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How To Run Easy

One of the most common questions people new to running ask me is how they can get their breathing right. They may have been following one of the many plans out there or have been going out by themselves and enjoying their running but finding the breathing bit hard.   If you’ve experienced this, then you are not alone. Below I’ve put some tips that may help you.

The first thing I would say is that it sounds like you’re running too fast. Even if you think that you’re slow, the intensity/effort is probably too much at this stage. What we’re commonly taught in the various programs online is how long to run for rather than how it should feel. If you work on how it should feel (effort), then you’ll likely progress more quickly. However, this is one of the hardest things for newer runners (and some experienced ones) to get their heads around.

So, if all this in mind, here are my top 5 tips for mastering your easy effort level:

  1. The talk test – you should be able to talk in sentences between breaths. If you run with others, then you should be able to hold down a conversation without struggling.
  2. Sing a song in your head – you don’t have to do this out loud, although if you do nobody is going to want to kidnap you! Try to sing a song to yourself and aim to be able to sing a line of a verse of your favourite song between breaths.
  3. Focus on feeling comfortable – this is one of the big ones. Try to relax and focus on feeling comfortable when you run. Sometimes you can overthink things. Just try to feel comfortable.
  4. Feel like you can just keep running – instead of looking at your watch and checking your pace.  Try running at a pace that you feel you could keep running at for much longer than you need to.
  5. Run easy – don’t concentrate on your pace, just focus on effort and it feeling easy. If it feels too hard then it is not easy. If it doesn’t feel easy, slow down until it does feel easy. Don’t look at your watch, other than the time or distance you are running.

Different runs require different effort levels.  If you are doing an interval or hill session, you are going to want (or need) to run at a faster pace (harder effort) than normal. However, when you do not have a specific session to do, or if you are a new/inexperienced runner, you will want to keep the effort level easy.  This should be the case for about 75-80% of all of the miles you complete (this goes for elite athletes as well).

If you feel that you can follow the 5 steps above, you will be surprised how easy and comfortable your running will feel (it may take a couple of weeks of practice).  You will then be able to run further than you thought you ever could.

Try it and see what happens. You might feel that you’re reducing your pace, however you won’t be there for long and you’ll likely be able to run for longer and recover better.

Let me know how you get on!

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert Personal Trainer Leicester

London Marathon Training – Week 16

And now, the end is near………

I’m writing this after completing my final London Marathon training run. 945 miles of running so far this year (I’m sure that is more than I have driven), injuries, lack of confidence and now feeling stuffed with all of the carbohydrates I’m consuming; why do we do it to ourselves?

Because we love running and want to push ourselves that little bit further? Or are we just fools as my wife likes to put it?

 

On Monday I ran 6 miles, including 3 miles at my marathon pace heart rate. The MP miles averaged 6.30 pace and my legs felt spritely after less running recently. It was a good run.

 

Tuesday was similar, with a 5 mile run with 3 miles at marathon pace heart rate. This time the MP miles averaged 6.28 pace. Now these two runs suddenly get you thinking that is this pace sustainable for the whole marathon as my HR was actually lower than usual for marathons. My answer is a cautious ‘no’. With my missed runs and leg issues I think it would be dangerous for me to start out at anything quicker than 6.40 pace. If I still feel good at 18-20 miles then it gives me something to push on from, but starting quicker than 6.30 pace leaves me open to a whole world of pain in the latter miles.

 

Wednesday was a single Running Buddy session of 5.01 miles at an easy effort around Knighton Park, further helping my legs taper. It was my client’s furthest run for over 3 years so a successful session for both of us.

 

Thursday was a planned rest day. I was finding the hardest part of my taper was consuming the necessary carbohydrates. I work on a basis of 10g of carbs per kg of bodyweight. Most people would think that this is bliss, being able to eat loads of extra carbs, but as a 70kg male, it is really hard to consume 700grms of carbs each day. I have to make up my carbs with fruit juice and sports drink. By the end of the day I was stuffed and uncomfortable.

 

Friday has been a double day, as I ran a 5 mile Running Buddy session first thing followed later in the morning by my final training run. I ran for 5.30 minutes at a steady pace before running 1 mile at my marathon pace heart rate. This came out at 6.10 pace (totally unrealistic for 26.2 miles). I finished with 5.20 minutes of easy running. Once again my legs felt spritely, even though I felt sluggish due to too much food (I stop carb loading at Saturday lunchtime so that I have digested everything by the start of the race).

 

And that is it. My next run will be around the Good For Age start on Blackheath Common on Sunday morning. I am not sure if I would class myself as ready, but there is nothing more I can do physically or mentally to make any difference now. I have had the most disjointed build up to any of my previous 10 marathons, which has messed around with my confidence as I don’t know how my leg is going to react to the distance and I don’t know what pace is sensible.

