This week was meant to be a ‘down’ week, which generally means less mileage and perhaps an extra day off. I do one of these weeks every fourth week, so in this case my mileage over the four-week cycle had been: 28 miles, 35 miles, 28 miles (including race) and then the ‘down’ week of 40 miles. Whoops! Last time I checked my maths 40 was more than 35…


The problem is I’m just feeling really keen at the moment. So the 50 minute run on Tuesday became 70 mins with the club, then daughter the elder wanted to go running to make a penguin (more information on this in a bit) on Wednesday night so that was an extra two miles, I woke up at 5am on Friday and after tossing and turning for a bit and deciding I probably wasn’t going to get back to sleep I went for a run and did five miles.

The Thursday interval session didn’t go to plan either. The plan was for a 15 minute warm up and then a Fartlek Ladder Workout: 1 min at 5k race (or faster) effort, 2 mins at 5 mile race effort, 3 mins at 10k race effort, 4 mins at half marathon race effort,  5 mins at half marathon race effort, and then back down the ladder 4, 3, 2, 1, each with a two minute recovery jog and then a cool down run home. However despite three attempts to load the workout on the Garmin when I came to start the workout on the Garmin it wasn’t there. So knowing I was going to have run and check timings on my watch manually I improvised and did a completely different workout of  2 x (3 min @ HM effort, 3 min @10k effort, 3 min @ 5k effort – all with 3 min recoveries to make the maths easier) I was still feeling good at the end of the workout so I did an extra 2 x 3 min at HM effort.

shenley wood penguinI also had a bit of fun as on Wednesday morning as I’d realised the night before that the woods near home made the outline of a penguin, so I set off on an easy run with my phone and Google Maps app to run the outline of the penguin and then venture into the wood to make a wing. I’m pretty pleased with the result, what do you think?

Of course, when Ami saw it she wanted to give it a go so off we went into the night, head torches on. The outline was pretty easy but we were too busy chatting about special quadrilaterals whilst trying to make the penguins wing and we missed a trail and ended up temporarily lost in the woods, in the dark. Thankfully Shenley Wood isn’t that big and we were soon back on track but the penguin’s wing ended up very wonky to say the least. Something else, that didn’t quite go as planned.

Which brings me back to the plan. The whole point to having a plan is so I know what to do, perhaps it’s the same for you. Training plans are a necessity if you’re focusing on training for a race, but when our focus is so intent on making it happen it can be crushing when things just don’t work out like we wanted them to, whether that’s missing a training run or becoming so focused on the outcome and achieving a set time that it’s devastating when it doesn’t work out as planned. The downside of plans is that sometimes we can become so concentrated on accomplishing what’s that we lose sight of what else is important, such as enjoying our running.

I’d started training for London in mid-December 2013, before going into the East Midlands Grand Prix series and then straight into Chester Marathon training. In August I hit a bump, I’d been so focused on training for a race for so long I forgot what it was like to run for the pure enjoyment of running. I forgot what it was to just go run and not have to worry about pace or “have to get in an interval session whilst the girls are at school and work deadlines are stacking up.” In some ways I’d stopped looking at running as something I do that’s fun and I’d turned it into a job. And running should never feel like a job.

And that’s why it’s important to not get too caught up in the plan. Life happens, but don’t forget to have your own miles and smiles.

This week’s training:

  • Tuesday: 70 min easy run
  • Wednesday: Shenley Wood Penguin easy run
  • Thursday: Intervals
  • Saturday: 2 hour long run
  • Sunday: Nowt!

Until next time…

Kassia Gardner

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