Marathon training week 16 – cut back week with skiing 

Last week I spent three days skiing and one day travelling. Combining that with marathon training, I had two choices. One was to push all of my usual workouts between Monday and Thursday morning, trying to squish in three runs, strength training, yoga, swimming and cycling. The other was to accept that (1) skiing is exercise and (2) this was meant to be a rest and cut back week, and not try to exhaust myself.

Obviously, I chose the latter, deciding to go for only two runs, to fully enjoy skiing, and hopefully not be TOO exhausted for this week’s 20-miler.

Run 1: the tempo run – my first EVER club run! How exciting. I have been thinking for a while about joining a triathlon club mainly to give me increased motivation for swimming. Clapham Chasers encourage you to come along to their Monday night run as an initial chance to try out the club and so I left work early (before dark!!!!!) on Monday morning and made my way down to Tooting. They have a pacer group and a novice group. Even the slowest of the pacer group was slightly faster than I wanted to run so I went for the novice group and it was a good thing I did as I was running pretty slowly did most of the first part of the run with pain in my lower leg, I think due to too much dancing in heels the previous weekend! Luckily that wore off after about half an hour and I started to pick up the pace. Combined with running to and from the tube stations at either end I ran 12.2km at a slow average pace of 6.15/km according to my watch – but it did take ages to pick up signal so I think that made my average pace slower!

Run 2 – the long run? With a question mark as it wasn’t exactly long, but nor could it be called a tempo run by any means! With legs like lead I plodded slowly along, having to stop every now and again to field off calls from estate agents as I am now trying to  move home. I ran 12.3km at a slow average pace of 6.19/km, but this time with absolutely no excuse from my garmin! Oh well.

Cross-training: ALL the cross-training. Well, some of it. One of my usual strength sessions, one day of cycling into work and a new-to-me gym class – stretch, as I couldn’t make it to my usual yoga classes. It started off with a warm-up that looked a bit like zumba and really brought home to me just how uncoordinated I am. Then the teacher told us “not to be competitive” to which I almost laughed as I can’t understand competitive stretching in the slightest!!! Then it was a series of  stretching holds from yoga, held for much longer and without a flow in between. I felt it did my muscles good. Then of course, skiing!

Oh it was so good. The weather was beautiful, the slopes were quiet, and I really started to get my confidence back after only limited skiing in the last five years or so. Including skiing, I trained for a total of 10 hours 15 minutes (it is INCREDIBLE how little actual on the move skiing you do in a couple hours on the slopes!).

Marathon training eat: it has to be the food we ate on the Alps. For our first lunch we stopped at a restaurant famous for its tartiflette (basically potato dauphonoise but made with reblochon cheese, bacon lardons and onions). We ordered an entire dish to share which came with a salad and a plate of charcuterie. Oh, and a bottle of rosé. It was perfect.

Another perfect eat was in fact a drink and a meal in itself – this incredible hot chocolate.

Something fun that was nothing to do with running: clearly, three brilliant days of skiing with my mum, sister and cousin. Sun shining, slopes sparkling, delicious wine, too much food and fantastic company. Hard to beat that!

Marathon training inspiration: I’ve just discovered a new podcast from the Athlete on Fire series called Ultra Dirt. The two girls who run the podcast are great, they come across as really nice and just good fun. What I liked best was their attitude to running, which is something I am a big fan of and always like to keep in mind – don’t stress too much about running, don’t worry about it. Running is what we do for fun. Running is play. Have fun with it.



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