 

But, I have no choice now but to get on with it, and as my main target now is to run under 3-hours again (personal pride only) I will set off at about 6.45 pace and then revaluate at around 16-18 miles (unless that feels unsustainable). I want to enjoy it, but as my leg still isn’t 100% and I have a few twinges every now and then, I have resigned myself to a potentially sore run, but I cannot honestly defer my place as it is not that bad.

 

‘Que sera’ as they say!

 

Week 16 Totals: 23.7 miles covered over 5 runs, loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

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London Marathon Training – Week 14

Madness, madness, they call it madness!

It’s taper time for most people doing London Marathon. However, as I’ve not ran much recently week 14 was all about trying to restore a bit of my fragile running confidence after 5 days of not running and cycling instead.

 

Monday morning started with a 2 mile run/walk session with my wife and then a 4 mile easy effort run and my left leg felt ok. It still didn’t feel 100% but it wasn’t sore. I had a further physio session at Function Jigsaw, a bit more manipulation of my foot and shin and given a few more exercises to do. I then walked another 2 miles with my wife in the evening.

 

Tuesday was a double day with the first run a 5.7 mile Running Buddy session around Knighton Park. Things were looking up as my leg still felt ok. Could this period of cycling have been the corner turned?

The second run of the day was the Wigston Phoenix evening club run. The answer to my previous question was ‘no’! Within the first 100 metres my left leg had gone back to feeling how it had done the previous few weeks. It felt sore to land, with soreness in my foot, shin and calf areas. The only time it felt ok was, once again, running at a faster pace than usual when we did hill reps. The evening run was 10.7 miles giving a daily total of 16.4 miles.

 

Wednesday began with a Running Buddy session of 3.7 miles. My left leg (sorry to keep going on about it) felt better than on the club run, but still not right.

The evening was another Running Buddy session with a new client who wanted some pushing doing his speed training. We ran a total of 3 miles, including 20 x 30 secs of fast paced efforts, and as these came out faster than my normal running pace, my leg felt quite comfortable.

 

Thursday was a 2 mile run/walk with my wife followed by the club speed/hills session at Victoria Park in the evening.

My leg felt good running at pace so I pushed hard, trying to get some form of training effect for myself. As it felt worse when walking or doing slow recoveries I took less rest on some of the reps than others and also ran some extra reps if I had the chance. The session, for me, totalled 6 miles.

 

Friday was made up of just one run. This was the monthly We Run LE1 run around Victoria Park and into the city centre before looping back to the park. I really enjoy these as they are good social runs for people that want to run 5 miles but aren’t bothered about it not being a timed event. I paced the 10.00m/m group (rather badly as we ran at an average of 9.30 pace – although everyone was happy at that pace and we were nowhere near the actual 9.30 pace group). My leg could only be described as ‘inconsistent’. It would be fine for 10 minutes or so, then the soreness would arrive for a bit, then it would disappear again. Frustrating!

 

Saturday was a make or break day for my confidence. I was toying with the idea of either a 20 mile run with 10 miles at potential marathon pace or 16 miles with the first 14 miles at marathon pace. Both challenging runs that would give confidence if they went well, but had the chance to destroy my mind if they went badly. I set off and in the first mile I was running at 7.00 pace and my leg felt ok. This made my mind up to run the 16 mile version of my run as running at around marathon pace actually feels better than my easy pace.

I pushed on after the first mile and although the marathon pace miles were not easy, they were sustainable. The first 14 miles were run at an average pace of 6.44m/m while my HR was about 5BPM lower than my last few marathons. I also hadn’t eaten since I ran on Friday night and didn’t use any fuel during the run.

This was the confidence booster that I needed. My legs felt fine towards the end of the run and there was no soreness for the rest of the day. I don’t understand what is going on with my leg and why it isn’t consistent. However, if it feels good running at marathon pace then I will take that.

 

Sunday was a very energetic day. I did another run/walk session with my wife, immediately followed by tail-running (walking) at Aylestone Junior parkrun.

As soon as this was over it was out to cycle with a few people from Wigston Phoenix running club. We heading out the long way to Café Ventoux, enjoyed a nice coffee and food (two cakes in my case) and then headed back. As this is the end of my last hard week, I pushed hard on the uphills and in some cases, went back down halfway to do them twice! It was a gloriously sunny day and showed the beauty of the Leicestershire countryside. The ride was about 39 miles in total.

