Saturday, March 25, 2023

Back On It

So, with my lighter week out of the way, it was time to get back to the grindstone. I started the week with a gentle treadmill and bike session. Into Wednesday and I ran a favourite of mine. The 'race prep' treadmill session at 2% incline. Three sets, consisting of a 4-minute effort at 105% race pace, 90s recovery at 65% and five 30s/30s efforts at 110%. It felt hard but there's definitely more to come. I think it'll be four sets next time out on that one.

Thursday was a short but killer bike session. It didn't sound killer, but I didn't read the stats. It started with a three-minute interval at 120% ftp followed by eight 1min/1min efforts at 110%. I almost died on that first interval. I had to set a new 3-minute power pb in order to complete it! The eight reps were hard but nothing like that first one.

On Friday I took a rest day in preparation for today's longest long run so far, weighing in at 14.6km and 300m of ascent, mostly on the road. With the recent rain the woods round here are operation bog-fest, so I avoided that. Finished off with a gentle 25 minutes on the bike. It'll be an easy jog and easy bike tomorrow to round out the week. It won't be too long till I break the 20km barrier....

Monday, March 20, 2023

Slightly Quieter on the Western Front

After completing my comeback last weekend, last week's training was lower intensity as my thoughts now turn to the next goal. Obviously, I'm looking to keep nudging the 5k time downwards. In theory, having done some calculations based on my all-time PB a sprinkle of age grading and other such b*!!*(%s, it should be possible to approach 20 minutes.... but I think that's too ambitious. Old father time is continuing to march on, and by the time I'm trained to get there, the age-grading will have moved the target. So instead of setting the myself the potentially impossible, my goal on the 5k front is to keep knocking out some 5k specific training and see where it takes me. I'm also going to start looking at the 10k. Forty-five minutes by sometime in the Autumn? And of course, there's the holy grail of getting back to the mountains. I'm thinking June for that....

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Felt a Bit Flat....

After smashing my target last Saturday. A target I wasn't sure I could actually reach. If I'm honest, back in May when the mission started, I didn't really believe I could achieve it. It felt impossible but as the months progressed it seemed more possible, but I still didn't really believe.

The moment I knew. The moment I really knew, was New Year's Day. After an autumn and early winter spent exclusively on the treadmill, I ventured back out into the real the world. It was a run in Sidmouth. An unexpectedly hilly run. An unexpectedly hilly run that I managed to run in its entirety. No stopping. It was at that moment I knew I was back. I knew I still had work to do but I knew the target was going to be hit. 

So, after all that. The culmination of ten months of training. Ten months of blood, sweat and tears - without any actual blood or tears - I felt a little flat Sunday...... for all of about a day! By Monday, having taken it easy Sunday, I was back on it with an interval session on..... yes, you guessed it, the treadmill - well, somethings aren't going to change....

Twenty-minute 5k here I come - and you can take that to the bank....

Saturday, March 11, 2023

And Now It's Official

It was the day of the parkrun 5k. My race marshalling duties had been cancelled due to the snowy conditions in the mountains, so I had no excuse. I chose the Mallards Pike parkrun and I can't believe I felt so nervous. I was definitely feeling the pressure. I was feeling a ton psychosomatic niggles. My left calf felt tight. The soles of my feet felt achy. On the warmup jog over to the start I felt I was getting a stitch. It felt like it was all going Pete Tong. I knew it was all in my mind but that didn't stop me feeling the symptoms.

As the start approached, I tried to calm my nerves. I shook out my ever-tightening muscles to loosen up and tried to think happy thoughts. I had an ambitious time of 23:30 in mind. That didn't help to reduce the pressure. 4:42 pace. All I could do was believe in the training...

Without further ado, we were off. I'd forgotten how much of an incline the first half is. It's not fell running steep, but it is definitely 'adjust the pace' steep. I didn't and my 4:43 first kilometre was too fast. On the upside all the psychosomatic niggles had evaporated so I was glad of that, at least.

My second and third kilometre splits were not good, 5:06 and 5:01. I was beginning to panic. They were uphill but that didn't stop my demons. I had a lot of time to make up and despite knowing it was all downhill, I was on the ropes and taking a pounding.

I battled on. I wasn't losing without a fight and thankfully kilometre number four took me somewhere towards redemption in 4:19. I was blowing. Heart rate was 170. A few runners came tearing past, but I hung in there for a final 4:18 and crossed the line in 23:19 so it all worked out all right in the end but by 'eck I thought I'd blown it there for a while.

Onwards and upwards from here....

Thursday, March 02, 2023

I Have Returned

I didn't set out targeting it tonight. In fact, I wasn't feeling it after a long day at work with an early start and almost didn't get out at all. The old me wouldn't have. The new me, did. I decided to jog the local loop, which weighs in just under 6k.

At the first timing point - even on a jog, you've still got to gauge things - despite feeling slow, I was 12s up. A fluke. I pootled on. At the second point I was 25s up. It was there I knew I couldn't let the opportunity at a quick time slip. At the turn around I was 38s seconds up. Hitting the last timing point I was a minute and 14s up. I finished the 5.8km in 27:40. A new loop pb by 1 minute and 21s. More importantly the average pace for the loop was 4:47km/min which is comfortably inside 25min 5k pace.

So I know it's not an official time (although it is on Strava!) but technically I ran 5k inside 25minutes. The official time has to wait a few more weeks but in reality, I covered the first 5km of tonight's run in about 23:55 so I know I've done it.

When I started the comeback 10 months ago, I was so pathetic I honestly didn't know if I had it in me. I was so slow. I couldn't run continuously for more than a couple of minutes. It seemed an impossible goal. But tonight, the culmination of 10 months hard work has seen me hit my goal.

This is only the beginning, though. Obviously, I'll need to clock an official 5k time but from here the real hard work starts...

Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Setting the Bar Too Low

Monday was, once again, my official rest day. Tuesday, I completed the final Zwift Academy run training session, number seven. I felt a little tired so I plumped for the 30-minute version, and it was comfortable, even at 3% incline, so maybe I should have manned up - not that it's legal to say that anymore - for the long version.

Up Today was the penultimate Zwift Duathlon bike/run of the season. My bike was a little down on normal. I couldn't seem to get into a rhythm. I've set my trainer difficulty a little higher to more accurately map to 'real life' and somehow the flat sections didn't bring the respite I was expecting after the climbs. Anyway, I was on my game for the run. Well, almost. Yet again, I didn't have the belief at the start and set my bar too low. With kilometre splits of 5:21, 4:54 and a final 4:31 I could have gone further with a more confident start. I did clock my furthest distance to date in the fifteen minutes, but it could have been so much more especially as my heart rate was 7% less in zone 4 than last time. I definitely should have gone out harder. I've one more shot this season...