This month I am introducing you to my 'Workout Rating'. This is a scale from A-E that I assign to the workout based on how it felt. If I performed amazingly well, felt energetic and motivated then it's going to score an A. If I fail to complete a workout or struggle my way through, it'll be down near a D or an E. What this does is provides a visual reference as to how training is affecting me, and also whether I should consider a rest day or two. It's quite possible that if I score an E I'm either too tired or could be Overtraining. Likewise however, if I score a string of A's, it is sometimes wise to pull back on the intensity or slot in a rest day to let the training marinate. We all go through a training cycle and at some point we will peak, and ideally this will happen to coincide with our event. Now, it does take very careful planning to nail this, but my point ultimately is that even if things are going great guns for you, don't forget to rest - remember, resting and recovering is when we actually get fitter!
Firstly, I'm going to kick this off with the tune I've been smashing the most this month. If you like running, then get this on! Whilst out on the 15th this tune came on at the perfect time and I pushed myself to run all the way up Hindscarth, late in the run, when I could have easily dropped to a speed-hike. Crank it up!
January's Fave Training Tune - Wash Off by Foals.
January's Training Breakdown
Heading up Eel Crag on the Coledale Horseshoe with Bindi by my side
1st - Setmurthy Trail Run - 7.4km - 220m ascent- A good shake out after a poor finish to December. Rating - C
2nd - Setmurthy Trail Run - 7.4km - 220m ascent- Decided to go and hit the same route hard. Hadn't even planned on running but needed to get out. Managed to sprain my ankle 100m from the car at the end of the run. Overall, my form felt sloppy but Strava indicated I got a tonne of PB's for time! Rating - B
3rd - Weekly Circuits - A heavy session for the legs, which also provided solid upper body DOM's for 3 days! Rating - B
4th - Coledale Horseshoe Fell Run - 16km - 1200m ascent - An alpine day to run this amazing route with friends. Ankle felt surprisingly OK and I climbed well. Rating - A
5th - Melbreak Fell / Trail Run - 10km - 500m ascent - An amazing forecast got me out the door. My lower back did it's whole tightening up thing on the ascent again, but otherwise it was a great run. Another sweep of PB's on Strava too. Rating - A.
6th - Rest Day
7th - 30 Minute all body workout. Rating - B
8th - Winter Skills Day on Catstycam - 12.54km - 756m ascent - First day out with big boots, crampons and a heavy pack on. Perfect training! Rating - B
9th - Winter Skills Day on Helvellyn - 9.4km - 751m ascent -Big boots, big bag- Rating - B.
10th - Home Workout - 33 minute workout. Supersetting between upper and lower body. Included weighted step ups to 16" (25kg), DB Hammer Curls (15kg), Weighted Split Squats (30kg), Kettlebell Swings (16kg), One Armed Kettlebell Rows (16kg), finishing with 20kg plate curls to failure and 10kg plate curls to failure. Rating - B
11th (AM) - Trail Run / Speed Hike with my son in the Pram - 8km - 300m ascent. Rating - A*. I felt amazing and could have carried on for hours but didn't want to jiggle him around in the pram all day! This also felt like a really good all body workout, my arms were burning on the hills!
11th (PM) - Trail Run on Sale Fell - 9.6km - 400m ascent - I had energy to spare and went and hit Sale hard. This run felt even better than the morning, and despite my efforts from the morning I felt like I was flying! - Rating - A*
12th - Rest Day
13th - BG Leg 1 Recce Day - 20km - 1600m ascent - 3 hours 50. Great to get out on the route for the first time since I said I'd try again. - Rating - B
Climbing Great Calva on 13th January
14th - Recovery Run with the Pram (Road) - 9km - 200m ascent. Followed by an Upper body conditioning workout (30 mins) - Rating A.
15th - Buttermere Horseshoe and Buttermere Lake Fell Run - 30km - 2000m ascent. An incredible solo adventure out, first taking in the Buttermere Horseshoe and then a lap of the lake. I could have done more mileage, but I was pretty spent on the climbs by the end. - Rating A
16th - Rest Day
17th (AM)- 3km Road Run - 66m ascent (good for Lincoln!) - Rating C (A bit hungover)
17th (PM) - Circuits Session - An all body workout for 50 minutes. Rating - C
18th - Indoor Cycle - 13km - 30 mins. Stayed in zone 1/2. Rating - C
19th - Trail Run around Borrowdale - 34km - 1400m ascent - I wanted to keep up with the long runs. This one didn't feel super, but it was lovely to be out. Sprained ankle from the 2nd Jan still niggling from time to time. Rating - C
20th - Rest Day. Wanted to get out and do something but just felt quite tired.