Once home it was no let up. I was straight into the garden to mow the lawn before continuing to build some raised beds out of railway sleepers. This entailed digging out half of the existing beds, lifting 4 x 55kg sleepers into place and then replacing the soil. I finished with helping to pot some new plants, before deciding, at 5pm, that I needed to stop and rest.

 

Week 14 has, once again, been a roller-coaster of a week. Continued soreness but a confidence boosting run that makes me think that the final two weeks of tapering are not going to be particularly pleasant. I do believe though, that sub-3 hours is still achievable at London and hopefully a bit quicker if all feels ok on the day. Then it will be a bit of rest to finally try to sort out the problem.

 

Week 14 Totals: 60.4 miles covered over 11 runs, 39.1 miles of cycling, 2 miles of walking, plus 1 strength session and loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

London Marathon Training – Week 13

Week 13 can be summed up quite quickly as ‘it’s all about the bike’.

 

Monday morning started with a 3.5 mile Running Buddy session with a Personal Training client. This was the furthest he had run so far, but my left leg was still sore, now more around the ankle joint, which was worrying as this was a newer niggle.

 

Tuesday’s only run was the evening club run in order to protect my leg. I ran for 3 miles before the club run started and my leg was sore with virtually every step. This time it was my left foot and around the ankle. This was worrying as in the back on my mind I had always worried about the possibility of a stress fracture, but this had been ruled out due to my other symptoms.

Going against what I would tell any other runner in my situation, I went out with the club and for the first 3 miles my soreness moved from my foot to my calf. At this point there was less of an issue when my foot landed and the pace of the run increased and in turn, my leg felt less sore. We were only running between 6.50-7.00 pace, but this felt far better than anything around 7.30 pace. I ended up running 10.2 miles for the night, but I have to say I was not enjoying running at this moment.

 

Wednesday was a planned running rest day and I decided that I was going to give my legs a few days off of running and cycle instead. I went out on a route that I often use when cycling as it is a 15 mile loop that isn’t too busy with cars. Due to my going out at lunchtime and not wanting to cycle through South Wigston at this time of the day I lengthened it slightly to 16.55 miles. I managed to average 19mph for the ride which I was pleased with as half was into a headwind.

 

Thursday was a similar day. I went for a walk with my wife in the morning but realised that I wasn’t doing my leg any good so returned home, totalling 1.3 miles. Later in the day I went out for another bike with Steve from Wigston Phoenix to do the same loop. Adding on a little extra we did 17.5 miles in just over an hour.

 

Friday was a third non-running day and another venture out on my bike. This time I headed around Saddington, Gumley and Smeeton Westerby to do some hill training. Some of the hills were really hard work, with my heart rate getting as high as it would in the final print of a running race. I ended up completing 17.5 miles in just less than an hour and my legs knew about it.

 

Saturday morning was a quick ride down the A50 from Wigston to Husbands Bosworth and back; 10 miles in each direction. The first 10 miles were into a headwind and my legs were feeling the hills from the day before. It took my 37 minutes to do the first 10 miles and then, with the wind behind me, returned in 28 minutes. My legs were tired after this ride, but it felt good to have tired legs again instead of sore legs!

 

Sunday was my final planned non-running day before testing my leg again on Monday. A group from Wigston Phoenix Running Club had arranged for a 35 mile ride out to Foxton and back and so that would be perfect for me to get some more miles into my legs, but at a more sensible pace then I ride when alone.

I cycled to Aylestone Junior parkrun to marshal and then back to Wigston to meet the rest of the group. We then headed off out towards Foxton via Wistow, Kibworth, Smeeton Westerby and Gumley, with a few hills thrown in for fun! After breaking at Foxton Locks with a bacon sandwich and a coffee (cyclists seem to stop far more than runners do) it was back via a longer route, taking in Lubenham, Mowsley, Saddington, Arnesby, Willoughby Waterleys and Countesthorpe. Almost 40 miles in the bag when coming into South Wigston my front wheel punctured on an object in the road! Steve and Michaela stopped to help and after a quick inner tube change it was a mad dash home as I was now running late for Sunday lunch with my parents! A total of 42.7 miles cycled and with no niggles or soreness from the cycling, my legs felt nicely tired.

 

Looking back on the week I’m not now really sure where I am in terms of London Marathon fitness. They say you don’t lose fitness in a week, but you can lose confidence. However, I need to spend time looking back over my previous 12 weeks, plus the base training I did before Christmas, to give the real picture as to where my fitness currently lies and what I can aim to achieve at London.

As you may have noticed with the ending each week, the mind of a runner goes up and down frequently, depending on how the week went. It is rare that we keep in mind the whole block of training that we do and maybe we should do that more. It would make us less mentally fragile when things do no go to plan!

