Training Diary #1

The more I run, the more I care about running.

The more I care about running, the more likely I am to read/watch/listen to other people talk about running, and having done that a lot this week one of the things I’ve picked up on is the idea of creating a training journal, not just to log mileage (our watches/phones do that job for us anyway, right?) but more to appreciate all the effort put , and the progress made, especially when the going gets tough.

Since I’ve got this blog, I figured could do that here.

So, the week.

It started off with an easy 4 miles which, actually, wasn’t so easy because I decided to splash around in the mud at a local country park, but I needed to break in a new pair of trail trainers ahead of a friendly cross-country league race next Sunday – which by all accounts is a muddy, messy, brutal affair despite the so-called-friendly nature of the league.

Tuesday was at the track, where we began with 2.5 miles of steady/fast running on the grass ring surrounding the track itself. The idea was to sustain a pace which we could run for 50 mins, and I knocked it out in 6:30s thereabouts. On the road I could run for 50 mins quicker than that, but the undulating grass course sapped my legs quickly and I struggled to kick up into a higher gear. No matter though, because we got a chance to open up on the track afterwards with 4 x 300m.

The next day I took a steady 7.5 in preparation for a high mileage day on Thursday. An easy treadmill 5 in the morning warmed me up for a hefty session on the track in the evening: 5 x 300m with 90 seconds recovery between each effort / 4 minutes rest / 4 x 300m/ 4 minutes rest / 3 x 300m. This was certainly the hardest I’ve worked since coming back onto the track for training and my head was swimming and legs were shaking by the end of it.

This, I think, was a Good Thing.

Friday I took off, and Saturday I put in a slow to steady hour, just about getting in 8 miles as I broke in another pair of trainers (Saucony Freedom ISO 2) which I intend to use for faster, shorter road races, and also track training before I switch to spikes when the warmer weather comes.

That supposedly easy run was a bit of a struggle, but it did prep me for Sunday where I did a 95 minute steady run, clocking in 13.35 miles and averaging 7:07/mile.

This, I think, was also a Good Thing.

Beyond the coming Tuesday on the track, my upcoming week is going to be about keeping it chill, and staying as fresh as possible. The race on Sunday is going to be gruelling, there’s no two ways about that, but if I can freshen up and stay fit then I’ve got a good chance of finishing in the top 20, and no matter what I’ll be celebrating with a cold beer at the end – Dry January is coming to an end, and frankly I feel like I deserve it.

In all it’s been a tough week. I’ve been toeing the line between pushing myself, and over-training. I’m self-aware enough to see that now I’ve got the long run in the bag I need to cool off in order to race hard next weekend.

It seems like a silly thing to worry about, but it can be easy to get carried away and to see the benefits of big workouts without giving enough regard to the risks which come with them.

I’ve got a plan for the next three weeks, and I’ve been sure to put EASY in plenty of times. It’s one thing to proclaim the benefits of easy running, and another to actually do it once you’ve got your trainers, and your watch, strapped on, but there’s the immediate gratification of a hard run finished fast, and the long term gratification of biding your time, and taking care of your body. You can’t keep the burners on all the time.

This time next week I’m hoping to be able to come back and say that I kept my word to myself, and saved the fire for the right occasion.

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