Track running is not, nor never shall be, something I am interested in. The idea of running in circles, past the same scenery on an incessant orange lozenge is just not my idea of fun. But, this morning, I found myself running in circles anyway.
Granted, my 5am workout this morning was not on a running track. Side note: I’m not even sure where my nearest running track is! But it was multiple laps of the same route.
I’ve spoken on social media, and here as it happens, about the fact that I wasn’t using a training plan for my marathon training.
The problem is I find them too restrictive and generally don’t fit in with our family schedule. For instance, when I ran the Blackpool marathon back in 2017 I had to alter the plan to do my long run on a Saturday, not a Sunday.
The other problem is that I become fixated on the plan. Sticking to it becomes an obsession. It takes the spontaneity, and therefore the fun, out of running for me.
I had convinced myself that my method of a more holistic approach would see me through my next marathon – again, Blackpool in April. But last week I began to realise that the lack of any written plan meant that I wasn’t fully committed to achieving my goal time of 3:29.
While I am convinced I would certainly have got through the marathon, achieving a time which will be a challenge for me would not have happened. I needed a plan.
I officially started my chosen plan yesterday – jumping straight into week 3 as that felt about right. It also meant that the date of the marathon lined up with the plan too – kind of important.
Yesterday was a steady 5 miles, today was significantly more. When I check the plan before going to bed last night I realised I had a problem.
Today’s plan was a 9 mile run – but it was a 1 mile interval session:
- 1.5 mile warm-up
- 5 x 1 mile @ 6 min/mile pace followed by 400m recovery
- 1.5 mile cool-down
With H working mornings and getting picked up at 6:30am I needed to be out the door for 5am. I don’t like setting an alarm that starts with a 4.
I opted for 5am and promised myself I would get up.
Due to H’s phones doing some very random things at about half-past-midnight my mind was given the chance to argue with itself about whether I would actually get up at 5am.
I wouldn’t have time to do this run if I didn’t get up.
I dragged myself out of bed at 5:03 after a short-lived battle between good and evil. I was out of the door at 5:15 into the crips, cold morning air.
I had set the session in my TomTom watch. But to cut time, I cut some miles too. This was the plan I set (or thought I’d set):
- 1 mile warm-up
- 5 x 1 mile work / 0.2 miles (320m) slow/rest (my watch only goes to 1 decimal point)
- 1 mile cool down
That should have made an 8 mile interval workout in total.
Time was against me. Not getting near the 6 min/mile pace was against me. The dog was against me.
Adaption of the plan, mid-plan is never a great idea but, you know, needs must. I chose to sack off the cool down.
As my watch entered the 5th, and final, rest period I was relieved. Then buzzzzzzz – WORK!
What? Is my watch trying to kill me? I was done. Did I mention that I hate speed work?
I just jogged home wondering what my watch was playing at. Then it hit me.
Before my switch to miles from kilometres, the last session I had in there was a time-based interval session with 15 reps. When I set up this latest plan I changed everything except the number of reps!
Do professionals even do 15 x mile intervals?
Thanks for reading.