Weeks 17-20 Training Recap – Base Complete

From a park run PB to ascending the equivalent of Green Gable, weeks 17 through 20 have been great. My first four months were an introduction to ‘proper’ training and revolved around consistent, purposeful practice. Month five was about finalizing my base.

The longer I can go without injury the fitter I will be, those were the words of my coach, Jayson. Adding mileage and avoiding injury is a balancing act, I need to progress while leaving my body time to adapt. To train efficiently I need to run at least four days a week, doing various sessions. In Jayson’s words “you need to nail down these weekly routines, then we can build on them.”

Its hard to add distance while introducing different sessions, like hill reps, speed work and fartleks (always makes me laugh, how immature.) These sessions can add stress to newbie bodies, so we kept the distance moderate for yet another month. If I could nail this monthly ‘routine’ without niggles and injury free, we can safely pile on the distance going forward.

To recap weeks 1-16, I started on 15.5 miles and my highest weekly distance was 19 miles. Each week consisted of three running days and four days strength and conditioning. Training intensity started at recovery pace and increased with time to endurance including some intervals.

Week 17 – Training Recap

Monday – Strength & conditioning

Tuesday – Speed work 1 hour (Interval RPE 8-9) – 7 miles (New 5K PB of 24:14)

Wednesday – Strength & conditioning

Thursday – Endurance run 50 minutes (RPE 5-6) – 5.56 miles

Friday – Strength & conditioning

Saturday – Easy off road run 1 hour and 15 minutes (RPE 5) – 7.53 miles. This was a very hilly and wet experience along the Cleveland Way from Helmsley.

Sunday – Strength & conditioning + Recovery run 30 minutes (RPE 4) – 3.22 miles

Totals –  = 23.31 miles  = 3hrs 35mins  = 1562ft

Week 17 was my first four day running week and my highest mileage to date. But I felt great, no niggles.

Week 18 – Training Recap

Monday – Strength & conditioning

Tuesday – Hill rep session 40 mins (RPE 9) – 4.29 miles (577ft elevation gain)

Wednesday – Strength & conditioning

Thursday – Endurance run 45 minutes (RPE 5-6) – 5.02 miles

Friday – Strength & conditioning

Saturday – 5K park run preceded and followed by 20 mins warm up/down – 7.42 miles. I ran the 5K at RPE 9 and finished sub 21 minutes, a new PB for 5K.

Sunday – Strength & conditioning + Recovery run 30 minutes (RPE 5) – 3.43 miles

Totals –  = 20.16 miles  = 2hrs 58mins  = 1227ft

Week 18 was high in intensity so the distance dropped as a result. Thursdays run was tough, my legs felt heavy from Tuesdays hill reps and Sunday was the same due to my high intensity park run. But it paid off, as I found new speed and confidence.

Week 19 – Training Recap

Monday – Strength & conditioning

Tuesday – Endurance run 1 hour (RPE 5-6) – 6.71 miles

Wednesday – Strength & conditioning

Thursday – Speed work 50 minutes (Intervals RPE 7-9) – 5.95 miles

Friday – Strength & conditioning

Saturday – Endurance off road run 1 hour and 20 minutes (RPE 5-6) – 8.71 miles. I felt great running through Dalby Forest, almost like floating the trails. By far my fastest pace around this course, I’d usually be about 9:50 min/miles but improved it to 9:12 min/miles.

Sunday – Strength & conditioning + Recovery run 30 minutes (RPE 4) – 3.22 miles

Totals –  = 24.68 miles  = 3hrs 40mins  = 1329ft

Week 18 saw a step forward in speed. I’d usually expect most of my endurance runs well above the 9 min/mile pace but that is steadily dropping into the 8’s.

Week 20 – Training Recap

Monday – Strength & conditioning

Tuesday – Hill rep session 45 mins (RPE 9) – 4.87 miles (672ft elevation gain)

Wednesday – Strength & conditioning

Thursday – Endurance run 50 minutes (RPE 5-6) – 5.65 miles

Friday – Strength & conditioning

Saturday – Endurance off road run 1 hour and 35 minutes (RPE 5-6) – 7.74 miles. You may be thinking, but isn’t that 12+ minute miles? And you’re right. This run took me through the Wainstones on the Cleveland Way and included 7 whopping climbs totaling the height of Green Gable (Lake District.) Below is an elevation graph but it totaled 2694ft.

Sunday – Strength & conditioning + Recovery run 30 minutes (RPE 4) – 3.28 miles

Totals –  = 21.54 miles  = 3hrs 39mins  = 3691ft

So, a great month and over the moon to have built my base. Its taken 5 months and plenty of patience but well worth the wait. But what next? Well, now we really kick on upping the distance every week and adding some speed. I am skiing in Austria at the end of February, then we have little more than a month to prepare for the Hardmoors White Horse Half Marathon…eeek! I’ll leave you with a short POV video from my trail run around the Wainstones.

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Darren Smith

Training with purpose since October 2016 Darren has gone from trailing the pack to winning local races and the times keep on falling. A true believer in hard work over natural talent he writes to help others realise their true potential. Darren's race schedule for 2018 includes the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon (1st place), Keswick Mountain Festival (10th place), Scafell Skyrace and Salomon Ring Of Steall (World Championship race.)

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