Taper for Postponed Race

12-18 March 2018

Wednesday – workout #29

3x (3-4x 20-25 second) sprints with jogging recoveries in between (with 2-minute standing recoveries between sets)

I wanted to stay in control of my efforts the entire session.
Others recognised my lack of complete effort.
I told them I was saving myself for my race on Saturday.
So I didn’t lead from the front from the start.
Instead I gradually increased my speed for each interval.
The only struggle was to keep from running flat out as I stretched my legs further.
But I stayed behind the leader throughout the session, keeping my recoveries consistent.
Mentally I felt strong and always able to accelerate.
I was content knowing I had more to give when the time came.
I ended the session relaxed and without much energy expended.

Thursday – workout #30

2x 1,2,3,2,1-minute intervals with 1 minute jogging recoveries in between (and 2 minutes jogging recovery between sets)

Another club session in the evening and again I knew I couldn’t give my maximum effort.
Thankfully some of the top runners at the club didn’t turn up so my competitive spirit wasn’t challenged.
Instead I ran my intervals around a local lake, under the stars, at my own tempo pace.
I wasn’t competing against anyone and so I could maintain a steady rhythm and consistent jogging recoveries.
For a few intervals I ran harder to replicate moments at my upcoming goal race pace*.
This ensured I felt confident, and relatively comfortable, at that pace before my race on Saturday.
I kept passing other runners as I continued to run the winding circuit around the lake.
Another runner told me after the session that he was impressed with the strength and speed of my leg turnover.
I thanked him and realised that I should measure my cadence to assess whether I had developed a quick and more efficient step count per minute.

One Mile Challenge: Week 11

My week was essentially a taper for the Roger One Mile time-trial, a track event to commemorate the achievements of Sir Roger Bannister, who recently passed away. Unfortunately due to a random influx of snow over the weekend the event was cancelled and so my first attempt at breaking the five-minute mile was delayed. 

As a result I enjoyed three rest days (Monday, Friday and Saturday) and two easy days of running amounting to 14 miles.

Despite the uncontrollable setback I remain positive about my challenge as I head on holiday next week to see family.


*5:00 per mile

Demonstrating Maximum Speed

19-25 February 2018

Wednesday – workout #23

16x <0.1 mile at 3:54-5:13 per mile pace with various jogging and standing recoveries

After three days of rest I expected to feel strong running with my work group.
Except my lower legs were still aching from last week.
I remained positive though and led the uphill and flat sprints the entire session.
I maintained a powerful and relaxed form throughout.
My only concern throughout was that the short bursts of energy will not be improving my speed endurance.
I was very pleased with clocking a lifetime maximum speed of 3:28 per mile, and how I recovered well in between reps.

Thursday – workout #24

6, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1-minute intervals at tempo pace (5:40-6:00 per mile) with jogging recoveries of half the time of the intervals

I felt ready for another tough workout. This time with my running club.
I shot off from the start. For the first interval of six minutes I was leading the pack.
During the jogging recovery I was overtaken by other faster runners.
I was content to run alone along the curving path around the lake.
I thought about the other runners around me fleetingly. Instead I reflected on the cold but calm evening under the stars and moon.
I continued to work hard, but always within myself, refusing to let the lactate accumulate.
By the end of the session I still had a little to give, but knew I needed to recover for the rest of the week.

One Mile Challenge: Week 8

During my two harder workouts I accumulated 4.58 miles (25 mins and 53 secs) within a pace range of 3:54-6:17 min per mile. During the week I enjoyed three rest days (Monday, Friday and Saturday) and two days of easy running (Tuesday and Sunday) accumulating over 12.7 miles.

Although I had plenty of rest I still felt my lower limbs were a limiting factor this week. My progress is still strong though so I will take forward the momentum I have built to focus on feeling optimal for my future harder workouts.

