Archive for August, 2012

27
Aug
12

marathon training – weeks 8 to 11

And here is where the training schedule goes a little “off-piste”. The final weeks of my job passed without incident, despite veering wildly between feelings of relief and resentment, and my Summer Holiday loomed large on the horizon. With that in mind, I had to juggle around my schedule to fit around my holiday as, however romantic and idealistic a 32km run through the desert sounds, I am sure that if it didn’t actually kill me, it would destroy me enough to make the Berlin Marathon impossible to attempt.
So, by shifting a few runs, foregoing a few and cramming a couple of long runs closer together, I could, as near as dammit, stick to the schedule and still have a relaxing holiday.
Fuertaventura is lovely but can be troublesome for the “travelling runner”. The resorts are just that – resorts – and outside of those, there are just long sections of black tarmac snaking off into the desert or slicing through barren volcanic landscapes populated solely by scrubby patches of bush and the odd lizard. Added to that, the temperature is in the mid 20’s by 7am and touching 30 degrees by 9am. So if you want to run, you best be up early. I ended up knocking out runs of between 6 and 10km at around 7.30am. And I stuck to the roads around the resort, looping out towards the desert before turning back, running down the main street, along the coastal path to the harbour and then back to the apartment.
Back in the UK, some of the longer runs have been tough – the shorter ones were fine and I was coming in at least a few minutes under my goal times. However, 25km seems to be the point at which I begin to struggle as my 29k run and my 32k runs have both been a couple of minutes over. Not a big worry but I can literally feel myself slowing… at one point in the closing kms, I was a full minute slower than my average pace and yet I still felt like I was putting in as much effort as I could.
The closing kms in today’s 32k were agonising as I had to break it down into smaller chunks to mentally get through. “Just another 500m and then we’re 2k from the end…”. My longest training run is 32km and I have another one planned for 2 weeks time. My only concern is that, with 10k still to tackle on race day, I run out of strength between 30 and 40km. Still, if others have followed this regime and completed the Marathon, there is no reason why I shouldn’t do exactly the same. I’m hoping the sense of occasion on the day will pull me through the last 10. I guess I’ll find out for myself in 5 weeks time…

Soundtrack to this post: Joss Stone – Fell In Love With A Boy

02
Aug
12

marathon training – week 7

Well, the Olympics appear to have got successfully under way and I am little under halfway through my 16 weeks Marathon schedule and things are becoming tougher. I’ve never followed a “training” regime before – I’ve usually cobbled together something myself or just ran as much as I could and hoped for the best. This time, because of the distance involved and the potential of total failure, I have tried as much as humanly possible, to follow the schedule to the letter. Some of my times have been a bit quicker than intended but, long runs apart, I have usually been within seconds of my target times for the shorter runs. As I learn to pace myself, things are coming easier and I am more comfortable with the idea of running something slow and steady knowing that I will come in around the required time.
Sunday’s long run of 27km was a case in point – I had planned the route so knew (within about 500 metres or so) where I would finish. I tried to keep a steady pace, picking it up on the uphills and reigning it in on the downhills as much as possible. It was a good run made better by a bit of foresight as I knew the temperature would pick up later in the run so planned a return leg that was mostly in the shade.
It doesn’t seem to matter how far I run, the last couple of kms are always a struggle – probably the psychological effect of thinking that “I am nearly there” with 3k to go and not thinking that 3kms equates to roughly another 18mins of running. What I am finding however is that my recovery times are getting shorter. At the end of Sunday’s 27km, finished with 4 mins still in hand, I spent a few minutes under the shade of a tree cursing under my breath and drinking the dregs from my water bottle before walking home and having a normal family Sunday afternoon. If I think back to my first Half Marathon and the achey few days afterwards, it seem amazing that I can now run 27k and barely feel it later that day.
Another massive boost has come from watching the Olympics. So far, it has been enormously enjoyable and I was even lucky enough to get to Richmond Park to watch the Men’s Cycling Road Race come through – you really can’t appreciate exactly how fast they travel into you see them hurtling past just inches away. And still at that speed after 9 laps of Box Hill. Truly awe-inspiring.
Unfortunately, in the ensuing days, I seem to have picked up a sore throat / head cold that has taken the edge off of things. I completed this weeks intervals under duress and have delayed on the midweek 16k in the hope that I will feel a bit better before tackling it. The last thing I want to do at this stage is get ill and miss out on training but equally I don’t want to push myself if I can take some time to recuperate… Surely, even Bradley Wiggins has dilemmas like this. So, perhaps me and a Gold Medal Olympian have something in common after all…
Soundtrack to this post – Ben Harper – Ground On Down




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