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London Marathon Training – Week 15

Not long to go now. It’s all about keeping healthy, dropping the mileage but keeping up the intensity of your runs. This week was about me trying to keep some of the confidence my last 16 miler gave me.

 

Monday saw me run 6 easy effort cross country miles over the fields from Wigston to Newton Harcourt and then return via the canal towpath and Cooks Lane. My legs were a little tired from the 14 marathon pace miles in Saturdays 16 miler coupled with Sundays 40 mile cycle, but there was not real soreness when running which is immensely pleasing after the last 6 weeks of issues.

 

Tuesday was a just a single run. With the lighter nights the club is now running over the fields again so, after running 3.5 miles to get to the club (a very long route around), we ran the reverse route to the one I ran on Monday. Once again it was at an easy effort run that brought the evening to a total of 10.11 miles.

 

Wednesday was just a single Running Buddy session of 3.37 miles at an easy effort around Knighton Park, helping my legs recovery during the taper.

 

Thursday morning was a 2.5 mile run/walk with my wife as I keep her company on her Couch to 5K sessions.

Thursday evening was the Wigston Phoenix speed session. Due to the lighter evenings we relocate to Manor Road track and this week ran 300m reps with 100m recoveries. Due to wanting a hard workout I kept my recoveries faster than they should have been and ran the 300m reps hard. I was pleased that all 12 of my reps came out within 2 seconds of each other (apart from the excitable first rep). The day finished with a total of 8.94 miles.

 

Friday was a planned rest day so I just did some stretching and leg strengthening, but generally a lazy day.

 

Saturday was my final double figured run of marathon training. I planned the same 10 mile route I ran last year so that I had a marker of where my fitness is, needed for the mental side of things as I have missed some of my more important runs. The start of the run was great and my pace was looking good to where my heart was. However, after mile 3 my heart rate started to rise above what would be sustainable for a marathon so I had to back off the pace a bit. The 6 marathon pace miles I ran averaged out at 6.35 pace. I am pleased with that but as my heart rate was on the higher end of sustainable I think that this pace isn’t a sensible pace to aim for at London.

 

Sunday was spent mainly in a classroom as I was on a course (I know, Easter Sunday!!) but it was good for my legs to recover from the previous day.

 

Week 15 has been mainly positive. As you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned my left leg as much. This is mainly because it is finally getting better. I still have a bit of residual soreness in my foot and calf, but that is from the previous weeks and seems to be improving day by day. If it continues, I may be soreness free for London. If not, I know that it is bearable and I am confident that I can start at a pace of 6.40-6.45 pace and see what happens from there. Not long left!

 

Week 15 Totals: 38.6 miles covered over 6 runs, plus 1 strength session and loads of stretching, rolling and sitting on hockey balls.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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 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 7

Week 7 was finally going to be my cutback week as my first six weeks had averaged 78.5 miles.

 

Monday started with a 3.1 mile walk with my wife, immediately followed by an 9 mile run with the first 7 miles ran progressively faster than the previous mile. I started at 7.35 pace and gradually quickened the through 7.25, 7.04, 6.49, 6.30 & 6.10 paces until mile 7 was down to 6.03 pace coming back up Welford Road towards Wigston. The final 2 miles were ran at an easy pace to aid recovery. I always find this run mentally challenging as I know going off too fast makes the last half really tough, but the last two miles are always hard as they are net uphill coming back towards Wigston. However, the recovery from this run is minimal as half is run quite easily paced.

 

Tuesday was far shorter than previous Tuesdays. I had a Running Buddy session in the morning, which was a tour of Wigston, trying to find every uphill possible for a good 5 mile hill session for my client. Tuesday evening was a shorter than normal run as I drove to the club and just did their run. This was a 6.6 mile route which ended up being faster than normal. My legs felt good as after the first 2 miles we averaged 6.41 for the next 2, then 6.12 for the last 2 miles. I would have expected this as the total of 11.6 miles is less than half of a normal Tuesday.

 

I awoke on Wednesday and walked 3.3 miles with my wife but developed a bit of a ‘pain’ in my left calf. I always suffer with tightness in my left calf and it is one of the indicators I use to know when I need to back off training. As this ‘pain’ was not muscular tightness, but more of a sore spot running down my leg between my shin and calf I thought it was best to rest and get a physio appointment. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get in to the physio until Thursday lunchtime.

 

Thursday was a second rest day as I awaited the physio appointment. It was also my wife’s birthday so today was always going to be a short easy day so missing a run wasn’t an issue. I went to Function Jigsaw and after explaining the issue, a bit of prodding, bending me around I was diagnosed with Tibialis Posterior inflammation. I was given stretches, told to roll my glutes and to use a hockey ball to get deeper in to the tissue to relieve some of the pressure (I hate sitting on hockey balls as they are more painful than the inflammation in my leg)! I was told I was ok to run on it if I could cope with the discomfort. I left Function Jigsaw much happier, knowing that it was not a game-changer in the scheme of the marathon or Equinox.

