5 years of running….

Happy New Year to you.

New Year brings resolutions and new plans and post Christmas, my attention was drawn back to the 5k pb I had been chasing.

I have been running using the 3/1 run/walk method pretty consistently for a while now, but happily I was also able to still pull a continuous 5k out of the bag from time to time (but it feels pretty hideous so I’m not keen to do it too often). I was keen to see if I could break my 5k pb time (previously 37.01 which had been in place for a few years) and really wanted to give it a go before the end of the year. When running, the “3” part of the 3/1, is actually quite fast. Occasionally, some of the pace splits even starts with a “6” (which is a speed unheard of in trundler world) but without the walk break I am unable sustain the speed but I also needed to. Basic maths followed that if I shortened the walk break, I should get a significantly faster time overall.

On the 29th December, conscious of the goal I had set myself, I put my headphones in and set off to run 5k. My plan was still to run 3 minutes but to shorten the walk break to 35 seconds. For the first 3.5k, although it felt like hard work it was manageable, but over the final 1500m I struggled. The walk breaks elongated a bit here and there to 45-50 seconds and this definitely was NOT part of the plan and so I was conscious of the time over the final 500m and had to abandon a walk break altogether to succeed but I was ecstatic to achieve a 5k pb of 36.50. It had felt like it was impossible at the beginning of last year, but I managed it. However, I  was also annoyed that I hadn’t stuck to my plan which would have undoubtably seen me run an even faster time.

The first time I ever ran was 3 January 2016 and this is my “runniversary”. It was around this time that I also started writing this blog (is this my bloggerversary too?) After the cancelled Kelston 10k, I was still determined to run a 10k on my 5 year runniversary and happily DB Max (the company that ran the triathlons I did last year) were putting on a 10k up at the Castle Combe race track. I signed up, along with Merida, my husband (who has recently started running again) and my eldest daughter, and we arrived on the 3rd January ready to run.

It was freezing, I couldn’t feel my outer thighs and bum cheeks for a good 2 hours after the race finished, and these were not the best temperatures for a PB chase, but, as we lined up (6 runners setting off every minute adhering to extremely strict covid rules) I resolved to give it my best. My plan was exactly the same as it had been for the 5k pb chase, except I was not to deviate AT ALL from the 35 second walk breaks. As usual everyone set off much quicker than I with husband and daughter disappearing into the distance with worrying speed. My daughter, whose goal had simply been to finish without walking, managed to complete the 10k in 59 minutes. She is absolutely amazing and I am very proud of her.

The 10k was 3 laps around the course and I made a simple promise to myself to focus on each 3 minute run at a time and not walk longer than the allotted 35 seconds. I had made a playlist of songs (these were permitted but I only wore one earphone so I could hear any marshall instructions) and timed it so that the “Theme from Top Gun” would be playing as I crossed the finish line – I am nothing if not theatrical. I set off and the plan worked. I REALLY wanted to look at the time as I passed the 5k marker, but didn’t in case it messed with my head – if I was going really fast, my legs might “hear” and then refuse to keep going as they would be “tired”. If I didn’t know, I couldn’t react – so kept going 3 minutes at a time. Soon it became apparent that I was the last person out on the track, which I will admit, was slightly disheartening, but when the results were posted, the chap that won ran it in 31 minutes, which is frankly ludicrous. This was a fast field and as I had been so focussed on my 3 minute runs, I hadn’t really noticed them as they have lapped me.

As I came into the final straight, I realised that the Top Gun theme wasn’t playing and so I HAD to be ahead of time. “Shouty Dave” the famous marshall (called Dave and he shouts encouragingly) was cheering me on along with Merida, husband and daughter and although I was last, I gave the final straight my all. I finally finished in 74.18 minutes. The relief flooded over me as I was given my medal (and a bottle of beer – well done DB Max) and I cannot verbalise how happy I was. My previous 10k pb was 78.56 and so I’d taken 4 minutes and 38 seconds off. I’d also further reduced my 5k pb again and so now it stood at 36.07. Let me tell you, run/walking works!

I was tired though and spent the afternoon snoozing on the sofa. It had felt good to put the effort in and finally, get a faster time….AND A MEDAL. It felt like a good solid start to the year and this year I have plans for races, covid allowing.

But now it was time to turn my thoughts to triathlon training as my base training plan which lasts for 6 weeks, before the Olympic triathlon plan starts, kicked in the following day.

The problem was, that running a fast 10k on the Sunday and then the country being placed back in national lockdown again on the Monday evening, has impacted my first training week somewhat.

I plan my overall training plan for each month and then break it down week by week, sometimes things get moved about if I have work calls/meeting that run over lunchtime/before or after work, but on the whole the weekly plan, SHOULD be set in stone. It doesn’t always work out like that though…..

This has been the last week:

MONDAY PLAN: Yoga 30 mins + spin 30 mins

MONDAY REALITY: Ate chocolate and was depressed about lockdown.

TUESDAY PLAN: Swim + run 30 mins 3/35

REALITY: Lockdown meant the swim was cancelled so managed a spin 20 mins, run 30 mins 3/1

WEDNESDAY PLAN: Weights 30 min + spin 40 min

REALITY: felt tired so 10 min spin + 25 mins of weights and over 1 session not the two that were planned.

THURSDAY PLAN: Pilates 20 mins + 40 minute run 3/1

REALITY: Was knackered after work and did nothing

FRIDAY PLAN: Planned rest day

REALITY: When I did nothing yesterday I bargained with myself that I would do yesterday’s session today and so just swap the rest days – erm…that didn’t happen. I worked all day and then did nothing – well actually I started watching Bridgerton on Netflix so it wasn’t a complete loss.  

SATURDAY PLAN: Run 40 minutes easy 3/1

REALITY: No running but went for a lovely 10k walk with the Red Lady

SUNDAY PLAN: Bike/spin/turbo 90 mins

REALITY: Wore my running kit all day (whilst watching Bridgerton – it’s very, very good) and then after procrastinating all day, finally dragged myself out for 5k just as it was getting dark.

So I did exercise, but not enough according to the “Pre-season base training triathlon” plan I am following. Obviously lockdown has put a spanner in the works as the swimming pools are now shut, but I really need to do better.

Today it’s Tuesday in the next week and my legs are already killing me as this is the plan for this week:

Monday:              Weights session 30 minutes + Spin class 45 (10 min warm up, 30 min spin, 5 min cooldown) 

Tuesday:              Run 5k 3/1 + Pilates 30 minutes

Wednesday:      Spin 40 mins (HIIT style) + Yoga 20 mins

Thursday:            30 min weights + Run (warm up, sprints, cooldown)

Friday:                  Rest

Saturday:             10k run

Sunday:                bike/spin/turbo 90 minutes                        

It’s also my birthday on Saturday so all bets are off for Sunday’s session but I will do my best. I will report back in a week or so. Stay safe out there lovely people.

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