It won’t come as a surprise for many of you runners that April has seen a few changes to my training schedule. The biggest being that it’s been run almost completely on a treadmill! This seems completely unheard of, especially as the spring has definitely appeared here in the UK. Whilst not essential here in the UK, I decided to use the treadmill a lot more which decreased the amount of time I was spending outside.
As far as I can tell treadmills and indoor gym equipment seem to be having a boom in sales meaning it’s hard to get hold of them. Last winter though, I invested in a Reebok treadmill, that is now seeing over 25km every week, not bad for someone who doesn’t really enjoy it too much. I’d much rather be outside, but I’d also much rather be decreasing the spread of this virus. I usually train 4-5 days a week with lots of bike commutes on top, but I’m now down to only really going out to get the shopping once a week. This is such a big change to everyone’s lives, but I’m so happy I’ve still been able to train as I would have hoped.
So what have I been training for? Lockdown in the UK hit just after I had completed the Bath Half, quite literally the day after. The next race I had penciled in was the Great Bristol 10km, for which I was going to be an ambassador for the run through my volunteering with the brand new Great Run Local Hengrove Park. This would have been on the 3rd of May, but like most events has now been cancelled. At the time I did not know this so decided to make my training plan after having a week of running rest, meaning I had 6 weeks to train for what would have been the 10km distance.
I chose a slightly different split to what I had done for my previous training cycle, in that I wanted to take out one of the weekly runs as I’d been feeling a little fatigued during the half marathon plan. I planned certain distances and routes from within my local area, but after a few at the start of March, I was just finding that everyone else seemed to be going out early in the morning for their daily exercise too. So I decided that I’d adapt and get the treadmill out, or at least start using it again. With the help of Zwift I’ve been getting it done. There’s been a big mixture of group runs, workouts and just solo runs. For the most part it has been pretty fun to mix up the training like this, and whilst I hate it I do think doing my speed sessions on the treadmill has actually meant that I’ve done them!
I added a few extra sessions to my original plan, as events have popped up on Zwift that I’ve wanted to be a part of. Therse events have ranged from online Parkruns, GTN Track Nights, and runs with Mo Farah dressed as a dinosaur. It’s been a strange month, but my running has improved. I went in with the possibility of getting a new 10km PB and I’ve come out with a renewed sense of what I can achieve indoors. I was hoping to run the 10km distance on the date the Bristol 10km would have been, however I woke up with rather sore muscles from a workout a couple of days earlier. I still could have ran but I wanted to recover properly, so chose to give it a miss this time.
WHAT DID I LEARN FROM THIS MONTH?
1. The first thing that I learnt was that I can stick to a training schedule. I pretty much always skip quite a few sessions here and there (particularly Mondays!). But this month I’ve been pretty regimented and have only dipped out of a couple of sessions, the difference being that I rescheduled and did a different session instead.
2. I don’t like running 400m intervals. This month I alternated between 800m and 400m intervals each week, and I 100% preferred the longer intervals. Something about running faster over a shorter distance and having a shorter recovery meant that I just struggle so badly with 400m to the point that I just dread them. So during the next programme I might just skip out the short intervals.
3. I need to stretch more. Usually I get away with this as I teach dance 4 days a week. But with that being suspended as we can’t have gatherings I’m now not stretching with every class I teach and my flexibility is really starting to flag.
4. I don’t need any extra motivation to keep on training. Sometimes I think that I need to enter a race and get a medal in order to keep my motivation to train up. Having trained this whole month knowing there isn’t a race to do, I’ve been surprised that I’ve just wanted to run for the sack of running and not for any event or medal.
5. The treadmill is a lot easier to handle with a big fan and shorts on!
I hope this gives you a little inspiration of what you can get up to during this strange time. I’ve been posting a lot more stories over on instagram too. You can also find all the other bits of exercise I do over on Strava.