Tomorrow marks the start of my 16 week training pursuit ahead of the London Marathon in April. It feels like a while since my last marathon training block ahead of Chicago Marathon in October, and mentally I feel refreshed and ready to work hard again – I am even prepared for those 5:30am training alarms! Physically the last couple of weeks have not been perfect prep though; I have been battling on with a cold/cough/flu like virus which seems to be widespread this winter. Over the festive season running has not been as consistent as I would normally like, although on the flip side, perhaps you could say if I had perhaps rested more from running then maybe I would have shaken my germs a little quicker... I could not resist the plethora of parkrun opportunities which were presented to me over the past two weeks though, and these have formed the majority of my harder intensity runs. In between I have managed a few runs, not much in distance and keeping the pace comfortable – mainly because the longer I tried to run the more my cough threatened to take over my body!
The highlights of my festive period of running have been my parkrun trips which included Ipswich on Christmas day – a festive blast around Chantry Park, which I remember well from Cross Country at School, and Bury St Edmunds parkrun in the ‘betwixmas period’ - the muddiest run I have possibly ever completed, with a sticky, boggy course creating some fun challenges whilst also highlighting my road running abilities!
On New Year’s Days I took on the parkrun double at Normanby Hall and Scunthorpe which both saw huge numbers, the latter 919 runners, which is the biggest parkrun I have been involved in. I ran well at Normanby, feeling like my cold was shifting, however got a bit stuck in the crowds at Scunthorpe and wasted far too much energy trying to catch up with the frontrunners and found it a tough little leg test. I was really pleased that my work colleague who lives near Normanby also challenged himself with the parkrun double; he normally swears that 5k is his max but proved himself wrong. In term of longer runs for myself, I have managed a 6.5 miler with my sister; when we both didn’t feel that great but each other’s company spurred us on, and a couple of 5 milers.
This weekend felt like a bit of a breakthrough with my virus though; I felt and ran better back at my home Lincoln parkrun in the first event of 2020, finishing in 21:30 – by no means my best time, but getting back closer. Today I then managed my longest run for a couple of weeks; 8 miles at a better pace too. The only niggle which still remains is a rather pathetic coughing induced injury. After relentless coughing, on New Year’s Eve I finally felt my body give up a little, as the muscles downs my right hand side strained and pulled. It hurt a lot at the time and at one point I debated whether I would actually make my New Years Day parkrun plans, but I have managed to keep running. I think the adrenaline of running overrides the pain slightly, although certainly not completely, however day to day the pain has often been very intense, like a sharp stabbing. Its not pleasant I have to say, and I can tell my body is not aligned right as I try compensate the muscle imbalance. Physio is booked for Friday needless to say!
Looking ahead to next week and the start of my training, it feels good to have a plan to follow, as whilst I have enjoyed some relaxed weeks, I am ready for structure again. My goal for the London Marathon will be to try and hunt for that PB again – so something in the 3:30 region! It will require hard work and determination, but I have been close before, so I have to remain confident, learn from the past and draw on the experiences of others around me. I will be committed to training and developing myself as a runner, whilst also continuing to develop my life around running - there is one I promise!
The next adventure begins...
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...