 

Friday was a 3rd non-running day in a row (I can’t remember the last time that happened). However, it was planned as my wife and I were off to London for the day. As usual, we stayed above ground and walked everywhere, managing to wander approximately 8-8.5 miles during the day. That also doesn’t include the time spent on feet wandering around the shops!

 

Saturday was back to reasonably normal. As this was a cutback week I decided to stick to my plan and ran 16 miles. This was broken down as 8 miles easy/steady, 6 miles at marathon pace and 2 miles easy to finish. My legs felt a little strange after no running for 3 days and a lot of time spent on feet in London the day before. However, as I got past the first 2 miles they started to settle down and feel normal again. The first 8 miles then flew by as I gradually got quicker from 7.15 pace for the first mile to 6.41 pace for mile 8. I then pushed on down Great Central Way, aiming for my heart rate to be around 150-155bpm as an average. The next 6 miles all averaged between 6.11 & 6.16 pace with an average HR between 151 to 154bpm. Absolutely spot on! I could feel it as I slowed down for the last 2 miles as running a 16 miler as a first run back after 3 days off was not ideal but, needs must!

 

I finished the week off on Sunday with an easy effort 4.5 miles on the way to volunteer at Aylestone Junior parkrun. As most of it was downhill, the pace was 7.00 average for the first 3 miles, even with my heart rate at under 130bpm.

 

Week 7 Totals: 41.2 miles covered over 5 runs, plus about 17 miles of walking, 2 strength sessions and some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

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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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London Marathon Training – Week 4

This was my first planned cutback week of the year, but as my wife was away for the week on business I thought I would take the opportunity of pushing on with the miles. My legs, although a bit tired, felt ok to continue through one more week of high mileage.

 

Monday became another double-run day as I had a new client who wanted me to run with him to kick-start his Half-marathon training. Therefore, I slowed down my morning run to an easy-effort 6 miles so I would be fresh for later. The Running Buddy run was far better than I expected. After Strava-stalking I thought that we would run for a maximum of 4 miles and I would throw some fartleks in to test his speed. However, while chatting along we managed 6 miles, including fartleks and finishing faster than we started. A very positive start to his training.

 

Tuesday was my long double-day, once again aiming for 20+ miles. My first run was 10.2 miles of easy effort running. My calf muscles had started to feel tired so I’d do extra rolling and stretching when I got home. I ran 4 miles, as usual, before the running club run. With my calf feeling better I decided to push the pace a little bit down Great Central Way and then back though South Wigston. My 21st mile of the day was 6.33, which I was very pleased with having followed a few miles at a similar pace earlier in the run.

 

I awoke on Wednesday with very tight calf muscles. I went out for a very easy 4 mile recovery run and whilst my legs felt better by the end of it, my calves were not quite right. Having the experience of knowing that my calves are my weak point and most likely muscle to injure, I called Function Jigsaw and was lucky enough to be seen by Lauren on Wednesday afternoon. I would like to say it was a nice massage, but being honest it was bloody sore. However, it was much needed and did loosened them off.

 

With my wife away, and her very kindly leaving her car with me as it was booked in for a service, Thursday was another day of four runs. As with last week, the garage tried to convince me that they could drop me home or lend me a courtesy car and just couldn’t understand why I would want to run home and back later on. An easy 4.5 mile run home felt very strange after my massage. My legs felt heavy and it took until halfway through the 4.2 miles back to the garage in the afternoon for them to feel almost back to normal again.

The third run of the day was the Next Running Group and the tenth and final week of their Couch to 5K plan. As they had ran 5k the previous week we embarked on another tour of Enderby. However, with my sense of navigation severely lacking and their sense of achievement growing by the minute, when we finally got back to the start point we had ran for 4 miles. Once again, massive congratulations all round as they finally realised that when I told them on week one that they would be able to run 5k by the end of week ten I wasn’t lying to them.

My final run of the day was the Wigston Phoenix speed session at Victoria Park. Running late due to the extra few minutes with Next, I was 15 minutes late by the time I caught up with everyone. I ran as hard as I could for the limited time left of the session and finished with some hard hill reps. Over the four runs of the day I had totalled 17.6 miles.

 

Friday was a definite recovery day. Just over 4 miles ran at a very easy effort and my legs started to feel normal again.

 

Saturday should have been 14 miles with 6 miles in the middle at Marathon Pace. However, waking with a thick head due to one too many beers at the running club awards presentation on Friday night, it was obvious that my run was not going to be the best. I got out and started with 4 easy miles but soon realised that my stomach was not going to play ball. Having my sensible head on and knowing that I didn’t need to chase mileage, I turned for home, changing the run into a 7 mile easy run.

 

I felt far better on Sunday morning so got up early and headed out for a 10 mile run, including the MP 6 miles I missed on Saturday. The pavements were icy but the roads were clear and I had them to myself. I ran the first 2 miles at a steady pace before pushing on aiming for a MP heart rate of around 150-155BPM. Sticking to this average, I managed the 6 miles at an average pace of 6.13. I was very pleased by this during the 2 cooldown miles to finish the run. Confidence boosted after Saturday’s aborted run.

 

Week 4 Totals: 78.2 miles covered over 12 runs, plus some basic core exercises on my BOSU ball.

 

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