Saturday, February 8, 2014

Bupa London 10,000 Week 5 / 9

Monday: 2 x (2' @ 3:00, 2' @ 6:00) + 7 x (1' @ 3:00, 1' @ 6:00) + 1 x (2' @ 3:00, 2' @ 6:00)
Tuesday: 45' @ 3:54
Wednesday: -
Thursday: 1K-3K-2K-3K-1K @ 3:30 w/ 1', 3', 2', 3' jog
Friday: 20' @ 4:00
Saturday: 5K race (Torrejón de Ardoz)
Sunday: plyometrics + core

I spent most of this week in London so my training (and diet) were a bit disrupted (especially by the Tube strike - more on that later). I attempted my vVo2Max workout on Monday in the Hotel gym, without a rest day the day before. It was very hot and stuffy as usual, and the ceiling was so low that I was concerned I might knock myself out if I bounced up and down too vigorously on the treadmill. Unfortunately, I didn't manage to knock myself out, so there was nothing for it but to get on with the workout. If the 7 sets of 2 minutes at 20 kph I'd set myself a month ago was clearly too much, I at least wanted to improve on last weeks tally of 3. However, I only managed two of these, followed by 7 sets of one minute before having the guts to do the 3rd set of 2 minutes at the end. It may be an excuse, but you can hardly push yourself so hard that you feel like shouting out or risk vomiting in a public gym!

I got up early the next morning for a brisk run around Regent's Park. Normally when I want to run a set time, I run half of that time out and half of it back - this time I managed somehow to run loops around the park and still time it perfectly so I was back at the hotel after the allotted 45 minutes. There were as usual a number of other runners but many more cyclists - some of whom were cycling in a huge pack, zooming round the outer circle.

I set my alarm for the same time on Wednesday but I couldn't face getting out of bed. To be honest, my back has been giving me troubles all week - I think due to a combination of over exertion on Monday and an unfamilar bed. My back seems to always end up being the weak link - I need to look into ways to strengthen it. I did try to squeeze in a run before heading off the the airport but the Tube strike was in full flow and it was nigh on impossible to get a taxi. In fact, I jogged most of the way to Paddington with my suitcase in tow before I finally succeeded in hailing one. Not one to give up easily, I asked a somewhat astonished attendant at the airport whether there was a gym anywhere on the premises but, no, there wasn't and it was the first time they had ever been asked that question.

I did Thursday's workout on the treadmill back in Madrid while watching the video I shot on Sunday of my 15K run around London:

It might seem a bit weird to simulate running outside on the treadmill (although its true that it was raining at the time) but what would be really great, would be to be able to run outside and watch a film or an episode of a TV series at the same time... People say to me "don't you get bored of running on the treadmill?" and, the fact is, I get more bored by running outside - after a while you run out of different routes. What keeps me interested while running around a bustling city like London is people watching but, where I live, there are more people in cars than on the street.

I had a massage for my back before doing a short 20 minute run, as I usually do the day before a race. Monica, the physiotherapist at the work gym, showed me the benefits of using a Pilates foam roller to give myself a self-massage. Another thing to buy and leave around the house.

Am I really that much taller than everyone around me or have they caught me mid bounce?
Apparently, the latest wheeze in the athletics world is to breathe in a 50-50 mixture of oxygen and xenon before a race. Who the hell had the idea of using xenon? I thought it was an inert gas. Perhaps I could try breaking some lightbulbs and inhaling sharply. Had I done so, I might have done a better time for my 5K race on Saturday morning in Torrejón de Ardoz, some 40 kilometres from my house. The navigator dropped me off about 4 kilometres away from where the race was starting from so it took a bit of ingenuity on my part to find it. The conditions weren't exactly ideal - it was raining and windy and the course wound through a park, through puddles, stony paths and with a couple of inclines - I probably should have worn my trail shoes, the Vibram Spyridons instead of the Seeyas. After a bit of confusion at the start as to whether the gun had gone off or not, we went off at a good pace, reaching the first kilometre in 3:15, a bit faster than I would be able to maintain. The first lap of 2.5 km I completed in 8:30 but I paid a bit of a price for it, as my final time was around 17:38 (although the race clock said 17:30, presumably because we jumped the gun slightly). Either way it was a personal best for me - for which I should be happy - but, considering I ran 5K only a few seconds slower the week before without any competition, I would have liked to have come home with a faster time. Next time I will try not to go off so fast - even in a provincial race like this one, there are always a number of Speedy Gonzales who finish between 15 and 17 minutes.

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