As those who have read my earlier posts will know my training took a bit of a knock and I lost 5 weeks at a crucial stage through injury and illness.
Since then I have been running for 3 weeks and my fitness had taken a huge hit. It felt like I was starting again as the running felt hard, even though my pace seemed ok it was tough going.
Losing 5 weeks of a plan the advice is always to not try and catch up... never extend your weekly long runs by more than 10% blah blah blah..
I was never very good at taking advice. Looking at the time I had left I basically threw my plan away. I started running what I thought felt right. When my plan said 5.5 miles I did 8.5... when my plan said 17.5 miles... if I didn't feel my fitness up enough I shortened it to 16.
Anyway, so last weekend I took advantage of being in London on Monday and did my long run then taking in parts of the VLM course but only able to do 15.5 miles.
Since then I put in a 10k lunchtime run on the Thursday which was a slow 45 minutes. I felt sluggish and my shins were both feeling sore making me wonder about overdoing it and getting shin splints. I just didn't feel any energy in the legs.
Sunday was a busy day, I had errands to run taking up most of the day but I was able to get out for a long run in the afternoon. The sun was shining in Plymouth and it was a joy to put on shorts and short sleeves. The sunglasses even came out!
My plan said 18.5 miles but I had thrown that out of the window long ago. So I set off on my favourite route. Its a long slog uphill to start with and I could feel my legs getting heavy, my left ankle was hurting and I started to worry that I was making a mistake. Where I normally turn off to head back I decided to say stuff it.... I kept going uphill further away from Plymouth and out on to Dartmoor. I had to run on the road facing traffic as there was no footpaths... A bit hairy with car going 60mph towards me in a steady non stop stream (think the whole of Plymouth had spent the day on Dartmoor).
I ran uphill for 10k then turned down towards the village of Clearbrook which sits at the very top of teh Plym Valley cyclepath. I wasn't looking forwrad to the next section which was a rough stone track for about a mile or so before hitting tarmac... but to my surprise I saw that in the last week they had extended the tarmac to cover this last mile and it was very freshly laid (the tarmac machines were still sitting there). Such a joy to run on fresh virgin tarmac!
By this point I started refuelling with an isotonic drink (I took one bottle carried with me for the whole run) and a half pack of shot blocks (3 blocks) I had with me (the jelly babies in my back pocket were my reserve stash).
I ran through the old railway tunnel and past the old station platform at Bickleigh and I felt good. My legs didn't hurt any more, the tunes were kicking on my ipod and found myself in a complete state of euphoria... I had reached that peak of Runners High and it felt AMAZING!!! I could hardly even feel my feet touching the ground... almost marshmellow like...
After a couple of miles I noticed my splits coming in aroudn 6:35 and it felt good.
When I got to the end of the Plym Valley I looked at my Garmin and saw that I hit 13.1 miles in 1:30:12 (my fastest half marathon to date had been 1:30:14). I couldn't quite believe that I had just beaten my half marathon PB during a training run... a run that involved nearly 1000 feet of vertical ascent and one where I had been faffing about with my phone camera trying unsuccessfully to video the tunnel section (I pressed pause instead of record... dufus!)
So I cracked on through Saltram Estate up a rather horrible hill before meandering back towards the city. As I hit 16 miles I made a decision to run further... but my calves and hamstring were beginning to tighten up and I could feel the effects of running too hard.
Out came a handful of Jelly Babies and I consciously slowed my pace (to around 8 min miles) as I didn't want to risk popping or tearing anything.
I finished with another horrible hill before finally recording 20.5 miles.
Click the link to see the route... and I have pasted my splits. All looked really solid up to 16 miles so I figure my fitness must be coming back.
5 minute ice bath is a painful pleasure but I am a convert!!
Really looking forward to next week which I'm going to use as a recovery week!
|Split||Time||Moving Time||Distance||Elevation Gain||Elevation Loss||Avg Pace||Avg Moving Pace||Best Pace||Calories|
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