Sitting writing this blog post I am absolutely shattered - simply put it feels an effort to even think what I am typing (so apologies in advance for any typos!) This week has been the biggest mileage week of my marathon training plan, add to that, this week I have also had an active and 7 day working week. So Sunday night I feel like my tank is running a little empty!
MONDAY: today was the final session of the eight week block of Strength and Conditioning for Runners I had signed up to. I have really enjoyed the past weeks and pleasingly have also noticed progress. One very clear milestone is that during Week 1 I was too scared to even attempt a box jump, but this week I managed a 24 inch jump - which felt amazing!
TUESDAY: intervals; 8 miles with 14 x 400m and 200m recoveries. I started this run slowly, my legs just felt asleep, but grew into the run, which meant it did feel good not to be struggling in the final miles. I ambitiously aimed for around the 7 min/mile marker on the 400m reps, and with sleepy legs my first two reps were way off this, but the remainder were much more aligned. Body Pump class after.
WEDNESDAY: I ignored my plan slightly for this run, which advised a 9 mile alternating run, switching between a mile at 9 min/mile pace and then a mile at 8 min/mile pace. I knew I did not have the discipline to run 9 min/mile pace, so opted instead to alternate between a hard mile and a recovery mile and just see what pace that felt like. My splits seemed to indicate this was about a 8:20 min/mile and a 7.20 min/mile - so at least I maintained a minute difference between the miles, just slightly quicker than my plan suggested!
THURSDAY: Rest Day - an early break to account for switching my long run to Friday, and as this was going to be the big 22 miles, I wanted to try have as fresh legs as possible.
FRIDAY: the long, long run. My friend and steadfast run buddy was away at the weekend and therefore would not be able to run on Sunday. When she told me this some weeks back I straight away made sure I could start work later this Friday, as the prospect of running 22 miles alone was simply not something I wanted to have to face! Despite having rested the day before my hamstrings both felt a little tight early into the run, but again we vowed to keep it steady and just get these miles logged, so I was not too concerned. 15 miles passed by quickly; I love a proper long run for the conversation and the opportunity to really talk, and I had barely noticed the time or distance that had elapsed.
Hitting 17 miles though things all began to feel hard work. 'I wish we were just doing 20 miles' - I said to my friend (even my positivity waivers at times!) - 'I can imagine three more miles, but not five!' I grimaced. 'We can do it' she simply said - and I think the 'we' part was crucial, I knew together we could. These final five miles just felt an effort for my legs to move, but the conversation between my friend and I just kept my head focused enough away from thoughts of just wanting to stop. We urged each other on through the final miles, acknowledging that it hurt at times, but also squashing the doubts. We made it to 22 miles - of course we did - and finished with an average pace of 8:44 min/mile. On days like today I feel really lucky to have found a such a good friend and running buddy as I have; there is an honesty and openness that develops between the shared miles, an honestly about both life and running that cannot really be replicated in other friendships.
SATURDAY: a parkrun the day after a 22 miler - great idea right!? Even I was not really sure what I was expecting my legs to do when I turned up at my local Lincoln parkrun on Saturday morning. I decided to keep that open mentality though and run with no expectations; I never even looked at my watch and just ran to feel. The fatigue was apparent in my legs, but it was not as harsh as I maybe had anticipated, so I tried to keep my stride as strong as possible. I chased a rapid young girl for the first two laps (we have some super talented youngsters at Lincoln!), and after finally catching her on the third and moving into First Female spot, I tried to hang on. I did, and in a time which I was really happy with - 21:04 - after Friday's effort. I just can't miss parkrun!
SUNDAY: I had ten miles left to log of this week's mileage, and was presented with a gorgeous spring day to complete them. The joy of some sunny and mild running conditions helped me forget how unwilling my legs felt. The plan was for an easy paced run, so I did not push the pace, keeping steady at around 8.20-8.25 min/mile. I could not really blame my limbs for their protests - I had asked a lot of them from the last few days ... and probably weeks!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...