Sunday, March 31, 2019

Marathon Training Week 13

Brighton Marathon Training - Week 13

As usual, I'm writing these posts all out of sync with real time! Hopefully I'll get caught up and have them up to date before the actual marathon...

So. Peak Week. I went into this week a bit nervous to be perfectly honest. I don't think I really mentioned in the previous blog post, but I've been getting discomfort in my left leg since my 18-miler a few weeks ago. I'd been trying to quietly ignore it, thinking it was just muscle cramp, or just having tweaked a muscle somewhere in my back that would settle, but when I finished Reading Half last week I could barely walk. I booked myself a physio appointment and crossed my fingers all would be ok.

So Monday was a rest day as usual, but I also took Tuesday off due to the pain in my leg. Worried about doing nothing I got myself booked into a hot yoga class on Tuesday evening instead - and soon remembered quite how different the normal flow class is from my typical Friday night nuturing class! It felt good thought to have a proper workout and to give my legs a good old stretch after the weekend's running.

Wednesday morning I headed out early before work for a short run, mostly just to test out the leg before my physio appointment in the evening - I think I needed to convince myself that there really was a problem and not just in my imagination. Sure enough, at two miles I started feeling a pulling in my left glute, down the IT band and into my left ankle. I'd actually had 3-mile easy run on the plan and was tempted to finish it, but decided that I also didn't want to make a potential injury any worse and sensibly came home after 2.5 miles. I saw the physio in the evening who diagnosed gluteal tendinopathy, gave me some exercises to do and also helped loosen up the surrounding tight muscles with some massage. It was reassuring to have a diagnosis, and that he was happy for me to continue running on it.

Thursday evening I decided not to run-commute because the hilly route is one of the things that aggravates my glute problem, and instead tried out a workout suggested to me by a friend from instagram. I started with two miles of steady running to warm up and didn't notice even the slightest niggle in my leg, so was confident to carry on with the workout. Avoiding hills is hard, so the easiest option for me was to head to a nearby track instead which is nice and flat. It's a tarmac track so not ideal for short, fast reps, but pretty useful for longer interval sessions like this one. I ran three lots of 1600m (1 mile) with approximately 90s recovery inbetween. It was a great workout, I felt good and hit some paces I was really pleased with. There was also a local beginners' running group using the track at the same time and having an audience always spurs me on a bit! Plus one of their coaches congratulated me on the workout at the end which is always nice. I finished off with another two miles steady running to get home and only noticed a tiny bit of discomfort when I stupidly ran up a hill... oops.

Friday was another rest day for me and seeing as I'd been to yoga earlier in the week, I opted instead for a drink and catch up with some Run Talk Run people instead.

Saturday AKA Parkrun-day I had seven miles to do, so ran to parkrun which is about four miles. Again, only very slight discomfort towards the end of the four miles which was uphill and a bit of stretching once I arrived at the park seemed to relieve it. I did a progressive four miles, warming up from an easy start to marathon pace and then a bit faster than MP. Then for the parkrun itself, I was planning to take it 'steady' - not easy pace, but not 5km race pace either. I ended up pushing a little more than planned however. Firstly, this was because I had a good chance of 1st lady finisher (and got it). Secondly, a man overtook me at about halfway as we came downhill, but then seemed to slow down again on the flat. I went past him again but before I could cut back to the inside of the path, he sped up to match me and run right beside me but not let me go ahead. I didn't really want to run behind him because the pace was a fraction too slow, but every time I tried to push ahead he kept going with me. I have no problem with people running with me to help keep their pace (I do this too sometimes), but not when I'm clearly trying to get ahead so I can get back on the inside of the narrow path. Eventually I dropped him on a hill, he bid me a good run and I didn't see him again...

Then came long run Sunday. The big 22-mile, longest of the long runs. About five different people independently recommended the Gade Valley Harriers training run to me, so I figured it was worth checking out. For just £10, they put on a fully marshalled twenty mile run, with water stations en-route and hot drinks and cake at the end. I was in two minds about whether to put my extra miles at the beginning or end of the run, but seeing as I was there early and didn't have much else to do, I opted to do them at the start. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the course was a lovely one along the canal and through the countryside and the Ashridge Estate. It reminded me a lot of some of the routes I used to run around Oxfordshire and made me miss proper countryside runs so much! Truthfully, my pacing was a bit all over the place - partly due to the undulations of the course, and partly because when I get going I can't seem to stop myself speeding up more and more until I get tired and have to slow right down again. It's something I'm working on, but definitely haven't perfected this marathon cycle. I deliberately tried to keep this a chilled out run, and slowed to a walk at a few times just to try and preserve myself a bit with the actual marathon day coming up in a just a few weeks.

I'd really hoped to break 40 miles again for this week, especially with it supposedly being peak-week, but with the slight injury it wasn't to be. I'm constantly reminding myself that the exactly mileage isn't an issue, it's more about getting the quality runs and sessions done and I think I managed that just fine. Glad to be looking towards the taper now though!

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