Week 4 – Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe”. Anatole France, Poet, Journalist & Novelist.
Most of us keep a diary to organise our day to day lives, plan out our weeks and schedule in any commitments. It’s also good to avoid double booking yourself, something I tend to do quite often, if I haven’t got my diary to hand – oops. I have previously, always planned my training via an excel spreadsheet, which I know sounds quite basic, but worked for me so far. I also use the Strava website which I have synced with my Garmin GPS watch to log my mileage. It also acts as a great tool to track pace and socialise with other likeminded runners. I look at it similarly to twitter, there’s a news feed of activity, it allows you to follow people and like or comment on their runs. It’s a nice boost to see people have given you ‘kudos’ on a route you’ve uploaded to the site. Despite logging all of this, I’ve never thought about properly documenting each workout until recently, tracking my mood, energy levels or thoughts. All of this is quite fundamental on how to improve, analysing previous training and setting new weekly goals accordingly.
A good friend of mine Katie, who I met at University and still keep in good contact with, is also a runner and a very good one at that! She puts my times to shame, but the dedication and commitment she gives to her training is unbelievable. Something I admire, as she balances all of this alongside her job as a PE teacher. We met for Sunday lunch a few weeks ago and she introduced me to a training journal she has recently been using. She found the book online via Instagram and was so intrigued that she bought one herself. It’s called The ‘Believe Journal’ and has been devised by two athletes, Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas, who have both competed internationally. It resembles a diary which allows you to track your training, outline any goals you have and gives you the opportunity to record the highs and lows each week. Every month, there is a new section to provide motivation, inspiration and gives you a chance to reflect on how that segment of your training went.
I ordered one myself and it arrived last weekend. I was very excited to get back from London to open it and begin my tracking! At the front it allowed me to set out some longer term goals and I started by planning for the week ahead. My aims at the start of this week were to increase my pace slightly over my shorter runs and apply a positive attitude to everything (not just my running).
As we’re at the end of week 4 and a third of the way through my 12 week programme, here’s a quick summary of my week in training:
Monday – I took as a rest day as I’d done some form of exercise every day last week, whether that be running, a session at the gym, yoga or stretching. I spent the evening visiting my parents and had a nice dinner at home, spending the evening in front of the TV.
Tuesday – after a rest day I was raring to go again. I headed out straight after work for a 4 miler, the weather was nice and I tried to push the pace. 8:03 min/mile average with mile 2 being 7:42. After this I went for my weekly yoga session. Over the last few weeks I’ve been training legs at the gym on Mondays. My body was thankful for not doing this the day before and the session was easier in places.
Wednesday – focus in the gym was on legs. A lot of squats, lunges and glute exercises. By the end of the session my knee began to lock, sign my muscles had worked too hard and were relying on my joints… I quickly ran out of the gym to prevent any damage!!
Thursday – Upper body was the area of attention this evening, working on my back and shoulders. Straight from here I rushed off to the Redway Runners social run and got in 6.5 miles. Luckily we missed the thunderstorm and any heavy rain, although some of the route was waterlogged. Very soggy socks!
Friday – For Christmas I treated my boyfriend Barry to tickets to see Jack Garratt at Brixton Academy. We spent the day in London beforehand, so an early gym session was required. Arms and abs today… definitely felt the burn!
Saturday – After working out for the past 5 days, I did a light upper body session. I love the gym at the weekend, a lot quieter and more free equipment to use.
Sunday – I had to work in the morning today, so had to gear myself up to head out on my own this afternoon. 8 miles in the bag! Average pace of 8:04 which I was shocked at.. Shows my training is paying off and I’m definitely heading in the right direction. For the past 3 weekends I’ve stuck at 8 miles. Think it’s time to up the long run next weekend, 10 miles potentially?
Each evening this week I have made sure to set out some ‘me time’ to complete my ‘Believe Journal’ entry for the day. Over the coming weeks, I aim to write more about my feelings after my training, so that in time I can flick back to see what may be having either a positive or negative affect, such as; sleep, food, mood, stress, anxiety levels and commitments. This may allow me to notice any trends and tweak training accordingly.  I would most definitely recommend this to anyone who into running! I bought mine off of Amazon for only £14.99, a good investment I’d say.