Marathon training week 5 – the Tulum edition

Training was a bit of a struggle this week. Not unexpected, with one full day spent on a plane and then having to readjust from 10 degrees to 30 degrees with 90% humidity. Plus the fact that I’m on holiday with other people so not just working to my timetable AND I’m enjoying myself at nice restaurants in the evening which makes getting up to beat the heat harder! 

As a result, I didn’t really manage a long run this week – I had 11 miles on the training plan and my longest run was only 12km, less than 8 miles. Instead, I managed for runs instead of the usual three. 

Run 1 – the really, really hard one
 
This was my first run in Mexico and it was   horrible. My hamstrings and glutes were still ridiculously tight from the flight, and the day before I had done quite a lot of cycling on a sit-up bike that was too small for me, making my ankles really tight and painful. I was running with Jack which usually means I run faster than normal but not this time! I ran a very, very slow 7km with lots of walking on the way back as I poured sweat out of every part of me – quite different from my last run, in torrential rain in Northumberland! 

From our apartment (in the Aldea Zama development), it’s 1km to the main road and then 2km down a straight, flat path towards the beach. When you first set out running on it, you think fantastic! A wonderful path with no need to worry about directions or cars or anything! However, quite quickly you realise it is the most boring path in the world, with nothing in the way of landmarks to break up the distance, and that there is NO shade. At all. So it becomes pretty hellish and I really struggled to motivate myself to make it back without stopping and walking A LOT.

  

Run 2 – an attempt to hire a car 
My next run could be termed an interval run – if, by interval, you mean a slow death jog and then stopping completely for varying lengths of time. I was off to find a place we could hire a car and so set out to run to Tulum Pueblo, stopping at the various car hire places on the way. I didn’t manage to find an affordable car available that day so ended up having to run back to the apartment, much later in the day than I really wanted to be running. 


Run 3 – the “tempo” run
 although definately in terms of effort, not speed! I set out towards the beach on the same running path again and again, I took a lot of breaks, but less walking. 8.30 am was just too late to begin running (I had set my alarm for 7am but after quite a late night at a lovely restaurant the night before just did NOT want to get up at 7am!) and so I decided to be more committed to an early wake up the next day.


Run 4 – the “long” run
 again in inverted commas as it wasn’t really long. When my alarm went off at 7am it still looked pitch black and I didn’t want to go running by myself in the dark so I dozed for half an hour. After a quick breakfast I was ready to head out, and as Jack was up at the same time we went together. It was much cooler before 8am, even on the “death” path and so we ran all the way down, turned right at the bottom and ran along to the beach.  

The sun was still rising so it was extra beautiful, although a party was just finishing up at one of the big hotels and drunk party-goers were stumbling home, looking at us in complete bemusement. The worst part of the run also happened at this part, where we ran past a dead and rotting racoon with the worst smell imaginable. As we ran past the first time it was bad, when we passed it on the way home, knowing the cause of the smell, it was so horrific it almost made me vomit. Ugh ugh ugh.

The path then took us on a narrow road past many of the beach hotels and it was great because it was really shady. I finally felt comfortable in my running and as if I could run forever. However, I knew the death path was waiting for us and would only get hotter so, at around 8.30, it was time to turn back.  Jack took off for the last 3km and I plugged my music in with one main aim – do not stop running. And I didn’t! I made it all the way back with no breaks or walking and was so pleased with myself.

The perfect recovery was soaking first my legs and then my whole body in the swimming pool for a quick swim.

