The Road to London #Week 4

Monday night is the crucial pivotal point of each training week. It’s the balancing scales of whether I am still on track. I made club again, with Coach Penny setting a tricky session of long and short hills. This felt like a tough combination of a long hill, jog down about one third of the way, then back up to the top, before jogging down right to the beginning and repeating for 25 minutes. Some weeks the period of effort flies by; this week wasn’t one of those times!

We were in the grip of a mini cold spell, so were running in a minus temperature and again I had to use my wits. As soon as the session is finished (or even just before if my time has run out) I have to sprint back to the car at 5K race pace, giving me less than 10 minutes to drive to pick up my 12-year-old, Amelie, from ballet. We’ve struck a deal – I get to go to running if I’m no more than 10 minutes late picking her up. Both session and ballet finish at 7:30, approximately 4.5 miles apart.

All the gear no idea? Not me - no gear and no idea

All the gear no idea? Nope. No gear and no idea

As always evenings are a juggling act and I drive as quick as I can to get her. Then I drive her home, have about nine minutes to have a shower and tea before I have to drive out to pick up my third daughter from gymnastics. In that small window I spent approximately 1.5 minutes on the shower (no time for hairwash), 1.5 minutes on trying to convince Amelie on the importance of reading the question and proof-reading her answers in this week’s Year 8 exams, said hello to my eldest daughter for about one minute while she was doing her art homework in her bedroom (I decided it was best/had no time to discuss the blue paint on her carpet as her work was fantastic. Being creative and being tidy don’t go together) then reheated the congealed pasta I had cooked earlier, threw in some pesto, ate, jumped into the car and bombed it down the road four miles in the opposite direction to get daughter number three. Somehow I forgot my stretches.

It was all fine and the endorphins were buzzing through my veins as if they had just won a holiday to Mauritius. It was back home for tea for my youngest, get her up and into bed, say goodnight to number one and two, and then I went down… crashing just as I shut the last bedroom door and crept into my room. The important part is I made Monday’s club session, and now it’s four in a row. Normally I hide away in the winter, or my asthma is too bad to run. Surely this must mean I am a real runner again.

Tuesday’s are my rest day and I only do leg/core strengthening exercises, such as single leg squats, forward lunges, calf raises, glute activation. This helps me to recover from Monday night’s speed/hill session.

This really gets into your piriformis

This really gets into your piriformis

Wednesday was out into the bitter cold to bike to the pool then bike home. I’m loving mixing up my training, especially getting out on the bike, even though the air hitting your lungs is so icy.

Thursday is my speed session I do on my own and with the Stubbington 10K, held in my village, on Sunday I took it easy with a warm-up, 2 x 5mins at 5K-ish pace, which ended up being 7:04 and 7:03min/miling, so it was a little off. I’d been up during the night coughing, probably triggered by the cold. And it was -2 and my legs were frozen, so I was happy to do anything. I had to head to the physio after due to issues with my lower back and left glute/piriformis. Both are niggling, I’m not in pain with either but I wanted to get them checked out before I start doing my longer runs as my left hip seized in training for and during the Edinburgh Marathon. My pelvis can sometimes come out of alignment.

Friday I take out a group of runners from Stubbington Green Runners and we did 2 x 30-60-90-60-30 seconds of effort with about 90 seconds of recovery, with a brilliant work ethic from the whole group, and though it was below zero it was still and sunny, and everyone managed to finish smiling.

On Saturday the weekend was turned upside down as my partner David was rushed into hospital. He went on a bike ride in the cold, when he came home he couldn’t get warm, then fainted and had a seizure. We were both due to help in the prep for Sunday’s 10K, instead we were in hospital and had to return on Sunday so he could have further tests. He is OK, and the doctors felt it was a one-off episode, but it was a stressful experiences, and it flattened both David, then me. We couldn’t do the race on Sunday, but I managed to squeeze in some time between looking after him, the hospital and sorting out homework etc to dash out for a run at lunchtime. I was quite miserable as we were going to run the 10K together, which we rarely do, and even though the weather held out for the race in the morning, cold rain had descended by the time I got out. When I got home I was frozen.

So I banked the miles but not quite to plan. Strangely, though, my pace was OK and I almost felt like a long distance runner again. After four weeks of training I definitely felt like I clicked with running again for the first time since 2014 I think! This fits in perfectly with the science that says it takes four to six weeks to notice training benefits (Coach Jeff explains the science behind this here).

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Looking back it was a strange week, partly due to David being ill, but there may have also been other factors bubbling under the surface. I had my first full week of taking HRT and I couldn’t stop crying all week!

Even though I’m not sure if a return of oestrogen can affect your running, by the end of the week I was feeling more able to face training. I had really struggled with it mentally and physically for a few weeks. Can HRT affect your running? I don’t know. It usually takes a few weeks for you to feel the effects of HRT, so maybe it was a coincidence.

Note to self: if you are writing up your training weeks do so as you finish each one, whatever is going on. Otherwise, expect confusion!

How is your MT going?

Has anyone else noticed HRT has affected their running?

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