So six weeks of the official training down, 14 to go… How am I feeling? I flip from super excited, I CAN do this, I am absolutely going to OWN the North Downs Way in May, it is going to be AWESOME & fantastic & all the other positive adjectives…
…To other days, days like last Sunday when my legs stopped working at 16 miles, when my knee was sore & my IT Band tight & I’m thinking ‘what the fuck’ am I doing…? Today I’m having one of those days.
I wonder if I have taken on too much.
Am I really capable of running 50 miles?
Am I fit enough, disciplined enough, strong enough, injury-free enough.
Why am I doing this again?
Why am I?
Do I really want to do this? To loose my next 14 weekends to long-runs, recovery (stretching, foam rolling, salt baths, etc) & recovery runs.
My last two long runs have knocked me out. Last Sunday I got home about mid-day after 16 miles & was absolutely bloody useless for the rest of the day. Zero energy, legs hurt & knackered. What am I going to be like after a 20 miles run? Or a 30 mile run?
And my insomnia.
I don’t sleep (much). How can I run, & train for, 50 miles without sleeping properly? What if I have a bad sleep week the week before the race?
So, so many doubts running through my head at the moment. Not helped by a couple of niggles. Do I expect too much to be running the amount I do & not to have niggles? One in my foot that’s been there a couple of months, doesn’t hinder me, am just aware of a slight discomfort. My IT Band / Hip / Knee flared up at the weekend (now back under control) but I obviously have a weakness in that area that I need to be aware of. I don’t want to be worrying about injury during every run, worrying that I may not make the start line in May (side note, I do seem to be quite injury prone & have had a couple of long-term periods of not running due to injury so I think it is a justified concern).
I love running.
I’m often at my happiest at the moment when I’m off, music in my ears, rucksack on my back filled with water, snacks & the emergency map, exploring the North Downs or other local trails. I feel free, alive, strong, fit &, well, simply happy…
I work best with structure, with a plan & with a goal otherwise I just wander (run) aimlessly around. I like to challenge myself, to see what I can do, what I am capable of, that’s why I entered the NDW50.
I guess I just need to have confidence in myself.
Confidence that with 14 more weeks of training I will be capable of running 50 miles.
That’s three months.
I still have three months to prepare myself.
Let’s just call this a wobble week.
Although a wobble week that ended pretty well…
A Surprisingly speedy LSR in HR Zone 2
18 Miles, 2:36:44, 8:42 min/mile, 275ft Elevation gain (aka flat)
I had three unscheduled running rest days at the beginning of the week because my right IT Band, hip & knee were sore (scrap that, I could barely walk on Monday my knee was that bad…).
I abandoned Monday’s recovery run & dived into the pool instead & messaged Bea in a panic. She squeezed me in for an emergency sports massage that afternoon. I have to admit I was low. All I could see was another injury looming & all my hard work going to waste. I had a bad day on Monday.
For once in my life I was sensible, I skipped Monday’s run, I got a massage, I iced my knee & focused on rehab. I woke up Tuesday morning, walked down the stairs, no pain. I did my regular Tuesday morning S&C session, no pain. I gave myself another precautionary rest day, had my best swim since last summer (3,000 meters including drills & sprints) & headed out for an easy run Thursday morning, completely pain free & feeling good.
I was first lady at parkrun on Saturday (albeit a very slow first lady as I ran 24:29 in HR Z3) & then we came to long-run Sunday.
This was to be my first attempt at a long-run to heart rate rather than pace. Target zone 2, up to 150bpm. I deliberately chose a flat road route this week. I felt as if my legs needed a bit of a rest from hills & mud.
Road runs are never as inspiring as trails but I do quite like this route. I followed the Waterlink Way cycle route through SE London’s parks up to Greenwich, ran through the foot tunnel (stopping, ahem, for a quick running selfie…) & then along the northern Thames Path & up to Victoria.
I ran fast. Well, fast for a long run. I’d always tried to pace my solo long-runs at around 9:30 / 9:45 minute miles (working on the basis that your long run should be 60-90 seconds slower than your target marathon pace, which for a 3:45 finish is 8:30).
18 miles, average heart rate 145, average pace 8:45 min /mile. Interesting. I kind of feel that does put me on target for a sub-3:45 marathon finish, although I do have to remember, as hard as it is to let go, that is no longer my A goal. 50 miles is a my A.
That being said, I was super pleased with this time. A nice confidence boost after the start to my week!
Week Thirteen: 30 miles in total with 750 ft elevation gain.