March Training

In summary March has been a good month.  There have certainly been some encouraging signs that my fitness is returning as I’ve slowly increased my weekly mileage and started a routine to strengthen my core.  I’ve also really enjoyed my running with a few runs ‘just for fun’.  I’m sure the warmer weather has helped my running too.  Spring is in the air and I’ve dusted off the sunglasses and short shorts!

My running has included a mixture of steady runs, tempo runs, hill work, and some interval sessions on the track – so basically a bit of everything.  I have been pleased with a few runs in particular:

1. I cruised a 15 mile long run with club mates at an average pace of 6 minutes 50 seconds per mile and generally felt like I was running on clouds.  Ok, maybe I wasn’t quite cruising at that pace, but it definitely felt good

2. A brutal 45 minute cross country hill session where I didn’t feel like I was running on clouds.  Probably because I was running through mud.  This was a really tough session of 8 hilly loops in Cofton Park.  I needed a nap after this one. Read More

Soft Centred

Like most runners I tend to ignore working on my core strength in favour of running.  I know strengthening my core is important and I know why but I generally find it a chore and try to ignore it or get it over with as quickly as possible.

So why is core strength so important?  The answer is actually really simple.  A strong core will improve your running efficiency and reduce your risk of injury, especially as your training load – either intensity or volume – increases.  You’ll be able to run faster and further.  There are many articles scattered across the Internet about the benefits of core strength written by people far more qualified than I am (let’s call them experts), so I won’t go into any more detail.  You’ll just have to trust me, read this, or find yourself an expert.

My core strength work to date has been sporadic at best, with brief periods of enthusiasm and long periods of sofa surfing.  Generally this has been accompanied by the consumption of an industrial quantity of chocolate.  A practice, I’m reliably informed by those aforementioned experts, that does not go hand in hand with a strong core.  This has resulted in me having a high aerobic fitness, strong legs and a comparatively weak core.  If I were a chocolate I’d have a soft centre.  Like a caramel.

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February Training

Having spent most of January out of action due to a hamstring injury I was hopeful that February would see me return to running.  After 2 weeks of complete rest I started my rehabilitation with some strengthening exercises for my hamstring and core.  The cause of my hamstring injury was not, as I first thought, purely my over exuberance during a track session on New Years Eve, but actually caused partly by a mechanical issue linked to a weakness in my lower back and right hip, which in turn was most likely the result of poor rehabilitation after surgery in 2013. Read More

January Training

January was a tough month for me.  I picked up a hamstring injury whilst training on New Years Eve and struggled over the following weeks.  Foolishly I continued to run, convincing myself the injury was just a niggle that would sort itself out.  Running a league cross country race for my club was probably the worst thing I could have done.  I knew this but did it anyway.  I’m not sure if this was pure stupidity (what me, stupid?), blind optimism, or the staunch stubbornness of a distance runner.  Whatever it was, the result was the same as the injury got worse and I was forced to stop running and pay a visit to my physio. Read More

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