 

Week 13 Totals: 17.3 miles covered over 3 runs, 114.4 miles of cycling, plus 1 strength session and loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

 

London Marathon Training – Week 12

Week 12 began in a buoyant mood after my confidence-boosting run at the Ashby 20, but the week itself was full of ups and downs!

 

Monday morning started with a 3.3 mile Running Buddy session with a Personal Training client. This was his third run with me and he managed to knock 30 seconds off his previous best. I decided that an easy day was in order after Ashby 20 and while my muscles felt absolutely fine, my left leg was still being a bit weird with the nerve issue I am suffering.

 

Tuesday was a testing triple-run day. First of all, I ran 4 easy effort miles to see how my left leg was feeling. As it has been recently, running at an easy pace made it feel sore. Next, I ran a Running Buddy session with a Personal Training client. She wanted a hilly run to build leg strength and give her confidence for upcoming league races. Weirdly, my leg felt fine with the 5 miles of hills that we ran!

My evening run was with Wigston Phoenix, running their Victoria Park route. I ran a mile to the club and then set off into Oadby and down London Road. At this point I ran with Colin at a faster pace and my left leg niggles eased as the next 5 miles were at an average of 6.40 pace. Once slowing down towards the end and then running home, my niggles returned and mentally it was tough. The club run totalled 10 miles, making 19 miles for the day.

 

Wednesday was a planned rest day and so I spent an hour doing weights and core work, plus loads of rolling and stretching.

 

Thursday was a sensible day of just one run. I decided to go for quality and not quantity so ditched my easy morning run for another leg strengthening and core session and decided my only run of the day would be the club speed/hills session. I drove down to Victoria Park early and started on the Peace Walk hill reps. I totalled 23 uphill reps before starting on the rest of the speedwork with the club. My session totalled 9.7 miles and once again, at the faster end, my leg felt fine and strong.

 

Friday was an easier day for me as my only run was part of a coaching session, running to a flat stretch of road and then running some 20 second sprints to develop her leg speed. After running back home again I’d totalled 2.5 miles, which felt plenty after last night’s faster stuff.

 

Saturday was to be my ‘time on feet’ long slow run. I always hate this run as I get bored doing a long run all at an easy pace and I was dreading this one as running at an easy pace hasn’t been good for my leg. However, it had to be attempted so I set out at 6.30am with the intention of aiming for about 23 miles or a maximum of 3 hours. This run is designed to give you the confidence that you can run for your target time, but not for the full 26.2 miles as you are running at an easier effort. For the first 8-10 miles my left leg was sore and I felt as though I was not running fluently. Then the issues seemed to disappear. Either they miraculously had, or mentally I had got used to them and my mind had blocked it out. Either way, I ran for 22 miles in 2:42 before finishing. I decided that I didn’t need the extra mile to give myself the confidence of completing London Marathon as I am now resigned to running for ‘fun’ and I’m confident that I can run under 3 hours with the training I have done so far.

 

Sunday was a planned non-running day. My wife and I decided to cycle down to our marshalling duties at Aylestone Junior parkrun. I was on my road bike and she was on her mountain bike. We were a bit early so we decided to add on an extra mile along Welford Road. However, as soon as we got by the turning to the parkrun, I punctured on a really poor stretch of road surface. To ensure we got to parkrun on time I walked my bike the rest of the way there, found the holes in the tube and prepared to fix them. The only problem was that, while I carry a repair kit even on these shorter rides, the glue had run out! After volunteering, I dashed back home on my wife’s bike to get the car to drive back to collect my bike. It was a bit of extra exercise!

 

Well I’m not sure how to describe this week. Slowly stuff aggravates my left leg. Faster stuff feels fine, but I can’t run that fast for the whole marathon (or at least I don’t think I can). So I am still in a place where my left leg is not right but it is not stopping me from running. I now feel resigned that I am going to be in discomfort for the last 4 weeks of training and then rest afterwards.

 

Week 12 Totals: 57 miles covered over 7 runs, 7 miles of cycling, plus 2 strength sessions and loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

 

 

Dealing with Injury – The Mental and Physical

It has been a tough couple of weeks. We’ve all been there, we have a target to complete and we are firmly fixed on the goal. We are running well and enjoying the training plan we are following. But then, injury strikes and we have to make decisions about to what we do next.

Keep on going – We’ve all done it. We ignore the niggle that gradually gets worse until it becomes painful. Then we are forced to either run through even more pain or we have to stop. This can, and usually does, make the initial injury worse.

