Somehow this is Week 4 of my marathon training on the road to Chicago – time has very much flown by. I am now a quarter of the way through my sixteen-week plan and I am very happy with how things are – quite literally. My goal for this training was to work hard, but also continue to feel contentment and enjoy with my life outside of running; and I am pleased to say so far I am achieving this.
MONDAY: after a week away from any form of strength work last week, I knew tonight’s Body Pump class would be a bit tougher than usual – it literally only needs me to miss one week and I can feel it! Combine my brief absence with the instructor launching a new set of exercises, and I was prepared to be sore…
TUESDAY: the DOMs had already hit as I laced up for my early morning run and I was a bit unsure if my planned intervals would actually happen! I had 6 miles with 5 x 1000m reps and 200m recoveries set, and I just had to see if my legs wanted to play game! It was a hard session, and the last two intervals reps really pushed me. My splits were strong though, despite my soreness, with a couple of sub 7 min/mile reps and the others all hovering a few seconds above this marker.
WEDNESDAY: if I thought DOMs had hit me yesterday, today they had bulldozed into my body; I was incredibly sore and was therefore very pleased to have some easy miles on my plan. I also had to get up very early for these 7 miles ahead of a long day at work – in fact this week on the whole has seen me working a lot of hours over some long days. The key to both fitting in my training and looking after myself I find is managing this impact in other areas of my life – I got to bed as early as possible, I try drink plenty, I add extra protein into my diet to aid recovery etc. It sounds simple, and I am certainly not perfect, but it all helps.
THURSDAY: thankfully my soreness had minimised significantly today and I enjoyed an early morning 7 mile run following an easier (8 minute something) to harder (7 minute something) mile pattern. At RunClub later I logged a comfortable further 4 miles as Run Leader.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: I was delighted with another sub 21 minute time at Lincoln parkrun today (see image) – finishing in 20:51 – and also to be First Female into the funnel. What I really enjoyed about this week’s run was being challenged by a fellow female runner throughout; I was on her shoulder for the majority of the 3 lap course and she gave me the focus of keeping to her pace and rhythm. As we approached the final few hundred metres I gave my burst for the finish, and to be honest I am not sure where this injection of speed came from! A few metres back I was giving my all just to keep pace, and now I found myself powering to the finish funnel ahead of my fellow parkrunner. After finishing, I waited for her and we shook hands and acknowledged each other’s’ performance – if I have ran with someone like that in a parkrun or indeed a race, I always like to recognise them, as although at the time it is almost competing with each other, it is actually pushing each other to be our best. SUNDAY: a muggy, sweaty 14 miles logged for this week’s long run. To start, I ran 4 miles solo to meet my friend and initially I had throwbacks to the intense heat of last summer; the sun shone strongly and made these early steps feel like a lot of effort. Thankfully the clouds came to rescue us and to make the run slightly more bearable! Long runs with company are always much more enjoyable too, and I lost concept of distance once my friend joined me for the remaining 10 miles, and I also never looked at our pace. Reviewing my watch later I could see we ran really well, logging predominantly sub 8.20 min/mile splits, which as summer begins to seemingly grip the UK, I was really pleased with. I also try not to take pace too seriously on warm days, listening to your body and simply enjoying the run is far more important than some numbers on a screen. Numbers on a screen are definitely not just what running is about after all.