Mid Week Runs

I think I’m starting to like the idea of getting a run in while working from home.  This time I braved the cold and headed out after the kids left for daycare and before settling in for the days work.  It was still damn cold, so I trialed a long sleeve top I had bought during the recent 2XU flash sale.  Bargain – $100 top for $40!  The fabric felt quite heavy, so I wasn’t sure what it would be like for running in but figured it was a good time to try it as I wouldn’t be too far from home.  Plus, if it worked, it would come in handy for the weekend run up in the Blue Mountains.

The top was magic!  Even before I started running I didn’t feel cold.  The long sleeves with thumb holes, I could pull right down over my hands and kept them toasty warm too.  I kept it on for the first 4km before heating up too much, then a double knot around my waist and I barely even noticed it for the rest of the run.

A 10km run was on the schedule, easy pace but I didn’t feel like doing the flattish runs from last time around, so I plotted out a hilly route to see how much more elevation I could add after my last hilly run.  It started out easy – 2kms of flat and downhill.  Third kilometre kicked things up a notch being pretty continuously uphill, starting with 300m at average 9% grade.  After that there was a bit of up and down and it took me through some pretty suburban streets in perfect weather.  People nodded hello, there were autumn leaves still in the gutters to crunch through, a garden of beautiful smelling lavender and minimal traffic.

A wrong turn had me facing a very steep hill I wasn’t’ prepared for which had me walking once I hit the top (I was determined to run up the damn thing, but my heart rate was telling me to slow down by the end of it).  Then, a slight reprieve before the final long, steep hill and then two blissful, easy, flat kilometres home.

It felt like a much hillier run than the previous week, so I was pretty disappointed to see that it was only about 15m more of elevation in it than the 6.5km run the previous week.  I probably pushed too hard again based on heart rate, and my pace was slower than my goal, but it was a good run.  I felt strong, the daily calf raises are definitely helping and my fitness hasn’t dropped off too much with the reduction in weekly runs.  The time was pretty good too – only a couple of months ago this would have been my time for 10km with barely half the elevation.

Numbers

  • Distance: 10km
  • Elevation: 152m
  • Time: 1:16:11

Now we’re half way through the year, I’ll have to do a post soon to see how I’m going on my goals for the year.  But first – the annual Turkey Trot.  Approximately 12km up in the Blue Mountains waiting for us.

Finding the Hills

The first couple of weeks of the training plan have me back at shorter distances for a little while.  Which is a good thing, since it feels like I’ve barely run at all for a month or so.  I’m still struggling with the colder weather and fitting in my runs.  My plan on how to manage it was good, but the reality of living in a cold house is making it a bit harder.  It’s tough to talk myself out into the cold for a run when I’m inside and cold to the bone already and know that after the run there’s no nice, warm house to return to.

Last week I managed a couple of runs – one on the treadmill, a quick intense interval session.  Mid-week I worked from home and headed out for a local 45 min run.  I’m lucky to have this option and with the commute time removed I can fit in a run in my lunch break and still get my hours in.

The lunch time run was my first outdoor run since the NOSH and my first steady run in ages.  The plan was for 6.5km at “recovery” pace which has sped up to 7:10/km.  I plotted a route on google maps around my suburb taking in as many hills as I could without doubling up anywhere.  Perfect planning had me finishing at the local shops (to pick up lunch) on target for distance and with close to 140m elevation squeezed in.  Some of those hills were hard, but my goal was to keep moving, don’t stop, don’t walk and don’t push harder on the flats and downhills to “make up” time.  I ended up averaging a 7:30/km pace, but with that much elevation in it I’m not going to lose any sleep over it!

Unfortunately, since then I haven’t run.  The weekend was perfect weather, but Saturday morning was freezing cold (for me!) and then the day got away from us.  Sunday was spent in recovery mode after a big night out – first hangover in absolutely years – ouch!  I “should” have been back on the treadmill last night, but home life with kids got in the way.  I’ll probably head out for a run again tomorrow when I work from home – a full week since my last run and with an event this weekend that we’re completely under prepared for.

