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Week 7: Running through the cold!

Last week was the first week in the plan that I didn’t overly enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it but for the first time since I started I found myself dragging myself out of bed with a sigh.  I’m certain that the sudden drop in temperature had everything to do with this but last week’s lesson was that motivation will inevitably drop, and I have to let discipline take over.

After a rest day on Monday (and my last for 24 days) Tuesday morning was an intervals session. Setting out at 06:50 it was still another hour until the sun would make an appearance, and I was rewarded with -2 degrees Celsius for my efforts. Luckily the remainder of the snow had gone and the frost wasn’t so bad meaning I could get some traction on the pavements. The intervals this week were 6 x 0.5mile reps running as fast as I could, with 2.2 mins standing recovery in between.  It’s just a case of going for it until you can stop, gasping for breath and desperately trying to recover before the next one.  The hardest part was being able to monitor the distance on my watch in the dark. In the end I just walked back to the same starting point each time so that I knew roughly where to finish for 0.5miles!

Wednesday was a simple slow recovery 6 mile run at a warmer 0 degrees Celsius! Recovery runs are meant to be at the slowest pace on your plan to help flush out any stiffness from the previous days. I’m still not getting my pace slow enough on these runs but my coach hasn’t told me off just yet so perhaps I’m getting away with it. The recovery run would get me ready for my Thursday hill session. This one I saved for lunchtime instead of first thing in the morning.  I find it harder to run at lunchtimes or after work as it’s difficult to fit it in during the day but it was necessary because the hill on my route to work isn’t long enough as I get further into my plan.  It was fine for the 30” and 40” interval sprints but this week required 1min sprints meaning a lunchtime trot to Primrose Hill in a tropical 2 degrees and wind.  You don’t realise how steep a hill is until you have to run or cycle up it.  Let’s just say that Primrose Hill is perfect for those who need to increase their strength, and boy do you feel it the next day!  Luckily the next day was another 6 mile recovery run at 06:50!

Having done my Friendship Works mentoring on Friday evening, Saturday morning was free for running. A civilised 5 mile slow flat run in daylight and then back home for a hot shower, get the washing and housework done, and then settle down on the sofa for the glorious afternoon nap I’d been craving all the way through the working week! All that week 7 had left for me was the Sunday long run: 10 miles, but it had to be over a hilly route. Great!  From where I live I headed through the slight hill in Finsbury Park, up the hill to Crouch End and then on to Muswell Hill.  Anyone who knows Muswell Hill will know how steep it is – I had to check that I wasn’t actually going backwards at one point but with every laboured step I kept telling myself “It’s only a hill, get over it”! It’s a brutal hill but I guess the harder it is, the more you’re getting out of it, and the stronger you get.  The Jurassic Coast isn’t going to be a flat course so I’d best get used to it now.

Week 7 ended with 41 miles run but my biggest win is that I survived the bitterly cold weather – it’s only cold when you’re standing still, right? I’m feeling more positive about week 8 as I’ll have a friend join me for the weekly intervals session, and then at the weekend I will have some different routes to run as I’ll be with the family in Cheshire for Christmas. Getting back after a run to a hug from my parents and a cup of hot Ribena waiting for me is right at the top of my Christmas wish list!  Happy Christmas to you all.

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