This week has been about recovering from the Canal Canter last Saturday (race report here if you missed it) and looking at building strength and endurance. I’ve lowered the miles on purpose, as wanted to make sure I’d recovered properly: actually I’ve felt pretty OK since doing the race, however tired I felt during it!

Tuesday: I had a fitness testing session with Paul, one of the coaches from our running club (we have three coaches who have been through the England Athletics CiRF course and they’re all great). I was originally going to only do the strength and flexibility tests with him but then realised the other half of the test was a run he trusted me to do on my own. I fully believe I did this as well as I could do given that I had a flat part of the park to run in and just went round a few times; I didn’t have any noticeable fatigue and my pace of mainly 10:14 mm (last part slower when I turned back on myself – why? so an average of 10:23 mm) was what I can get flat out on the track. I had to run as far as I can for 12 minutes and that gave me 1.16 miles. This was in the average zone for all women in my age range.

I then had to do a plank and a side plank each side for as long as I could hold it. I chose straight-arm not elbow for the side planks. Front: 1:50 min, left 1:57 min, right 1:48 min (all at the top end of average). Then I had to do as many sit-ups (proper ones with arms crossed on chest) push ups (non-girl ones, straight legs, on toes) and standing squats as I could in a minute. At 11 and 4, the first two were at the bottom and middle of below average respectively (which did surprise me, but Paul reckoned most people used their arms to help). Squats were better (as befits a runner!), at 28 at the top of average. Then stretches – back hand reaches and right hand reaches (where you hold hands with yourself over your shoulder, I was at the top end of very good with my right and off the scale on my left. Sit and reach (how far over your toes you could extend to in a forward fold sitting down) at +7 cm was also in the very good section. All of those I’ll put down to yoga.

I was pleased with how I did (and I coped, Paul was very patient!) and there’s room for improvement. I now have a list of stretches and exercises from both Paul and coach Lee to put together into a programme. I’ll do that for 12 weeks then get tested again.

Have any of you done anything like this and did you see an improvement?

I ran to the park and back so got another mile in.

2:2 miles at various paces.

Wednesday I went to Dave’s yoga class, a really nice one with a really good stretch, esp of the sides.

Thursday I had a hair cut first thing and met my friend Linda in the afternoon, plus there was much stress over a parcel – no, two parcels – suddenly arriving when I wasn’t expecting them. So I only got three miles in in the end. But running in the middle of the day in coolish weather – yay! I did the first mile in 11:24 and wondered if I could push it slightly (I was a bit tired) to get even splits.

yes, I could!

When I got home, my bestie, Emma, had sent me a picture of herself v red and hot after her run and claiming that I never looked hot after a run. So I snapped a pic of my damp self.

and this, friends, is why I always wear a buff when running:

boing!

You wouldn’t want that flapping round your head when running, would you.

Does your hair get smaller or larger when you get hot? Mine definitely gets larger!

3 mi / 11:29 mm

Friday Claire was away so we had a cover lady – lots of concentration on the lower core which was great and gave us some techniques for keeping everything tucked in, but it was also hard work! I’d already cleaned the house that morning, too. Argh!

Saturday I volunteered at parkrun and we had Olympian and also Commonwealth Gold medallist boxer Galal Yafai visit (there’s an initiative posting Olympic athletes to parkruns over the next few weeks). He was so lovely, really engaged with parkrun, met a lot of people and chatted, and then tailwalked the whole course with the official tailwalker AND came and had a cuppa in the cafe afterwards. A really genuine nice person and it was so interesting to hear about his life and also see pics of him with other UK athletes he’s met in Team GB.

(note: it was cool enough to wear my new running club hoody over my t-shirt!)

Sunday Ruth and I were going to join with the group run that was available but decided we would do our own thing as the weather was deeply unpleasant. It wasn’t HUGELY hot but humidity over 80% and a dew point in the mid-60s made it challenging work. It was lovely to see our Sedate Lady friend Emma, who we spotted but couldn’t catch then saw a bit later; our friend Dave cycled past as we caught up with her, in a weird synchronicity. We jeffed a lot of it (walking and running) and I was in awe of Ruth, who had done 3 miles before we met, so she got in 13.1 and I then rounded my run up to 11.3 (for the .5 in the total miles) running home.

At 11.7 and 8.7 miles respectively

It was a real struggle and very sapping. Almost couldn’t breathe at some points. But what the heck, it was still 11.3 and 13.1 miles and that’s not to be sneezed at. Good resilience training, as I tried to frame it. I naturally failed to pause my watch at a road we could not get across.

11.3 mi / 13:27 mm

Miles this week: 16.5

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 655 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.