Eight weeks of training under my belt means I have hit the half way point in my sixteen week training plan. This milestone feels a good time to be reflective, both of where I am in my running and also how I am feeling in general. Training wise I have absolutely no complaints; my focus for this plan was to build upon my endurance, get more longer runs in and feel strong and comfortable across longer distances. I feel I am achieving this so far; I increased my long run distances much earlier in my plan than normal, and at this half way point I already have two 19 milers and a 20 miler under my belt - on all three I felt strong too. In terms of my own personal feeling; I probably feel the happiness I have felt in quite a long time - this fact actually hit me this week. After a couple of years in which sometimes my big cheesy grin was a little less genuine that perhaps it appeared, this realisation felt truly freeing and a moment I feel quite proud to admit.
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: today was a very long and busy day in which I crammed a lot of different elements in - someone at work even commented how many different hats I was trying to wear in one day! It started with my 5:30am alarm for intervals and ending getting home just after 10pm following my Run Club's AGM. It was a fulfilling and productive day, however it did knacker me and led to an unscheduled rest day on Wednesday. Running wise my intervals were strong and I headed to my now favourite paved circuit near my house to run 5 miles with 12 x 200m reps and 200m recoveries; a lot of my paces were in the low 7 min/mile region or just under.
WEDNESDAY: Rest Day - I had some easy miles on my plan, but waking up feeling tired, under fuelled and with a headache, I just knew there was zero point in putting my body through something which would probably only make it feel worse, rather than enhance my training.
THURSDAY: after a break yesterday I came back strong today with a double run day; starting with 5 easy miles in the morning and adding a further 3.5 miles at Run Club in the evening. Our Run Club session was some very testing steep hill repeats, the kind you would really struggle to commit to unless running in a group! I have to admire everyone's determination to tackle the gradient - it certainly was not easy! - and my fellow club mates definitely inspired me to push myself.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: as I crossed the finish line at Lincoln parkrun today I felt a little like I had missed an opportunity - my watch read 21:02 and I was so close to a sub 21 minute time again. I had not looked at my watch whilst I was running, instead using others around me as markers and running to feel. I felt I was running consistently but not necessarily that speedily, hence not paying attention to my watch! I had something left at the end and I feel I could have snatched those few seconds if I had pushed that little bit earlier! It is by no means the end of the world, and in fact I should really feel pleased that I was close to a sub 21 minute time without feeling like I was pushing myself 'all out.' One opportunity I did take today though was to run a Leap Year parkrun - the first ever one, and the next will not take place until 2048. I hope I will still be running laps around Boultham Park then.
SUNDAY: my longest run of training so far - the first 20 miler. I did not feel daunted by this though; having a couple of 19 milers already banked it felt achievable and I knew I was ready for it. However, as has been the pattern for the past few weeks now, Sunday appears to be the day when Storm something-or-other decides to really batter the UK. Strong winds prevailed yet again today and certainly made the run tougher than it could have otherwise been. My absolute saving grace was running the full 20 miles with my friend from Run Club - we took it slow and steady, pacing according to the conditions and enjoying chatting. The miles passed so quickly, and I know if I had been out there battling away alone this would not have been the case. The toughest part was the final 5 or so miles which were almost all directly into the strong headwind. It felt like at times we were running literally on the spot and getting nowhere fast! I tried to keep the mood light at this point by finding as many positives about the situation as possible - I actually amazed myself how well I achieved this! The most obvious one though was that the conditions, although testing, were good training and will prove beneficial on what will hopefully be a perfectly still and tranquil marathon race day in eight weeks time...!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...