  


Cross-training
 was an interesting one for me this week as I tried to consider what to include. I mean, I have spent around 3 hours slowly cycling that awful sit-up bike I mentioned. I’ve spent at least an hour snorkeling and another hour playing about in the pool and sea (it turns out I can glide further than both the boys, beat James in a 5m front crawl race, and that go pro headbands are not really compatible with waves in the sea). I also spent an hour and a half at a restorative yoga class lying in various positions and being told that the most important thing was to be comfortable. I had never been to a restorative class before and I think that if I went when at home I wouldn’t be able to switch off properly and would just be thinking about the work I should be doing. But on holiday, it was brilliant, probably the only time in my life and certainly in years where (other than sleeping) I have been able to just let my mind drift off and wander for an hour and a half. But I don’t think I can count those 90 minutes as training time! I think it would be fairer to say that this week involved about 6hr 30 total hours of training, including some proper swimming and some proper yoga and conditioning work done on the roof terrace of our apartment. On New Years Day, I had read about a yoga mala, which involved doing 108 sun salutations. I managed 60 then had to stop as my form was all over the place. I clearly worked my muscles as my arms were aching the next day!!

 

I managed my pretentious yoga wheel on a beach picture!! 

Something fun that was nothing to do with running: just everything. The whole holiday. From sunbathing on the beach to jumping in the waves, to snorkeling in beautiful cenotes and drinking cocktails overlooking the ocean as the sun begins to set…. Holidays are fantastic.

  


Best marathon training eats
: well, I do love Mexican food and have eaten probably about 20 avocados in a week as I polish off a bowl of guacamole in every restaurant I go to. We have had several wonderful meals, at La Chula, Encanto, Kitchen Dinner, Mur Mur and Hartwood, among others, and a blog is coming on all the restaurants we’ve tried! But I think the best meal was our meal at Kitchen Dinner where they cooked all the food on a wooden grill and we had incredible pork ribs and ahi tuna.


Marathon training inspiration 
– something I heard ages ago but occasionally forget. The mind gives up 100 times before the body does. Repeating it to myself during a hard run is what keeps me going, and that is how I managed to keep running up the death path!!

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One comment

  1. […] It came to our turn to be dropped off and we were taken into the housing area where we were staying – but the taxi driver had no idea which building was ours and insisted on driving around the estate at high speed as I tried desperately to spot a sign in the dark. After less than two minutes, the driver decided he wanted to give up, drive fifteen minutes down the road to drop the last passengers off and then come back to find our apartment. We had had enough so decided to just get out, reasoning that we knew it must be close and that it would be quicker to find it on foot. As soon as we got out of the van we realised that we were actually right in front of our building and were inside in just a few moments! We had originally planned on staying in a posh hotel on the beach but they were all either fully booked over NYE or ludicrously expensive even by a posh hotel’s standards, so we had decided to shell out on a posh Air Bnb instead. And what a fabulous apartment we ended up with – Jaraguas had two bedrooms, three bathrooms (this was to become important), a balcony, a roof terrace with a (small) jacuzzi AND access to a shared pool. It was in between the town and the beach with relatively easy access and cheap taxis to each.   There are really two parts to Tulum – the beach and the town. The town is pretty ugly, with shops, hostels and restaurants just on either side of the main road – but it does have a lot of fantastic restaurants, at much cheaper prices than the food restaurants along the beach. We had a lot of fantastic meals and I have a post planned about all the restaurants we went to. The beach seemed to me to be split into two. If you turned left at the bottom of the road, towards the ruins, you were in quiet, chilled out territory – several relaxed hotels, with easy access between the hotels and the beach and plenty of places for a drink and a toilet stop. Turning right, the beach road gets much busier and is surrounded on both sides by hotels and restaurants. Although all beaches in Mexico have to be public access, many of the hotels won’t let you through to the beach, and once there, many won’t even let you buy a drink in their restaurants.        We spent our days dozing on the beach, researching good restaurants to eat in, reading, chatting, relaxing. Our Air Bnb was near a great little yoga studio called Tribal Tulum and I would really recommend you check it out if you like yoga and are going to Tulum. I also went for several runs along the road to the beach in the morning (trying desperately to wake up before it got too hot) – there’s more on what its like to run in Tulum in last week’s marathon recap post, here. […]

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