GeneralSo we’re still in sunny Spain this week! I fly home to London Saturday evening the day of our 16mile run. This is a big one. This will be the longest run I have ever done. Last week would have been at 15miles but we only managed 12.5miles which is shorted than the half marathon I completed last year. I feel ready for it this week unlike last. We learned a few lessons last time and we’ve more time to adjust to the weather now as well.
After the ‘difficult’ run last weekend I was thinking about what we could do differently in particular to help our mental game as I feel like that really defeated us on the out portion. I’ve been suggesting for a while now that we try run /walk intervals which we kinda already do but with no real structure. We take a walk break when we ‘need’ it but when we’re having a bad run we tend to ‘need’ more which is what happened last weekend. Not only that but when we stop the length of the walk break is not specified. If we’re running strong it’ll be just enough to get some fluid maybe a cliff block and slow our breathing down a bit so we’re talking 40secs – 1min. On a difficult run when we’re struggling it could be upwards of 2mins. I feel like having a set interval will help, I know for me if I’m struggling and feel I ‘need’ that break and look at my watch and see that I’ve only 30secs to go until a scheduled break (or you’ve got a landmark up ahead like a water stop in a race or a set point we’ve agreed to stop at) I’ll push that extra bit and take the break then. With it being so hot I figure a 4:1 run/walk interval would be a good place to start.
I’ll also start including our average pace on here for reference.
Week in Review
Mid – Week Runs
01/09/2015 – 4m Run
For our first run of 4miles we stuck with our original style of stopping when we needed it and it was an alright run overall. I actually probably struggled most this time with sore legs, not where I’ve been having issues in my quad but again in shins and calf and I think this could still be down to breaking these new runners in.
We did an out and back along the same route, we’re happy with the route, there is a good path and it’s well lit which we need as we’ve been running before sunrise to avoid the heat.
Our pace for this run was 12:09/mile
02/09/2015 – 8m Run
This was a great run! Rachel had been feeling ill so didn’t join us this morning. We decided to try the 4:1 intervals so I programmed that into my Garmin 220 and off we went. We had plenty of fluids with us and I settled in easily to the structure of the intervals.
The first time we stopped I did feel it was a bit soon to need a walk break but easily but the second stop I was starting to feel the heat again. By the time we were hitting the 4th and 5th interval I was pushing myself to get through those 4mins before talking a walk. Just as I suspected I would want to stop but took a look at my watch and push until the next walk break instead. I also noticed that the walk breaks felt really short. Like I would breath deeply take a sip of water and poof 40secs were gone and it was almost time to run again. This makes me think that we were taking long walking breaks before.
Only once did we break from the scheduled stops and it was about halfway through. We took an extra min walk followed by a 3min run to stay on the interval notifications from my Garmin. Other than that we were pretty strict.
So with the run being quite strong why did we cut it 1mile short? Well… we didn’t realise we did! We obviously hadn’t checked our plan properly and thought we were only down for 7miles… DOH!
Our pace was 11:13/mile so I guess that speaks for itself, a better pace on a longer run.
03/09/2015 – 4m Run
We took an unscheduled rest today. We’ve been struggling to sleep with the heat (about 80degrees overnight), we’re staying in my uncles villa and there is NO AIRCON! I was having a great sleep when my alarm went off at 6am and so too were Dad and Rachel so we quickly agreed to sleep in and try and catch up on some lost Zzzzzzzz’s. It was the right choice. I slept for another 4hours. We are on holiday after all so I’m not going to be too hard on us for skipping this one.
05/09/2015 – 16m Run
Today we were up at 4.45am on the last day of our vacation in Spain to run the longest distance we’ve ever run. I got up and had two slices of bread with peanut butter and two cliff blocks. This time we were more prepared hydration wise. I filled my bottles for my fitletic belt with water, my dad had a full sports bottle with water mixed with a hydration tablet and we each carried a 500ml bottle of water and poweraid. We froze some of these bottles that we’d be dropping off along our route. We started with a short 2.5km out and back in the opposite direction to which we normally run. From there we continued out to do a 10km run along the path we’d been running all week. It was a little bit cooler today which was so nice!
We decided to use the 4:1 intervals again and I feel like they worked really well. I felt comfortable and never out of breath. The route was quite hilly and I found that tough on my right leg (the one always causing me problems) and I could feel every now and then a slight twinge in my right knee but nothing major.
We dropped a few bottles on the way out and took sips of our fluids on each walk break and a cliff block about half way out. Eventually we came to our turn-around point. We had driven the same route the night before for dinner and it still amazes me how far 16miles is and just how far we had run at the half way point! By half way I think we had taken maybe 2 or 3 longer walk breaks making it 3:2 on those intervals.
I’d say we got about halfway back when he hit a bit of a struggle, my legs at this point were TIRED but other than that mentally I felt good and my breathing was steady as was our pace. We took an extended walk break and a cliff block. From here on out it was more difficult, Rachel was starting to struggle a bit and we had a few more extended breaks between our intervals but still the intervals provided us with good targets to aim for running wise. Collecting the frozen bottles was so nice, by this stage they were just really cold and the poweraid was a welcome boost. We managed ok until about 2miles short of the end when it got really tough, Rachel was getting some pains and running became more difficult but I think for me I feel the last few miles is the mental challenge. My legs were shot at this point, they felt like jelly and were really tired but I knew I was going to finish and mentally I felt strong so I was fine running, putting one foot in front of the other and just getting closer to home. The funny thing was even when Rachel was the one to ask for a longer walk when she actually ran and had her head in it I was struggling a bit to keep up with her! At some point during the run something funny happened with my Garmin, it beeped to signify the end of a lap (being 1km) at 3mins which was not right but yet my distance compared to my Dad and sister was about .2miles short. So strange!
Running to the end I was still feeling good and already proud that we had managed the full distance, I had to run past our finish point and loop around our complex to complete the full 16miles on my Garmin.
I’m so so happy with this run! Not too long to celebrate though, next week is 18miles…