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New York Marathon Training – Week 5

I know that marathon training is difficult, but this cycle seems to be challenging me no end. So, I finally got antibiotics and my sinusitis is clearing up, but training still hasn’t been easy or too enjoyable this week. I have really struggled to recover from my long run last week. My quads are really sore and calves tight, so Monday I had a sports massage and changed my 400’s on the plan to a recovery run. It was really, really slow and so hard!!

Wednesday is my tempo run day, I am always apprehensive about this run! I found it tough from the off. My legs were heavy and every step was hard. After my mile warm up, I tried to pick up the pace, as I am supposed to run these at 9:15 min/mile. I struggled to get to that pace and felt like I was at full sprint! I felt SO disappointed, I had to give myself a talking too, as I just wanted to abandon the whole run. I managed to convince myself to clock the miles, although I did cut it a mile short!

Thursday I managed to go to run club, and oh how I love those people! I was feeling pretty rubbish about my tempo run and generally how I was finding running so hard. They were all so supportive and gave me great advice. We did 200’s, 400’s and 600’s, all with a massive hill in them, and I ran steady. After all the advice, I didn’t even really look at my watch during the run, and when I checked after, my pace wasn’t too bad. A few people suggested I cut back my long run at the weekend, or even take a week off training and recover fully. My body is trying to fight an infection so is struggling to help me recover too! Even though I knew this, when others were telling me, I felt like a huge pressure was lifted. Only pressure I was putting on myself, but this weeks 16 miler was probably not going to happen and that had to be ok!

With the pressure off, I optimistically prepared myself for my long run on Saturday morning, just incase by miracle, once I started running, I felt amazing, then I would run the whole 16 miles. So my hydration pack and gels were loaded, I avoided the alcohol and Indian takeaway the family had Friday night, and set off early Saturday morning. I knew pretty quickly 16 miles wasn’t going to miraculous happen, so decided to enjoy the sights, the lovely weather and complete a 5 mile loop. I walked when I needed and ran when I wanted. I was disappointed not to complete my long run, but at the same time, I really needed to enjoy the run.

So, that’s my week. Again, not my best, but some miles are banked, I’ve now finished my antibiotics and I hoping for a return to form. Training plans are good, but they have to be flexible to suit you.

I think I would benefit from having a better recovery strategy after runs.

If anyone has any tips, please leave me a comment below.

Well that’s that then….

I have finished my main bulk of training for this years London Marathon with another 20 miler. My first long run with my cousin Katie (she blogs over at Running with Ghost) which was great. She took me off to explore here hometown. It included some off-road, canal paths and road running. My legs felt ok up until about 17 miles, then at that point, I just wanted it to be over! I am putting that down to having run 18 miles the week before – if not London may be quite tough! ?

I am now officially in to taper. There are only three weeks to go, and now its Maraonia time. Time to regret all the strength training that I didn’t do, the weight that I didn’t lose and the stretches that I didn’t do enough of!

I have completed more long runs this year, but still have doubts about completing the race. Last year I did 1 run of 18.6 miles 2 weeks prior, but this year I have managed 2 x 20 miles and an 18, so I should be ok. I say ‘should,’ as a marathon is a VERY long way, and you just don’t know how you are going to feel on the day.

Everyone looks forward to taper, but the extra time on your hands makes you WORRY! Last year it was ,what if I can’t finish it? What if I hit ‘the wall’? What if I haven’t trained hard enough? What if….? Second time round, I am still having the ‘What ifs! I worry that I may not enjoy it as much as last year, the weather was lovely, I met some amazing people, I actually enjoyed the running and I got the time that I had trained for! What if I get my pacing wrong? What if I don’t get a PB? What if I just don’t feel like it on race day? Ok enough with the ‘what ifs’…

Let’s think about the things I can control. So, three weeks to go so what can I do?

  • Eat well.
  • Hydrate well.
  • Sleep lots.
  • Stretch and foam roll lots.
  • Familiarise myself with race day and going  to the expo – travel times, book train tickets, check kit etc.
  • I’d really like to get familiar with what my marathon pace feels like. I’m sure I should already know this, but as I’ve explained in previous posts, I am rubbish at pacing!

I have been thinking about what inspired me to run marathons. I know that I have written about it on the blog before – here and here, but I also wrote it for a Guardian witness article too, check it out here. I also have another exciting competition to launch, so be sure to check back soon, and get involved.

So, any wise words to help me during taper? How do you stay positive and over come the ‘What ifs’?

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Sunday Runday

I was so glad that I wrote down all my worries about my long run on Sunday, because it made me approach the run with a much more positive mindset and I really enjoyed it. It did help that the weather was gorgeous, and I had a lovely route planned along the Thames. 

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I was encouraged to really slow down on my long runs, and aim to run this run at 11mm pace. To be honest I found this really quite difficult, as it felt really slow, and different from my normal pacing. But, like a good girl, I tried to stick to this, which meant I was constantly having the rein myself in! My Yurbuds were in, I had my backlog of Marathon Talk podcast downloaded, and I just settled back and really enjoyed the run. I ran for 2 hours and 30 minutes, and for 10 miles of that run, I was checking my watch and slowing myself down! But as i approached Hampton Court/Kingston my competitive nature kicked in. There were a lot more runners around, and without meaning too, my pace picked up. I can’t help constantly trying to catch runners in front of me! As it was getting towards the end of the run, I decided not to look at my watch, and as long I was comfortable, just run!

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Past Kingston and heading to Ham, there were a lot of marathon runners out. All the charity vests were on, and lots of smiles and nods were exchanged. It was so nice, and it made me get a little bit more excited thinking about the 13th April.

I completed 14.1 miles in 2 hours 30 minutes and actually felt I could have carried on. I wished I had been able too, but having taken advice to cut the run down to 2 hours 30 minutes due to my turning my ankle, I didn’t want to chance it! The ankle felt fine, but I just didn’t know how it would react after. I iced it after the run, and so far so good.

The best part of the entire run? No, not the weather, although that was good. No, not the smile that I had across my face when I thought about my dad and how proud he would be. No, not the thought that I had just banked another 14 miles, and it was only 4 weeks until race day. It was finishing my run with my daughter running towards me, with her arms open wide. She then said to me, ‘mummy can I run with you?’ So after 14.1 miles, I had to tag an extra 100 metres on to run with my 3 year old daughter and that was amazing.

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Good news, I have another competition coming up, but will write about it in another post very soon. I hope everyone has a good week. Happy running….