Rest – One of the most common things that runners do. We think that resting for a few days will cure whatever issue we have. Whilst it may feel better when you start to run again, you do not know the reason for the initial injury, have not tried to deal with the cause and so it usually resurfaces. This could be within a few days or weeks, but it usually comes back.

Get Advice – This can be done the right way and the wrong way. The wrong way is to ask a search engine. This can diagnose a hundred different injuries, but how do you know which one you have and how to sort it. The correct way is to seek professional advice, whether that is a physiotherapist or injury specialist. They will try to diagnose injury and then will be able to give you information on how to get over the injury and then work on stopping it happening again. I’ve also found over the years that GP’s aren’t usually the best port of call as they are usually likely to tell you to rest until it is better. Being honest, they do have more important priorities with the amount of ‘ill’ people they have to see.

 

Personally, I would always recommend the physio/injury specialist route. I like to know what is causing any niggles I have and I want to know how to sort them and how to stop them coming back in the future. I want to make myself as ‘bullet-proof’ as possible to protect myself in future as I really enjoy running.

Next, how do you deal with the psychological side of injuries?

Get depressed – Sometimes when you can’t run you feel as though you are losing fitness by the day. This may be very slightly true (it takes more than a few days to lose a chunk of fitness) but instead of missing what you can’t do, look at what you can do. Can you cycle, swim or strength train? Do what you can to keep your heart rate up and your head will thank you for it as you know you are doing something productive. You will get back running again.

Give up – This is more common with people newer to running and is often caused by doing too much too soon before their bodies are ready for the strain they are put under. At the first sign of injury people decide that running is no good for them or they are ‘not built to run’. Persevere! Get over your injury and come back slower and more sensibly. Look for a plan to help you build up your mileage, whether you have a target or not. Think of running as a long-term activity and you have plenty of time to get fitter and faster.

Fight back – Get professional advice and do what they say.  This will reduce the amount of time you have to stop training for, if at all as some injuries will not stop you training.  We all know the stretching, strength training and other exercises we are given are not the same as running.  However, by doing these extra things you can minimise your time on the sidelines and help to prevent further injuries.

Re-evaluate your goals – This may sound obvious, but some people have a period of time out with injury and then think they can either go back to where they were or play catch-up. Don’t! While you are not running look at your original goals, whether they are short or long term. Are they still realistic given your current injury? Once you work out a new goal you can then look at how many steps back you have to take in your training. Be honest with yourself as taking an extra month to hit a distance target, or running a race without getting a PB is better than trying to hit an unachievable goal and ending up out injured for a long period of time.

 

I write this from personal experience as I am currently struggling with an issue in my left leg that the injury specialists I am seeing, Function Jigsaw in Wigston, think is a nerve impingement. I have been told I can run through it if I can deal with the discomfort it is causing and this is what I have been doing for two-three weeks now. However, as it is affecting my biomechanics and the way my left foot lands I cannot run to my full capabilities. Therefore, I have had to take a few days off to help recovery. I have also had to re-evaluate my London Marathon target. I know I am no longer capable of a sub-2:45 finish and I am going to use the Ashby 20 at the weekend to see how my leg feels over the course of 20 miles. I can then look at what will be a more realistic marathon target. It may be sub-3:00 (which I really hope it is), it may be trying to drag myself around to achieve a Good For Age finish. Or, it may be worse and I have to think about DNSing or ‘just get round’.

When you are injured it is all about keeping an open mind and being honest with yourself. I’d rather scrape a Good For Age time but be able to run healthily for the rest of the year than push for a sub-3:00 time and miss out on a summer of running.

Be sensible, be honest and BE POSITIVE!

 

Want to know more about running, personal training or nutrition?

Do you want a personalised training plan?

Contact me today to ask any questions or to book your FREE consultation

Call me on 07815 044521 or email me at martinhulbertpt@gmail.com

Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

London Marathon Training – Week 10

Week 10 was initially a planned cutback week, but due to lower than planned mileage in weeks 7 & 8 I went into week 10 just trying to do as much as I could. However……..

 

Monday morning started with a 3 .2 mile walk with my wife, followed straight after by a hard progression run. The plan was to run each of the first 7 miles faster than the mile before. I started at an easy pace and then quickly increased, through miles of 7.37, 7.14, 6.52 & 6.41. The last 3 miles of this run are always harder as they take in Welford Road from Victoria Park to Wigston. These were ran at 6.29, 6.22 & 6.02 paces, with the last of those being very hard work up two hills into Wigston. I finished with a bit of a sprint, but couldn’t get the pace to sub-6.00. My left leg just wouldn’t stretch out enough to be efficient enough! I ran another 1.5 miles as a cooldown to recover.

