Christmas has got in the way of getting an update posted so I am doubling up here, covering both Week 3 and Week 4. I am still rationed to two runs a week.  I am loitering on the edge of adding a 3rd back in, probably the quality session. I figure if I have the long run, a medium mid-week run and the speed session then I’m making a reasonable fist of the training for the marathon, covering the rest on the cross-trainer. Week 5 perhaps.

wk4 training

As you can see, the first week of the plan was a bit half hearted, but I’ve stuck more closely to it since. Dark green are runs per the plan, the lighter green are runternatives, equivalent efforts on the cross-trainer.

Here is how the last couple of weeks went in more detail.

Week 3

Monday – Rest. Unlike Bob Geldof, I do like Mondays.

Tuesday – Hill repeats, sort of.  Hill repeats are off the menu at the moment, uphill running being something that will exacerbate my achilles tendonopathy. I tried to replicate the effect on the cross-trainer, increasing the resistance and my speed to fake the “uphill” sections, slacking off on both for the “downhill” sections. It’s the thought that counts.  Kettlebell swings followed this, along with the usual leg strength session.

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Wednesday – 30 minutes on the cross-trainer, subbing for the 4.8k run on the plan, followed by a core session.

Thursday – 10k runch! A highlight of my curtailed running week. I ran with a colleague along the Thames near work in Richmond.  I attempted to run at a cadence of 175 (an increase from 168 last week). I struggled to do it. I think this was made more difficult by forgetting my earphones, playing the metronome app through the phone speaker was not ideal.  I do wonder though if my long legs (I’m 6’4″) make this more difficult, and that perhaps 170 is a more realistic cadence for me on a slow run.  Later in the day I popped to the gym to bash out the leg strength exercises.

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Friday – 60 minutes on the cross-trainer in the gym. This is a poor cousin to an actual 10k run, but needs must. It would be really boring but I can at least watch a movie or a box set while I’m on the wretched contraption.  I also did a core session with the usual motley collection of planks, supermans, glute bridges and crunches.

Saturday – 30 minutes on the cross-trainer, in lieu of the planned 5k run, followed by a strength session focused on leg rehab.

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Sunday – 19.2km run. For Week 2’s long run I ran trail but I decided to give my achilles a bit of a rest, betting that the uneven ground of the trail put it under more strain than road would. I have an extendable loop I can run near me. By adding bits to the beginning and/or the end, I have make it last anywhere between 5k and 25k. I much prefer a single loop to laps, I have an aversion to going over the same ground again.  Although I live in a town, we’re on the Berkshire/Oxfordshire border, so 10 minutes into a run I’m in the countryside, running through farmland and posh country estates.  A couple of km is light trail but the rest is either B-road or private metalled road. It’s a decent running surface, but having run it, my heel is still quite sore so I’m not sure I’ve gained anything much. Trails for the next long run perhaps.

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Week 4

Monday – Rest.

Tuesday – Planned Christmas Eve 8k Fartlek replaced by 45 minutes on the cross trainer. I varied the speed and resistance to mimic the fartlek. This was followed by a leg strength session.

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Wednesday – Christmas Day! I had a 5k run in mind, per the plan, but in the end I sacked it off, opting instead for over-indulgence. I was a lucky runner, Santa brought me lots of running-related items. I’m looking forward to trying out the head torch, it’s 300 lumens so should be good enough for night trail running.

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Thursday – 10k run replaced by 60 minutes on the x-trainer, plus a good leg sesh with a side of abs.

Friday – 10k run.  My local loop, in quite mild temperatures for the time of year. It was good to get out after two or three days of eating crap and drinking too much. Definitely blew some cobwebs away.

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Saturday – 30 minutes on the cross-trainer followed by legs and core.

Sunday – Week 4 is a light week in the plan, so the long run this week was a mere 10k.  I repeated Friday’s 10k.  Next Sunday’s run is over 20k, so we’re heading into longer territory soon. I should enjoy the short stuff while I can!

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After 6 weeks now of gym work, I definitely feel the improved strength in my legs. The injuries are not fully vanquished, but I am in no doubt that the leg sessions will benefit my general running.

I’m pleased with progress against the plan in recent weeks, I’m tracking pretty well.

wk4 chart

That’s it for now, I’ll be back in a week or two for another update.