Running Off Plan but back on track (Oh and a PB?)

Posted on: 23 Mar 2015

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!

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/726801051

Split Time Moving Time Distance Elevation Gain Elevation Loss Avg Pace Avg Moving Pace Best Pace Calories
1 07:24.3 07:23 1 63 -- 07:24 07:23 05:43 121
2 07:06.7 07:06 1 26 15 07:07 07:06 05:16 124
3 07:18.5 07:18 1 34 -- 07:19 07:18 06:11 124
4 06:45.8 06:40 1 15 9 06:46 06:40 05:54 120
5 07:05.0 07:05 1 16 6 07:05 07:05 05:37 122
6 06:53.0 06:48 1 36 -- 06:53 06:48 05:57 120
7 06:34.3 06:34 1 -- 28 06:34 06:34 05:59 121
8 06:46.2 06:40 1 -- 35 06:46 06:40 05:45 117
9 06:27.8 06:29 1 -- 26 06:28 06:29 :51 109
10 06:37.1 06:33 1 6 40 06:37 06:33 04:58 119
11 06:35.5 06:37 1 -- 15 06:36 06:37 04:44 122
12 06:48.0 06:46 1 13 31 06:48 06:46 04:53 122
13 07:10.8 07:10 1 11 33 07:11 07:10 04:44 125
14 07:24.5 07:25 1 13 -- 07:25 07:25 04:50 124
15 07:28.4 07:30 1 20 24 07:28 07:30 06:19 123
16 07:09.5 07:06 1 6 5 07:09 07:06 05:52 120
17 07:41.4 07:41 1 19 18 07:41 07:41 06:12 123
18 08:03.7 08:04 1 28 12 08:04 08:04 05:23 125
19 08:35.9 08:36 1 26 22 08:36 08:36 05:49 123
20 08:25.6 08:26 1 26 -- 08:26 08:26 07:11 123
21 03:59.0 03:58 0.5 -- 16 07:59 07:57 07:07 61
 Summary 28:21.0 27:55.0 20.5 358 336 07:14 07:13 04:00 2,488

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