It’s good to be back!
Thank you for your supportive comments on my last blog . As most of you will know - I did get the all clear from the cardiologist to start marathon training; and to just carry on as normal. The valve regurgitation is very mild and no cause for concern. What a relief! Marathon training for Manchester was due to start on Monday 18th December and I’d seen the doctor only the week before so (very happily) had to do a pretty sudden change of mindset from trepidation and nerves to “right let’s do this”.
As David has said, the training plan we are using (and love) is based on very specific pace times for long, runs, tempo runs, and speed sessions. Just three runs per week. These pace times are based on a recent 10k run. I had no idea how fast I could do a 10k so the Saturday before we started training we went out and ran the distance. Beforehand I checked back on my watch and realised that the last time I’d run 10k was in June!! Since then I’d only run 5ks or less for every run. However, I managed to do the distance. It was slow by my old standards but it was better than I’d expected and it was good to have an accurate pace to base my other runs on.
So David and I went ahead and drew up our training plans. All of my training runs will be slower than previous years but on paper they look achievable. The great thing was that I felt excited and itching to get going. I think that having a year off running any marathons has done my running mojo the world of good.
Our first run was a speed session - 8 x 400 meters. It was great to do this with David as it makes the session so much more enjoyable (if that’s a word you can put in the same sentence as ‘speed session’). The session went well and I comfortably did my reps within my target pace.
The next run was the long run. This was going to be the big test. Last year I had been feeling like I was hitting the wall at around 6 miles and I don’t think that I’ve run anything in double figures all of this year. My target pace at the moment for my long runs is 10.45 minute miles which in the old days would have felt too slow. But I’ve never before started marathon training with so few miles in my legs so I was quite happy to take it steady and fully expected to run/walk much of it. But to my utter surprise it was fine and I ran all the way. The whole of mile 8 was uphill (bad planning) and the last couple of miles did feel tough but not in the “I just can’t do this” way; more in the “bloody hell I’ve gone from 3 miles to 10 in the space of 1 1/2 weeks and my legs feel pretty tired now” way! Result! I was a happy bunny.
The tempo run was 3 miles so we did it as a parkrun and I ran with our dog Bella. She LOVES parkrun!! I still managed to hit the right pace on average despite a poo stop and a couple of drinks from puddles (the dog of course...not me).
So week one was a success. Tick.
Week two started with a speed session on Christmas Day! Yep. 4 x 1200 meters. It was brutal and both David and I struggled. I came in slightly over target pace on average which is fine.
Today was long run number two - 12 miles. Could I pull this off again and get the run done without too much trouble? Well as it turned out yes I could! Again it was tough for the last couple of miles but manageable. David was out at the same time and we managed to see each other a couple of times which is always a boost. It was very cold and I got home with that familiar feeling of being frozen through and utterly spent. But oh my word I was (and am) SO happy that I did it!
My biggest jumps in mileage are now achieved and from now on the long runs will go up in more realistic increments of one mile at a time!
It’s very early days but with two of the long runs under my belt I can start to feel that I can do this. I don’t have any targets for Manchester yet as I need to see how I get on. But if I can stay injury free and get the training done then I can achieve my main aim of getting the job done feeling proud and with a smile on my face at the end. That’ll do me for now.
I still don’t know how much the heart issue will impact on my training. Perhaps the fact that I’ve had the year off long distance running has made a difference physically and will counteract any issues. Also, I’ve overhauled my diet over the past few months and David and I have a training plan alongside the running which includes core work, weights, and stretching etc etc. This will help improve general fitness. But for now its just great to be back in the crazy world of marathon training!!
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