A gloriously sunny 12 marathon paced miles
12 miles, 1:40:11, 8:20 min/mile, 46ft elevation gain (ha ha ha ha ha!)
And that was EXACTLY what I needed!
I almost deleted last weeks post. I don’t like negativity & was worried I was beginning to focus too much on it & that by doing so I was actually talking myself into a negative state of mind. After my knee flaring up & forcing an early end to last week’s long run I delayed my recovery run by 24 hours until Tuesday morning. I felt good setting off, deliberately keeping it slow & easy in heart rate zone two. Then my knee went four miles in, I cut the session short at five miles when the pain increased & walked home almost in tears. In my head it was all coming crashing down.
I usually try & keep social media fairly lively & upbeat but in the same vein I want it to be a reflection if real life, so I posted on Instagram how overwhelmed & low in confidence I was feeling about my running & training at the moment.
The number of people who sent me messages, offered positive words of encouragement, showed support & also admitted to feeling a similar way was incredible. On a bit of a low day, I really appreciated it & it helped me to refocus my thoughts & my mind.
Realising how completely exhausted I was, as well as sore, I decided to take two complete days off exercise. Wednesday & Thursday I did nothing. It felt very strange getting up in the morning & not working out. I had a leisurely breakfast, drank coffee, read a book… Luxury! Friday morning I did a gentle 30 minutes on the cross trainer & 60 minutes strength work. Nothing hurt, my body, having appreciated a little rest, was feeling stronger. I began to feel a little more positive.
Saturday morning, after checking the weekends weather forecast (sunny Saturday, heavy rain Sunday) I made a snap decision to forgo the scheduled 3 mile tempo run & bring my long-run forward a day.
A good decision.
So this is where we are now.
12 miles, a little faster than goal marathon pace, just within heart rate zone two & feeling good throughout! To be honest I actually struggled to keep my pace down. I was aiming for 8:30 min/miles but averaged at 8:20.
A sign as to where my confidence was at the start I choose a route that had a number of stopping points (aka train stations) along the way & ran the Waterlink Way from South Norwood Country Park up to Greenwich. Rather than crossing the river, as I usually do on this run, I turned left & headed along the southern Thames Path back towards Tower Bridge. I’ve only run this section once before (in the opposite direction) so it was good to run somewhere a little different.
And what a glorious day in London Town! Two miles in I stripped off down to my vest & ran the remaining ten in shorts, vest & sunglasses! I cannot tell you how good it felt to be running with the sun on my back again. Spring is on it’s way, woohoo!
A week away from the Thames Meander Marathon that was the confidence boost that I needed. I now need to be sensible this week. I’m not taking a full taper as this was never a goal race but I am going to ease off a little so that I can go into the race with fresh(ish) legs. I’ve postponed Sunday’s recovery run to Monday as I’ve learnt over the years that when my body is a little sore (risk of injury sore, not just running sore) running on consecutive days is not wise. I’ll do an easy club run on Wednesday & perhaps a very gentle leg shaker on Friday. And stretching. Lots of stretching…
I do need to prepare myself mentally to run a marathon though & to think about race strategy.
This was originally booked as a training race. And ok, it was booked on a bit of a (drunken) whim because the temptation to run a marathon actually on my birthday was too great… But, (knee soreness aside) with the way my training has been going I am wondering if I just go for it? My current marathon PB is 3:54. I know I can run faster than than. My original goal for Brighton in less than five weeks time (before this crazy 50 miler adventure kicked in…) was sub-3:45 & London GFA. I also know I am capable of that.
Do I just go for it next week, see what I can do? If I detonate I have four weeks until Brighton, nine weeks until NDW50, plenty of time to recover & refocus.
But, I could just do it…
Week Fifteen: 17 miles in total with 174 ft elevation gain (I find this elevation laughable!)