I spent a good amount of my sitting time for the rest of the day (and week) sitting with a hockey ball in various parts of my buttocks, hamstring and calf trying to increase mobility in my left leg.

 

Tuesday was back to my long double days (although this was a triple day as one of my clients wanted a Running Buddy session). I started the morning with a 10 mile very easy effort run. It was an easy effort but I felt as though I was ‘managing’ my leg, rather than running with an efficient stride. My left calf was tight and sore with almost every step although after about 6 miles it did start to ease a little. I’m not sure if that was more psychological as I’d managed the soreness for a while?

The second run of the day was at 10am with my client. We ran 5.3 miles in the sun around Knighton Park at a very good pace for her. Weirdly, my leg felt fine through this run, which in a way just frustrated me more due to the issues I had on my own run.

My final run of the day was the club run. I was being sensible so didn’t run before the club and ran 8.3 miles with the faster group. I just ran with others without pushing the pace or effort as I usually would have. This was mainly due to my leg feeling very weird for the first 3 miles, with various issues from a tight ankle to shin pain to tightening hamstrings. This was despite rolling and stretching before leaving the house. For the second half of the run my leg stopped being weird and started to develop a soreness in my calf instead. Rock and hard place!!! On a plus point I had ran 23.7 miles for the day.

 

Wednesday was a planned rest day so I spent an hour in my gym lifting weights and doing leg strengthening exercises. I also managed to book in with Function Jigsaw for a massage and to look at what was causing my leg issues. After a big of manipulation and massage it looked as though I had a nerve issue in my left leg, meaning that as I was trying to land my left leg my biomechanics were out, meaning I was landing flat footed which in turn was causing the calf issues. Once again I was told to use a hockey ball on my buttocks and hamstrings to try to loosen the tension in them and hopefully to help repair the nerve signals to my foot. They also wanted me to go back on Thursday to sit in their ‘bath’!

 

Thursday was a second non-running day (with another hour of weights and core in my gym) with a lunchtime appointment at Function Jigsaw. I’m not sure exactly what it is called but you sit in a bath with your back against a pad. Hey then send an electric current through you to stimulate your nerves. That sounds a bit dangerous but it felt more like the sensation you get from a TENS machine. Or at least it did until it was obvious that my left side had an issue. As the machine was turned up higher my right side (the normal one) had sensations from my hip to my toes, whereas on my left side the sensations were getting jammed at my hip, sending them shooting into my abs and back. It felt like a very strong Slendertone machine from back in the day (remember those machines where people thought they could get abs by sitting on a sofa with a belt strapped to their waist as they ate chocolate!). I have to say it was not a comfortable experience but it showed that there is a nerve issue in my left leg. I was sent away with a plan of using the hockey ball, stretching and rolling to try to get an improvement for Monday when I need to come back to try again.

 

Friday was another non-running day and another hour of weights, stretching and leg strengthening, plus sitting on hockey ball and rolling at various points during the day.

 

Saturday was a total rest day from exercise, apart from loads of rolling, stretching and using the hockey ball. I hope it works as it is not comfortable!

 

Sunday was my day to test my left leg. I needed to do this for the good of my head as well as my legs. My legs felt spritely from the off and I was running at a far faster pace than usual for my heart rate. That was mainly down to this being the first time I have ran without tired legs for the best part of a year! My left leg still didn’t feel right, although now the calf soreness had gone and it felt more like a twinge on the outside of my foot, pushing up through my shin! It was good to be back out though and I ran 4 miles at an easy effort.

 

I am now at the point, with three weeks of full training to go before I start to taper, that I need to either sort out the problem or just learn how to manage and run through it. I’ve given up the idea of running sub-2:45 and believe that due to the amount of miles I ran during my base phase (and last year) I am still capable of running sub-3hrs and definitely under the 3:10 or 3:15 I need to keep my Good For Age place going. Injuries like this just focus your mind. You are stuck between wanting to run and being sensible for the longer term goal.  I am hoping for a good week to come as it is the Ashby 20 on Sunday, a race I really enjoy, even though I only run it at training paces.

 

Week 10 Totals: 36.3 miles covered over 5 runs, plus 3 strength sessions and loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

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Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

London Marathon Training – Week 9

Week 9 was trying to get back to ‘normal’ mileage after a couple of weeks of weeks of lower mileage (by my previous standards anyway)!

 

Monday morning was hard work. As I had spent last Saturday and Sunday on my coaching course I had to move my long run to today. 22 miles on a Monday morning is never something to look forward to and it was struggle to get myself motivated. However, once out I managed an easy effort 22 miles with no issues at all and had the self-satisfaction of a long run to start off the week.

