Week 43 – MM

Day 295 – Sunday 22 October

11.2 miles – 8:06

A 07:20 start, so I could arrive at Hanworth Junior Parkrun for 8:55, meant my legs were still creaking when I began my run and it took a few miles to warm up and get my pace to below 8:00. There were a few miles were I could feel a growing need for the loo but my time constraints meant I declined the sanctuary of the public loos in Bushy Park and powered on for another couple of miles until I could resist the urge no more and ducked into the facilities at the Pheasantry Cafe. Which was closed, despite the outside coffee hatch being open!

This left me three options. Head back to Bushy Park toilets, continue out of the park and go home or just keep going to Hanworth and hope the feeling subsides. I chose option two but as I reached the edge of Bushy Park everything had settled down so option three won by default.

Day 296 – Monday 23 October

Run 1 – 5.6 miles – 7:50

This is the first run of a big week. I am hoping to run over 70 miles in a Mon-Sun week for the first time since early 2012. Half term means I no longer need to take my eldest to school which gives me more flexibility with the hours at work and allows me to run more miles! Whether or not my body, already feeling battered from last week’s 68 mile week, is capable is another matter.

When I started the run I was surprised with how good, powerful and fast I felt at the start of this morning’s easy commute to work. I thought I must have been running close to 7:30s but when I checked my Garmin after a mile and a half it was a disappointing 8:00. Oh well. At least it isn’t 8:30s. I finished this morning’s run with 8x100m strides, which, for very good reasons, I had to delay the start of twice. My original intention was to start the strides just after crossing the road in Bushy Park, but that would have meant starting at the very point I passed a slower runner and I didn’t want them to think I was showing off. So I delayed it until after the small hump about 400m down the trail. Unfortunately, this coincided with a faster runner going passed me and I obviously didn’t want them to think I was trying to race them, Therefore, I had to wait until this runner was 70-80m ahead before I could begin my strides. This is what everyone does, right?

Run 2 – 5.6 miles – 8:05

I am starting to feel like a broken man. My achilles are both very sore and the pain is unusually low, at the point where it joins the heel. I am also experiencing discomfort at the bottom of my left foot – I hope it isn’t the onset of plantar fasciitis. The pains subsided as I warmed up after the first mile but after 3.5 miles I felt very tired and then realised my plan for tomorrow is a 4 mile warm up before the session in an attempt to run 12 miles! I can’t do that. It will break me. But I bet I try.

Day 297 – Tuesday 24 October

10.6 miles – 7:58 – 140bpm

In the back of my mind I considered that this might be the run that finally breaks me. I parked up outside Marble Hill Park and began my 2.7 mile warm up to the session location, anguishing over each ache of a tendon, or sting of a muscle. I had exactly the same pains as yesterday’s run home from work – underneath my left foot and also where my left achilles joins the heel.

Despite the pains, I was able to run smoothly and managed the hills without any difficulty. This gave me false hope that the session my be a success. It wasn’t. It was another dreadful Tuesday night session. I didn’t have the strength in my legs to push beyond tempo effort, and only reached that on a few occasions. My heart rate maxed out at 90% on the final 60s rep, otherwise peaked at about 88%. Which at least gave me the benefit of running in a threshold zone but it was frustrating being powerless to prevent the lead pack from disappearing into the distance.

My quest for mileage is preventing me from maximising the benefit of yet another session. And this is the very definition of junk mileage. I will cut back starting tomorrow and replace my planned 10 miles double day to a single 3-4 mile run with stretches, and also reduced Thursday’s 12 mile double day to either a single 6 miles or a double 8 and this should leave me fresh enough to maximise Friday’s hill session.

Day 298 – Wednesday 25 October

3.6 miles – 8:34 – 120bpm

I took my own advice and took it very easy. I didn’t have much option at the beginning as the tightness in my calves reduced my pace to barely 9:00 for the first mile. I felt a strange sensation of failure at having to change my plan and reduce my miles for this week. Which is absolute nonsense because my target is to run everyday and I have already failed that target, and whilst I am still trying to run everyday for the remainder of the year, my priority is now the cross country season. I need to focus on improving, strengthening, and being in the right condition to race the next Surrey League in 2 1/2 weeks time. Yet here I am, feeling a sense of disappointment because I will only run 60 miles this and not 70! Absolute nonsense!

The highlight of my run was lying down on the cricket pitch to stretch amidst the final moments of our Indian summer and observe the clouds. I fully recommend everyone spend a minute this weekend to lie down and stare up at the clouds. It is a completely different perspective to viewing the sky from a standing position, far more beautiful and powerful. I saw a plane fly beneath the veil of light fluffy clouds and wondered if the passengers could see me, just a small, dark, speck, lying on a cricket pitch on the edge of London. And then the plane disappeared into a thicker, darker, lower cloud, frustrating the passengers who had been enjoying their panaromic view of London. It reminded me I need to focus on the bigger picture. The cross country races I want to run next spring are my priority and consistent training should be my current focus, not chasing mileage. It is a seriously bad sign that I am currently unable to maintain 10k effort for more than a couple of minutes. My legs need rest, and they will now get it.

Day 299 – Thursday 26 October

6.6 miles – 7:34 – 141bpm

Yesterday’s short, easy run and stretching had the desired effect and I my legs felt much better this morning. I was curious to find out what shape I am in so decided to run my benchmark towpath out and back route at an easy effort. I last ran this in September and average 8:02 pace. Despite my achilles still feeling very tight and every other step I took feeling a sharp pain I managed to run the first mile over a minute faster than yesterday! My legs felt comfortable and although the pain remained throughout the entire run, I held comfortable and smooth running nearly 30s a mile quicker than my last run. It was relieving to know that I am in a reasonable state of fitness. Hills tomorrow. This could be very ugly!

Day 300 – Friday 27 October

7.5 miles – 7:54 – 150bpm

The sign that my legs are feeling fresher than they have for over a week is that I was confident I can include the 1k tempo warm-up on the streets between the River and Richmond Park, and I did. I tried to hold back on the first hill rep, aiming for 53-55s but managed 49s and then I each successive rep was a bit slower than the previous but I finished with a 50s rep and averaged 52.1s, 0.5s quicker than last week and I felt a lot more comfortable on the downhills, averaging 4s quicker than last week – and yes, I have captured this on a spreadsheet including graphs!

On the bench at the top of the hill that is my turnaround point sat an elderly lady, who was talking to a younger man, standing besides her. They must have thought I was completely mad, as every 90s I appeared at the top of the hill breathing heavier, louder and looking more tired as I weaved between their conversation. For the last two reps they were joined by two others and I just didn’t care who I had to run between to take the shortest route around the bench, I was exhausted!

I followed the hills with some 60s and 30s reps and I am still not feeling comfortable running fast on a bumpy, grassy surface.

Day 301 – Saturday 28 October

9.1 miles – 7:48

This was possibly my best recovery run of the year, perhaps I didn’t push myself hard enough yesterday?

This week started out to be a disaster but with a few days of less mileage I managed to salvage my training and my body.

I have now completed 2000 miles this year, MM.

And there are still two months to go to add the 600 miles I need to hit my 2,600 mile target which I, permaturely(?), abandoned in August.

Weekly totals

  • 8 runs
  • 60 miles
  • 8 leg freshness score

Yearly total

  • 351 runs
  • 301 days
  • 2000 miles

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