Wednesday, 11 January 2012

I was aiming for 45 minutes, but achieved 45 minutes 3 seconds - my 10km tempo run

I am currently in London, staying at my sister's house in Streatham.  As you would imagine I would do, I brought my running kit with me so that I could take advantage of my time and not miss out on any training.  At first my plan was to go for a 21km steady run, but I woke up pretty late.  Rather than go for a 21km run and then most of the day would be gone, I chose instead to go for a 10km tempo run.  I wasn't too sure about this plan, as I only just did a 30km on Monday, so I figured my legs may still be pretty jaded.  All the same I decided to stick with it.

Now the other day I did a time close to 46 minutes for my 10km run.  I wanted to try to knock that down a bit to 45 minutes.  After a warm up jog I went down the road to Tooting Bec Common and prepared my mind for a 45 minute 10km attempt.  It is a nice park and there are plenty of off road opportunities to avoid some hard impact on the legs.  It has rained recently though, so the paths are a bit muddy.  For this reason I stuck mostly to the asphalt but switched now and again onto the muddy paths just to shake things and keep my mind fresh.

I set off fast and I was a little worried I was going to blow up long before the end.  I eased off the gas ever so slightly and after a few minutes, my breathing and heat rate settled down and I got a nice smooth rhythm going.  One lap of the common turned out rather conveniently to be 2.5km, so that allowed me to get a feel of where I was and how well I was doing at each stage of the run.  By half way my time was almost bang on 22 and a half minutes so I knew that 45 minutes was achievable, although it would be tough because I had been working hard in the first half.  By the end of the third lap 45 minutes was still within the realms of possibility so I pushed hard into the final lap.

I was breathing really hard the whole last lap and my legs were burning.  I didn't want to push too hard until the very last few hundred metres as I really didn't have that much left in the tanks.  When the final few hundred metres came I looked at my watch and saw it was going to be very close.  I gave the last spurt I could and kept looking at my watch.  With 50 metres left I realised I had mistimed it ever so slightly and that I was going to be a few seconds over my target.  The final time was 45 minutes and 3 seconds and I am pretty happy with that.  I may even be able to go under 45 minutes as early as next week just by better pacing.

I will be staying at my friend Pete's house in Bracknell tonight, so if I am lucky I will get a nice run in Bracknell forest tomorrow.  I love the scenery around Zurich but it is always nice to have a change from time to time, and in Bracknell forest I have no need to run on the asphalt at all, with acres and acres of woodland to run around in. I have biked there plenty of times, but I don't recall every running there before, so it will be fun I am sure.  Then at the weekend I will be at my parents' house in Wales, so I will get a chance to run in the woods of the Wye Valley.  Anny has also signed up for a 10km run and so is running regularly too, and she is coming to join me in Wales at the weekend, so I will see if I can drag her along with me.

Speak to you again soon
Paul Gump

Monday, 9 January 2012

Completed back to back 30km runs meaning weekly milage is 112km

Aching, tired, challenged, buzzing, runners high, sleepy, alive - these are all words to describe how I feel right now after just completing my second 30km training run in 2 days.  Whilst the 21km back to back run felt absolutely fine, this one really challenged me, so I will keep the distance of my back to back runs like this for a few weeks, to give my body some time to adjust to these new demands.

Last week I did my back to back runs on Tuesday and Wednesday, but because I am going to the UK tomorrow, I wanted to get my back to back runs out of the way for this week.  Yesterday I did the first one and today I did the second one, so tomorrow I can rest, which is good since I am travelling.  What that means however is that within the span of one week (last Tuesday until now) I have managed to run a whopping 112m, exactly half the distance I will need to run in the MDS.  I had no idea I had run that far until I was looking through my Garmin Connect Activities, after having uploaded the latest run from today.

If my body feels okay tomorrow, and no sudden pains appear, then things are looking really good training wise.  Naturally I do expect some soreness though.  I have to go now, and try to ingest plenty of protein and carbs, take my hot bath and do my stretching.  I just wanted to share this great news with you first.  Thanks everyone for your ongoing support, even if you only read this blog, it is great to know that there are people out there reading it.  Thanks again.

Milage ramp up - 30km run yesterday

Written yesterday so please excuse the use of the present tense for something that happened in the past:

I woke up with my mind set.  Today I was going to run 30km do or die.  The weather was crap once again, raining and dismal, but I didn't care.  I put on plenty of layers, thermal top and long sleeved top and tracksuit top and waterproof jacket over that.  I wore tracksuit bottoms on my lower half and covered my delicate swanlike neck with my sexy Buff tubular.  I was now ready to hit the road, armed only with myself and my trusty Garmin GPS.

The first few kilometres I had a four legged friend with me, Negrita the mini Schnauzer, but she soon showed her disappointment with the weather, and after a little less than 4 kilometres it was time to take her home again.  After a quick covert operation to get her back into the apartment without having to go up the stairs myself and break up the rhythm of my run, which involved the use of the house speakerphone to give Anny the secret codeword for the operation to commence, I was off again by myself.

I hadn't planned my route and it was all pretty much off the cuff and free will and all that.  My free will took me down to Central and then made me follow a tram up to the zoo.  I begged my free will not to make me do so many hills but it just wouldn't listen.  Once up at the zoo I wondered where it would take me next.  It was taking me towards Dubendorf and out of the forest and back onto the roads.  Enough was enough I told myself - my free will should not have its wicked way anymore.  The woods is much softer on my joints than the tarmac roads.  From then on I stuck to the forests as much as possible.  I was heading towards Pffanenstiel at one point and then I diverted my course to head back towards the Dolder, through some horse country.  There is a nice looking restaurant near the Dolder that I have passed several times now, and each time I think it seems like a good place to go for dinner.  The name of the restaurant is Adlisberg and maybe I should give it a try one of these days, although money is tight at the moment what with being a full time athlete and not winning anything.

After gingerly taking the downhill from the Dolder to the lakeside, trying to minimise the slap slap of my running sneakers on the ground as much as possible, I headed back towards home.  But alas the distance was only going to be 22km.  That simply was not acceptable - I had promised myself to do 30km.  So despite being pretty tired and feeling like putting my feet up on the sofa, I diverted my course to avoid home and headed instead along the Limmat in the direction of Baden.  I was no longer the only runner in sight - along the river seemed to be the place to be.  My pace was slow and steady, but even at this pace the small uphills were hurting me bad.  Not the kind of pain that comes from injury, but the kind that comes from pushing your boundaries.  The battle was on - mind over matter, and there could only be one winner - my mind.   When I reached the turning point (near the island where people sunbathe naked in the summer) I was as happy as a pig in poop to be heading back towards home.  The 4km distance became 3 and then 2.  Now it was time to up the pace a bit, to make those tired muscles fire on all four, to teach them to work despite the fatigue.  The last few kilometres I was cruising.  I had found my cruise control.

Arriving back at home, I reached immediately for the protein shake.  Getting some food and protein into your body after such effort is paramount to the speed of your recovery.  After the protein shake I woofed down my dinner, had a hot bath and did my stretches.  I had done as much as I could do to limit the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) the following day.  Only time would tell how I would feel the day after.