21st - 8.3km road run with the pram. Great recovery run but Achilles is not happy! Rating - C/B
22nd - Coledale Horseshoe Hike - 17km - 1300m ascent - Pack weight of 7.5kg. Rating - C
23rd - All body Dumbell Workout (45 mins). Followed by 8 x 30 second sprints on the Spin Bike (5km cycled). Rating - B
24th - 8km road run with the pram (8km). Felt great! Rating - B.
24th (PM) - Circuits Session - All Body workout - AMRAP Session for 50 minutes. Rating - B
The increasingly familiar view - as Daddy Day Care meets BGR Training. I actually really enjoy the pram runs . Finn usually sleeps through most of it.
25th - Work Day hiking Helvellyn -13.4km - 900m ascent - 8.5kg pack. Rating - B
26th - Work Day hiking Helvellyn - 13.6km - 800m ascent - 8.5kg pack. Rating - B
27th - Trail run at Whinlatter, with Grisedale Pike bolted on the end - 14.5km - 700m ascent. Rating - A.
28th - Rest Day
29th - 9km Road run, followed by a 30 minute all body dumbell workout. Rating - B
30th - Work Day hiking Helvellyn - 13.4km - 1000m ascent - 8.5kg pack. Rating - A
31st - Circuits Session - All Body workout - . Rating - B
Personal Stats at the Start of January
Weight: 85.25kg Muscle Mass: 67.3kg Body Fat: 16.9%
Estimated VO2 Max - 40.6
Personal Stats at the End of January
Weight: 83.75kg Muscle Mass: 66.4kg Body Fat: 16.6%
Estimated VO2 Max - 47.3
Running: 27 Hours, 139km
Hiking: 11 Hours, 18.0km
Workouts (Circuits or Home Workouts): 8 Hours, 9 Sessions
Indoor Cycling: 55 Mins, 14km.
Total ascent: 6847m
Total Hours: 47 Hours
Total Calories: 27422
Running: 35.5 Hours, 196km
Hiking: 35 Hours, 79.5km
Workouts (Circuits or Home Workouts): 7.5 Hours, 10 Sessions
Indoor Cycling: 45 Mins, 18km.
Total ascent: 13,121m
Total Hours: 78.5 Hours
Total Calories: 41,125
My Summary of my training month
Honestly, I'm pretty stoked at what I've managed to do this month. Work has been slow thanks to the lack of snow, but I've capitalised on opportunities to get some great miles in. My overall volume is up by 30 hours for the month
which is a massive step up. Just the other day I saw the graphic to the right and I was pretty pleased to think that my month has included all those things - with consistency (something I didn't have in my running before mid-December) coming on much stronger. My sleep has been great across the month, with an average of 8 hours a night, and I'm pretty happy with my fuelling for all of this activity.
At the end of December I said I'd hope January would hold some longer runs. I maxed out at 34km as the longest distance, but I did manage to get a week with 77km in. This week did take a bit to recover from and I was tired following on from this, which can be seen as my workout ratings dropped to a 'C' for the first time and stayed there too.
I am also very pleased I've managed to keep going with my two strength sessions a week. I've made sure I've planned my week well enough to give me the capacity to keep up with these - it doesn't have to all be about running miles.
According to my Suunto App / Watch I've made some pretty big gains on my fitness. My fitness score has risen from 67 to 95 in the space of a month, and my V02 Max has taken me from 40.6 to 47.3! I don't know how accurate this stuff is, but it's encouraging and I like to see the trends going upward! I spent a lot of time in the 'Going to Hard' part of the graph, but I just operated a lot on how I felt and maybe did a shorter run, or even had a rest day if I knew it would work out better for me after then. It's all too easy to go too hard when you first start training for a goal, and there is probably an element of that this month too, but all in all, I feel really good.
On the injury front, I did sprain my ankle early in the month and at times this still plagues me, but if I wear my Inov-8 255's it doesn't seem to be so much of a problem - so I'll wear them as much as I can! haha
On the subject of planning, it's been interesting working the training in around family and work duties. I tend to look after my son three days a week, and have two days where both kids are at nursery / school so I can get some guilt free miles. As you can see, I've taken to a bit of pram running which has seemed like a winning situation for both me and Finn. Without a doubt though, there are a few runs where the support of my wife has enabled me to get out. For example, when my work was cancelled and I was off on a weekend day, she didn't mind one bit that I disappeared off and ran the Buttermere Horseshoe. Without her support, my BG dream would remain just that. I have a few more months of balancing it all, and there is more work on the horizon too, but as I've said before, there's no knocking how good a day out with an 8kg pack really can be for your training.
Ideally in Feb I will be working more, so my hiking mileage will increase once again. I will continue to be consistent with my running and workout sessions. I need to try and crest the 40km mark for a single run, but this will be more a case of getting it in over whether I think I can complete it.
Thanks to everyone who has supported me this month, whether it be comments on Strava, feedback from my previous blog or getting out on the trail with me. I feel very thirsty for this second attempt and the fire inside me is still burning very strong.
Home workouts will be doing their bit for sure!