Increasing My Mileage

12-18 February 2018

Monday – workout #20

4x ¾ mile at 5:30-6:10 per mile pace with 2½ minute walking/standing recoveries

I used a long stretch of country lane, usually quiet, to run my intervals.
Rather than check my sportswatch I focused on my high knee lift and breathing. I knew that my tempo pace would be tough but manageable. I kept my pace steady so that my breathing was close to the edge of becoming exhausted gasping.
I felt strong and my rest breaks were more than adequate.
On the last two reps I felt closer to losing my rhythm so I consciously made slight adjustments.
At times the traffic forced me onto the grassy banks but I kept my concentration.
Despite the four rest days last week I felt some niggles on the outside of my lower legs.
My times were also more erratic than I wanted but remain positive.

Thursday – workout #21

6x approx. ½ mile at tempo pace (5:40-6:00 per mile) with 3-4 sprints interspersed throughout, with 2-2½ minutes walking recoveries between laps

I was excited to run a different type of workout at my club night.
I ran in a ‘train’ of three runners around a local lake, where the runner at the back would sprint to the front.
The pace was a consistent tempo, and the 3-4 sprints per lap were less than 50m each.
I felt strong throughout and knew I always had more to give.
I encouraged my teammates to continue to work hard.
The winding route kept bunching us up but the shorter sprints meant we could maintain a fluid rhythm.
At the last bend of the final lap I ran hard with another runner to finish the session strong.

Saturday – workout #22

3x 1 mile at 5:30-5:50 per mile pace with 2½ minute walking recoveries

I wanted to test myself over the distance again. But not at 95-99% of my max.
I changed my mind from 4 to 3 reps when I felt slight niggles in my legs during the warm-up.
I was confident though that 5:30 miles could be run without excessive effort.
I stayed in control, keeping an even pace along slightly undulating paths, roads and grasses.
Only in the mid-section of the reps did I feel I was close to building lactate in my legs.
I noticed my left hand was tense at times so I consciously relaxed it, and used my arms to drive me forward.
It was only the last rep that I struggled to maintain my pace. Otherwise it was a strong performance, and a great indicator for my future efforts.

One Mile Challenge: Week 7

My three harder workouts amounted to 9.14 miles (52 mins and 40 secs) within a pace range of 5:30-6:10 min per mile. During the week I enjoyed a rest day (Wednesday) and three days of easy running (Tuesday, Friday and Sunday) accumulating over 18.25 miles.

Although the increased ‘recovery’ miles did fatigue me I was pleased to return to training with renewed vigour this week. I now know I need to practice and improve my speed endurance for the remaining weeks of my challenge.

Resting to Recharge

5- 11 February 2018

Monday – workout #18

5x 0.4 mile at 5:05-5:40 per mile pace with 2½ minute walking recoveries

I deliberately paced myself sensibly for the first two reps around my familiar patch of grass. Although still tough I felt I was holding back a little.
My times were almost exactly as I expected*.
Despite the slow walking between reps my breathing became uncontrollable and my legs heavier by my third rep.
I still ran as aggressive as I could but my pace for the remaining reps were nearer my tempo pace than maximum velocity pace.
I was easy on myself though, reminding myself that last week revealed my growing fatigue that I still hadn’t corrected.
I decided not to punish my body any further.

Wednesday – workout #19

3x 4 fartlek reps of fast running (at 4:45-5:30 per mile pace) of 20-45 seconds with easy recovery jogging in between, with 2-3 minutes active recoveries between sets

I didn’t feel my regular springy self. But I forced myself out.
I knew I would be resting the rest of the week.
I led my running group at work from the front as usual.
First we charged hard up a short but steep hill.
We recovered back down, then headed fast along a longer flatter stretch of pathway.
We jogged back to the start again and repeated the hill.
The final stretch was the shortest and slightly downhill.
In between the three sets we undertook a mix of deep squats and single leg squats.
Although I stayed strong throughout I consciously held back, not attempting my top speed.
I was more pleased that my fatigue would end as I my short break from running was now due.

