No post last week, mainly due to me being away and not really fancying writing. On top of that, there wasn’t much running to talk about – certainly nothing out of the ordinary. So once again, there’s two weeks of running to talk about.

First though, where did we go away? Actually, not very far from home. Anna and I like to do short hotel breaks in the UK (usually sourced from a discount website like Secret Escapes), and we usually focus on the quality of the hotel, as opposed to finding somewhere exotic to go to. So we ended up going to the lovely Essebourne Manor. The food and room were both excellent, and it made for a really great few days away. We hit up the local sites: we went to Newbury a couple of times, tried out a few local pubs, and went to the picturesque and unspoilt Snellsmore Common.

Snellsmore Common 1 Butterfly Snellsmore Common 2 The butterfly only stayed still due to a broken wing, I think…

Anyway, back to running! I didn’t do any running whilst we were away (although I did go out on the morning before we left and in the afternoon when we got back), but I did come up with a training plan for the coming months, leading up to the Cardiff Half Marathon. Here’s what it looks like:

Training Plan

Some points of interest (perhaps a slight exaggeration…):

  • Lots of easy miles, and some entire easy weeks, either before a race or every month or so to allow for some recovery. Also, fewer hard effort parkruns, which do take it out of the legs somewhat;
  • A couple of 10k races as “tune ups”. These allow me to get used to running at pace for sustained periods. Also, it’s just fun to race – running alone is pretty boring at times;
  • One extra long endurance runs per month, and runs in the 8-12 mile range the other weeks.

This is fairly flexible, but I think it’s good to have a structured plan to try and stick to. It helps with the motivation when you know you were supposed to run a certain distance.

So the first week of the training plan was the second week of the previous fortnight’s training. Here’s what went down:

Week 1

Day Distance (miles) Pace (mins/mile) Notes
Mon 5.0 9:25 with Anna
Tue Rest (Core)    
Wed Rest (Badminton)    
Thu Intervals 6:13 with Andover AC
Fri 4.0 8:22  
Sat 3.1 (and Core) 7:28 Salisbury parkrun
Sun 8.1 9:33 with Anna

Total: 25.0 miles, 3 hours 37 minutes

Week 2

Day Distance (miles) Pace (mins/mile) Notes
Mon Rest    
Tue Rest    
Wed 4.0    
Thu Intervals 5:34 with Andover AC
Fri 3.2 8:01  
Sat 4.0 (and Core) 8:24  
Sun 15.0 8:41  

Total: 29.9 miles, 4 hours 12 minutes

The intervals sessions were both good – the first was 1 mile repetitions, the second was 400 metre repetitions. They are hard work but do seem to be getting easier the more I work at them. I never enjoy the next run after them though!

The one parkrun we went to was Salisbury parkrun’s first birthday. It was a great atmosphere, with loads more people than usual turning up, and some rather amusing costumes. I took the actual run fairly easy (around half marathon pace), and enjoyed the atmosphere. My only complaint was that the start was quite hectic, due to the large number of people trying to squeeze on to the fairly narrow path. I don’t think that’ll be a problem in the future though, once the numbers settle back down again.

I think I'm behind the hill

The long run on Sunday was promising – I ran the same 15 mile route as a few weeks ago, and it was quite a lot more comfortable. The slightly cooler weather and cloud cover helped a fair bit as well, of course, but I think I’m making decent progress with the longer runs.

If you want to see more details of these runs and runs from previous weeks, check out my Strava profile.