Dublin marathon is creeping ever closer – only two more weeks until the taper now!
This week went much better than the last two, despite still having a pretty horrific work week which left me very stressed. As a result, cross-training took the back seat this week! But the runs were, in general, good.
I was filing a document at Court at the beginning of this week and so once it was done, around mid-afternoon on Tuesday, I decided I needed a little break and I headed to the treadmill with my kindle in hand. As we get into the big mile weeks my interval runs are turning slightly more like tempo efforts – a bit longer, and a bit slower than the fast intervals a few weeks ago. So I had to run two 15 minute efforts at about a min/mile faster than marathon pace. They felt hard (it’s always harder to run longer intervals on a treadmill, the boredom factor makes tiredness kick in much earlier!) but very much do-able and my book was really interesting so I enjoyed the run!
Run 2 – the “rest week” run
It’s not really a rest week as I still had to run 18 miles. But because of that, my mid-week runs were easier. Instead of a tempo run, I just had to run 6 miles at 10 min / mile pace – which for me these days usually feels relatively easy. It’s amazing – my first run of this marathon cycle I could barely hit that and it felt awful!
Something went wrong with this run. I had been really looking forward to it. An easy 6 miles, no stress, time outdoors, listening to a podcast, great. But it really went wrong. I think it was mental – I had worked really late the night before and was just generally feeling quite stressed and overwhelmed by everything. So although I got up and headed out on my run, it just all felt so rubbish. Weirdly, I wasn’t running slowly. I was still running faster than 10 min / mile, and tried actively slowing down but that didn’t work either. I managed to run past three tube stations but gave up on the fourth. Instead of 6 miles, I ran 3.6 miles.
I then got back on the treadmill at lunch time after a much calmer morning to finish off the final 2.4 – and that all felt great! Different mindset, slightly more awake … much better.
Run 3 – the long run
I decided to do my long run outside of London this week, on the trails along the North Downs Way. There were some seriously steep hills which I ended up walking – just the steepest bits of them – but I ran 19 miles all in all. My overall pace was slow but I still had enough in me to run some relatively fast last few miles once I got down to the road! Running in one direction along a trail is quite different from my usual out-and-backs through London. I like the out-and-backs because when it’s toughest, you know how the run is finishing and exactly how far you have less to go, you can concentrate on counting down milestones. On the point-to-point run on trails I realised that the time goes by much faster, but the miles go by slower. I ran for 3 and a half hours and just generally had a lovely day out – whereas the last few miles of a road run always feel like a bit of a slog even if you’ve been running less than 3 hours!
In terms of marathon training – I know my run was quite different than what I had on the plan and quite different from how Dublin marathon will be. But on the other hand, I power-walked up those hills so my thighs and chest were burning, and I ran all the downhills – so that has to be good training. And I took comfort in the fact that although by the end I wanted to stop, I had no pain in my legs whatsoever.
When I did stop, I popped into a cafe for a panini and stood still for about 5 minutes. I then tried to run down to the train station but my legs just said NO!!! And today I am very stiff and sore. Never mind – still a fantastic run and a great day out.
A bit of yoga here and there and a few conditioning exercises. A couple of days of cycling to and from work. It’s been so long since I swam I’ve probably forgotten how to do it. But still a total of 8 hours training.
Something fun that’s nothing to do with running
On Friday night I had 4 of my best friends from school round for dinner. I’ve been friends with one of them since I was 10 – almost 18 years, and the others since I was 13 so it was so lovely to catch up and reminisce. One of the girls, Issy, is actually going to move in with me while James is away in the US and I can’t wait.
Then on Sunday evening, I went with two of my friends from university to go and see the new Bridget Jones film. It was SO good! It starts with the “All by myself” song and immediately I felt like I was back at school, watching Bridget Jones and imagining finding my own Mark Darcy one day! I loved the film.