Friday, 6 March 2015

London to Brighton Training: Another 10K Run - That's March Done

As part of my training regime for this year's cycling events (for me, principally the BHF London to Brighton Bike Ride), I've been doing a bit of running.

As it doesn't look like I will be able to get my grubby mitts on a Pashley Mailstar again (I rode with a Pashley-equipped team last year), I'll be taking Mermaid, my cheap ride-to-work bike.
Since it looks like I will be riding "solo", rather than in a team, I'll be able to set my own pace, rather than "riding to the slowest".
I was probably third fittest last year (one of the other two didn't prepare his bike properly and failed to finish!), and was the second up Ditchling Beacon (about 10 minutes in front of our next rider!).
So this year, I'll be looking to "set a time" - under 4 hours will be lovely, but no promises!

Anyway, being a sensible chap, I am fully aware that I am going to have to undertake a bit more training than last year.
Last year, I just had to make sure I wasn't the rider who was holding the rest of our team up (!), but this year it is just me and the clock, and the clock is not so forgiving!

So I got a cycle-training book out of our local public library. A book aimed at the rider who wants to ride longer distances at a decent rate. You can read my first impressions and a summary of the training system the book employs on a previous post.

The book says running is good exercise.
Before I got the book I had already started running again anyway, as I had realised that my legs seemed to be "stronger" than my lungs, and a bit of cardio-vascular work (a.k.a. "aerobic" training) that built up my "general" fitness would help my cycling.
This technique of spending some time doing one sport to help you do a different sport is known as "cross-training", and is widely practiced.
Indeed, I already had a training plan BEFORE I got the book!
Really, I am just using the book to get the most out of my existing schedule, rather than draw up a new plan.

Anyway, the first 10km run I ran, about three weeks ago, was a BIG milestone for me - I haven't run that sort of distance for 30-odd years (!).

This time, I was more interested in the training effect, so I was trying to use the "Training Zones" I mentioned in an earlier post, rather than just set a "time".

I warmed up by starting off nice and slow, keeping in Zone 1 (below 65% of maximum heart rate) for the first 2 km, or so. Then I picked up the pace a bit, trying to stay in Zone 2 (665 to 80% of maximum heart rate). A couple of times, particularly on the uphill sections, I noticed I was drifting towards the top of Zone 2, so I backed off the pace a bit to move me down more into the "lower" part of Zone 2. On occasions, I noticed I was drifting out of Zone 2 down into Zone 1, so I picked the pace up a bit. So I tried to run the section from 2 km to 9.5 km pretty much in Zone 2.
With about a km to go, I picked up the pace to move me to the top of the Zone 2 area (about 80% of maximum heart rate), and ran the last bit like that.
I didn't sprint in the last bit - this was supposed to be about a controlled work rate, rather than just trying to "set a time".

My thighs started to "notice" the distance at about 7 km, and my calves "noticed" at about 9km, and by the time I had done the 10K, my feet were starting to get a bit sore, too. For us heavier runners (I am still about 95kg), running is a lot of weight on the toes, etc.
As my weight drops, and my technique improves, I expect to improve in this respect!
If I was in some sort of race, I would "push through the discomfort", but there seems to be little point, as I am only cross-training for a different sport (!) More frequent runs can often be an acceptable alternative to longer ones!

So, you say, enough of the chat.
How did I get on?
Well, I was faster than my last 10K run, and actually set PR's in EVERY distance category above (and including) 1km.
Whether that was a result of the much more deliberately "controlled" running technique I employed, or whether it is merely a reflection that I am fitter anyway than I was 3 weeks ago, I will leave you ro decide for yourselves.

Last time, I ran the "best 10K" of my run in 1:12:45, this time it was 1:08:04.
Knocking 4 1/2 minutes (!!!) off my 10K time is quite an improvement in just three weeks!
My "best 5K" time is now 31:27, up from 34:07
My "best 2 miles" time is now 20:07, up from 23:08
My "best 1 mile" time is now 9:55, up from 10:25
My "best 1K" time is now 5:51m up from 5:59.
Strength in depth, as they say - yet not enough to worry the "proper" athletes, amongst you.

So, a bit of "controlled" running certainly seems to be working for me!
Why not give it a try yourselves!

As for me, having done a 50km ride two days ago, and a 10K run yesterday, I am having a "recovery" day - the cycling and running provides the stimulus for the cardio and muscle improvements, but you have to give your body a chance to actually grow that new muscle (!)

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