First Signs of Progress

22-28 January 2018

Monday – workout #10

4x 0.25 mile at a range of 1 minute slower and faster than 1 mile goal race pace* with 1¼ minute walking/standing recoveries)
5 minute walking recovery
4x 0.12 mile at a range of 30 seconds slower and faster than 1 mile goal race pace* with 1 minute walking/standing recoveries)

After another 3 days of rest I was desperate to run.
I kept my sports tape on my right leg, as it was still not fully healed.
I shot off for my first lap, smashing my quarter-mile personal best by over 4 seconds [1:04.66].
Predictably the remaining 3 reps were a struggle.
My pace dropped even though my legs were working hard.
I wanted to redeem myself so I ended the session with shorter bursts.
Once again my times were inconsistent, despite the constant discomfort in my stomach.
Interestingly I didn’t use any internal mantras to support my running. This was a contributing factor to my erratic performance.

Wednesday – workout #11

Pyramid sets of approx. 4x 30, 4x 45 and 2x 60 seconds with jogging recoveries of 1½ – 2½ minutes at a range of 15 seconds slower and faster than 1 mile goal race pace*

I ran with my running group at work.
The path through the park was flat.
I led from the front, conscious of not running at my maximum.
At times I used the grass verge to avoid collisions with walkers.
I also slipped on the mud at the start of one rep, but regained my front running position.
I stayed focused, using approximate markers to keep my consistency.
By the last rep the rain was pelting down but I didn’t slow.
The group leader reminded me of “becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable”.
The workout, and my training thus far, has epitomised this principle.

Thursday – workout #12

5 km time-trial at a perceived even pace.

On a calm night I tackled the same route around the perimeter of my local industrial estate.
I felt confident I could beat my previous time a month ago.
I told myself to “show up”.
I had different competition this time, with some strong club runners looking to impress.
I relished the challenge and went out hard from the start.
I led for only a short time before the eventual winner pulled out of sight.
By the end of the first lap I was in third position.
I reminded myself to keep pushing hard, reducing the gap to the runner in front.
A lorry turning into a side road meant the challenge was easier for me.
I used the incline to surge.
My competitor matched my effort.
I had to stay a step behind him as we approached the final stretch.
Again I surged but he maintained his position, crossing the line two seconds ahead of me.
I shaved 30 seconds off my 3.1 mile time in just over a month, achieving 17:54, 7 seconds shy of my lifetime best time.
The time-trial had proved my speed endurance was improving.

Sunday – workout #13

1 mile time-trial at a perceived even pace.

A last minute change of mind meant rather than an easy run I would complete the first of my mile time-trials.
I became nervous as I warmed-up and did some strides.
I ignored the few teenagers milling around the area.
I reminded myself that I shouldn’t run the first lap around the patch of grass too fast.
My fiancée took some photographs of me as I ran, which made me relax.
I began feeling fatigue by the end of the first lap, but at no point was my breathing out of control.
I just kept hanging on, driving with my arms and legs.
I didn’t look at my sports watch until the last lap to confirm I was nearing the end.
But my timing was off so rather than a sprint finish I ran just over the distance before stopping.
I waited after a long recovery walk before checking my time.
I recorded 5:20.57, my current sixth best ever mile time.
Although not especially close to my ultimate goal, I was pleased with the consistent effort for each lap and how I dealt with the sunny and windy conditions.
In less than a month I had reduced my mile time by over 6 seconds, another measure of successful progress.

One Mile Challenge: Week 4

The remainder of the week included 1 rest day (Saturday) and two days of easy running (Tuesday and Friday) amounting to over 4.5 miles. Thankfully my right fibula and sore throat have subsided, although they remain an irritant.

During my four quality workouts I accumulated 7.08 miles (38 mins and 23 secs) between 4:19 – 6:06 min per mile pace. My maximum heart rate recorded was 192 bpm.


* 1 mile goal race pace is 5:00 per mile.

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