Getting faster

I almost thought I was injured last week. I went to run club, and was time at different effort levels to see how big a range of speeds I have. It was all fine until the sprint, where I suddenly felt discomfort in my lower hamstring area. I wouldn’t have said it was especially sore, but it was definitely niggly. We cut the speed session short and did a gentle jog back instead. I rubbed some deep heat in once I got home and that really helped. 

I was due to do speed work as part of my training plan the next morning. I got up, stretched and went outside to run but within 20 seconds I stopped, not only was my niggle uncomfortable, it was sore. I did a little yoga instead but was seriously grumpy about not running! It eased up a little during the day, but definitely wasn’t better, so I erased all thoughts of doingy speed session the next morning and did a gentle 20 odd minutes on the exercise bike. 

I was worried, but by Saturday morning it was pretty much back to normal. I headed off to parkrun, this time with my parents in tow (as they were visiting for the weekend). They just came along to spectate and have a wee walk in the park, which is perfect at Bramley as the four lap courses maximises opportunities to see people! I didn’t push as much on the downhill as I usually would have done, but finished in a comfortable 28:05. 

The next day I had a long run scheduled, 60 minutes at long run pace then ten at tempo. I knew I’d cover around seven miles in that time, so rather than running from home, my parents and I dropped my other half off to play cricket then drove over to Swinsty reservoir. The plan was for my parents to walk round whilst I ran round both Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs. 

It was a beautiful day, and aside from going down the wrong path at one point and having to turn back, it was an enjoyable, uneventful run. I didn’t manage to do the tempo bit quite as quickly as I’d have liked due to the number of people I had to dodge, but the beautiful scenery made up for it. 

 I also got the chance to try a new Tribe bar, the Kianga Pineapple one (designed for recovery post exercise). I don’t usually use pre or post bars as my long runs aren’t that long, I would usually just eat a decent lunch. However, we went to pick up my other half from his cricket game but had to wait a while, and I started to get super hungry. Luckily I’d brought the bar along just in case! It was really good, and definitely curbed my hunger. It was sweet, but not overly so. Once I’ve used up the products I currently have (I bought them by the way, they weren’t sent for a free review!) I will definitely look to buy more. My favourite so far is tye pre-exercise Choc Salt bar

Tuesday was just an easy run with ten minutes tempo attached, then this morning was my speed session. It was the first in two weeks, and speed sessions are my least favourite (such hard work!), so I wasn’t exactly leaping out of bed to do it. 

I made myself get out there though and, what do you know, it was extremely rewarding. I was scheduled to do ten minutes at east pace, three miles at race pace (eight minute miles or less) then another ten minutes easy. I really wasn’t sure I could do three miles that fast without a break, but there was only one way to find out. 

I’m not going to lie, it was hard work. I was extremely relieved that mile three was mostly flat or slightly downhill, as miles one and two were undulating and the uphill bits at race pace were not easy. I powered on, and knowing I had run well, kept going at speed for an extra 0.1 mile before starting my ten minutes easy, to see how quickly I’d managed 5k. 

My efforts rewarded me with a new 5km PB (albeit still an unofficial one – must sign up for a timed 5km!) – 23:27! I was very, very happy with this. The training is really paying off. 

I really don’t feel I could sustain that pace for twice as long, but then again I didn’t think I’d be able to do it for three miles when I got out of bed. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we realise. 

So whilst I feel I have a way to go, I was definitely left on a high all day!


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