January has seen the beginning of my training for the Marathon of the North in April. I was already reasonably fit, due to the training in the gym, and had been doing some running before then, but I knew I had to really focus on my running. I just hoped my cross-training in the gym had helped to prepare me.
Well, it did and it didn’t. Fitness-wise there have been no problems other than a week lost to over-training my quads in the gym and a slight knee injury. However, the only way to run faster and longer is to run faster and longer, and lifting weights and cross-training does not substitute for this.
Overall, in January, I ran 120 miles. This is just a tad less than I had aimed for but I did lose six days to my quad injury and some of my runs were shorter (and slower) because of ice and snow. So, on balance, I am happy with the quantity. In terms of quality of the training, that has been a little mixed. My long runs have gone well and I am now running 13 miles, but do struggle to run as slow as I should do. This is where the snow helps: you cannot help but slow down when there is snow and ice on the ground.
Included in the 120 miles are all of the runs I have done with Tyne Bridge Harriers, my long runs and runs on the treadmill (or the dreadmill as it is affectionately known). I try to do some runs on the treadmill, even though it is slow torture watching the clock, as I read it is good to mix up your training and helps to reduce injury. To be fair, it is useful for correcting running form issues, measuring cadence and running when the weather is really bad. BUT I still hate it!
Gym sessions with my personal trainer have continued and I also go the gym and work out on my own. Average training sessions in the gym per week have been six (some double up as running sessions) and have focused on arms, back, chest and core. I also tried a Pilates class, but that was like bathing a fish and so I won’t be going back. I have lost some of the weight I gained over Christmas and tip the scales at 10st 6lb with a target to lose six pounds over the next 8 weeks. However, this is a tough call when lifting weights and so I will probably settle for the same weight but with a drop in my overall body fat percentage as measured with callipers. This is currently 14.2%.
My return to running has been great. In the last six weeks I have:
- Fallen off the treadmill through lack of concentration
- Run my first competitive 5k
- Clocked over 100 miles
- Ran my first organised interval session
- Had a go at hill sprints for the first time
- Damaged my quads lifting weights using the German Volume method
- Picked up a slight knee injury
- Had a sports massage every week
- Bought a tortuous machine known as a rumble roller
- Spent a lot of money on kit and future race entry fees
- Entered the Himalayan 100 mile stage race in October
- Entered the 69 mile two-day run along Hadrian’s Wall
- Entered numerous half marathons and 10ks
- Lost a couple of pounds
- Taken part in my first (and last) Pilates session
- Completed over 20 weights sessions and over 8 core sessions
- Made a number of new friends at the running club
It has been busy, but it is set to get a whole lot busier. Entering the 100 mile stage race has made me think about more strength training for my legs and how to build strength and maintain mileage but avoid injury. A tough call, but I do have a PT, a physio, a nutritionist (Mrs Bid Writer) and a sports massage expert to help me to achieve my goals. Running can be a solitary pursuit and the last time I regularly ran it was, I trained on my own and it showed in my times. This time around I have many, many people running alongside me, both metaphorically and in reality. What could possibly go wrong………………………………………………………………..
Keep an eye out for my next blog. Follow us on Twitter for the latest updates using #writerontherun
Sponsor Neil via our JustGiving Page