London Marathon Training
Week 1, Day 4
I think, as a general rule of thumb, I should simply stop listening to myself. I don’t know what I’m talking about at the best of times but throw in the physical and mental rigours of a run and all semblance of logic, sense and rationale goes out the window.
Such was today’s run. A scheduled five miles, it marked the end of my first formal week of training for London and the first time I’d gone the distance in four weeks.
Unable to sleep I decided that rather than leave the run until later in the day that it’d be best to get it out of the way as early as possible. Usually when I know I’ve got a run that I’m not really in the mood for I let it hang over me all morning and afternoon before eventually hauling my backside out the door having done next to nothing because of it and therefore wasting a day.
Not this time. So, at 6am, I fed the cat, got my gear on and set off in the pitch dark. I didn’t particularly feel like it but the lure of empty roads and people free footpaths sweetened the pill enough to tip the balance in favour of going now rather than leaving it.
I didn’t really enjoy it. I think my legs were still sleeping because they objected massively to being dragged along the streets of Ballymena at this ridiculous hour. My left calf felt tight, my feet seemed to be striking the path at an angle (although that might have had something to do with the angle of the pavement), my breathing was a little laboured and everything generally didn’t feel right.
Was it the prospect of the distance ahead of me? Possibly. I know it’s not *that* far considering what awaits me in the coming weeks and months and I know that once I complete it then it’ll not seem that daunting. Happens every single time. And every single time I forget. I’ll go through the same next Sunday when I’m planning 10k. Some of these weeks I’ll remember.
I said at the outset I should stop listening to myself. I had convinced myself I’d lost the mental battle with today’s run very early on and, taking advantage of the deserted streets, had gone through spells cursing and admonishing myself out loud. I was certain I was slower than the last 5-miler in December, continually beat myself up over it and took far too many short walking breaks as a result. I mean, what was the point, I’d messed this run up.
Then, going into the last couple of kilometres I suddenly remembered what my pace was last time out – I was sure it was something else – and, looking at my watch, discovered I was actually on target to beat it, and not just beat it, but to fall within my preferred pace parameters, admittedly at the slower end but still within them.
That gave me quite a boost. Maybe I could salvage from this run after all. I blasted my way through that last mile or so and ended up recording my best 5 mile time for over a year, shaving some 45 seconds off my time in December – and I remember being pleased after that particular run.
As I write this, I’m still not all that pleased with how it went today but what it does tell me is that even when I’m not happy I seem to be making slow but steady progress.
Next week’s plan calls for more of the same, albeit slightly longer on my feet as you would expect. The club runs commence again on Monday night, then they’re launching their main C25K programme for the year on Tuesday so I’ll possibly go along to that to help out or encourage others, followed by 5k on Wednesday, 6 on Friday and then 10 next Sunday.
London Marathon Training
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs)