Training for a marathon can be just as mentally testing as it is physically; I do not think it matters how many times you have been through a training cycle, it still challenges you. This week I have experience a number of mental tests through my running...
MONDAY: after the Leicestershire Half Marathon on Sunday I was pleased to find my legs were not too sore, however, when it came to my evening strength double of Strength and Conditioning for Runners and Body Pump classes I could just feel my energy levels were low. I lacked power and I was a bit lethargic. This was to be expected really, and I focused on maintaining good technique and form despite my fatigue.
TUESDAY: after a race it is sometimes the case you can take things easier; you train and build up to a big event and then afterwards you have some rest and recovery. Not during marathon training! The prospect of 7 miles of intervals with 6 x 1000m reps did not grab me this morning; I was physically tired and mentally I was not sure I had the drive I needed - it was like I had used all my stores up during Sunday's race! I kept my expectations moderate, aiming for the intervals to be anything between 7 min/mile and 7.30 min/mile pace and just ran as well as I could. It was the hardest interval session I have ran for a while, but I managed it, with effort paces logging in the 7.20 min/mile region.
WEDNESDAY: today's run was the mid week boost I needed. I met my friend from Strength and Conditioning for some more early morning miles and we ran a 7 mile loop around Lincoln. The company made the miles fly by, and as we also meet somewhere neutral, it means I get to run new routes rather than falling into the habit of running my usual paths. My friend is also a little faster than me, which is good, as it pushes me but without being ridiculously quick. Our pace was steady and consistent, averaging 7.53 min/mile overall.
THURSDAY: after a good run yesterday this morning's solo ten miler before work seemed a bit of a slog. At times I felt ploddy, but I tried to keep my pace under control, averaging 8.22 min/mile overall. The positive at least was that after about 5 miles it started to get lighter, which boosted my spirits a little - Spring is coming! Body Pump class in the evening.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: today was one of those mornings when I realised just how important parkrun is in my life. I woke up looking forward to the Lincoln parkrun even more than usual as a friend from work had messaged saying she was planning on coming with her family; it would be their first time at Lincoln and I knew they would enjoy it. Chatting around the Bandstand pre-run I nearly forgot about the whole running thing to come! I think this set me up well as I ran really relaxed, not even looking at my watch, and just to feel. I stopped the clock at 21 minutes dead – in hindsight maybe a glance at my watch could have shaved that extra second off!? I really was not bothered though; I had ran well and was happy. After finishing I then spent a wonderful half an hour or so just chatting to lots of other people I know or have grown to know through parkrun, as well as cheering my friend's finish. I was due at work and my post run socialising actually nearly made me late! For me attending parkrun is so much more than just a 5k (see image).
SUNDAY: the first 20 miler of this training block. I have to admit I was not looking forward to it. The mileage did not scare me, it was simply the fact I did not relish spending near on three hours in my own company. I knew I would get into my own head and frankly I did not need that much time with my own thoughts! Unfortunately, I do not like listening to music when I run, so I just had to deal with myself! I started a bit too quickly and I could not really get into natural rhythm. The weather was so changeable too; a thick fog would engulf me at times making it quite cool and damp, only to emerge into a warm sunshine which made me suddenly sweat. It did not help settle me. At the half way point I was running well still, but I was tired of my own mind games. I just had to dig deep and tick off the final half somehow. My pace dipped a little between miles 16-18 - I think my legs suddenly realised I was asking more from them - but I recovered when the end goal became in sight. I made it to 20 miles, averaging 8.20 min/mile overall - a strong run. I have to admit I am not relishing the thought of further solo 20+ mile long runs at the moment, but hopefully I have got through the biggest challenge this week.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...