Back on the Treadmill Again

Well, I didn’t get going on the day I wanted to, but I got there.  Treadmill run at lunch time today while working from home so that I could squeeze it all in.  Started the program with a bang – I’ve increased my paces for intervals by two levels in the Nike training plan which made for a pretty full on session today.

Tempo pace, which was my “easy” today has increased from 7:10 to 6:30min/km.  Fastest intervals were kilometre pace, which has increased from 6:15 to 5:35min/km.  I didn’t do this exact session last time around on this plan, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but intervals last time were always relatively easy.  I don’t think that’s going to be the case this time!

I have a couple of sessions to catch up on, but if I can squeeze one in every other day for the next week I will be all caught up.  Good things about my run today were my heart rate recovery between intervals was great dropping back under 120bpm every time and usually a lot less.  My cadence was also looking good with my fastest intervals jumping to about 170spm on average – so much better and I wasn’t even focussing on it.  I’m also looking forward to seeing the impact the faster interval sessions will have on my pace overall!

What’s Coming Up?

Confession time – I haven’t been for a run since the NOSH event.  We even just had a long weekend, which usually means a great opportunity to fit in two longer outdoor runs – this time, nothing.  I’m not injured, the kids aren’t sick, we didn’t have plans that stopped it from happening, I just didn’t want to.  So I didn’t.

But, that has to change.  It’s 14 weeks away from my first official half marathon event.  I’m going to give the same training plan another go and this time I’m going to stick to it and try not to make the same mistakes again.  I need to actually DO the simple strength training, stretching and foam rolling my body needs to keep running.

So other than a half marathon at the end of September, what else is lined up?  (Because with orienteering going on, there’s never just one event within a three month period!)  In three weeks is the annual Sydney Turkey Trot – a line course orienteering event usually taking in urban bushland, but this time up in the Blue Mountains.  Assuming we can get baby sitting lined up, we’ll be up for the medium course (approx 12km) again.  There’s a 6 hour rogaine in Canberra in mid-August that I’m trying to sort out too.  The in-laws are lined up to come down with us and look after the girls while we do the event and we can all hang out together the rest of the time and get to check out some of the fun things Canberra has to offer.

Hopefully we can get along to a few other smaller orienteering events in between these and, despite the half marathon being a road race, I’ve eyed off some local trails I haven’t been on yet to check out for some of my longer runs.  I need to get back on trails again – my mind doesn’t get the same refresh from the road runs that it does from an hour or two on the trails.

Now I just have to make sure I get back on the treadmill, starting tonight!

Lessons Learnt

Some big lessons, some reminders and some things I really should know better after last weekends trail race.

  • Don’t ignore your asthma, just because it’s seasonal, mild, whatever. You have it.  Carry a puffer. Don’t be slack with taking the preventer.
  • In preparing for a hilly trail race, run hills and trails in training. To be fair, I knew this  and had planned more hills and trails. Calf issues early in the year and achilles pain more recently had me pulling back on this and running mostly flat road runs. Which would have been great for a flat road half marathon. Not so much a lesson as a reminder that the way my training went meant that while I am fitter this year, I’m still not trained for the terrain. It did at least have me fit and able to run, rather than injured and having to sit it out completely, but I was never going to get my time goals training this way.
  • Strength training will help! Yes, of course I know this. But I’ve never had it thrown in my face quite so effectively 🙂 Those calf raises, squats and bridges my physio keeps telling me to do? I need to start doing them. I worked out a bit too late the perfect time to do my calf raises – while I wait for the train in the morning on my way to work. Every day from now on! Now to find the perfect time for the others.
  • Sort out fueling. My husband told me after the race that I need to start fueling earlier as I was getting snappy. I think my first thing was less than 40mins in though.  Personally I think I just don’t like people talking to me when I’m not in the mood for it as I often do runs over an hour without anything. But I do need to sort it out, I just didn’t prioritise it. Work out if trailwind, nuun, whatever, work for me and test them – preferably before I hit a trail with no nearby toilet stops!
  • Make sure I get out on the course a couple of times in training where possible. I had been on the first part several times in the past six months which made it a comfortable, known section. While this is our third year running the event, having a couple more outings on the latter parts would definitely help.

