On the Pain Train in Spain

After the fairly disastrous start to 2017 February & early March eventually saw me turning a corner &starting to get some structure into my training! At last!

After some tentative tempo paced work from mid-February I started to feel like some fitness was coming & picked up intensity of some runs as well as mileage generally, looking to be fit enough to get some quality training done through my 12 days of (hopefully) sun in Torrevieja, Spain.

The quality started in earnest with the local Half Marathon the day after we arrived, so a steady hour in the sun, shopping for some essentials & a walk round the local shopping centre including collecting my number. Off a slightly more relaxed pre-race preparation I was pleased to start the trip with 69:14 as a marker & most importantly I felt good after!

I spoke to Andy later that day & agreed to keep everything at a good steady effort to ensure I progressed fitness but came back to England injury free! I therefore alternated hard days (sessions of some sort & a second easy run) with easier days (generally doubles totalling ~20 miles) give or take.

2017.03.09 Trails.JPG

Hilly trail to La Mata Lake

Most of my steady running involved a run along the trails above out to La Mata Lake. Fairly rough at first but on the edge of the lake is a nice undulating trail with great views, perfect for ticking off the miles. Not so perfect for Jo on her bike as we underestimated how long it was taking her to recover from her virus – luckily she improved markedly through the week she was out with me!

My ‘hard’ session days were done on the track, followed by a visit to the gym to get some work done on my weak glute! None of the sessions were anything special & were a simple mix of 400m – 1M efforts off random recoveries mainly focussing on technique & ensuring everything felt good without pushing for speed & risking anything with my glute/hamstring. Some of the times were pretty reasonable for me considering but to keep me in check I made sure I only checked these in the evening & finished the sessions with ~2M of strides along the straights of the track with no specific start/finish.

2017.03.09 Long run breakfast

Serious coffee before the long run

One of my ‘easy’ days included my longest run of the year so far of 20 miles. A cracking route along the edge of the lake, although tough in places with large sections of the more remote part like running on the beach. Then into the orange & lemon groves just back from the main towns & along the rural paths. I felt great after this run, just three days after the Half & after a decent session the previous day!

Another session on the Thursday, more steady running & consecutive easier double days Friday & Saturday having found the Benijofar race on the Sunday morning. I took this as a high quality tempo run, again looking to be able to train off it with sessions planned for Monday & Wednesday before easing down slightly for The Hague the Sunday after travelling home.

2017.03.09 Incognito

So much for staying incognito in Benijofar before the race

As you can see from the race post it went well & after adding a good hour later that afternoon I’d certainly done well out of the first week! Jo had gone home now so all I had to do was train & relax on the beach weather permitting – & the weather certainly played ball!

Monday – another similar session, but definitely some fatigue & I had to back off a bit on this one.

Tuesday – another long run, this time starting on the Yellow Brick Road with the pink Torrevieja lake on my left before crossing at the top, through the various lemon, orange & artichoke farms & back along La Mata lake. Continuing straight to La Mata beach planning to return to town along the coast road thinking it was flat… I’d forgot the climb to town & with this being my longest run of the year – 22 miles in ~25c heat – the last few miles were a bit o a struggle. The rest of the afternoon was spent horizontal at La Marina beach!

Wednesday – stock session, with some company on the track for a change! Only a group of Scandinavian walkers though & they only did a few efforts on the track. Again the sun was out so I did my exercises by the track rather than in he gym.

Thursday – planned easy day but the morning run turned into a relaxed tempo as I made the most of the great weather. A final lunch on the beach, one last run in the evening sun & off to the airport. Time to go home & see Jo! Well, once I’d paid for some excess baggage to take the various winnings home:

2017.03.09 Winnings

Spanish Raider

Friday – Steady run to massage to try & freshen my legs off. Closer to a race than I’d normally have but little choice this time.

Saturday – Very early flight to Schipol for Den Haag half marathon. Report to follow, but in summary although I returned fit I was clearly shattered from my first block of proper training & the wheels came off in dramatic fashion.

So just what we both needed! Jo needed the break to help her recover from the mystery virus & I needed time to focus solely on training & the supplemental work. We got both done, turned it into more of a holiday than originally planned but both returned in far better shape than we left in. I’ve been shattered since & my legs are now sore with the training catching up with me. This wee’s fairly easy & proper training will start fro next week. Bring on the rest of 2017 & let’s see what I can salvage from the spring. Regular training blogs to start from next week. Thanks for reading!



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