38 miles run, 3 strength sessions, 1 climbing session
July is done. 178 miles run. Plus climbing, hiking, lifting and walking. And friend visits and family parties which have wreaked havoc with my training schedule.
178 miles, which is my highest total monthly mileage ever. It breaks down into an average of 5.75 miles a day, a crazy amount which even I struggle to get my head around. And yet I feel completely fine, no injuries (touch wood) and no unwanted consequences even from the crazy week that was the 48 miles of last week.
My legs? Achey sometimes, but happy. My brain? Free. The rest of my body? Toning up and getting stronger with every mile run, with every repeat raced and with every workout completed.
It’s weird because this month has been one of the least structured months of the last couple of years. I’m not at university, but I don’t have a job until mid-August when I move to Chile, and I have just been taking time out to be myself. And to rest.
However, resting doesn’t necessarily mean stopping training. It doesn’t even mean doing things less intensively. It just has meant listening to my body, and structuring my workouts around my life activities and my friends, not taking my workouts as the be all and end all.
It’s true that this month I have been more careless with my diet, and that I have been taking more liberties. As I’m living with my parents, not university, it has been harder than normal to ensure my nutrition has been up to standard for the amount of training I have been doing. Nevertheless, even this hasn’t impacted me too negatively.
This week was a lot less intensive than last week’s effort, but my body needed the break. I used the gym and the treadmill a lot, as recently I have run all of my efforts on the roads or trails and was missing the time spent in the cool quiet of a gym, with headphones in, not having to concentrate on cars or potholes or mud or weather.
When I’m running miles and miles, and adding in other hard workouts, I always need my sleep. On Monday night, and for the rest of the week, I have felt exhausted at night and fallen asleep within minutes. I’ve been trying to sleep more, but when I’ve been spending more evenings with my friends yet my body automatically wakes me before 7.30 am, it has been very hard to catch up and maintain a good sleep pattern!
Monday – 6 miles recovery and strength
After last week’s mad running effort, this 6-mile recovery was pleasantly better than expected! It was half in the gym, and half on the trails, as I needed to pace my effort and wanted to use the treadmill for that.
I also wanted to use the gym for helping me to back to strength through lifting, so did a simple circuit of legs and chest. It was only 25 minutes, but it worked me hard as my muscles were already tired from my long run weekend and my non-stop schedule.
Tuesday – Rest day (plus kayaking)
Normally, Tuesday would be strength day and only a rest day from cardio. However, I had a day out planned with some friends, and couldn’t fit in strength training at all – which, to be honest, was probably what my body needed anyway.
The day out was a half-day (3 hour) trip on 2-man kayaks down a river near me. I was paddling for what seemed all day, and that was almost an arm workout in itself! But it was a lovely sunny day and great to spend time with my friends instead of being sat at home, even if being sat at home means more time to write my blog…
Wednesday – Climbing and 4-mile tempo run
Back to the gym today to do 400m repeats on the treadmill! 4 miles in total, with an average pace of 7:43 per mile (which included warm-up and rests). I’ve been realising lately how short my tempo repeats are, and would like to get into doing longer reps, and more of them…
Recently, with the shorter workouts, I have been trying to minimise the rest breaks in between my repeats to get as much speed work in as possible. I think that trying to make my tempo runs longer will mean that my recovery breaks will have to be slightly longer and at a slower pace, maybe even with some walking in between. How do you structure your speed workouts?
This evening I went to a 2-hour climbing workshop at the Nottingham Climbing Centre, where I was put through my paces with bouldering overhangs and slab techniques. I was having a really “weak” day, and was having a lot of problems I don’t normally have with climbing (such as huge blisters on my palms). Nevertheless, I learnt a lot and found a load of interesting problems that I am looking forward to working on in the next couple of weeks.
Thursday – 8 miles and outside strength
I GOT NEW RUNNING SHOES! So this day was spent wearing them in, first by just wearing them around the house, then going on a 5.5 mile run in them. I never go on a long long run for the first couple of weeks I have new shoes, preferring to continue to use my old shoes and slowly wear in the new ones.
I then did a 2.5 mile cool down run in my older shoes, just to get the mileage up and to spend a bit more time in the sun. After this, I did strength circuits using some weights my brother has bought back to my parent’s house whilst he works abroad – nothing too intense, but sunny and fun! The weather this week was really strange, with hardly any warning between hour-long stretches of sun and then wind and stormy showers coming from nowhere. So, when it was good weather, I tried to make the most of it!
Friday – 4 miles fasted
I had a busy weekend spent with friends, so woke up and just got straight out onto the roads. I try not to run fasted, because I know I never perform to my best and just get frustrated with myself, but it was just one of those things that had to be done. And one it was done… I had the whole day where I felt happy to have already done my workout!
Saturday – Rest day
Nothing too interesting to report, apart from walking up some hills and around the countryside with friends. It wasn’t hiking so much as just exploring, but it was definitely fun! I never like to tire myself out too much before a long run, but I did the whole “stay up late, drink alcohol and eat cookies” things which didn’t really set me up too well either!
Sunday – 16 miles, DREADMILL and strength
One of my friends stayed over on Saturday night, making it impossible for me to fit my long run into the morning, as I like to do. By the time afternoon had rolled around, I was already tired, not prepared mentally to go out onto the trails, and I knew that if I went outside to run I would come back after 10km at the most. All I wanted to do was curl up and watch tv.
So I watched tv. But at the gym, whilst I was running on the treadmill. For 16 miles.
I’ll be doing another post about my love/hate relationship with treadmills, but this was actually a relatively easy run! I took a gel with me, and some water, and just ran and ran and ran. Sure, I got some weird looks once people figured out I was not leaving the treadmill, but I’m pretty sure they were just hiding admiration (right?). Have you ever done a long run on a treadmill?
I finished off by doing a short squatting and stretching circuit using a medicine ball. This was just to fully ensure I was stretched out before driving home from the gym, and activate my glutes. It was also to remind my legs that they could do something other than just step in, out, forward, ever-forward, on a machine that leads to nowhere.
So that’s my weekly workout round-up! As per last week, I’m linking up with Jess and Jess from The Right Fits and Jess Runs ATL for their week of workouts link-up. Check out all of the other posts in the link-up on either of their own round-up posts, found here and here.
And happy August!! Here’s to a great month. What is your goal for this end-of-summer period?