The Road to Cardiff – Week 3

So with two weeks of training out of the way I’m starting to feel like I’m back in a plan. I do love a plan; all very OCD of me I know, but I find that without a structure to my running I end up just repeating the same old routes, same old paces etc. With a plan before me, I start to push myself properly and see some improvements in pace and endurance. Looking at the plan for this week, I also note that it’s a light one, a chance for the body to catch up with the demands of running 6 times a week. Not only do I get two days off, but no long run on Sunday!!

Monday

The usual start to the week, an easy 5k run. It’s useful at times like these to have tools to compare runs and see if there is any improvement. Using either Strava or Sport Tracks, I can see that the effort taken to do 5k this week at 5:20-odd pace is easier than that taken to do the same at 5:30 pace last week. So that’s a good sign. I can also see in my ‘fitness & freshness’ or ‘training load’ information that my general condition is improving.

Tuesday

This was meant to be a hill sprint session, but the PRR efforts event was a 400m sprint, so I figured I’d substitute one for the other – they are both about pushing my body beyond normal pace, so I’d rather do something like this with a group to encourage my performance rather than go solo. I find it hard to push myself properly when I’m on my own. We began with a comfortable jog down to Miskin Cricket Club, then used a 400m section of track to do a series of sprints with a 1m interval. This was tough! Good tough though. We grouped up by ability so we had some good competition in the groups. 6 reps done, it felt like a good session as I jogged back to Leekes.

Wednesday

This was another easy run. It was meant to be a 5k, but I’m getting bored of the same small loops, so instead I stretched it a little to just over 7k. From personal preference I like to do plenty of distance when I’m in training, so a little extra here and there is not a bad thing. I’m still getting to grips with this new training plan, so perhaps for my next race I’ll build on the core plan a little to add in more long distance runs.

Thursday

Tonight’s run was a simple ‘out and back’ from Leekes up to the top of Llanharry Hill. I was keen to push my pace for this one, and make it something of a tempo run, given the overall mileage this week was going to be pretty low. So I started out at a gentle pace to the join between Pontyclun and Brynsadler, then started to push to the top of the hill. I really gave it everything, and enjoyed the burn as I gradually petered out of energy as I came to the top! A pause at the summit to discuss breathing, stretching and injuries, then a good spurt of energy back down the hill before slowing down a little for a cool-down on the way back.

I was particularly keen to give it a good push because I knew I had two days of rest to come.

Sunday

Today felt perhaps the oddest of all – no long run? This was a 5k run at race pace on my plan. Race pace here means the pace I am aiming for in my target race, so my half marathon pace, or 4:45 min/km.

I started the day with the Cardiff Junior Parkrun with my youngest son Alexander. The rain helpfully gave way just before we left the house, and the run itself was lovely, with just a little spritz of rain towards the finish line. Then back home and setting to some domestic duties before I got out for myself a little later towards lunchtime. I’d planned to run a 1km warm-up, then push for 5k, pause and do whatever was left as a cool down. I’m pretty sure I can usually add 1 and 5 normally, but for some reason today my brain didn’t come out with me for the run, because once my Garmin clicked on to 5k I managed to tell myself that this was job done. So in the end I only did a 4k pace run. Hmmm. Just as well that I’d put in a few extra kilometers here and there this week…

Summary

I am happy that my pace is coming on, and (touch wood) I am not feeling any increase in pain or potential injuries. I now need to get my distance up, whilst keeping up my efforts on pace. The Severn Bridge Half Marathon is fast approaching, and whilst that’s not my ‘target’ race for the year, it is one of my favourites and I’ll be keen to put in a good performance.

On to week 4…

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