Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Another gorgeous day. Another tough run.

I say, you don't think this is summer do you? Two weeks, no rain. Sunshine. It was like this last year and we all know what happened...

Anyway, perfect running weather today, only spoiled by the fact that I had to do a tough interval session: 6 x 500m after a 2 mile warm-up. What the guy who was fixing a stone wall on the lane thought as I went past him three times one way, three times the other, huffing and puffing and trying to nod politely as I went past, I'll never know. It was tough. My legs felt heavy and my core felt tired. Mind you, I did spend all day yesterday mixing shredded shrubs and finest horse manure and flinging it into a compost bin so maybe it's not surprising.

Still, I did it. Average pace on the intervals was 7:04 / 6:46 / 6:32 / 6:46 / 6:42 / 6:29. A bit all over the place. I obviously haven't mastered even paced running!

The gorgeousness of the day deserved a more enjoyable outing. It was lovely to hear the cry of a lapwing though as I headed out. They nest round about and this one sounded like a harbinger of Spring. Soon be lamb time...

Smileyrating 6/10 for the running, 10/10 for the weather

Sunday, 24 February 2013

A good weekend...

Really good training this weekend. My programme for saturday afternoon required 4 x 1 mile reps, with 3 minute walk/jog recoveries. I did these on the undulating back road to Staveley which is a not unattractive route (providing you discount the small sewage treatment works that you pass) but is good and undulating, rising and falling by some 80m in a couple of miles. My mile splits were 8:19 / 7:59 / 7:30 / 7:20, times which neatly reflect the fact that the first two tended uphill and the final two downhill. It was a very tough session; labouring rather than running. It came only a couple of days after my 10 x 400m session, so I guess there may have been some residual fatigue in the legs. The fact that it was 1 deg C with the wind chill making it feel like minus 2 and lightly snowing may also have had something to do with it.

This morning's run was an easy 8 miles which I did off-road along the River Kent to Staveley and back. This was lovely; I kept to a heart rate of about 152 bpm which is 70% of max, so I didn't feel stressed. I was pleased to note that my average pace was 10:36 /mile which for me isn't too bad for off-road with lots of stiles to negotiate. The weather was gorgeous. It was cold, fairly still and with some blue sky. It felt as if spring is just around the corner.
Smileyrating 9/10 (for the weekend)

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

It's character building... go out before breakfast into the teeth of a chill easterly wind and do 10 x 400m reps. That was what I told myself as I plodded down the lane to my start point on the flat(ish) back lane to Staveley. It'll be good for you. You'll benefit in the long run. Now stop whingeing and get on with it.

An hour or so later I was back home enjoying a generous glug of chocolate milk shake which has become my default 'recovery treat' after an interval or other hard session. Ten intervals under my feet, all run pretty evenly at around 1:44. Job done. Character built.

But it was bloody freezing.

Smileyrating  3/10, rising to 9/10 when the smugness coefficient is factored in!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

What a gorgeous day...

today is. As I stepped out at 0800 this morning it was cool and bright and completely still. Just made for running. My programme called for 8 miles easy today, so I ploddded out for 4 miles towards Kentmere, turned round and plodded back. But it didn't feel like a plod! It was hard and undulating and I finished in an hour and seven minutes, with an average pace of 8:32 for the first 4 miles and 8:24 for the second.
Finished with an aching left Achilles - time for some new shoes methinks...
Smileyrating 8/10

Friday, 15 February 2013

A 10/10 Smileyrating!!

Just back from a brilliant week's warm weather training at Club LaSanta, Lanzarote with Mrs HF and her brother. What a great place it is.
After 'morning gymnastics' - 15 minutes of stretches, star jumps and the like, led by an instructor which began each day, I started my programme late morning on Friday with a 3 x 1600m session, running them at an average pace of 7:13 which, for me, was amazingly good. After a light lunch by one of the centre's pools, I did a core and stretching session in the gym
Saturday morning was a 400m swim in the 50m pool in the sun. This was fantastic. Bright sunshine, sparkly water and the warmth of the sun on your back. My swimming is, however, rubbish, so I was dead slow - especially compared to the swimmers of Leicester Swimming Club who were training in the lanes alongside! That evening I entered the weekly 10k race. This was two laps of an out and back, undulating course with a powerful headwind on the return legs. I finished in 50:32 and, amazingly was first MV55 (erm, there were no others) and second overall. Which meant I got a diploma at the end of the week!! Now, in all my years of running I have never got anywhere remotely near troubling the judges, so I am unfeasibly proud of that bit of paper!
Sunday was an easier day; a 'Stretch and Relax' class, which took place on the 5-a-side pitch in the sunshine and was led by... well let me just say that the place is run by a Danish company and they tend to use lissome twenty-somethings as their instructors....  In the afternoon Mrs HF and I did some swimming drills in the leisure pool which was absolutely bloody FREEZING. I think they just pipe the Atlantic into this attractively shaped pool that meanders its way between the sun loungers. Having said that, once acclimatised to the cold, it was very refreshing to swim in and, masochistically, I rather enjoyed it.
Monday was another track interval day, this time 5 x 800m, after 'gymnastics' but before breakfast. They were as knackering as these things are, but I've no idea what the times were, because my heart monitor 'Stop' button packed up! It is pretty ancient though, so I suppose it's time for a new one.
In the afternoon I hired a bike (Cannondale Alu-frame, Shimano Ultegra groupset, decent wheels [if you hire a bike for a week you get similar, but carbon fibre frame]) and went out with my brother-in-law for a 21km ride which we did at an average of 24km/hr. The wind was savage; we had to pedal flat out into the teeth of it - yet we were going downhill! It was very scary.
Tuesday morning consisted of a 2000m row in the gym, followed by 300m in the pool. It was a bit busy and intimidating when you're not that good at it! In the afternoon I enjoyed a 'Fitball' class which is where you use those big squishy balls you get in gyms to work out. This was a revelation. It made me realise that it's pretty much the only bit of 'toning' kit you'd ever need. This was followed by another 'Stretch and Relax' class.
Wednesday was our last day and I did a sort of triathlon. I started with a run: 3 laps of a 3k road route. The first lap at 60% of Max Heart Rate, the second at 70% and the third at 80%. A tempo run basically. But in the sunshine by the blue crashing Atlantic. Late morning I did 500m in the pool and it was glorious. Sunny and bright, the lengths felt relatively easy and smooth; it was a fitting way to say goodbye to the pool. In the afternoon I did  30 minutes on a bike in the gym with Mrs HF alongside me showing me how to train at intensity. She was awesome.
And then we came home. As I write this, the woodburner's doing it's thing, the sky is clear. It's going to be cold tonight. And the sun seems rather far away....
If you ever fancy a spot of warm-weather training, check out Club LaSanta. I can't wait to go back next year.
Smileyrating 10/10