5k PB // 10k Training Block

After last week’s head-cold base-training derailment, I was eager and excited to get into my 10k training block.  To start things off I wanted to set a bench-mark time to dial in the paces for any interval, or tempo runs. 

As the last week of my base training schedule was waylaid by a head cold, I decided to head out for a 5k for time rather than the 13 miler I had originally scheduled. I was excited to see if could put a dent in my 5k personal best of 24:25 set way back in 2011, and hopefully improve on the 25:01 I ran earlier this year. 

Waking up with a head cold hangover and a head full of phlegm is not the best method before a 5k for time. But there is no day off on race day, so there shouldn’t be a day off on any other day. After an easy warm-up, going through all the motions, I took a deep breathe and went for it. 

First mile down the road was a rapid (in my opinion) 7:20, followed by a pair of 7:28s around the park, fortunately it was a rainy Sunday morning and there was no one to dodge on my loops. This wasn’t an official 5k run, it hasn’t been measured or approved by any organisation, so it remains up for debate on exactly how long it took me to run the remaining 0.11 of a mile. 

According to Strava(obviously looking for kudos) it took 40 seconds. Nike Run Club is convinced I took 44 seconds, and if I go based on Smashrun it took me 1:30. 

No mater which app or website we use for the results, I definitely ran a PB on Sunday by at least a minute. In my head I’m sticking with the middle road and claiming 23 minutes flat. It’s a nice, pretty, whole number that is easy to remember. Now with my shiny new PB and my paces for my 10k training block at hand, it’s time to start working towards by first ‘A’ race of 2018. 

With my shiny new PB and my paces for my 10k training block at hand, it’s time to start working towards by first ‘A’ race of 2018. 

I was originally going to use Hal Higdon’s 10k Advanced Plan for an 8 week training block, but I didn’t think there was enough volume in the plan to really get the strength and endurance I needed. Especially as the max weekly volume doesn’t go above 40 miles. 

After looking around and trying to find a plan I liked, I’ve decided to follow the Brooks 10k Advanced Plan. I’ve had success with Brooks training plans in the past, and the basic structure looked solid to me. After a few modifications (moving the long run to a Sunday, and adding in an easy run instead of a rest day) the weekly mileage will average between high 40s and mid 50s, much better in my opinion for building strong legs. An additional benefit is that the workouts on Tuesday and Thursday line up neatly with the Hanson’s Marathon Training that I’ll be using after this training block. 

So here we go, first workout tonight – looking forward to it! 

When head colds hit hard

Got in from work yesterday with daggers in my throat and a head cold occupying what used to be my nasal passages. 

Needless to say, training has been sidelined for the next few days. Hopefully be back at it soon. 

No highest weekly mileage will be hit this week. Live to fight another day. 

Blocking out the disappointment

It’s been a bit over two weeks, or maybe almost three since I restarted and refocused on monitoring what I was eating. It can be hard work counting calories, especially if you have a penchant for delieveroo.  I’ve definitely shifted the needle on my scale, or pixels seeing as we are living in the future, but I haven’t managed to lose as much as I’d like – a never ending cycle for me. 

Down just over 4 lb during the past few weeks,
but it really was just the result of one good week. 

While I’m not losing as much weight as I’d like, as quickly as I’d like, my base training has been strangely enjoyable. Last week I covered a total of 48 miles; officially my second highest mileage since records began. Surprisingly my pace has also started to come down, whether that can be attributed to increase base fitness, a loss of weight or both doesn’t matter because I feel like the past 7 weeks of work are starting to pay off.

Base training wraps up in 7 days with a 52 mile week on the cards [6,6,9,6,6,13]. 52 miles will be my highest weekly mileage, ever, so obviously I’m super excited about that. The current record of 50.1 miles was set at the beginning of my Berlin training block at the end of July. 

All of this base training means that I will also be hitting my highest mileage month this month as well. The previous record of 155.4 miles set in January this year will fall after tonight’s 6 mile run on my way to a total 187 miles this month. Someday I’ll break 200 miles. 

With only 4 weeks till Christmas, and 10 weeks until my first race of 2019 I need to remind myself that miles and workouts are only half of the picture. Diet is the other half, and it’s a half that I’m only succeeding at half the time. 

As calorie restriction isn’t delivering the best results so far, I keep thinking about toying with the idea of cutting out all refined carbs. It worked for floris as he documented on his blog. But that’s a big life altering commitment, especially in the lead up to Christmas. Maybe big life altering is what I need? 

For now I’m going to continue to work at eating less calories than my body needs, and maintaining a caloric deficit. Hopefully I can shift a bit more before the New Year. 

Consistency is difficult

It’s been a pretty bad pair of weeks since my last post – but that’s to be expected with me if you read my first post. I have an uncanny ability to find and then somehow absorb food that is within 30 feet of my body.  I continually play the same game with myself, always endeavouring to start over tomorrow. Unfortunately that means I spend most days just thinking that I’ll try again tomorrow and write the day off. 

Waking up each day with carte blanche in and of itself is freeing, and helps to rid me of any lingering guilt from whatever abhorrent amount of calories I somehow managed to shovel down my gullet. 

