Saturday, 12 March 2011

Negrita's best running distance is not 10k it seems

Negrita, my running partner
Last night I wanted to go running but I didn't want to go too far, as I had a bit of a headache, so I chose to do a nice short 10k.  As Anny was out I decided to take Negrita, my four legged running partner, with me.  I knew that she can sprint faster than me and that she can quite happily jog along for 2 hours next to me so I thought she would be fine.

Obviously the 10k is so short that you don't really start off slow.  I can't remember the last time I ran a 10k and timed myself so I wasn't really sure how long it would take.  I saw on the Concept2 forum that a lot of runners mentioned their 10k running time was very similar to their 10k rowing time.  Based on this I was aiming for around 42 minutes.

The route I chose was not ideal for doing a fast time.  The first km is uphill and there are several major junctions where you need to wait for the traffic lights.  Negrita also chose to go to the toilet when I was in full swing around 4km in (next time I do a timed run I will have to make sure she goes to the toilet first).

After the first few km the pace was too high for Negrita it seemed and she started falling behind.  As a result I had to ease off my pace.  Then in the last 2km she made a comeback and was slightly ahead of me.  All in all we finished in a mediocre time of around 49 minutes.  This one should be easy to improve.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Second corporate sponsor and start of more speed work and interval training

To start off with I would like to announce that a second company has come forward to offer some assistance to my fundraising campaign.  Elemis has kindly agreed to donate some products that I can use as a raffle prize, although I have to find out exactly what products they are going to donate and the market value of them.  It is great to get some good names on board though, as then others are more likely to follow.  I am now trying to use this as a selling point.

The other topic is that my training will now shift slightly more towards speed work and interval training, as last weekend's run proved that I can do the distance when the time comes.  I only need to do one or at most two more runs over the 20 mile barrier and the rest will be made up of shorter distances.  I have taken 2 days of rest, except for the Tuesday lunchtime yoga, and today was time to do some more running.  I was wondering how my knee would fare up as it was quite sore on Monday and a little sore on Tuesday but it seemed to prove no problem at all.  I spent a good deal of time stretching after the run and I am icing it now just as a preventative measure.

I went running as usual with my colleagues, but instead of a steady run I decided to sprint off at various stages and then run back towards them, to try and get used to the lactic acid build up.  They in the meantime ran at a steady pace the whole way.  It was the first time I have used this approach whilst running with a group and it worked quite well.  By the end of 4 or 5 of these sprints I was rather tired.  I will most likely use this same approach for the coming Wednesday lunchtime runs.

I actually quite enjoy hill training too, so my next session will most likely be hill training.  It is the same on the bike as well.  Whilst most people see a hill as an enemy, some of us see it as our friend and wish there were a lot more hills around.  Actually one of the reasons I got a little down when I was living in the Netherlands was because there were no hills.  Then I moved back to Switzerland and I was instantly happy again that I had hills to run up and cycle up.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Running over the 20 miles barrier

Firstly before I get started, for any techies out there (I am not thinking of any names in particular Pete), here is the GPS data from my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch  Now let the blogging begin.

As any runner trying to train for their first marathon will know, running your first ever distance over 20 miles is something of a breakthrough.  Without giving your body too much stress and risking injury, which running the full marathon in training would do, running just over 20 miles gives you the reassurance you need, to know that when the time comes you can do it.  I decided yesterday would be the day that I would try it and see how I felt.

The original plan had been to go cross country skiing, but then I realised that my running training is much more important at this stage in the marathon training plan than having fun going cross country skiing.  Actually I woke up a bit later than planned but I wanted to give my body as much rest as it needed before getting up.  Whilst I often skip breakfast I didn't want to do that yesterday, as I knew I would need some calories in me for fuel, so I ate a light breakfast consisting of a banana, a yoghurt and some juice.

I had already pre-decided my route.  It was going to be Zurich to Rapperwil along the Zurichsee.  I could have run half way then turned around and gone back, but it is kind of depressing to turn around knowing just how far it is because you have already done it on the way out.  At least running in one direction it is just a number on the signpost telling you how much further is left and you can break that down into smaller sections.  I found a good way to focus my mind was to run at 10km/hour pace and this way I was able to keep the boredom at bay by monitoring my GPS watch and all the statistics to check if I was on target.   The 10km/hour pace seemed pretty sustainable and I think I could have happily gone on to complete the full marathon distance at this pace.

Originally I had been aiming for a sub 3 hours 30 first marathon time, but due to all the problems I have been having with runners knee and the 3 week break I had to take from training, I am now looking at anything sub 4 hours as ok.  I can always take on a second marathon later, but to risk a long term setback for a short term goal is really not worth it with the Marathon des Sables 2012 firmly in my sights.