Ultra marathon training – when you have no time

I worked over 60 hours in 5 days last week and as I was in Court for most of the week I had no access to a gym, no nice easy run commute that combines two things I have to do into one. It was so hard to fit my training in – I started with good intentions but as I got more and more tired (and more stressed) those intentions faded away. Luckily, I had the perfect weekend lined up ready to recharge and start all over again! I still managed 7 and a half hours of training due to a pretty solid weekend of running.

Running

Run 1: I was off to Court on Tuesday and so had no time in the morning as I had to get to work early. Without a coach, there’s no way I would have gone running. Instead, mindful of the fact I would have to give my coach an excuse, I woke up at 6am (after getting home from work after 10pm the night before) and managed to get at least most of my run in – 8 x 2 minutes as fast as possible (instead of 10 x 2 minutes, halving the warm-up time and with cool down). And then it was off to Court for the day! This was the start of my good intentions… It was downhill from here onwards!

Run 2: I missed Wednesday’s run as I was exhausted after a busy and stressful day on Tuesday. So despite working until 11pm on Wednesday night, I knew I had to get up and at least try something. My six mile run turned into a four mile run, I didn’t hit the paces I was aiming for in my tempo sections, but I wasn’t far off, and at least I was out there, running. I did spent most of it stressing about whether I would get home in time and how quickly I could shower and dry my hair and get ready… but never mind.

Run 3: was meant to happen on Friday but my boiler broke so I had to wait in and speak to the boiler man…. So instead I missed a run entirely, and run 3 became Saturday’s easy run. And it was brilliant – 10 easy miles with my mum, chatting all the way, along the Thames path in the sunshine. It was the perfect run and the perfect detox from a stressful week – no focus on pace, no focus on anything other than enjoying myself.

Run 4: the hard run.  The long run. The fast run. Only a little longer than Saturday’s, to be fair, but I had to run for 90 mins, with 45 minutes at lactate threshold (aim: 8.40mm) and 15 minutes at the end pushing really hard (aim 8.25mm). 10.36 miles in total, with the 45 mins at 8.32mm and the last 15 at 8.06. I do actually enjoy pushing myself hard on my long runs. This is news to me as I’ve never tried it before, but it has happened as I my phone keeps running out of battery, forcing me to focus just on my pace and my breathing! So today I purposefully turned my podcast off (sorry Marathon Talk!) and powered through the last 15 minutes, finding it tough but still enjoying the effort.

Cross-training

None mid-week whatsoever due to having absolutely no time – if I wasn’t working, commuting or eating, I was sleeping! But on Friday I left work at 6pm to dash to a “yoga and dahl” night put on by Brixton Yoga. 90 minutes of yoga was fantastic, focusing entirely on my breathing and my body rather than stressing about all the things I had to do. Every time I go to yoga I think about how I would like to do it more often! 

I also went to the gym in Brixton on Sunday evening. I usually go at work and this gym had different machines so I spent a good ten minutes wandering around looking completely lost wondering how on earth the weights machines worked. In the end I just grabbed some dumbbells and spent the time on the mats. Not as much weight training as I would have liked this week but better than nothing!

Something fun that’s nothing to do with running

My mum came up to London this weekend for her Christmas present and we had a lovely day on Saturday, starting with the run. After we were showered we made our way into central London for lunch at Kricket, an Indian restaurant that started in a shipping container on Brixton but has now opened a restaurant in Soho. The food was amazing, from a fantastic lamb haleem to garlicky crab and a baked sweet potato – so simple and yet so delicious.


After some time shopping we walked over to Clerkenwell for dinner at Breddos tacos. Mexican food is starting to take off in London and I’d been wanting to try one of the new taquerías for ages. We had a selection of tacos, many of which were slightly too spicy for us (the “salsa of the day” was very hot!) but otherwise they were delicious. Particularly a tuna toastada! 

And then finally it was off to the theatre to see Matthew Bourne’s ballet, The Red Shoes. I love Matthew Bourne, his choreography is amazing, making ballet funny and devastating and shocking and beautiful all in one show. The dancers were so graceful, the music wonderful – a brilliant evening.

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