This week I knew things had to change; last week was a bit of a wake up call that I need to look both after and out for myself better during marathon training. I entered this training block with the focus of trying to keep a happy balance between 'normal' life and 'running' life, and to be honest it has probably meant that I have paid a little less attention to the entire marathon training package. Yes, I have been logging the miles and getting all my planned runs in; but I have put less focus on factors such as my diet and sleeping habits, which previously I have been better at. I did not want to feel like marathon training was taking over my life, but instead now I find myself in the position where my confidence has been knocked a little, and whilst I was already quite nervy abut travelling to Chicago on my own to run a marathon, I actually feel quite scared when thinking about it at times. I have a few weeks to go though thankfully, and I have started how I intend to go on this week, focusing on my diet and getting a much greater amount of rest each night (one night I slept solidly for ten hours!) Running wise I have also taken things a little steadier this week; I have logged less miles in comparison to the previous few weeks, which have been closer to 50 miles, and channelled my efforts into two main runs, with the rest being easier workouts.
MONDAY: Body Pump class
TUESDAY: an easy 6.75 mile loop (I did not even feel the need to round the miles up!) in which I slotted into around 8.30 min/mile pace and just stayed there throughout.
WEDNESDAY: steadier miles again with my friend. I warned him pre-run that I may not be up to our usual speed and we found a conversational pace just under the 8 min/mile mark, which although is still fairly quick, is not what we are sometimes capable of together. The 6.5 mile run ended up an unavoidable long hill, which I have to admit finished my legs off a little, and told me I still needed to be careful.
THURSDAY: it was our monthly Run Club track session tonight and I knew I wanted to run it. Instead of logging some additional miles in the morning, I ignored my plan and just allowed myself to try and put the energy I had into the track session. I was a bit nervous about how my legs would react to be honest, especially as we had a hard session planned; 20 x 100m repeats at maximum effort, with a minutes rest in between. The company and camaraderie of the group spurred me on though and whilst I will never be rivalling Usain Bolt's World Record, I was pretty pleased with my rep speed and how well I managed to maintain my pace. My first few sprints were around 17 seconds, I then dipped to 18 seconds for the main middle chunk (with one tired 19 second rep thrown in!) but finished the 20th rep in 17 seconds and as quick as my first. My legs were knackered at the end, but to be honest - everyone's were! So I did not feel too worried.
FRIDAY: Rest Day
SATURDAY: I had put my name down to volunteer at Lincoln parkrun today for two reasons; firstly, I was considering running a local half marathon on Sunday, and secondarily, I did not want another 'all out' session in my legs, and I struggle to hold back in a parkrun environment! My legs needed loosening after track though, as some DOMs were still present, so I jogged down to Boultham Park, volunteered as timekeeper, jogged to work after, the jogged home later, giving me an easy paced 4.5 mile total run commute.
SUNDAY: I had a fast 13 miles on my plan for this week, and usually I look for a race in which to do this, as I can never push myself enough just out running on my local Lincoln streets. This training block I had been unsure about whether to bother finding a race or not, however a fellow Run Club leader suggested the Newton's Fraction Half Marathon in Grantham, which he was also planning on running, and I was tempted. I put off entering for a while, however after a number of weeks of solo long running and back to back 20 milers, I felt I wanted a break and some running company - so I entered. I obviously did not anticipate the race falling on a week where I was trying to rebuild a bit, but I took part nevertheless and kept my expectations no further than just a nice variation for a Sunday long run. Full blog to follow - but on a tough undulating course, with a couple of real killer hill climbs thrown in, I was pleased that I felt in control and my legs seemed strong (it was in fact the downhills which I felt weaker on!) and I was pleased to finish in 1:43:36.
The motto of this week - I may be approaching my 10th marathon, but I am always still learning and am definitely by no means perfect.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...