Nine down, seven to go…

Posted on: 21 Feb 2018

The title of this blog sounds a little weary which perfectly describes how I have felt this week. Nobody ever said marathon training was easy and of course I wasn’t expecting anything else, but nine weeks in and the pressure is beginning to show. I am so glad that this time round I have been doing so much stretching and cross training(including about two hours of dog walking a day which shouldn’t be underestimated) because that is what I think has kept me out of injury trouble and making the training runs count. It does make it feel a little relentless though and I’m enjoying this evening as a rare chance to just do nothing at all… apart from real buzzing of course 😉

I got my plan a little mixed up this week, this can happen sometimes, even when you only run 3 times in a week, life can get in the way and it’s not always possible to space the runs properly. So I ended up doing the speed session on the Wednesday then the Tempo was a Saturday parkrun and the long run was on Sunday, not ideal but it all went alright in the end.

Speed session was 12 x 400m with pace target 6.30, I have struggled with speed sessions in general but if anything, I’d say the 400’s are my favourite and I managed to sneak under target at 6.26. 12reps though, God that’s tough! Am I just getting old? Hard work!

Tempo, 3 miles, Parkrun. Because I had an 18-mile run on my mind, and Bella the dog on the end of a lead in my hand, I was happy to stick at the back and take it easy. In fact, I stood away from the pack and gave them a minute’s head start as Bella gets so excited when we do park run and I worry about other people’s reactions to her. Anyway, it was great and even though we had to stop and walk a couple of times behind slower runners, we managed to overtake over 200 people (Bella loves overtaking!) and finished in around 24 minutes. It was lovely to run with (by that I mean ‘at the same time as’) Jenny too, as I’ve missed running with her recently.

The long slow run was 18 miles and boy I found this a challenge. It was a weird one because it felt hard and easy at the same time. Easy from the point of view that I felt comfortable running roughly on target pace, but hard in that I felt generally tired; I hadn’t slept well the night before and had got up in the middle of the night. Consequently, I felt drained and my legs also felt stiff and clumpy. I ran a new route that was almost the same as last weeks except backwards. This meant that all of the hills, both up and down, were in the first 4 miles. I had reasoned that it was a good idea to get the hills out of the way early when I was fresh. But now I have done it I think it was a mistake, at the end of the run you are tired anyway, so a couple of hills can’t make it any worse, whereas at the start it’s a bit of a blow to have the wind taken out of your sails so early on. I won’t do that again! But after the first 5 miles I hit the canal and I knew that I would be flat for the next 9 miles which is a nice feeling. I picked up pace as I ran towards the centre of Manchester, the closer I got the more litter and graffiti. I almost made it to the Etihad Stadium before turning for home. I was most pleased with the last 3 miles which ended up being my quickest and meant I finished with an average of 8.33 which was under target and a bit more under the pace I set for the same training run in 2015 (the year of my fastest marathon)

So I am still confident. I know that if I can keep this up, if I can stay injury free and IF I am very lucky on the day, I may just have a chance of a PB. Realistically I know this is still a long shot, but who knows? That’s what makes this training lark so exciting!

Happy training everyone!

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