Wednesday, 29 June 2011

fitter, happier....

So, after the hedonism of the last week (which is surprisingly tiring actually… all those miles slogging through muddy farmland and standing up for hours on end and stuff. Yeah, especially stuff) it’s back to the old exercise routine. My first 4 miler wasn’t actually all that bad. I briefly escaped the office at about 2pm for a quick trot, and managed to stagger around at the reasonable pace of 8mins23s per mile (with the first mile clocking at under 8 mins before I came to my senses and slowed down a bit). It wasn’t easy, for sure, but given what I’ve put my body through in the last week, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I was expecting.

It’s now less 12 weeks before the Robin Hood Half Marathon on 11th September. Now that I’ve officially confirmed what everyone has known I would be doing for quite a while now, I’ve gone the whole hog and printed out a training programme. I reckon I probably do something around 10-12 miles every week, but I’ve become a little bit stuck in a rut, with most runs clocking in at about the 4 mile mark. I tried to break the habit with a couple of 6 milers before Glastonbury, but I’m smart enough to realise that a carefully considered ramping up of my mileage in preparation for the half marathon is probably a good idea.

I chose the one on Runner’s World with a target time of about 1 hour 50 minutes. I was really happy with my 1 hour 56 minutes when I ran this event in 2009, and if I do the same thing again I will be delighted…. But at the same time, I’m running consistently faster now than I did then, so I think I should perhaps set my training sights a bit higher and see where it takes me.

As the article says:

This band covers beginners and those who have been over the distance once before, in around two hours, and would now like to try for something a little faster. The schedules assume that you have already got into the running habit and are doing two or three miles at a time, about three times a week.

The important thing in this programme is to build up your endurance. The pattern is to keep most of the runs to 20 or 30 minutes, which can easily be fitted into the day, but to do one long run a week. This run gradually increases in distance over the weeks.

The training volume levels out at about 22 miles a week, spread over four runs. On two of those days you should be running easily, recovering from the harder sessions. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that more training is automatically better for you; unless your body is given a long time to adjust, putting in too much training is more likely to lead to overtiredness and injury.”

Sounds about right, I reckon.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
WEEK 1
4M slow
3M slow
4M
3M, timed
WEEK 2
3M easy
3M, with a few 50m bursts
3M easy
5-6M slow
WEEK 3
4M easy
4M, with a few 100m bursts
3M, timed, plus 1M jog
7-8M slow (or 1 hour)
WEEK 4
4M easy
4M, inc several 30-sec bursts
4M
8M slow (or 1 hr)
WEEK 5
4M or 35 mins easy, off-road if possible
4-5M of fast-and-slow, with bursts up the hills (but not down them)
4M or 35 mins easy, off-road if possible
9-10M steady, or 10K race
WEEK 6
3-4M easy on soft ground
1M jog, then 2 x 5 mins fast, with 5-min slow jog recovery
4M easy on grass
9-10M slow
WEEK 7
3-4M easy, off-road if possible
3M, inc a few short bursts
3M on grass
Warm up, then 10K race, then 10 mins walking or jogging
WEEK 8
4-5M easy, off-road
1M jog, then 2 x 7-8 mins fast, with 5-min jog recovery
4M on grass, inc several short bursts
11-12M, as slow as you like
WEEK 9
3-4M easy, on soft ground
1M jog, then 2 x 5 mins fast, with 5-min slow jog recovery between
4M easy on grass
9-10M slow
WEEK 10
3M easy, off-road
1M jog, then 1M at race speed, then 1M jog
2M jog
Race day

So I suppose I officially start training next week.

I’d like to try and keep up a couple of swimming sessions every week too, but I’ll have to see how my body holds up to the additional mileage. Hill interval running worked quite well for me last time too, so I might add some of that in for good measure.

Happy days!

Remember, I’m running this with C and LB to raise money for the MS Society. You can sponsor us here – every penny is appreciated and will help to both fund research and to provide care and support for people with MS and their families.

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As an aside to this, my run on Tuesday might have felt surprisingly good post-Glastonbury, but this evening's swim most definitely did not. It seems that carrying a big, heavy rucksack around for hours at a time really takes it out of you.....

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