A Fortnight in Review (9 Jan – 22 Jan)


I am Mr Tired…but it’s nothing food and sleep won’t mend.

14 days. 336 hours. 20,160 minutes. This is a summary of my running fortnight. Ups and downs. Aches and pains. Feelings and emotions.

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Another week bites the dust.

If I had to choose a word to describe how I have been feeling in recent times it has to be exhausted. Not because the runs have been particularly hard, but because I haven’t been getting the other ingredients right. Lack of sleep and insufficient nutrition has taken its toll, and I finish this week feeling a little better but having had a really hard slog to get here.

Ever present is the mental hurdle of increasing my food intake. I am regularly burning off more than I’m taking in and as I full well know this simply can’t continue. Add to this some erratic sleeping patterns and the result is what I regard a rather subdued performance. But the good news is that I’ve been mindful of how I’ve been feeling and as a result I can make changes in plenty of time to correct any previous crimes to running. My schedule is about to catch me up too – starting next week my long runs begin to creep out further and further. Now is a good time to take stock, rethink my eating and sleep habits and knuckle down.

Because last week  was particularly tough (all I seemed to do was work, drive, run and not sleep…) I didn’t get the opportunity to review the week that was, so this week I’ll look back over the last two weeks:

Schedule vs. Actual

WEEK 1 Schedule Actual
Monday Rest Rest
Tuesday 7 miles (1m jog, 4 x 1m @ 7:30/mile, 1m jog) 7.88 Miles (Avg 8:39/mile, peak 6:03/mile)
Wednesday 7 Miles (70 mins) Rest
Thursday 4 Miles (34 mins) 7.45 Miles (64 mins)
Friday Rest Rest
Saturday 3 Miles (30 mins) 10.67 Miles (96 mins)
Sunday 10 Miles (95 mins) Rest
TOTAL 31 miles  26 miles

Week 1

Tuesday

Fully recovered from the weekend, Tuesday’s club run went very well. Knowing that the schedule demanded some faster strides (and 7:30 is a little slower than my 10k race pace) I decided to up the pace a little and managed to peak out at a little over 6:00/mile pace – a respectable 10mph). I felt strong, fit and really enjoyed blasting out the fast sections. If I’d have known how I was about to feel in the week ahead of me I would’ve savoured the moment even more…

Wednesday

Wednesday was the start of my troubles, and a long drive to Wales meant that I was too tired to head out for the scheduled 7 miles. My plan on the way there was to swap the days and do a quick 4 miles when I arrived, but the time I got there I was too tired to head out. I figured that missing 4 miles wasn’t the end of the world, particularly as Tuesday night’s session was so strong, so I left out the run and went to bed. Wednesday night saw 6hrs of sleep…

Thursday

Happy Birthday to me! There’s nothing like working on your birthday, but this year it was fine. Once again I was in Wales and now halfway through my coaching course so I was amongst friends and soaking up every second of the day. Despite the numerous texts and Facebook messages hoping I was going to have a rest day, I couldn’t rest knowing that the schedule wasn’t going anywhere so headed out that evening to do my now familiar 7.5mile route round the country lanes. Once again, despite my previous night’s unsettled sleep, I felt good and struggled to slow the pace down to the scheduled rate so instead I decided to run at a pace that felt comfortable – which was around 8:20/mile (not the 10:00/mile dictated). Everything went well – job done, time for a birthday treat 🙂 Thursday night brought another 6hrs sleep…

Saturday

Long run time, and the effects of a couple of days away were still with me as we started off from a village called Rothwell on the Lincolnshire Wolds. I had to smile to myself afterwards because as I drove there I remembered thinking to myself “Ah well, it’s only 10 miles!” ONLY?!! I’ve got so used to running now that I think nothing of running that distance – how far I’ve come!! Goes to show that the mental game is just as important as the physical one because such was my attitude towards the run before we started we seemed to get round in no time and it wasn’t half as hard as the last time we ran that course. Off-road running, as anyone who does it will agree, is a completely different game to running on tarmac, and whilst it is a little easier on the joints due to its shock-absorbing nature, it doesn’t half work your legs in ways that tarmac never will. The ground was frozen that morning (there had been the first frost for a while the night before) which was particularly hard on my ankles and feet. Later that day, the ache I’d earned developed into more of a pain to the extent that if I lifted my right foot up what felt like a pulled muscle pain shot up my right shin. Thankfully it subsided by Sunday evening (aka extra precautionary rest day) but for a moment I thought I’d overdone things. Close call…