Plenty to work on for next year and I’m sure it will help with everything in between as well.  There were some things I did right as well though, so maybe they will make it for another post.  Next up, Sydney Turkey Trot on 2nd July!

April-May Stats

Well, it’s been a while since I looked at my stats for a month.  The last two months have been my biggest ones so far – even with a few skipped runs this month due to the wrong shoes.  So, with no further delay, here it is!

April

  • Distance: 85.6km
  • Elevation: 873m
  • Number of runs: 10

May

  • Distance: 75km
  • Elevation: 559m
  • Number of runs: 8

That’s 160km in two months!!!  That’s huge for me.  Two years ago I was lucky to hit 30km in a month.  I’m now kicking close to 600km in the last year.  Even better, my new shoes arrived yesterday so here’s hoping for more pain free running in June.  But first, on Sunday, there’s the NOSH 16km trail race!

Shoes, shoes, shoes…

About a month ago I had to admit that my trusty Brooks road shoes were on the last legs.  It was time for some new shoes.  While the Adrenalines were generally comfy and didn’t give me any issues, they did give me a few hot spots and the last rogaine gave me a couple of blisters.  So I thought I’d check out some other shoes and see if I could find something that fitted a little more like the comfy slippers that were my trail shoes.

Tried on a few different ones and it came down to the Brooks Ravenna and Asics GT-2000.  In the end, I decided to go with the Ravennas.  My first run in them was amazing, it was fast, comfortable and I felt like I was floating.  Next run, not so good.  After only 4km my knees started aching, by the end of the run my knees hurt, my shins ached and my hamstrings were tight.  I put it down to doing my longest run to date.  The last two weeks the only runs I’ve done are my long runs on the weekend as my legs have been so sore.

Finally clicked that it’s probably the shoes – they’re great shoes, just not right for me.  So, a new pair of Adrenalines is on the way (I considered the Asics, but maybe next time) and I ran todays long run in my old pair.  Soooo much more comfortable, fast and no pain.  Just happy, tired legs.  Can’t wait for the new pair to get here!

Still Running…

It’s been a busy couple of months with starting a new job and still trying to find time to get in 2-3 runs a week. The training is going well and while most weeks I’ve managed 3 runs, some it has only been one or two while I gave my body a rest due to a niggle in my calves or pushed my way through the usual autumn colds.

My longest run was 17.5km two weekends ago and boy was that one tough! Getting the trots around kilometre 15 sure didn’t help, especially when I was still 1km from the nearest toilet. That was a pretty desperate time and I was lucky to make it… I’ve stuck mainly to road runs with only one or two longer runs on trails as they seemed to stir up my achilles and I didn’t want to risk being out of action for the final run. My physio helped to sort things out and reckons I’m good to go, so I’m glad I got on to it before it all went bad for once.

There have been good runs – the effortless 8km one Friday morning with brand new shoes – and bad runs – the slow, painful first time I ran 13km – there have been boring runs – treadmill intervals anyone? – and fun runs – 16km from Balmoral around to Sirius Cove and back with my husband on a sunny Saturday morning. My most recent 13km felt great and was 30 seconds per kilometre faster than the first time I did it four weeks earlier, so obviously something is working!  I was supposed to run today, but my legs are a bit achy after the physio dug into my calves yesterday, so another rest day might be in order instead.

