Marathon training week 4

What a wonderful week. As I post this I am in a car on the way to Gatwick Airport for a long flight to Cancun, Mexico. 

We will then get a taxi south to Tulum and so next week’s marathon training is going to take place by the beach! My longest run will be 11 miles so I will have to work out some routes ūüôā

Anyway – back to last week’s training:

Run 1 – the Tempo run was, yet again, a run to work on Tuesday morning. This time I decided to mix this up a bit too make it more of a tempo run so I went for ten minutes of tempo running, followed by ten minutes jogging, and repeat until just over one hour had passed. It was fantastic. I really enjoyed the run despite the howling wind and was really happy with my time – an average pace of 9:11/mile is significantly faster than my planned marathon pace, despite the fact that half the run was at a “slow” pace.

Run 2 – the long run. I loved this run. 10 miles to do so I set off from home down the main road to Fishbourne, where I turned away down to the sea.

It was the most beautiful morning, and so warm for the time of year, with clear blue skies, and I had a tail wind behind me, music in my ears and a smile on my face. 

On the narrow roads from Fishbourne to Bosham I met scarcely another person, just running through huge wide open fields. I eventually reached the seafront at Bosham and then picked my way along the Harbour Road – this gets flooded on a high tide so if I’d been much later I might not have made it!

Back in Bosham, I realised I was going to be over my ten miles so decided to take a shortcut along a footpath. Bad idea. Mud I was happy with but much of the path was flooded with water much deeper than it looked at first glance. After getting wet above my ankles I decided to give up and re-trace my steps. 

The last little bit was directly into a heavy headwind and once I’d done my ten miles I was fed up. I was hungry and was running out of time to get home and ready for a birthday lunch with friends. So I have to admit I called mum to see if she could pick me up from the top of the road!

I ran 10.7 miles at an average pace of 9:27/mile – again, faster than planned marathon pace. Although, quite amusing, in exactly the same time (10 seconds faster) as my first ten miler in marathon training last year – except that was for just 10 miles not the extra 0.7! 

Run 3 – the interval one. I had this run all planned for Boxing Day only to wake up to the sound of torrential rain outside. The forecast was for lighter rain at 11.30am so I decided to wait for then, only for a call from James’ brother saying they were nearby and were going to pop by for lunch with their daughter. April promptly fell asleep on my shoulder for half an hour. It was the first time I’d ever had a baby asleep on me in my life and I just loved listening to her breathing on my shoulder.

Anyway, long story short, it was after 3pm by the time i got out for my run, and in Northumberland it’s getting dark by about this time. And it was still pouring with rain. 

LUCKILY my sister had bought me a new running jacket for Christmas so I really had no excuse!!! Out I went, splashing through puddles above my ankles to do some hill repeats. Honestly? I am not entirely sure how “good” this training session was – I did six hill repeats but the hills were probably too short – it took me 40 seconds roughly to run up – although very sleep and I was gasping for breath at the top!! Maybe I should have done more repeats but by this time it was pretty much pitch black with no streetlights and I had no head torch so I did the six and then a kilometre cool-down. 

On the other hand – it was the worst possible day to go out for a run with cosy Christmas family fun indoors and disgusting weather outside so I think the most important thing about this run was that I went out and did it anyway… And that I did actually enjoy it for the half an hour I was out there!

Cross-training: I was surprised, looking back on my training log, how much cross -training I had actually managed as in my head I thought it was non-existant! Almost six and a half hours, including one swim lesson (working on butterfly!), one day of cycle commuting to and from work (including some hard intervals against a headwind as I raced to make it home in time for a doctors appointment – that ended up starting 40 minutes late anyway!), and a few home yoga / strength sessions. I am working on developing a good routine that I can do daily whilst away.

Best marathon-training eats – clearly, Christmas Day lunch – no other contender! (Other than the leftovers on Boxing Day). We had an incredible Turkey Wellington made with porchini mushrooms which was just the best Turkey I’ve ever tasted.

And then there was also roast beef, roast potatoes, carrots and parsnips, with brussel sprouts fried with chestnuts and bacon, stuffing, pigs in blankets, bread sauce and two types of gravy! Oh it was so good. For pudding we picked at cheese over red wine and board games.

Something fun that was nothing to do with running: just the whole Christmas season, from a birthday dinner with my mum, to playing with my wonderful new kind-of niece (James’ niece), to experiencing a new family’s Christmas traditions, a game of Trivial Pursuit filled with cheating, and watching Paddington the film. It was all wonderful and really is my most favourite time of year!!!

Marathon training inspiration: I haven’t been listening to many podcasts this week so my inspiration actually came from the same podcast as last week, Tom Foreman, from the Run to the Top podcast. He was talking about getting his children into running and said the important thing is about going out there in all weathers and coming back in showing that it has been fun. He also said that actually, it is fun. There is something great about being outside and seeing and experiencing the full force of nature. So as I was running on Boxing Day in torrential rain and gathering darkness I just kept remembering that – it is fun being outside. It is fun. And if you want other people to enjoy running as much as you do, you have to come inside with a huge smile on your face. And soon I found myself dancing through the puddles, not minding my soaking wet feet, kicking spray up and just generally having a great time.


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