All change! Again…

It’s all change at the moment! I started one of my two new jobs last week – a part-time library job with some rather unconventional hours. I’m now working 2pm-10pm Sunday to Wednesday and am reshuffling my training schedule accordingly. Apologies for the unannounced blogging hiatus while I settled in!

This new shift pattern worried the heck out of me before I’d even started. I’m not ashamed to admit that my training was third on the list of Things That Will Inevitably Be Affected By The New Job That I Am Really Worried About. It ranked third beneath 1.) Seeing my girlfriend/friends, and 2.) When do I eat dinner?, but ranked above 4.) Sleeping, and 5.) My sanity.

You see, as a runner I am a creature of habit. When I find a training routine that works for me, that allows me to stop worrying about fitting it all in, and actually earns me some positive results I’m pretty reluctant to change it. But as my recent training shake-up has proved change can sometimes be a very good thing, both for the body and for the soul. So I’m rolling with the punches and embracing a change in training routine.

I knew from the start that I would have to stop training at lunchtimes – I couldn’t inflict my post-run glow (and B.O.) on new colleagues too soon after starting (I’m saving that for next month…). Instead I have been making use of my mornings and venturing out onto Streatham Common for some interval sessions: 5 x 600m @10K pace one day, 3 x 4mins continuous hills on another (wimpy I know, but it’s been a while since I last did hill work and wanted to ease into it), some strength work at home, and a couple of cycling adventures across London. I’ve successfully kept up my ’30 minutes exercise a day’. Oh, and I ran another PB at parkrun on Saturday – my first sub-24 in 23:37.

Running interval sessions outside requires far more discipline than my lunchtime sessions on the dreadmill. I can’t rely on a machine to govern my pace, I have to know what each pace feels like. And then I have to grit my teeth and maintain it, right… through… to that last… rep…

I’m pleased to say that my intervals were pretty even last week, which shows that I held that pace through every rep. However I only managed 5 reps though before my form began to drop because, after measuring the stretch I ran along on mapmyrun.com and calculating my pace, I discovered that I was running too fast. This is going to be the challenge of threshold training outdoors – reigning in my new found speed! Today I managed to slow my pace slightly to more or less 10K pace, reduced my recoveries from 2 minutes to 90 seconds and bashed out 5 600m reps, and all in the pissing rain. Hello Monday…

This is the beautiful Streatham Common. It’s certainly not a scratch on Hampstead Heath, but it’s a perfect training area. It’s on a gradient and so there are excellent stretches for continuous hillwork. And this section of the common is 1.25km around – perfect for half marathon threshold reps.

There are long, flat straights too – fab for speed work. I mean, look at all those carefully planted trees…

So where do you do your training, in the gym or in the great outdoors? How do you keep your pace without a treadmill?

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