W/B 23-Jan-2012 – Second week of pre-training

As we approach the start of “real” training, this was a good week.

On Monday, I went for a run using an app for my phone called HIIT Interval Training Timer.  This innocent-looking little program lets you choose an amount of time to warm up, then a set number of repeats of “intervals”.  Where an interval is a period of time to run really, really fast, and then a period of time to recover by running more slowly.

In my case, I gave myself two minutes to warm up, then eight repetitions of “forty-five seconds fast, one minute of recovery”.

It sounds really easy, doesn’t it?  Believe me, I came to curse that moment when I could hear the three “beeps” followed by a whistle blast that signified it was time to go fast again.  But I did find that I ran the thirty minute route over a minute faster than last time.  And apparently this is a good way for helping strengthen the heart, making it better able to deal with the exertion required for the longer runs.

On Wednesday, another new app.  This one is called Runkeeper, and will be familiar to many iPhone owners.  Well, it’s now available for Android.

Runkeeper is another route-plotting program, just like Endomondo.  Like Endomondo, it offers you information on how fast you are running.  But where it scores over Endomondo is that you can tell it how often you want to be told of your performance.  Endomondo is once per mile; Runkeeper can be set to anything up to once per quarter mile.  It is very useful to know when you are letting the pace drop, so that you can metaphorically kick yourself up the backside and get back on pace.

A frosty Parkrun on Saturday!

Talking of backsides.  When I am running I put my phone into the little pocket in my running tights / trousers / whatever.  That pocket is in the small of my back, and is just large enough to squeeze the phone into.  When it is telling me my performance, a female voice reads out my distance and pace.  It was funny that she chose to speak just as I ran past a couple of older men standing chatting… that must be what is meant by “talking out of your arse”!

On Wednesday evening, Life Fit Physiotherapy held an open day at their Grangemouth studio.  This was really instructive.  Hugh, a biomechanics specialist, demonstrated several fascinating points about stretching and helped me realise that I really do need to (i) strengthen my calf muscles and (ii) stretch my hamstrings.  And Arlene very kindly showed me how to do an achilles tendon massage, after which the little niggle at my achilles was totally gone!

Saturday was Parkrun day, and I was determined I was going to blow away my previous personal best.  I planned to use intervals to get a time better than the 24:05 that was my old PB.

Arriving at the car park, I managed to reverse the car into a tree.  I have to say that it was not the best start imaginable, and I am going to have to find out how much it will cost me to get a new rear light cluster fitted.  It possibly didn’t leave me in the best frame of mind for the rest of the race.

Finish The Parkrun – Thank You
to Dougie for the photo!

It was also cold… really cold.  You can see in the picture of the park that ice crystals were loving it

Anyway, I started off trying to do the intervals… and it just wasn’t there.  For some reason, in spite of my trying so hard to get my focus in place, it just wasn’t working.  I was knackered!

But I kept running, albeit ignoring the little voice shouting at me from my bum.  “Forty five seconds fast”.  Aye, right!

The regular pace updates let me know that I wasn’t hopelessly out, and when I got to the final stretch I gave it all that I had… and the result is that I came in in an official time of 23:59 – not great by any means, but still six seconds faster than I’ve managed before!

So, that’s another week down.  Just one more week of pre-training, and then I start on The Plan!

23-29 Jan 2012

Number of runs Three
Links – Tuesday – 3.68 miles (433 cal)
– Thursday – 5.32 miles (626 cal)
– Saturday – 3.08 miles (362 cal)
Total mileage this week 12.08
Calories burned this week 1421
Total mileage since start 33.03
Calories burned since start 3822
Sunday morning weight 11st 9lb