Well that’s it – training over. Now two weeks of tapering and resting before the big run, the North Downs Way 50. I always figured this last week would be hard – back at work after 2 weeks off, jetlag, plus intense training…but in the end it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I expected! 10 and a half hours of training all together.
Run 1: a little jaunt out along the canals on a sunny lunch time. I had forgotten my watch and my phone kept freezing on me, so I had no idea of my pace and only a vague idea of my time. Tracing my route back afterwards, I ran almost 8 miles in about 70 minutes. The way out was slow and sore as my tired legs readjusted to running, but I picked up the pace on the way back and ended up quite enjoying myself.
Run 2: 10 miles pre-work with 6 tempo miles. This didn’t really work – I tried to eat before leaving but my body thought it was the middle of the night (hello jetlag) and was just very confused as to what I was doing and why on earth I wasn’t asleep. So I felt sick all the way through the run, ran out of time to run the full 10 miles, and finished off with just over 8 miles.
Run 3: Treadmill hills! I hated and enjoyed this in equal measure. Treadmill interval sprints are hard from the beginning – you can feel you are running faster and immediately know if you can sustain it or not. Treadmill interval hills are an entirely different kettle of fish. They all start off feeling okay and then gradually become impossible!
Run 4: the loooooong run. 28.3 miles, the longest I’ve ever run in one go. I’ll post a whole blog about the run but actually, it went really well. The first 10 miles or so felt pretty difficult and went by really slowly – I was mentally worried about what I was going to be putting myself through, and also I kept thinking about my pace. Eventually I stopped myself doing that, I thought “hang on a minute, what am I doing, the reason I wanted to do an ultra marathon was so I could spend days outside enjoying the countryside” and that quick change in mindset made all the difference! From then on I didn’t worry when I was walking up hills but instead looked around me, ate a pack of crisps, enjoyed the view and the being outdoors.
I began to hurt running uphill after about 20 miles, even up the slightest little inclines (I had been walking up all the big hills from the start). However, right to the end I could run absolutely fine on flats / downhills and was running faster than 9.30mm on the flats even in the last few miles, with no pain whatsoever! I even had to do a sprint finish when I reached Maidstone – I stopped to see if I had time to buy some food from a shop and then realised I had 2 minutes to make a train back to London… Cue a sprint to the station, up the stairs, over the bridge and down the platform!
Run 5: as if that wasn’t enough, I had to go out and run 10 miles the next day (Sunday). This run was rubbish. Not that it was painful, it really wasn’t as sore as I had expected, but my legs were heavy and my mind just wasn’t in it. It was a grey day, I was running around south London, and I was just bored of running. I didn’t want to be running. As I was going slowly it seemed to take forever to cover 10 miles. But I did it, and it was fine… so I am now feeling relatively (!!) confident about two weeks time…..
What even is that? A few strength sessions, and lots of rest. Can you count 11 hours in bed as cross-training?!
Something fun that was nothing to do with running
With a bank holiday today, I had a lovely Sunday afternoon after my run. I went down to Dulwich and spent the afternoon and evening in the pub, having a long lunch with friends and then lots and lots of wine as we chatted for hours. It was just lovely.