Sunday, January 20, 2019

Marathon Training Week 4

Brighton Marathon Training - Week Four

After last week's busy schedule, fitting runs in around working everyday, it was far nicer to have a relaxed week for week four. When I was planning my training, I intended for this to be a bit of a cutback week in terms of mileage, and that fitted in nicely with a holiday.

Monday I got home from work at about 10am and thankfully had had a pretty good shift to finish. It was a beautiful day and although I wasn't planning to run, I couldn't resist getting out for more easy miles. Five gentle miles in the woods, not paying any attention to pace and instead just enjoying the scenery was the perfect way to wind down after working the weekend.

On Tuesday I was up early, but instead of out for a run I was on my way to the airport! I spent a few days this week in Switzerland. Originally I'd planned to run 5km of progressive splits, something I thought I could manage on a treadmill at the hotel but I was busy sightseeing and decided that I was going to put my holiday as a higher priority this week.

Wednesday was the most restful of rest days as I spent a good chunk of it in an incredible alpine spa in the mountains! There were swimming pools, but I don't think I can really consider floating in a heated outdoor infinity pool as any kind of training session... views of the mountains were gorgeous though. Pools, saunas and steam rooms felt like exactly what my muscles needed though after all the recent running.

After a very relaxed day, I was awake early on the Thursday and decided to make use of the hotel gym for a bit of strength training and a run on the treadmill. I forgot how much I hate treadmills. I had considered doing up to six miles, but the boredom levels were at maximum before even the first mile was complete! I managed to keep going until 3.1 miles but that really was enough for me. I wish I'd taken cold weather running kit with to Switzerland and then I could have run outside, but I was trying not to pack too much and wasn't sure if there were suitable routes (there were).

Friday I wanted to get in some speed/strength type running again and decided some hills would be a good idea. Since I moved house, I've been finding it hard to find good hills nearby that I can use for this kind of training, but then I remembered the woods nearby has loads of hills that would be nice and quiet and I can run up and down them without lots of traffic around! Hard efforts up some steep hills, with a few logs to hurdle now and again - definitely got a workout from it. This was the day  though when I realised how mentally tough marathon training was going to be. I was prepared for the tiredness, the physical pain of running hard intervals and for dealing with days when I "just can't be bothered" to run, but what I wasn't expecting was the anxiety and self-doubt about training. I questioned whether I'd actually be able to run 26.2 miles, whether I was undertraining, whether actually by worrying about undertraining I was now overtraining...

Saturday was going to be parkrun but I couldn't make it and didn't have time to make up the run later in the day, so I had another rest day instead.

And for the final day of week four, it was a 10 mile long run. I ran the first two miles at a nice gentle pace with my dog for a bit of company. She's not much of an endurance runner but I think she enjoyed sprinting back and forth between me, and my dad and sister who were walking behind. It was a good opportunity to run somewhere I hadn't been before, and to enjoy some new trails. Then while my family and the dog drove home, I ran another eight miles back. I tried to push the pace a bit more, but to feel rather than looking at my watch and I was pleasantly surprised to be running sub-8 minute miles very comfortably - a lot of it was closer to 7:30min/mi. That's still probably faster than my marathon pace, but it felt good and I really enjoyed this run.

A lower mileage week this time, with 22.1 in total, but considering it was my week off work and a time to relax mentally and physically, I'm not too concerned and I'm feeling in good shape now to pick it all back up again next week!

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