Pushing my running limits

Blog post

Running tired

I'm trying to get back in to the swing of things now the new year has started, that's from a blogging point of view and my running. I hadn't planned to blog again before Broxburn XC on Saturday but I just felt like it. 

I mentioned in my last blog that my weekly mileage is up at 60 miles just now and it's feeling comfortable, that is true as far as, I have a routine now and that allows me to get 60 miles in without too much disruption to home life. This week though is the first that I've had tired legs for pretty much all of the week. 

Monday wasn't too bad and and even Tuesday's track session was a boost. 6 x 1 mile reps (5:51, 5:49, 5:52, 5:50, 5:49, 5:48) but then Wednesday's morning run was a very easy run, average pace was 8:11 for 4 miles and then then 8 mile run home averaged at 7:49 minutes per mile but it felt like a real effort to run at that pace. 

At this point I know some of you will be thinking that even 8:11s are a fast pace and this is when I take a look back at where I started. 1 mile at 8:11 would have been a dream for me when I first laced up my trainers as a 18 stone individual. To knock that out as a slow run now after a tough track session shouldn't be sniffed at, I know. 

Last night, I headed up to the Meadows to train with the Edinburgh AC squad that meet there every Thursday evening at 7pm. I did a 2 mile warm up to see how my legs were feeling and I felt good. When we were put in to groups by pace, I opted to go for the 33 - 36 min 10k paced group - pushing my fitness and pushing myself. 

The group did the countdown 3, 2, 1 and we were off, the first rep was to be 3 minutes, followed by 1 minute recovery then a 2 minute rep and then a 1 minute rep, repeat 4 times.

That was the plan. I couldn't keep up with them even for the first rep! It was fast and my legs were saying no, so I dropped back to the second group which I imagine would be 36 - 38 minute 10k pace and that was better. I was still pushing myself but I was part of the group. 

Afterwards I found out that the 33 - 36 paced group had a 31 minute 10k runner in it! No wonder the pace was fast!

There is pushing your limits and knowing your limits! 

Train slow, race fast

I've had advice via the comments on this blog before about slowing my longer runs down and I'm finally understanding it - and listening to the advice. 

I just said that the Wednesday runs were slow but that is exactly what I need to do, slow it down, do the miles but take longer. The body can't take a beating day in day out, especially when running 6 days a week. It needs recovery time. The slow runs give the miles but keep the pressure off the fast twitch muscles, giving them time to recover and grow stronger. The slow runs build the slow twitch muscles up. 

I mentioned my slow run to a couple of people at training last night and one guy who is a good fast distance runner in the club, mentioned that his morning runs can be 8:30 minute mile pace and sometimes it's the same for his longer runs at night as well. 

The key for this year is to listen to all the advice people have been telling me for a long time and do slow runs. Tuesday and Thursday evenings are where the speed comes in but the rest of the time it will be endurance rather than sprints!

Slave to the Garmin

I'm a slave to my Garmin, I admit that and that is part of the problem when trying to run slower. I don't like to see a slower pace on my watch, it puts my stats off but really I should ignore that. Speed is for races, not every day training. I'm going to start running by feel, if it feels easy then slow it down a bit more so it's really easy. I'm going to turn my default screen on my Garmin 610 to the time or something non-pace related. That way I can still log my miles on Strava but not get bothered by what average pace I'm running at that exact moment. 

Tonight will be the first run with this plan in mind so I will see how it goes. The good thing is, with Broxburn tomorrow, I won't want to go hard as I was to feel fresh for tomorrow. 

"Have the day off then!" I hear you say, I would but, due to missing one of my runs on Monday, I need to get 3 runs in by the end of the week as part of my Jantastic goals. This is probably the sort of time when things like Jantastic should take a back seat but, I'm part of the RunningBeside.me team and I don't want to let them down by missing a run. 

30 mins this evening, nice and easy will be fine! 

My next blog will be the Broxburn Cross Country race report. 

Owain Williams

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