Marathon training week 12 – life gets in the way

Well last week was a shit week. Completely, utterly rubbish. I flew up to Scotland on Saturday evening with the intention of visiting my grandparents on Sunday – they were both old and ill in different hospitals and had been for several weeks. We arrived late at night on Saturday and at 11pm, a few minutes after walking in the door, had a call from one of the hospitals that my grandma had died. We spent the rest of the evening trying to get hold of dad’s siblings and drinking the three mini bottles of wine that were the only alcohol in the house while looking through old photo albums. Sunday was spent telling people what had happened, including my grandpa, and starting to put into motion all of the things you have to do when someone dies. Neither my dad nor I had any experience of what to do in this situation so it was all pretty horrible and slightly unreal. I don’t really know what else to say about it – my grandma was very sick and wasn’t getting any better, she had had a lovely last day with a visit from her sister and died very quickly. It was certainly the best way it could have happened but I just wish I could have said goodbye.

My dad’s the geeky looking one in the middle…

Anyway. I’m not one to dwell and I don’t really want to talk about it all too much so let’s move on to marathon training (most of the below was written before the weekend).

Run 1 – the interval run involved some good, hard intervals of 3 x 5 minutes at goal 5km pace. It was hard, especially as I had forgotten my headphones and was wearing slightly too many clothes for the treadmill but it wasn’t that hard so I know I need to step it up for next week’s run – I am going to go for 4 x 4 minutes with slightly less rest in between.

Run 2 was meant to be the tempo run to work on Thursday morning. But on Wednesday I woke up with a sore throat and a horrible cold with a streaming nose began to develop over the day. And on top of that, I was at work from 8am to 10pm preparing for trial. I had my eye on the long game – I did NOT want to get fully ill and I wanted a good long run at the weekend so I decided to change up the plan and have a lie in on Thursday morning.


Perhaps not surprisingly, I didn’t manage to avoid the cold and felt horrendous at work all day on Thursday, getting home just before 8pm and falling straight into bed (after polishing off an entire pot of hummus). I stayed in bed all day on Friday and all morning on Saturday, pushing off the “long” run until Sunday morning, in Scotland.

So my tempo run ended up being a very slow, very easy 9km on Saturday afternoon, where I consciously slowed myself down. The aim was miles in the legs, not to push myself when I was still ill. And it worked! It certainly didn’t make me feel any worse.

Run 3 – the long run was planned for Saturday morning then pushed off until Sunday in the hope I would be better by then. As we didn’t want to arrive at the hospital too early I would have a good few hours in the morning for a beautiful run. Obviously this didn’t go quite to plan, and life, or rather, death, got in the way. The morning was spent calling people and then we wanted to get to my grandpa’s hospital as soon as possible to tell him. I got some time to head out in the afternoon but it was after a big lunch with a glass of wine, my cold was atrocious and I just felt sick and heavy-legged the whole way so turned around after a few retches and walked / jogged home.


Not the greatest week of marathon training but I know it won’t have an effect in the long run. Some things are more important.

Cross-training started well with 20 minutes of yoga on Monday, a 20 minute swim on Tuesday, and a weights session on Wednesday, plus one and a half days of cycle committing… Then my cold and working late got in the way. The one time you will not want to cycle home from work is when you have been blowing your nose constantly all afternoon, have a splitting headache, it is after 7pm, pitch black and pouring with rain outside. As a result my poor bike spent the weekend in the  office! A total of 5 hours.


Best marathon training eat: after a morning at the hospital with my grandpa my dad wanted a really good lunch and so we treated ourselves to a wonderful meal at East Haugh House. I had potted rabbit and hare on sourdough bread to start, followed by a lamb shoulder with dauphonoise potatoes and spinach. It was delicious and just what we needed.


Something fun that was nothing to do with running: work, towards the beginning of the week, was really exciting. We are meant to be going to trial this week (although lots of things are currently up in the air as a result of new developments) and so the final week of preparation was very fast-moving and exciting.

Marathon training inspiration: more general than marathon training inspiration this week – of course, my wonderful grandma.

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