Bristol Half Maraton training week #4 and a long run catharsis

Here is my week #4 recap for the Bristol Half Marathon training!

What the plan said:
Screen Shot 2014-07-29 at 10.14.23What I did:

Monday: REST! I had to recover from my intense week three of training

Tuesday: I met up with Audrey  for the second week in a row. We ran approximately 5K together along the river and made sure to take a selfie this time (although I could have probably done without it, ahem, not my best angle).



After that I did the “better butt” workout from the NTC app, which is basically 15min of lunges and deadlifts. I then did 1 min plank and some bicep curls before stretching and foam rolling. OH. MY. DAYs. I never expected to be in so much pain after this NTC workout, especially as I stretched AND foam rolled after it. I can tell you it is an effective one!

Wednesday:  graduation day 🙂 and lots of foam rolling as I was suffering from massive DOMS.


Thursday: Sprint training. There is no secret. In order to run faster, you need to train your body to run faster.
I did this workout on the treadmill with an incline of 1% and kept my pace between 3.40min/K and 5.00min/K during the sprints, and 6.min/K for the recovery time. I then ran a bit longer to cool down and followed this by 1 min plank and a good stretch session. Total: 6K

Friday: The dreaded long run with speed intervals. Sometimes it’s weird but I manage to meditate while running. Or at least I think I am meditating. I don’t think about anything and I focus on my breathing. Friday was not one of these peaceful run. I had a lot on my mind and experienced various emotions, a real catharsis, especially during the speed intervals. During the 5 min of rest, I just reflected on time relativity and how unfair it was that 5 min of slow running passed by much faster than 5 min of sprint running…

   ** Interval 1: This interval started well, I was thinking that it was nice to be out there  as the weather was perfect. Then I started thinking that it was actually quite painful and there was no way I could do 5 more of these.

   ** Interval 2: This interval was all about convincing myself not to give up and fighting my bad excuses such as:  I would probably be late for work (OK that is perhaps not a bad excuse), I did not know where to run (I decided to just keep doing loops in the park), I had already done some speed work the day before, I didn’t have my watch and it’s hard to monitor speed work on the phone… bla bla bla. Basically I had to give myself a dose of tough love and remind myself that I will not get a sub 2h half unless I get out of my comfort zone during training.

   ** Interval 3: This interval was dedicated to research and how frustrating it can be. When I first started my PhD, I genuinely thought that I would solve the mystery around Huntington’s Disease and find a cure…I was SO naïve. Now, 5 years later, I have discovered that research is not down to hard work only. You need a lot of luck and be good at politics…I am leaving my postdoctoral position in 3 weeks, I will not have solved the mystery of my current project in that time but you know what, I am still bloody showing up at the weekends and try my very best. So I ran my frustration away.

  ** Interval 4: This one was dedicated to friendship. I am really lucky to have such good friends and this thought allowed me to push myself. I thought about how I would be meeting a very good friend that evening, one that I consider more like a big brother even, and how we could indulge in our tradition of having champagne when we meet up. Yep, you’ve read that right. It started  almost a year ago, we almost always had something to celebrate each time we were meeting up and now it’s just because life is too short to have cheap wine 😛

   ** Interval 5: This one was dedicated to one of my good friend who is having a hard time. She would probably like to run away from her situation but can’t. In the mean time, here I was, literally running, so I ran, and ran, and ran, and pushed myself, and pumped my arms to run faster. And I started swearing at him who is making her life miserable. I was in pain, very upset and angry. This interval turned out to be my fastest.

   ** Intervals 6: I wondered to whom I would dedicate this interval and then I realised that I had to dedicate it to myself. I guess Jessica’s radical self-love preaching is rubbing on me.
I dedicated this interval to myself for being out there running, for giving it my all and not giving up. I repeated my favourite mantra “I’m a runner not a quitter” a couple of times. I kept pushing myself as I knew  this was my home run and that there was not long to go. Home… what a beautiful word. It’s so nice to have a place to call home…Running towards my home I realised that soon I will not be living there anymore as I’ll be heading to Bristol all alone. That made me cry (and still makes me cry 4 days later as I am typing this). It made me cry but I kept running. I reminded myself that I was strong, that I could do it and that in fact I had done it before…I picked up my pace…I can do this, I’ve got this…Then I thought about Lawrence, that he has my back, that he doesn’t think I am crazy to leave everything to become a student again. So I crossed my virtual finish line with a smile, thinking that he was probably having breakfast and that he will probably be happy to see me. I looked at my watch and my running OCD kicked in. I had to run a bit more. Come on, it’s way cooler to say you have just ran 11K rather than 10.97K….

For the end of the story, as I got home, Lawrence was waiting for me on top of the stairs, gave me a little wave and said “Hi, I am happy to see you”…at which point I started crying again. So Lawrence my love, this home run was to me, to you, to us.

“The cure for anything is salt water- tears, sweat or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen

Saturday: Lots of walking around Bristol for flat hunting.

Sunday: We came back from Bristol quite late and had a 5.15am start the following day so I really didn’t want to do the 45 min min of cross training left on the training schedule. I compromised and did 30 min. Still using my beloved NTC app I did 15 min of squats with the “Wild Alive” workout followed by 15 min “Alpha abs”.

20140729-063026-23426271.jpgAnd that, my friends, wraps up week 4 of my Bristol Half Marathon training.

Previous recaps:

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3




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