This week my confidence wobbled a little. At times I have found running harder than it should be, paces more challenging to hit, and DOMs nearly ever-present in my limbs. This is the final push before the taper, so it could actually be quite logical as to why all these things have felt apparent, however it did start to make doubts creep into my mind. However, the weekend offered the timely boost I needed...
MONDAY: the final session in the current block of Strength and Conditioning for Runners. It has been another highly beneficial eight-week period for me, both physically and socially in terms of being able to train with like-minded people. After 22 miles on Sunday I was sore and tight for this session, but doing something did help to loosen me up a little.
TUESDAY: with soreness still in my limbs the sole aim of my easy paced 9 miles was to try and freshen my legs up a little. The first few miles I was stiff and shuffly, but as my muscled warmed I grew into a more natural stride, albeit still keeping my pace under control and averaging 8.33 min/mile. Body Pump class in the evening.
WEDNESDAY: today my 5.30am alarm had gone off as usual to meet my Wednesday morning run friend, however just as I was pulling on the final piece of my run gear, he had to cancel. I was actually due in work a little later today, so rolled back into bed fully clothed for an extra hour sleep before facing my interval run. I was possibly also trying to avoid the challenge ahead of me as I knew it would be a hard run. I had 8 miles planned with 5 x 1 mile reps and 400m recoveries and opted for a nice run route 'out and back' along the river near my house. This route was a great plan in terms of being uninterrupted, but not a great plan with a headwind on the ‘back’ section which hit me when I was already tiring! This run felt very hard; I did not really hit the paces I wanted for the interval reps, and at times had to stop completely to catch my breath on the recoveries.
THURSDAY: my legs were back to being noticeably very sore again today and I was therefore somewhat pleased my plan's tempo run was 'only' 7 miles with the middle 5 miles at marathon pace. I knew I would not get any speed from my legs today, so tried to use the run to focus on feeling what my marathon pace should be like. I aimed for tempo splits between 8.15-8.20 min/mile, which I managed. However, the soreness in my legs meant this pace range felt nowhere near as comfortable as I hoped it would be. Body Pump in the evening.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: I approached Lincoln parkrun with no expectations today; after a week of fairly mediocre and at times hard running, I was not confident of suddenly knocking out a super speedy 5k. I chatted to friends pre-run and barely thought much about the actual running part of the morning, it was only really when the 'go' signal was given I suddenly focused a little. I thought I could sense that I was running much better than I anticipated, but I refrained from looking at my watch, as I did not want this to affect me mentally if I was wrong! As I finished, I was however actually very happy at what my watch read - 20:56. (I was later relegated to 21:01 by the official results – so the sub 21 slips away again for another week!) I chatted to more fiends at the finish (I struggle to get away from parkrun these days - in a very good way though!) and met my colleague who spontaneously gave me a post run hug. Not even a couple of hours and my love of running was back.
SUNDAY: for my final long, long run of this training cycle I opted for a change of scenery and had entered Ashby 20. I had heard much about this 20 mile race but had never taken part, so I was interested to see what all the fuss was about. Full blog to follow, but I absolutely loved it; I loved the course even with its relentless hills, I loved the wonderfully supportive marshals who were simply fantastic across the entire route, I loved the weather which was virtually perfect, I loved the purple finisher hoody (see image), but most of all I loved how strong I felt from beginning to end. I finished in 2:43:22 with an average pace of 8.10 min/mile – confidence levels fully restored.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...