 

Tuesday was a slightly shorter day than a normal Tuesday due to the exertions of yesterday. I started with a 2 mile walk with my wife and then I had a Running Buddy session where we ran 5 miles of Fartleks around Knighton Park, giving her the best average pace she has achieved since her comeback. Tuesday evening was a 4 mile run to the club in what I can only describe as hideous conditions. It was chucking it down with rain, I managed to run through every ankle deep puddle possible, as well as getting splashed by virtually every car that passed me. I was extremely grumpy by the time I got to the club. We then ran another 7.3 miles in improving conditions to make it 11.3 miles for the evening and 16.3 miles for the day.

 

Wednesday was a planned rest day due to over 38 miles in the previous two days, so instead of running I spent an hour doing leg strengthening and stretching exercises to try to ease my still-niggling calf.

 

Thursday started with a 6 mile general run. No specific pace or plan so just ran at a comfortable pace in the wind and rain (again). Thursday evening was the Wigston Phoenix hills/speed session around Victoria Park and University Road. I got there a little earlier and craftily got in 6 extra reps of Peace Walk before meeting with the rest of the club. I ran hard for the session and tried to get in extra reps where possible. I managed 7.25 miles in total for the session and 13.25 miles for the day.

 

Friday was an easy day. I started with a 5k walk with my wife, immediately followed by a 4 mile very easy effort recovery run. I then spent 30 minutes doing more leg strengthening and stretching exercises as well as some core exercises.

 

Saturday was back to my normal long run. This was a tough run that was 6 miles easy, 4 miles at marathon pace, 2 miles easy, 4 miles at marathon pace and 2 miles easy to finish. All felt nice and easy for the first 6 miles and my left calf was weirdly feeling fine. The first block of MP miles came out at an average of 6.16 pace but felt as though I was battling the pace. The second set of MP miles were at an average of 6.26 pace and I just could not go any faster. I’m not sure if it is a cumulation of the weekly mileage and the extra leg strengthening exercises, if my left leg, while not hurting was just not tracking and working properly, or if I was just mentally fatigued and didn’t push hard enough. Whichever it was, it was frustrating. However, as I tell others, one bad run doesn’t make a bad runner so I have to put it to one side, not let it bother me and move on with next week.

 

Sunday was just a 4.93 mile recovery run to marshal at Aylestone Junior parkrun. Luckily, my run was before the torrential rain that hit towards the end of the parkrun. I had to feel sorry for the last few kids finishing in hideous conditions.

 

I managed to get back to normal mileage for the week, but my left calf is still niggling and while it is now more intermittent than before, it is still far from being right. So next week is going to be more stretching, rolling and glute strengthening, as well as trying to keep my mileage around the 70 mile mark.

 

Week 9 Totals: 78.6 miles covered over 8 runs, plus 3 leg strengthening sessions and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

London Marathon Training – Week 8

Week 8 was mainly front-loaded and managing my niggling calf that started better than last week but still not right.

 

Monday started really well with a 10 mile fartlek run. This included the first 4 miles being run progressively, followed by 3 x short steep hill sprints and a fast mile before a couple more hill sprints on the way home.

 

Tuesday was another long double day, comprising of an easy 10 miler in the morning and then an 11.6 mile run, mainly with Wigston Phoenix and with a few faster miles in the middle. My calf held up well although I had a few weird twinges at the start of the evening run.

 

Wednesday was just an easy effort 4 mile recovery run with my calf feeling a little better than last night.

 

Thursday morning was an 8.2 mile easy effort run. Now, when I say easy effort, what I mean is that it would have been easy had Storm Doris not decided to get involved. As well as the strong winds, which never actually seemed to be behind me, there was the driving rain and dodging twigs and flying debris. Thursday evenings run was a speed/hills session with Wigston Phoenix. I completed 15 reps of various hills at about 75% effort due to my calf still not being quite right.

 

Friday was my last run of the week due to a coaching course I was attending on Saturday and Sunday. I set off with two runs in mind. It was either going to be a 16 mile run with 6-8 miles at marathon pace or, if my calf didn’t feel right, a 4 mile recovery run. I knew from the start that the 16 miler probably wasn’t my wisest of ideas. I got to a mile away from home and decided to be sensible. There was no point in running for 4 miles and potentially making it worse so I ran home to limit it to 2 miles, knowing I had 2 days rest to come.

 

My calf may mean that I have to abandon my sub 2:45 ambitions, but I’d rather do that and be able to get to the start line than push on regardless and break myself.