WEEK 2 Schedule Actual
Monday Rest Rest
Tuesday 6 Miles (1m jog, 5 x 800m fast, 1m jog) 8.9 Miles (78 mins)
Wednesday 8 Miles (80 mins) 8.03 (74 mins)
Thursday 5 Miles (1m jog, 3m “brisk”, 1m jog) 6.58 Miles (56 mins)
Friday Rest Rest
Saturday 3 Miles (30 mins) 9.64 Miles (90 mins)
Sunday 8 Miles (1m jog, 10k race @ sub 46:00, 1m jog) 3.59 Miles (36mins)
TOTAL 30 miles  36.74 miles

Week 2

Tuesday

Tuesday’s run was good – some faster strides to satisfy the plan (getting down to 5:47/mile pace) and extra mileage thrown in too. I was starting to feel the week before, though, so looked forward to some R&R when I got back in. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Tuesday night was the first night of my daughter’s illness – something which meant a tag-team effort taking turns laying with her on the sofa and 2hrs broken sleep.

Wednesday

8 miles on the schedule. 8 miles. I can do this!

Needless to say, I began Wednesday morning feeling shattered and my legs were like lead from the session the night before. It’s hard to think back how my running has been this week – I’ve been in a constant state of zombie-fication – but as tired as I thought I was on Wednesday morning it was nothing compared to Wednesday night. Such a contrast to last Saturday. I got changed and laced up on Wednesday evening after a mentally tiring day at work and literally could’ve closed my eyes and gone to sleep in the hallway right there and then. Wednesday was the first day also when I was aware of how much (or how little) I was eating compared to my running demands and the lack of sleep was beginning to hit me. To use the word ‘struggle’ doesn’t really paint the right picture, but I found it very hard, physically and mentally, to drag myself round and when I returned I was almost dead on my feet. In fact, I can’t remember ever feeling so tired. My legs were like lead; I had nothing in the tank. Shattered. To add to my fatigue I had a night of reduced and broken sleep ahead of me. Zzzzzzzz!

Thursday

Club run. Having eaten a little more during the day, I headed out on our club run for a steady 6 miler feeling a bit more energetic than in recent days. Despite my legs feeling like they were made of lead, I soon found my pace creeping up – why can’t I go slower and keep the pace down?!  Before long I really am going to have to consciously slow down otherwise I’m at risk of running everywhere at the same pace and I know that’s no good. At least my daughter was over the worst and Thursday night brought a full 8hrs sleep. Much needed.

Saturday

Long run. The day’s rest and another 8hrs sleep on Friday night had done me good although before we started out on our hilly, muddy and windy off-road run at Clickem my legs were still feeling tired and my calves were feeling a little abused. Having done this route before, I was mentally projecting myself ahead around the route, anticipating the incline sections and preparing for them before they arrived which definitely helps to maintain momentum. 3 miles into the run, however, the familiar signs of blistering returned and by mile 4 I knew that the added Vaseline and “blister-free guarantee” double-skin socks were about as effective as a chocolate fire-guard. The day was blustery and very muddy under-foot and as a result I found the run uncharacteristically hard. My legs were uncooperative at times – my ankles sore and tired – and I was glad to get round and back to the car.

Enough is enough!!

Saturday afternoon saw me visiting Metres to Miles, a fantastic and friendly running shop near Scunthorpe with a plea to assess my blistering hooves and re-evaluate the suitability of my shoes, previously prescribed by them to address my mild over-pronation. A few trials of different shoes later, involving some interesting recorded runs on the treadmill (my legs were stiffening from the morning’s shenanigans and one in particular saw me running like Shaggy Rogers from Scooby Doo!) and I left with a new pair of Saucony Progrid Guide 5 shoes and a bucket full of anticipation for what difference they would make to my tender feet and running performance. Time for some rest and tomorrow’s the day…

Sunday

So, new shoes on and rain showers blown over, here we go for literally a trial run…

I took the opportunity to accompany my wife (who is now well and truly in the grasp of the running bug) on her usual 3 mile route and dragged the kids out too on their bikes for a lungful or three of fresh air. Straight away the new shoes felt more comfortable, and although yesterday’s blisters were felt from the start, they didn’t feel in danger of getting any worse. Only time and miles will tell, but the initial signs were good. Although my legs were still tired, I found myself running at a good 20s/mile faster pace than usual for the same effort. I really hope these will fix me for good.

xx days and xx hours to go…

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