Thursday, March 16, 2006

Beaches, Hills and Swims

Last week I was working away from home. I was working in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, but I was staying in Whitely Bay nearby. Two reasons; I hate staying in the city, I like the hotel (mainly becuase of it's location - by the sea!).

I always run when I'm up there. I managed two runs in the 2 nights I stayed.

On Monday evening I ran an 2.5 miles overdistance (level 1 heart rate max 129bpm). The 2.5 miles is along the costal edge over grass and promenade, accross the causeway and up to the lighthouse. I always run right up the ramp and make sure I touch the lighthouse (as long as the tide is out). It makes me feel as though I've done it properly and not cheated. On the 2.5M way back I ran intervals. 1 minute at 70% effort, 1 minute recovery, all the way back. I've also been focussing and practicing my breathing paterns. I switched between 4x4, 3x3 and 2x2. The 2x2 (2 strides, breath in, 2 strides 2 breath out) when I am running at fastest pace.

I've had issues with breathing rythym for a long time now, so I'm making an effort to concentrate hard on it until it becomes second nature.

On the tuesday evening it was very cold and very wet. I'd guess a few degress below 0 with wind chill. Never one to be accused of being a fine-weather-jogger I dressed for the occasion, complete with hat, gloves and windproof jacket and set off on the same route. However this time I got the urge to drop down to the beach. So I did and ran on the hard packed wet sand, pebbles and boulders. This run was an endurance run both ways (139BPM max heart rate). On the way back it was tough to keep my heart rate under target as I was running into a fairly strong headwind. However, I did enjoy the run on the sand and i'll do it again next time I'm up there.

On Saturday I did a walk as usual. I walked 9 miles accross Apedale to Silverdale and back. I've been running through what I thought was an abandoned industrial estate in Silverdale for a couple of years now. All the buildings have been levelled and there are just concrete footings left. I took a slightly different route through the ruins and spotted a caged off mine-shaft entrance. I then realised that this was of course the former Silverdale Mining Coliery site. How stupid of me. I should have known this as I'm fairly local and i've run this route many times. Of well you live and learn, and i'll keep and eye out for deep holes when I run there in future!

Sunday I stuck to my training plan and did 1hour 40 minutes overdistance. Wearing my Raidlight back pack it is very hard to keep my heart rate down to below 129. I have to jog very slowly (about 4.9 - 5mph average). As a result I only covered about 7.5miles. This seems awfully slow, and I feel guilty but I stuck with it.

Tuesday this week I did a short overdistance (1.5M) run down to Apedale. There I found myself a very steep grassy hill. It's steep, but you can just about run up it without loosing footing too much. I then did 20 minutes of hill intervals. Wow, did this beat me up. I launched at the hill, about 70% effort and it took about 20 - 30 seconds to climb, I then jogged slowly(or walked) down to the bottom and repeated. I guess I did about 9 reps (but it felt like a hundred). I reach 175BPM by the peak which is over 95% heart rate. I worked hard and it really took a lot out of me. I then jogged back, but I was worn out so I had no chance of keeping my HR down to 129. It was above 140 most of the way, mainly becuase it was all uphill on the way back... erm.. I think some better planning required for next weeks hill intervals.

I sat thinking on Tuesdsay night. I was a little concerned that all of my runs (apart from the intervals) were at level 1 or 2 heart rate. This makes for very slow, very easy runs. The book says that this is fine, it is building my base fitness etc. However, I just had a nagging feeling that I was loosing my speed. I've never been a fast runner anyway. A 10K undulating trail race before xmas took me 52 mins. Granted I had an injury and had to address my foot problem a few times during the race and stop. anyway... I decided that instead of 50 minutes overdistance I was going to do 50 minutes at pace. I picked an undulating (very long steep hill involved) road route that ended up being 5.1 miles. I completed it in around 41 mins. Average 7.3mph, 8:10 minute miles. I was pretty happy with that and I've not lost my speed. I'll drop in the odd pace run during the next few months of base training, just to remind myself to run quick.

I also managed a swim tonight too. First time i've managed it, but I'll get it in regulary now as I like the idea of a little cross training. I'm not a fantastic swimmer. I can swim lengths of the pool, but with no finesse at all. No technique, head above water all the time etc. I'm starting on the blue (stage 2 of 3) training cards at the gym. Stage 1 is too easy, even for me.

Todays swim consisted of 22 lengths of the 25M pool using various strokes and also a pull buoy to imobilise my legs and make me focus on arms. To be honest I wasn't that good, my technique was still rubbish. I'll keep trying at it though!

Next week is week 4 of my first 4-week cycle, which means consolodation. All my running times take a dip to allow time for my body to repair and get stronger. I've posted a picture this weeks and next weeks schedule up there on the right.

Speak to you soon...

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