 

Week 8 Totals: 52.1 miles covered over 7 runs, plus 2 strength sessions and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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Martin Hulbert – Personal Trainer Leicester & Online Personal Trainer

 

London Marathon Training – Week 5

We are now moving in to the second quarter of London Marathon training and I had planned another high-mileage week, with two-thirds of the weekly mileage coming in two days. I’ll explain why further down!

 

Monday kicked off with a 3.3 mile walk with my wife and was immediately followed by a 6 mile easy run as I had a planned Running Buddy session late afternoon. However, he cancelled due to a niggly knee so it left me a little short of my planned mileage.

 

Tuesday was to be a long day with two medium-long runs and a Running Buddy session with a new client. I started with an easy 10-miler, followed two hours later by the Running Buddy session. This ended up as 3.8 miles of hill reps and flat sprints around Wigston. As with most clients, she surprised herself by how hard she can work when pushed and how much faster she can run than she thought. A very pleasing session for both of us. Tuesday finished with a 3 mile run to Wigston Phoenix Running Club, followed by their Linear Run. This consists of a half a mile warm up, then a 20 minute run down Welford Road from Wigston to the city centre, seeing how far you can get. You then have 25 minutes to get back (so at an easier pace). The theory is that everyone arrives back at the start point at the same time.

As I had already ran 17 miles by this point, my plan was to run the 20 minutes at Marathon Pace (6.15-ish pace) and then run back with others. However, as usual, everyone started tearing off down Welford Road and I was soon caught up with them. The 20 minutes averaged 5.57m/m and I managed to get to Fenwicks in the allotted time. My legs felt good all the way and I actually felt as though I still had another gear if needed. By the time I had ran home again this third run totalled 11.57 miles, giving a grand total of 25.4 miles for the day.

 

Wednesday was a very easy day, with just a 4 mile recovery run at a very easy effort.

 

Due to Friday being my long run day for the week I kept Thursday to a one-run day. Before that, I decided to get back in to my garage with a heavy weights session. I really enjoy lifting weights but often do not have enough time between working and not wanting it to conflict with my running. After an hour of lifting various weights, working my whole upper body, I realised that it had been a while and I would ache in the morning. My one run of the day was the club speed/hills session at Victoria Park. As my legs now felt fresh I pushed hard on all reps and tried to do as many as possible in the time we were there. I managed a total of 6.5 miles and my legs could feel it by the end.

 

Friday was a bit of a ‘make it up as we go’ day. First of all it was a Running Buddy session which entailed a hills/speed session around Wigston. This totalled 5.5 miles and the reps were ran at a faster than comfortable effort.

As I had a night out planned for a friends birthday and had agreed to lead the 8.30m/m pacing group at We Run LE1 I decided to aim to run 17 miles and then lead the pacing group for a further 5 miles. I parked at Victoria Park and headed down New Walk to the canal and out through Abbey Park and Watermead Park. As the light was starting to fade I turned back at 8 miles. As I did, I upped the pace to aim for a few miles at 6.45m/m pace. However, I had managed to misjudge the light as not only was it getting to dusk, but it also got cloudier at the same time. This meant that I was having to concentrate more on the muddy towpath than I would have liked, whilst still trying to keep the pace fast. After a couple of miles I started to become a little disorientated with the darkness and unlit towpath. I tried to keep to my 6.45m/m pace but it started to feel harder after each mile. I started to slow down as I began to feel a little light-headed. I put this down to just four rounds of toast and a banana being eaten for lunch. I headed around Bede Park and the bottom end of Great Central Way before cutting through town, up New Walk and around Victoria Park to my car. That was at the 16 mile mark, but as I was early I drank a 500ml bottle of home-made sports drink and then did another lap of the park before joining the We Run LE1 runners.

I have to say that at this point I didn’t feel great. I felt light-headed and as though I was running through treacle, even though my heart rate was fine. I set off at the front of the We Run LE1 crowd, sharing the pacing with the other 8.30 group pacers down New Walk, around town and back again. I was trying to talk as much as possible and concentrate on my running form, trying to keep my brain working. Once back at Victoria Park, I said my goodbyes and left the group, heading across the park back to my car as the taxi to take me back into town gave me 30 minutes to get home, showered and changed. Once home, and after consuming a bar of chocolate and a cereal in record time, I started to feel a bit more normal again. So lesson learned; even in my 11th year of marathon training you can still get your fuelling all wrong!

 

Saturday was always planned as a rest day and that is what I did. It was my first rest day of the year and my last day off was also after a night out!

 

The week was finished with an easy effort 6 miler on Sunday. Nothing special and if anything, I felt a little sluggish after my rest day. Not an issue though as it means I can run further next week!

 

Week 5 Totals: 75.6 miles covered over 9 runs, plus 6 miles of walking, one strength session and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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