I have a draft of my rogaine report from April that I wrote shortly after the event which I’ll get posted soon too and hopefully I can keep on top of posting here again.  It’s been a bit quiet on the orienteering side of things since Summer Series finished at the end of March and I’m guessing it will continue to be a bit quieter over the winter months, although we hope to get along to a few events we’ve made it to the last two years as well.  There’s also another asthma update to be written and the Great Nosh Footrace is less than two weeks off – then we’ll see if the training has paid off!

 

Training Plans

Four weeks in to my chosen training plan and I would say I’m going “ok”.  I’ve managed the three core runs each week (except for this week!) but no extras and I haven’t stuck to it 100%.  But that’s ok and I’m happy with what I’ve been doing and my legs feel like they’re getting stronger.

Most weeks I’ve managed a 45 minute orienteering run which I’ve counted as a “Speed” session along the lines of a fartlek/interval.  Although with my toe still in recovery mode I’ve been taking it a little easier and am just getting back to pace on these now.  There’s been a treadmill session each week which has mostly been intervals. My paces on these are based on a line I semi-randomly chose from the Nike training plan based on one of the only times I’ve done a straight 10km run and my currentish 5km road pace.  I’ve been finding these a bit slow and the intervals a bit easy, so I’ll probably increase these paces a little over the next few weeks.

Then there’s the Endurance run on the weekend.  I think I’ve done one of these properly which was last weekend.  The first two weeks I was supposed to do a 6.5km slow and steady – one week I did trails and the other I was on a girls weekend away and managed to squeeze in a fast 4km instead.  This weekend I’m a bit under the weather, so chose not to run.  So the only real one of these I’ve done is last weekends 10km.  I didn’t want to run the hilly 10km my husband heads out on most weekends, so just did a flattish out and back instead.  It’s a long time since I did a 10km steady run – in fact, I’ve only ever done it twice before!  I slowed right down and managed to keep moving the whole way (minus two pauses at traffic lights).  My other goal was to slightly increase my pace as I went which I also succeeded with!  Every kilometre in the second half was faster than every kilometre in the first half with kilometre nine being my fastest.

Now it starts getting a bit more focussed.  The speed sessions get a bit more intense and I’ll be increasing the pace as well.  The long runs also get a lot longer quite quickly, jumping from 10km to 13km next week and 16km the following week!  The treadmill is definitely getting some use.

Coincidence and Training Plans

I’m currently bang in the middle of two weeks work free while I’m between jobs.  I had grand plans to do some runs in different locations or even put in some decent length hikes, but the broken toe put paid to those plans – for the first week anyway!

So I’m trying to make sure I don’t waste all of my time and wrote a ridiculously long list of things I wanted to achieve across the two weeks.  Within that list was to find a training plan so that I can try and make sure I’m ready for the Nosh Footrace this year.  Both times I’ve run this I’ve ended up with horrible cramps in my achilles and really struggling – but this is my year!  Using trusty old google search, I quickly discovered that there weren’t too many free pre-written training plans for a 16km (or 10 mile) event.  The 5km, 10km, 1/2 marathon and marathon are extremely well catered for, not so much the less “standard” distances.  After scanning over a few of them – one had me running only 3 times a week, one running every day and the length of plans ranging from 8 weeks to 16 weeks I opened up the Nike 10 mile training plan to take a bit more of a look.

Gotta say, it looks pretty intense!  Taking a closer look it breaks down into 3 “workout runs” each week and 4 “recovery” days which can be either shorter run or no-run days.  This could actually work pretty well.  I’m going to have to review it all and make some changes based on the fact that I’ll be doing a trail run and I’m pretty sure this is written for a road race, but I think it’s a good starting point.  It’s also a 14 week plan, which I thought was probably a good idea – a longer plan probably eases into it a bit better for me.  So I checked my calendar to see how far off the Nosh is – it will be exactly 14 weeks from this Sunday!  Couldn’t have planned that better if I tried – coincidence?