DIARY: Week 3 Roundup

My first 4-week training cycle of 4 in the Base Phase is now almost complete and I have just completed week 3, which in my program is the hardest of the 4 weeks in each cycle. Week 4, lying ahead of me, is "periodisation", where I gear down a bit for a week and prepare my body to turn the training up an extra notch in the next 4-week phase.

This week I clocked 49km and 3 core/weights sessions (as well as some light plyo, lots of dynamic stretching and sometechnical drills). I had planned 52.5km, so it came pretty close. The only reason it fell short (no pun intended) is that my Excel calculator does not take hills into account and two of my major runs every week are on the hills (hill sprints on Wednesdays and long slow hill run on Saturday).

Progression so far.
Using Sleamaker's system, I keep myself carefully insulated from too much progress too soon. While I try to hit the Target Pace Levels for each session precisely, I follow Matt Fitzgerald's advice and don't set out to destroy them every session. If I feel good, however, I blow away my TPL. If, on the other hand, I feel terrible, I try not to push the envelope too far.

The careful progression build into Sleamaker's system can be seen from my logged mileage for the first 3 weeks back from injury:

Week 1: 36.9km
Week 2: 42.7km
Week 3: 49.1km

Next week will only feature 39.7km (it should actually have been less than week 1 but I've already moved form Target Pace Level 33 to 32, which is one week faster than expected, so I will probably log more kilometres).

Sessions - Highs and Lows
This week was particularly promising, as there were numerous improvements from week 2:

1. During my hill run I reached the top of Fairy Castle 2:52 quicker than the week before at the same effort
2. My marathon pace run was not only 5 minutes longer, but also run 0.6kph faster than the week before with an average HR 6 points lower! In fact, the week before a HR of 168 could only crunch out 11.7kph per hour during one of my base runs. During my marathon-pace run this now triggered a speed of 12.7kph
3. I was flying during my first base run of the week running at marathon pace for 42min. Almost as quick as my marathon-pace run but for 8.8km instead of just 7.8km. This seems to be the case every time I've had Monday off. And they say rest doesn't pay....

There was a few lowlights as well:

1. The darkness on Halloween Friday meant I couldn't perform a proper Fartlek session as I simply couldn't see much in the park, meaning my average speed went down from 17.4kph to 16.4kph
2. My descendings is quite poor on technical ground at the moment. Confidence is low and the flow is gone

All in all this is, of course, not that impressive. After all, I'm not exceeding my own limits at the moment, just moving back towards were I used to be. The real test and strength of my training programme will only show itself once I reach my old "limit" because in the meantime I'm merely rebuilding what was already there in the first place.

Still its encouracing to see the steady improvements happening after just 3 weeks, and my friend Mark's prediction that I could be back in normal shape within 6 weeks now seems a lot less specious.