Sunday, March 3, 2019

Marathon Training Week 10

Brighton Marathon Training Week 10

Garmin Forerunner 235 Longest Run 18 miles

I can still remember writing this plan (usually at work... if you're efficient with paperwork, community psychiatry can leave you with time to spare!) and these higher mileage weeks feeling unreal and so far away. Well I guess they had to become real eventually!

Again Monday was a rest day, and because I'd been a naughty runner and not bothered to stretch properly after Sunday's race, I was glad of a day off!

Tuesday was supposed to have been another track session, but even from Monday night I hadn't really been looking forward to it that. I love running, and generally I'm really enjoying this training cycle but I have had a few days where the enthusiasm is lacking and I wonder why I'm putting myself through this. I finished work a bit early because we'd had one of our exam study days and it was another beautiful afternoon. Waiting until 7 to run in the dark wasn't exactly exciting me, so I decided to get out while I was motivated and wanting to run. I headed to a local track rather than the one I normally train on, and planned to do the session on my own - 9 x 900m reps. The run there felt good, but straightaway the first rep made me feel like the session was going to be hard work. The track is a tarmac one which doesn't do my legs much good for this sort of speedwork, so I was actually running on the grass just inside the track which is obviously more uneven and this wasn't helping. I tried adapting the session to do three sets of 900,500,900, but after rep 4 I could tell I was really not enjoying it. Some days I can push through a mental block, but today I just didn't want to spoil the enjoyment of running for myself. Would I have finished the session if I'd run it with others later in the day? Honestly - probably not. It just wasn't my day for track intervals. I was going to call it a day and head home, but I'd been determined to try and meet my planned mileage for the week, so I went out onto the locals roads and did was more of a hills and fartlek style session. I was feeling quite strong running up some steep hills and managed some good bursts of speed, so I don't feel like the run was wasted at all. I think adapting the session was the best decision I could have made and I got 10km done in total.

Wednesday I did some strength and conditioning with an at home workout. Only a short one with some 4kg dumbells and bodyweight exercises, but it all helps build up the muscles and prevent injury.

Thursday I did my second run commute. I was less successful about sneaking out of work in my running kit unnoticed this week! I started a new job at the beginning of February and really didn't want to make the first thing I told everyone about myself the fact that I'm running a marathon! I know it's something to be proud of, but I'm actually quite a modest person in real life (despite having no problem celebrating my acheivements online) and feel a bit awkward about it for some reason. But I'm also a pretty useless liar, so saying I was just jogging 5km or so home wasn't an option either. I ran about 8.5 miles in total, extending my run one tube stop further along to increase the distance. This run felt hard. Really hard. I'd thought about doing some bits of it at goal marathon pace, but it's pretty much entirely uphill - and long, steep hills at that. With a rucksack and having spent all day sat down, this wasn't really a great opportunity for trying to do anything other than get some miles in my legs. I'd actually wanted to run 9 miles and had been assuming I'd get lost and therefore make up the last 0.5 mile, but I didn't! I was going to loop past the station, but decided that was probably unnecessary... although I did only stop my garmin at the ticket barrier just to maximise every last step!

I had another rest day on Friday and then parkrun on Saturday. I'd been torn between doing a parkrun sandwich to do my long run, and trying for a faster parkrun. In the end I decided to drive to Rickmansworth parkrun to meet Preena and have a go at a "how fast can I go?" parkrun. I've used the run to Rickmansworth a few times already as a long run and I'm a bit bored of it - plus it is hilly. I like hills, but not that much. Rickmansworth is a much busier parkrun than my normal one at Harrow (about 600 vs 200 runners), but this actually helped me a bit because it made me back off in the first mile rather than go haring off at a pace I can't actually sustain. We got a bit held up by some swans at halfway - they were not happy about runners on their path! I think slowing past them probably cost me the three seconds I was over 21:30... got to use these unusual excuses when you can, right? It's not an overall parkrun PB for me, but I couldn't have given much more that morning and I'm happy with that as a time when I take into account the miles run earlier in the week.

Long run Sunday. This was brilliant. I'd been a bit nervous about how this would go as it would be the furthest distance I've ever run, and it just so happened that the weather forecast was for rain and gusty wind all day. Long run prep begins with the day before and I've been trying to figure out how best to eat beforehand. On my last few long runs, I've been getting proper hunger pains quite early on which doesn't exactly make for comfortable running (and makes me spend the entire run thinking about food). I tried having an extra bowl of cereal later in the evening, and although I was feeling uncomfortably full afterwards, I think it helped! I had my normal bowl of porridge about 2 hours before setting off in the morning and didn't get any problems with hunger or feeling full so that's something I'll try again to be sure it works.

The long run itself just felt great. I meant to set off slowly and my first mile was 8:42 which is a bit quicker than planned. I thought I was keeping to that, or even slowing slightly but the next mile was 8:02! I was starting to wonder if my watch was playing up... Some hills helped me to slow down a bit and rein it in, but I was pleased to be feeling so strong with this run. And after a long, muddy hill I knew that if I stuck roughly to my planned route, the worst was over. I took a gel at about 9 miles, and another at 15, still working out when is best for them but I think I'm getting the hang of it. I was really pleased with myself for completing the entire 18 miles without stopping once - the furthest I've ever done this before is a half-marathon - so this gives me a lot of confidence for next week's 20 mile race. It's going to be a four-lap, hilly course, so if I do need to walk at some point I won't be too bothered but I'd really like to not stop on marathon day.

36.4 miles in total for week 10, and I can't believe it's just six weeks to go now!

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