However starting each day fresh can lead to an inability to hold myself accountable for my actions. Rather than thinking of each day as an individual war I’m hoping to coach myself into thinking that each passing of the sun is just a tiny skirmish in my struggle against the bulk of excess lipids in my body.  I’ve been consistently losing battles these past two weeks and need to rally to fight through the end of this month.

2 weeks of weight loss, 2 weeks of stagnation

I’ve also taken to a religious diligence to my favourite method of ‘dieting’ – Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) – and have been recording my calories diligently with myfitnesspal since Wednesday, October 10th.  I’ve lost 5.6 lb in the 4 weeks from then, an average of 1.4 lb a week, which is not enough to reach my target of 221 lb by the end of November. To hit my short term goal I need to shed 13.1 lb over the next 3 weeks, a massive 4 lb a week, that isn’t easily doable. But I will soldier on. 

Short term goals update

Despite my setbacks on the fat front, my running is ticking over and it looks like I’ll complete every scheduled run as I’ve set out to do. Having just finished Week 4, I’m happy to be just over halfway through this base period. I continue to try and wake up to run before work, but it never happens. When marathon season comes around I’m going to struggle to fit in double-digit runs during the week if I can’t manage to run in the morning. 

8 weeks of Base Training, increasing by 4 miles a week

When my base training is finished I’ve scheduled in a week of recovery before I jump into Hal Higdon’s 10k Advanced Plan, which is what I’ll be following through to the Maddog. The year seems to move along quite quickly when you chop it up into training blocks. 

Marathon ‘A’ Race

I’ve also just signed up for my first marathon of 2019. I’m returning to the venue of my marathon debut and I’ll be pounding the streets of Cincinnati, Ohio for the 21st Flying Pig Marathon on 5th May 2019.  Life is just a series of training blocks isn’t it?

Goal(s) Weight

I have a few goals I’d like to accomplish over the next one-hundred days; it’s always commendable to have goals. There are a myriad of ways to go about setting goals, from the business popular SMART goal and now the hip & trendy – forward thinking CLEAR goal, but the important thing is to set them.

Because, what are you working towards with your life if you haven’t specified something to achieve?

My Goals:

  • Smash my 10k PB at the Maddog 10k in February
  • Reach my goal weight (180 lb)

I haven’t attached a date to the latter, because I’m not sure what is reasonable, or attainable so instead I’ll break it up into smaller easier to digest increments. My primary motivation in weight loss, besides the obvious feel/look better, is to become a better runner. So I’ve set some short term goals below that I think are doable. 

For the former I think it’s important to have some context. When I set my current 10k PB of 49:25 it was at the Maddog 10k in February 2012, and I weighed somewhere between 217-220 lb. When you consider that every extra pound of weight slows you down, dragging my current 235 lb frame each of the 6.2miles is a significant disadvantage. I’m confident that if I can hit the same, or lower weight by 3rd February 2019 that I’ll be able to run faster and beat my PR. 

Short term weight goals:

  • Reach 221 lb (100kgs) by the end of November (also the end of base training)
  • Get below 200 lb before the Maddog 10k 

Short term running goals:

  • Complete 8 weeks of base training (ends the last week of November)
  • That’s it, just finish the 8 weeks completing every run

I’ve been ‘bigger’ for a while

I’ve thought about where to begin this for a while now. But like most things in life there is never really a good time or place to start, so just start.

My whole life I’ve always been on the wrong side of the BMI Chart, which is not surprising considering my expertise in food consumption. But I’ve also been relatively active, swimming competitively for years and then taking up running as a means of shedding some adipose tissue from my frame.

But once again I’m trying to get to a ‘healthy’ weight. After achieving an all time personal best of just over 290lbs in 2010 I signed up for my first marathon and got down to 220lbs in early 2011. I’ve promised myself that I’ll never get that big again, but it’s hard, and it’s a constant struggle.

Since then life has balanced out and I’ve done well to find a happy place. I’ve regained part of what I lost and for the past few years I’ve floated between 240-250lbs. But this isn’t about then – it’s about now.

But this isn’t about then – it’s about now.

After a year of fluctuation weight, and two less than ideal marathon performances, I’m starting to gear up for the next year. Part of that is this blog, which is great for me to vomit my thoughts onto. Also, I’ve signed up for my first ‘A’ race, the Maddog 10k, and I’m focusing on getting my weight down while chasing a personal best come February. 

On Monday I began an 8 week base building period which will lead me from 24miles/week up to 52miles/week. After 9 months of back to back marathon training schedules, the first for London and the second for Berlin, I thought a season of gradual mileage building would be beneficial. I also hope to incorporate a regime of stretching and strength training all leading up to a good foundation to begin a 10k specific programme in mid-December.

Base building is literally some of the most boring running I’ve ever done. It’s simple really, and that’s what makes it boring: keep your heart rate down, keep the pace easy, don’t run too much, stick to the plan. But I keep telling myself it will all be worth it come December when I can start churning out 10k specific sessions and striving for that PB.

So let’s do it. That’s the royal we.