Sunday, 2 September 2012

Like a runner.

I had a fantastic training run out yesterday.

After failing to finish the Marathon du Pays Basque, I realised that I needed to change my training if I am to have any hope of doing it another year.

First thing to go was pretty much all the runs on the flat.  I still haven't found an athletics track to use so I'm not eliminating track work, as such.  I just never get to do any.

Replacing it is a core long run (around 21k) each week and a couple of other sessions.  Over the summer, these have been hill sprints of hill repeats depending on how I feel on the day.

The hill sprints session consists of :
  1. 5 to 10 minute warm-up run
  2. Sprint 150m up a trail which is on about a 10% gradient
  3. Trot back down and jog around a flattish area until my heart rate sinks below 150 again
  4. Repeat 2 and 3 above until you think you could do one more repeat but aren't really sure about two.  For me, this is usually 7-10 reps total.
  5. Cooldown with a 5-10 minute jog.
 The hill repeats are simpler:
  1. Run up a hill at a decent pace.
  2. Run down the hill at the same pace.
  3. Repeat until done, using the last descent as a cooldown.
 I have a hill nearby where I can run about 1.3km up at 8% and normally do 3 or four reps in a session.

So yesterday, I finally did a tempo run.  My first ever.  I set out at a decent pace (for me, anyway) on a 5k loop.  The first part covers the uphill of the hill repeats above and then the rest loops across and down some grass trails.

When I first jogged up the hill it took me over 11 minutes and I had to have a rest at the top.  In recent sets of hill reps, that has gradually fallen to 9:45.  Today, I went at it and got up there in 9:25, completing the rest of the loop in a little over 30 minutes.

I felt OK so thought I'd go for a second loop and was staggered to see I made the hill in 9:17.  The rest of the loop was also on a negative split.  I know that this wasn't as fast as the pace for my 1h59m half marathon (in Paris) but this was a training run, reasonably hilly and some on trails and dirt paths.

I am absolutely delighted.