This week has been a great week and surprising week of running. I'm in Jo'burg visiting my mum so am at over 1600m above sea level and I really was expecting this to have a major impact on my training, but this doesn't appear to be the case. The uphills are still tough but these are more then compensated for by all the downhills. This week has also seen me run way more elevation that I'd normally do in a single week thanks to the rolling hills everywhere.
Started the week off with a 75min recovery run. It should have been split across two runs but as I'm doing touristy and family stuff I thought it best to cram it all into a single run.
Tuesday was a good MAF run and then Wednesday was a scheduled interval session of 6x 1200m. Doing these on a flat section of road proved to be quite a challenge. In the end I settled for a stretch of dirt road which was mostly flat and needed a turnaround at 1k for the last 200m. These went surprisingly well and I found I relaxed into them more as I progressed with the last two almost being within the desired range.
The end of Wednesday's run saw me top out the month at 537km, the most I've ever run in a single month.
Thursday was a long MAF run and Friday a shorter one.
A new parkrun started in the part right round the corner from my mum's place and I couldn't really miss it whilst I was in town… I'm less than 500m from the entrance to the park, I don't have an excuse. So I popped down there on Saturday morning. I took an extended round-the-block route to get there and then ambled around the park a bit to build up the distance for my warm up.
Being a noob I didn't know the route. I'd looked it up online before the race, but the beginning bit was a little confusing as I knew sections of it cut across the grass and didn't entirely follow the paths. So I thought I'd just hold back for the beginning and follow someone who did know the route. This didn't quite work as intended as I soon found myself next to the lead guy asking him if he knew the route. He did, but said he wouldn't be able to keep up with me. With that another chap caught us and he knew the route so I latched onto his shoulder until about 3k when we were on familiar territory and I knew the route was well sign-posted and only followed paths. The 3k mark was part way up the long climb to the top of the route and I found the going a bit slow and I was feeling surprisingly good, given the altitude, so picked up the pace, passed the chap and soon found myself waaay out in front of him. Finished quite nice and relaxed as I wasn't going for time and I'd already pulled a huge lead so didn't really need to push it. Finished first in 19:12. Very chuffed with this as this was a good challenging route and at altitude.
Today is long run day and I had originally planned on doing the RAC Tough One 32k route but speaking with people over the week, several suggested using the cycle lanes out in The Cradle of Humankind. I was advised it's incredibly scenic and quiet, except for the cyclists, which sounded great… certainly better than trudging through the suburbs of Randburg. Well, it lived up to the promises. Fantastic scenic, quiet and challenging route. I felt pretty good too and ticked over the miles, through all the ups and downs until about the last 5km when my bowels reminded me that I'd eaten birthday cake last night and they didn't want to keep hold of the by-product for much longer so I cut my run short at the point I started and headed to the loo.
This was a fantastic fun and I even saw wildlife: a giraffe at the Lion Park, two monkeys crossed the road ahead of me and two camels… in the back of a truck 😀 I'm definitely going to have to remember to head out this direction when I'm next back in Jo'burg.
All in all, running this week back in my old stomping ground was really enjoyable and went really well. I think I've acclimatised quite quickly and hope the altitude and hills will result in improved running when back at sea level on the flat.
This week has really boosted my confidence in my training ahead of Berlin. I think the MAF training has really helped in making running at altitude so much easier this time round. The long run in Colorado Springs a few weeks ago probably helped too.