I came to this week with high expectations. In many ways you have to when you are going further and harder than you have ever been before. It’s of little value entering a session without expecting to get something from it – and this week I started running structured sessions.
I decided to start with the classic Yasso 800s. The rationale behind this particular session is well documented. Essentially it requires you to run 800 metre reps. A target marathon of 3 hours requires you to run the rep in 3 minutes with a three minute recovery. If you can run 10 of these, you should be in three hour shape. Obviously, if you are targeting a four hour marathon your timings change to four minutes.
I quick measure on Google maps and I soon found an 800 metre length of path running through Leverhulme park. Of course, it would be even easier to do it on the track there. However, a combination of the track surface and constant running on the bends seems to aggravate my calf. So, I’m staying clear.
After a few miles of jogging to warm up and considerable talking myself into it, I was ready to Yasso. I decided to run 5 reps. This would give me time to add a rep or two every couple of weeks in order to build up to the ten reps recommended by chief running officer of Runners’ World Bart Yasso (after whom the session is named). I’m obviously not running this session every week.
The first rep passed in a bewildering mixture of pain and uncoordinated movement of limbs. Anyone observing must had thought that I was either being chased by a particularly nasty swarm of wasps or was suffering from some form of uncontrollable arm spasm. Or at least that’s how it felt. The only consolation was knowing that my watch would stop at a pleasing 2:30. I was flying.
It stopped at 3:12. I wasn’t.
I spent the three minutes recovery reminding myself that however difficult today was going to be, it was precisely through running such sessions that I’d make the improvements that I am seeking. The next four reps saw a similar pattern: run hard, stare at my watch in disbelief, shake my head for three minutes, and repeat. But, by the end of rep three I was actually enjoying working really hard. I was rewarded with subsequent reps of 3:01, 2:55, 2:51, 2:55.
The day after saw me complete my midweek longer run. This 13 miler passed with an average pace of 7:22. I deliberately ran this with a negative split and felt very strong towards the end of a very warm run. A quick look on Strava reminded me that this was the quickest that I’d ever run on this course. It is runs like this which convince me that going sub 1:30 in the Bolton Community Half Marathon in September is a definite possibility.
The week’s other highlight was Bolton parkrun. I felt relaxed for a fifth place in 19:55. The lowlight was Sunday’s run. A combination of family commitments, heat, and tiredness meant that I really struggled around the course and I was truly relieved when I finally stopped.
So, this week’s training looked like this:
Monday: 9.4 miles @ 8:22
Tuesday: 5 x 800 metres (3 rec)
Wednsday: 13 @ 7:22
Thursday: 4 recovery
Friday: 10 @ 8:59
Saturday: Bolton parkrun 19:55
Sunday: 10 easy @ 9:21
Total miles: 60.5
The aim for next week is to consolidate the gains made this week and to push on slightly. More specifically, the sub targets are:
Tuesday: the rep session will be 4 x mile reps @ 6:30 m/m
Wednesday: the aim for the midweek long run will be to add a mile to make it 14 and to continue to run this as a negative split.
Saturday: Bolton parkrun. The aim will be to run this as hard (but but not a flat out effort.
Sunday: 16 miles easy, but with the last 7 @ 7:30 m/m