This week there have been some tough runs, but also some very pleasing training results. With three weeks to go until the London Marathon this has given me a slight confidence boost and extra faith that the last few months of hard work are hopefully getting me somewhere...
MONDAY: with my block of Strength and Conditioning classes finished I headed back to my trusted Body Pump class at the gym.
TUESDAY: after a very brief spell of Spring like weather, this morning conditions had reverted back to being miserable. As I rose early for 8 miles of intervals I could hear the rain lashing on my window in a gusty wind. Great. This run looked tough, with 5 x 1 mile reps at a suggested 7 min/mile pace. The plan I am following is slightly ambitious for me at times (it is supposedly for a 3:30 marathon which I know I am no where near achieving!), so I went out with the aim of simply trying to get as close to this pace target as possible. The run looked hard and was hard. After the third rep I actually stopped for a few seconds to compose myself which I thought may just help me mentally and physically push through the final miles. After a slow start my splits were satisfying though, with the intervals at 7.37, 7.08, 7.16, 7.13 and 7.20 min/mile pace - so not too far away from the plan's target. Another Body Pump class in the evening.
WEDNESDAY: today was a really early start and one of those days where you realise just how mad marathon training can make you at times! With a long day at work ahead my alarm went off at 5am and I was out the door just before 5.30am - the street lights were not even on. I had a 7 mile tempo run to complete with the middle 5 miles at marathon pace. I did not run this especially to plan as firstly I could barely see where I was running on some streets and therefore had to tread very carefully, and secondly I also chucked in a longer hill section simply for the fact I knew it was more of a main road that would at least have some lighting! My final splits did not really show a tempo run at all, if anything more a progression run. But after rolling out of bed that early I was happy just to get some good miles in!
THURSDAY: I really enjoyed tonight's run; maybe because unlike the rest of the week so far it was not 5am or lashing down with rain! My plan was for 9 easy paced miles, so I also felt like there was no real pressure on me or my legs. I hid my watch and decided to run comfortably to feel. I was therefore shocked that at times when I did catch my watch face when stopping for road crossing etc., that my pace seemed to be hovering below 8 min/mile. I actually finished with an average pace of 7:56 min/mile which was really pleasing and I hope shows some of the progress I have made...
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: I spent Friday helping my friend move house and had enjoyed a little bit to drink (a random combination of fruit cider and champagne!) in the evening to celebrate. I was not sure how this would affect me at parkrun; I did not feel too bad but knew I would only really know once that 'go' signal had been given and I was attempting to whizz round Lincoln's Boultham Park. To my delight I felt great, and for the first time in a good few weeks there was no struggle coming from my legs. I love the feeling when it all comes together at parkrun and it seems like I am powering around the course. I finished in 20:49 and was so happy to get below 21 mins again for the first time in a few weeks; I was starting to accept that with marathon training miles in my legs that they had lost that extra drive needed to dip below this marker, but they proved me wrong. My friend and London Marathon training buddy also came seconds away from her PB this week - so blew my theory totally away (see image). I might not stick to the Friday night hydration plan though, not sure that would prove effective in the long run..!
SUNDAY: if I thought my runs toward the latter end of the week had shown progress, today's 20 miler confirmed it. My friend and I decided to aim for 8:30 min/mile pace; this was the last real long effort before the taper and would be great to see what we could manage. As I ran my legs and body felt so much better than last week's 22 miler, even with the test of a slightly hillier route I felt we maintained strong. Despite having a pace goal I was not looking at my watch, I could feel it in my stride we were on track, and this is probably something I love about when I run with my friend and we just sync; I am lucky to have someone who I can not only openly talk to for hours on end, but also someone I can naturally run beside for the same time. Towards the final couple of miles my legs did start to tighten slightly, a reminder this was a really long run still, but it was manageable. 'We can do this!' I jokingly chanted as we neared the final mile. And we could, stopping our watches we had run an 8:25 min/mile average pace. I stood shocked for a moment then squeezed me friend in pride. Things could be very different on race day, I am never one to be complacent at all, but a run like that gives me hope of what my body may be capable of.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...