning and the best session of the week with my PT down the beach. This week I had to remember that I still had a run to do on Friday morning, so I asked Ian to leave me with something in my legs.

I love training with the kettlebells. They really do offer a full body work out. They’re relatively simple to use and I like the fact that you’re not isolating muscles, like you do using weights machines in the gym, but using your body more dynamically, like you would do naturally.

We had a really good session, with a lot of combinations of exercises that kept me moving, and tested my brain and co-ordination. I switched to a lighter weight for some of the exercises and it was amazing how easy it was to move it around after being so used to my 12kg.

I also got absolutely covered in sand as it was as blustery and chilly as a November day down on the beach. I poured piles of it from my shoes before I headed home, but still managed to create a mini seafront in my bathroom as it escaped from my top, my socks, my hair… it was even in my ears (don’t ask).

Friday morning was the first time I’d attempted a run the day after a PT session. A nice cool morning and good conditions for a 10k. My glutes and hips were a bit niggly to start and I had that ‘oh so tedious’ conversation in my head about whether or not I would make it within the first mile or so.

I’m always in danger of overanalysing, of trying to work out all the what-ifs and in my mind I was running through all my training permutations, trying to find the perfect solution. What if I ran Monday, Wednesday and Saturday? Should I drop boxercise? Sure I can cope with doing it, but it all adds to the cumulative effect. I’m normally better when I allow myself more rest and my focus now is on running. Or should I run Tuesday, Friday, Sunday?

That kind of stuff doesn’t really help, so I had to consciously remind myself to relax, not fret so much, keep it steady, roll out the feet, stretch out the legs. By the time I got to the turning point I was in a more relaxed and positive frame of mind, so I picked up the pace a little. Having done that, the challenge was to keep it going and run the return leg faster than the out leg. There may have been a little wind assistance, nothing particularly noticeable, but I did. So that bodes well for pacing longer runs and the big race.

And so today, finally I am actually pleased it’s a rest day. That does have something to do with me dancing around like a lunatic at the Newcastle Arena last night. My legs were definitely saying ‘Are you mad woman? We did six miles this morning. When will you give us a break?’ Can I log major bouncing up and down for a good couple of hours as cross training?

Still, looking forward to a long run tomorrow.


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