One Mile Challenge: Week 6

I only accumulated 3.17 miles (16 mins and 53 secs) during my two hard workouts, recording 4:45-5:37 min per mile pace. However, I knew my body needed adequate recovery and therefore during the week I enjoyed four rest days (Thursday – Sunday) and one day of easy running (Tuesday) amounting to over 5.25 miles.

Although mentally challenging I am pleased that I was disciplined to let my body adapt to the stresses I had placed on it since the start of the year. To keep myself active I walked a lot and committed to exercising my core most days. I also frequently stretched my lower body.


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

Struggling for Speed Consistency

29 January – 4 February 2018

Monday – workout #14

6x ¼ mile at 4:30-5:10 per mile pace with 2½ minute walking/standing recoveries, then 3x ½ mile at 5:40-5:55 per mile pace with 2½ minute walking/standing recoveries, with 5 minutes walking recovery between sets

I returned to the same grass ‘track’ as yesterday’s time-trial.
I was conscious of continuing my consistent fast pacing.
Only I set off too fast.
Despite my self-talk during my recoveries I kept finishing my single laps hard.
This meant that after three reps I was working harder to actually finish slower than my intended goal mile pace*.
I was disappointed by the end of my sixth rep.
But I still wanted to run hard so I ran more reps, this time for two laps each. Although the average pace was far below my expectations, I persevered.
I felt better because I knew I had paced myself better and still maintained a sprint along the final straight.
My last rep was the fastest of the three.

Wednesday – workout #15

Fartlek sets of easy, tempo and fast running at various distances accumulating 5x 0.1 mile at 4:10-5:00 per mile pace and 5x 0.13-0.3 miles at 5:18-5:49 per mile pace with active recoveries at various paces

I again ran with my running group at work.
This time we used a familiar figure of eight circuit in a local park, interspersing easy running with bursts of tempo pace and sprints.
I enjoyed leading from the front, quickening my stride with ease along the bends, and feeling strong as I sprinted on the final straight.
Each section of running was controlled and although it was a much easier workout than recent efforts I was pleased with my raw speed.

Thursday – workout #16

2x (½ mile, ¼ mile, ⅛ mile at 4:25-5:15 per mile pace with 2½ minute standing/walking recoveries) with 5 minute walking recovery between sets

I used a quiet stretch of grass I had never run on before.
I felt confident with the challenge, allowing myself enough time to recover between reps.
There were undulations on the course and the bends were sharper than I wanted them to be.
But I ran hard throughout.
I checked my reps during my recovery periods.
Although my first rep was not as quick as I expected I refused to let it negatively affect me.
I did my best to keep my shoulders relaxed.
After my first set my stomach felt painful.
It didn’t subside as I tackled the second half of my workout, working as close to my one mile pace as I could without pushing myself to my limits.

Sunday – workout #17

2 mile time-trial at a perceived even pace.

After my recent 5 km club time-trial I chose to pursue my personal best at the two mile distance.
My last hard workout was three days ago and I felt confident I could get close to the 5:39 per mile pace I set in December 2016.
I used a figure of eight circuit near my home.
Conditions were windy and cold, with the grass a little muddy.
I wanted to be conscious of my pace throughout so I checked my pace.
By the end of the second lap I was struggling.
I ran the first mile in line with my personal best pace.
But despite pushing on I could not prevent my pace from falling.
Even my fiancée taking photographs of me could not inspire to run faster.
By the fourth and final lap I developed a stitch. I ignored it, along with my sports watch, and just tried to hang on.
I charged over the line to record an average mile pace of 6:00.
I would ordinarily be disappointed but accepted that fatigue from my five weeks of intense training had taken a toll on me.

One Mile Challenge: Week 5

During the week I also enjoyed a rest day (Saturday) and two days of easy running (Tuesday and Friday) amounting to over 6.45 miles.

I accumulated 8.25 miles (44 mins and 47 secs) during my four hard workouts, recording 4:09-6:01 min per mile pace. My maximum heart rate recorded was 194 bpm.


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