So five months have now passed since my last blog, where I waved a fond goodbye to my university days. Back then I outlaid my summer goals of running fast on the track, before turning my attention to the European Cross Country Trials in November. Unfortunately the assault on my PBs that I’d been hoping for never really materialised, with achilles problems and illness robbing me of the consistent training I needed.
Luckily things now seem to be on the turn! Since the start of the new academic year I have found employment as a teaching assistant in a specials needs school just outside of Cardiff. This has given me a consistent routine around which to base my training, something that I was lacking as a student, and which I’ve found immensely helpful. The rhythm of the day is now simple; run number one, work, run number two, bed. I’ve got little energy for much else!
I knew that if I was going to have any chance of making the GB U23 team then I’d have to go for broke and be prepared to take a few risks. With eight weeks to go before the champs, and finally free of illness and niggles, I set out an ambitious plan which involved six consecutive 100 mile weeks before a two week taper. I had previously completed a handful of 100+ mile weeks, but they had always been sparsely peppered within blocks of lower mileage and certainly weren’t the norm. I also knew that there’d be no point in simply grinding out the miles if I couldn’t also complete the hard sessions/workouts needed to run well over 10 Km of mud. I was just hoping that the years of training had prepared my body enough to cope!
I am now glad to report that I am halfway through the tough six week block, and my body has responded even better than I’d hoped. Yes, I am tired pretty much all the time, and yes, some sessions haven’t quite gone to plan. However on the whole everything has gone smoothly, sessions keep improving, and most importantly I am still injury free! Below is an outline of the last three weeks. I won’t go into a deep analysis, but the basic principle has been to rotate between 5K paced sessions to work on speed, long tempos to develop endurance, and then 10K sessions to work on specific race intensity. All combined with lots of easy miles of course!
Week 1 starting 03/10/16
Mon: 6 miles (6:34/M), 6 miles (6:24/M)
Tue : 6 miles (6:51/M), 5x1Km + 5x400m
Wed: 6 miles (6:55/M), 8 miles (6:30/M)
Thu: 6 miles (6:58/M), 8x1200m + 1x400m (3:35 and 65s avg)
Fri: 6 miles (7:04/M), 6 miles (6:58/M)
Sat: 7 miles (6:52/M), 8 miles (6:26/M)
Total = 104 miles at 6:33/M average
Week 2 starting 10/10/16
Mon: 6 miles (6:54/M), 6 miles (6:40/M)
Tue: 6 miles (7:00/M), 4x4mins + 5x400m
Wed: 6 miles (7:00/M), 8 miles (6:38/M)
Thu: 6 miles (6:54/M), 6x1M in 4:52 with 2:00 recovery + 1x400m in 65s
Fri: 6 miles (7:16/M), 7 miles (6:39/M)
Sat: 8 miles (6:46/M), 6 miles (6:36/M)
Sun: 6 miles (6:56/M), Gwent XC League- 4th (5:18/M)
Total = 102 miles at 6:42/M average
Week 3 starting 17/10/16
Mon: 6 miles (6:59/M), 5 miles (6:45/M)
Tue: 6 miles (6:47/M), 14 miles including 10 miles at 5:13/M
Wed: 6 miles (6:54/M), 8 miles (6:33/M)
Thu: 6 miles (7:12/M), 2x2K in 5:56 + 3x1K in 2:58
Fri: 6 miles (6:53/M), 6 miles (6:30/M)
Sat: 6.5 miles (6:47/M), 5×6:00 of undulating XC in spikes with 2:00 recovery
Sun: 8 miles (6:42/M), 6 miles (6:29/M)
Total = 104 miles at 6:32/M