Training has been light this week due to long work hours and icy conditions. I went out on Monday morning in the snow and it was quite a nice morning run, despite the early hour. I wore my trail trainers as opposed to my road ones and they worked a treat in the crunchy conditions. 24 hours later and the lovely snow had turned into nasty ice and Tuesday’s club training hill session was cancelled as a result.

I’ve recently been working on trying to improve my 5km time, and this weekend was supposed to see a test following my second 6 week training block. Unfortunately, due to working late on the Friday and the icy conditions on the Saturday, I decided to give it a miss. Various friends on Strava had commented on the poor conditions and so I made the decision that a hard outdoor effort was not the sensible choice.

I debated different scenarios and run types and eventually settled on a treadmill hill session, trying to replicate what the cancelled session from Tuesday would have entailed. 7 long hills was on the schedule, and knowing the exact hill that we usually complete long hill reps on, I was able to replicate that as best as I could indoors. Overslade Lane in Rugby is a 3% hill (average) that generally takes around 2:20-2:30 to get from the bottom to the top. So, after a warm up, I opted for 7 x 2:30 at 3% incline and a speed of 14kmph. It was a really hard session and one of the very few times where I debated if I would make it through the entire workout. I did though, and felt good for it.

I wasn’t too fussed about not getting out for a 5km effort as I have had the rare chance for a couple of parkruns in recent weeks. A 4 second PB at Coventry, which is hillier than the course of my previous PB, showed that I had made an improvement, and a finish of just 6 seconds slower at Rugby showed the consistency at that speed. I’m happy to accept that my current 5km time is just under 22 minutes, and don’t necessarily need another effort to prove that.

Going forward, we’re now not too far away from the spring half marathon season, certainly in terms of training. In the past three weeks, I have signed up for two half marathons for 2018, at Coventry (March 18) and Stratford (May 13). I’ve mentioned it a number of times before, the half marathon is my favourite distance and, despite the goal of wanting to reduce my 5km finish time, I knew that I would get itchy for some HM training come mid-December.

March 18 seems a way off but it’s actually only 13 weeks away, meaning training has to start pretty soon. In the past, I’ve almost made up my own training plan, merging the sessions which seem most beneficial from several different sources. For Coventry however, I’ve decided to choose one and follow it, and the one I’ve chose is from My ASICS.

Again, this is something that I’ve mentioned before, but you input a recent race time and it gives you a plan with paces and a predicted finish time. Using my recent 5km PB of 21:48, the plan suggests that I could achieve a 1:39. That would be perfect, anything under 1:40 and I would be very happy. The plan seems tough though, and includes two 11 mile runs at almost race pace (7:40 per mile, race pace is 7:29 per mile) in the final three weeks of training. Sounds tough, but I’m certainly going to give it a go. Training officially starts on Monday, although running over the Christmas period could be interrupted for a whole variety of reasons.

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