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Winter Training Diary – 14/11 – 11/12

Before I blog about my race win yesterday, I’d like to bring you up to date with how my winter training has been doing. Last week as I’ve previously mentioned was my first cut back week. During the winter period I’m doing 4 build up weeks, followed by one cut back week. The next cut back week will be in mid-January. Again the aim will be to have a race at the end of the cut back week. However let me bring you up to speed….

The winter training kinda started earlier than planned. As regulars will be aware my training for a target 10k had gone really well, it included PB’s at a mile, 3000m and 5 miles, plus the win at Holmfirth. The only thing it lacked was the 10k race at the end. This was due to illness for Abbey Dash & work commitments for Cheshire 10k. So having cut back for both races, I opted to use the week between Abbey Dash and Cheshire as week 1 of my winter training. Every cut back week I will drop down to the mileage of week 1 so that is 50 miles.

I began the week with aim as I said to do Chester, so Monday I did an easy double day of 4 and 5 miles respectively. Tuesday has now become my mainstay midweek run of 10 miles+ done with club members. This allows me to catch up with club mates and get some miles in while keeping pace easy. These runs are really helping me build a solid endurance base. Wednesday we got SNOW! OK it wasn’t bad but it had put a dusting down on the hills. I had 6 on the plan and ended up running into Hillsborough and decided to turn it into a progression run. It allowed me to test the chest and shake the cobwebs off. Thursday I couldn’t make the track, so opted to do a solo road speed session of 12 x 1/4 mile sprints with recovery coming off, the passing traffic meant I set off every time a car passed me, it meant the recoveries varied and kept the session interesting. By Friday I realised I could no longer race Saturday, so arranged a long run with others, to free up Sunday. We clocked a hilly 12 miles and meant I could race Sunday. I found the Catforth 5k race. I set a new personal best at 5k finishing 5th in 17:12. You can read my report by clicking here.  I did an afternoon 5k to give me 51 miles for the week.

So with that week done and a brand spanking new PB at 5k, I start the following week on a big high. Week two of winter, was a case of more of the same. Monday was another double day of 4 and 6 miles, with the 6 miles run at 20s off target marathon pace. Tuesday another easy 10 mile club run, Wednesday was 6 easy in the morning and then 4 miles at around marathon pace in the early evening. Thursday kicked off with 3 easy in the morning and I finally managed to get to the track but it was closed due to a private event. So we had to take to the local roads. We did 8 x 625m reps at the side of the canal, was a solid session with plenty in group to keep the quality on all the reps. I did plan on doing a parkrun on the Saturday but instead opted to do my long run on the Friday.

I got my wife to drop me off and I then ran back home, taking in the hills of Penistone and the surrounding villages. This gave me Saturday off. Sunday I found an indoor race at the EIS in Sheffield, so opted for this race and set a new 3000m PB before doing an easy 5k in the evening. I ended the week with 58 miles.

Another week in the bag and despite the increase in miles, I actually felt fresh come Monday morning. I had finally learnt to keep my easy runs easy, thus allowing me to increase the miles without breaking my body. This is one thing that happened when I attempted to train for a marathon this summer. Week 3, was a case of eat, sleep, run and repeat. I won’t go back up to 7 day weeks, the body needs at least one rest day. At the moment it works for me to keep that to a Saturday. Allowing me an easy run on Friday and then a race or long run on Sunday. I do have some Saturday’s lined up later on in my plan but they have a specific reason. Week 3, was double days on Mon, Wed and Thur. I opted to not do the Winter handicap instead sticking to the 10 miles. On the track it was 1000m reps. I had a solid session with all run faster then 3:18. First time I had run a set of 5 as fast. However I kinda over did it as my right calf was sore, so any plans on doing owt fast at weekend was cancelled. Not worth risk, I opted to do easy 8 miles Friday to loosen the calf up then arranged a long run with club mates. Nearly 10 of us met up to do 16 miles. However we got split up on the big hill to Bolsterstone. My group ended up clocking anything from 12 up to 16 miles. The other group got 16 and one guy ended up doing 22 miles!!! The calf was OK and meant I clocked 61 miles for week.

Week 4 was the final build up week in terms of mileage, it also had a race at the end of it. I was going to put my training under it’s biggest test. Was my body able to clock 50 + miles and then race hard at the end of it? The week kicked off with a visit to the track to see what running 6 miles at marathon pace felt like, most people would think it torture, I actually enjoyed it and clocked 6 miles in a steady 40 minutes. After that I did an easy 4 in the afternoon. Tuesday I did 6 miles in the morning and then  I took the club run on Tuesday night, doing the usual route in reverse, giving me 16 miles for the day. This was to test water as will be looking to do 16 miles on a Tuesday during the next phase of my winter training and I wanted to see how my body handled the extra miles. Wednesday I opted for two easy 5 mile runs. Thursday was easy 3 in morning and then 400m reps at track. However instead of all out. The set was broken down to 4 reps at 75s pace, 4 reps at 78s and last 4 at 80s. It felt hard holding back but meant I didn’t leave it all on the track. Friday I did 8 miles and meant I had done 52 miles by Friday.

After a rest day Saturday. It was my last attempt at a 10 mile PB, I had probably not helped myself by the high mileage but it was part of the test. Thankfully I achieved a PB and passed the test. Although I won’t be doing that on a regular basis! It meant 64 miles for week 4.

Last week, as I said at the start of the article was my first cut back week. After 4 weeks of upping the mileage, it was nice to cut it back a little. I also dropped a few double days, to give my body even more recovery. So Monday was an easy 10 with a club mate, as was Tuesday night, Wednesday was easy 7 in the morning before a tempo 3 in the evening. Thursday was the track sessions annual curry night. While I didn’t do the meal afterwards, this was my 3rd year of doing the Xmas special session. It kicks off with a 20 minute Parlauf relay followed by a mile handicap. I was given a 75s handicap in the mile but still clocked a 5:19 mile on tried legs. Friday I did a run with a mate from Barnsley AC before finishing the cut back week with another race victory at the Snyed Striders 5 mile pudding run (report to follow later this week).

Looking back, it’s been a solid period of training with personal bests at 5k, 3000m, 5 miles and 10 miles. As well as another race win. It’s good to be able to increase the mileage without losing the top end speed I’ve got. The aim now is to carry on building up the mileage over Christmas and into the new year. Then having a good crack at a January half marathon, before deciding on what to do from Jan to Mar. I already have plans to have a good spring/summer track racing but for now I want to build up a solid winter base.

 


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