Treat Yo Self

FullSizeRender 58London Marathon Training
Week 13, Day 2

Following some sage advice from one older and wiser than me I decided to take all the pressure off myself for this run, and to treat myself to just running without a care for time or pushing myself or any of that nonsense.

Basically, the objective was to just get out there, get the miles done and get back home. So I did.

In fact, I didn’t even stray that far from home, and that was a huge psychological victory in itself. I don’t like running near home because the temptation to cut the run short could be too great, but today I decided to see if I could.

Settling upon doing 10k, enough of a distance to get a workout without knackering myself, I started off as usual at the top of the Antrim Road with a strong wind blowing in my face, ran around the Park’n’Ride then down the Ballee Way towards the Wakehurst Playing Fields whereafter I just did lap upon lap of the football pitches.

Boring, unexciting, uninspiring but a decent exercise in battling my running demons. I didn’t really feel like going out, and I couldn’t really shake the lactic acid (or whatever it is) out of my legs although the longer I went on the more settled I felt which, I suppose, is a positive. I wanted to give up after each mile but I didn’t.

As I said at the outset, I wasn’t terribly worried about my time so I decided relatively early on to run the entire route at marathon pace and, encouragingly, I did. In fact, I was bang on the same pace I managed during the Hastings Half a week or so ago. If I can manage that in London I’ll be a very happy chappy indeed.

I was also, without trying, quicker than I was during the London Winter Run in February – and I pushed myself during that particular race.

Today’s run meant March equalled my most miles in a month, so another little run out tomorrow will see me set a new monthly record. Pace wise, March was also my quickest month ever, improving by nine seconds per mile on February … I have to be pleased about that.

If you’ve enjoyed following my progress so far could I be so bold as to ask you if you’d consider making a donation to my chosen London Marathon charity this year – Asthma UK? No amount is too small, and all donations are received with such heartfelt thanks. My fundraising page can be found here. Thank-you so much.

London Marathon Training (214 miles – 43 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 14.9 miles (4 runs; average 3.7 miles per run)
Week 6 – 18.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 7 – 20.3 miles (4 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)
Week 8 – 23.7 miles (4 runs; average 5.9 miles per run)
Week 9 – 18 miles (3 runs; average 6 miles per run)
Week 10 – 21.9 miles (3 runs; average 7.3 miles per run)
Week 11 – 24.6 miles (4 runs; average 6.2 miles per run)
Week 12 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 13 – 10.2 miles (2 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)

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Reset, recharged … and a PB!

FullSizeRender 57London Marathon Training
Week 13, Day 1

Let’s just forget about last week. I only managed one run, and totally lost it mentally after that.

I bottled my long Sunday run, it was a scheduled 17.5 miles but I wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it at all. I knew that even doing a shorter run wouldn’t be good enough for me, it was 17.5 or nothing. Not logical, I know, but since when did I ever heed logic?

But that’s behind me, nothing I can do about it now. Maybe a week off wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Onto this week, back to Monday night with the club. Possibly that’s what was missing last week, who knows?

I decided to go with the 45s this week, mainly because I’d done largely sod all since Friday so needed to claw back a little of what I missed.

It was tough. It was warm, which didn’t help, and perhaps my inactivity meant I was a little out of shape or practice. It was also fast, I think my fastest ever outing with the club.

However, that was good, really good. Why? Because I only went and set a new 5k PB in the process, taking nine seconds off my previous best time that had haunted and taunted me since November 2015.

Granted it wasn’t continuous, it never is given the nature of running alongside roads and having to cross etc. but I don’t care, I’m taking it.

I knew it was a possibility with 3km gone after each kilometre came in progressively faster than the one that had preceeded it.

It was also handy that the route took me around the industrial estate and the dual carriageway, a route I train on every week so I knew the lay of the land, what was coming, how to pace myself and so on.

With four km gone I knew it was a real possibility but I still had work to do, so after telling the group leader about it she encouraged me to sprint on ahead of the bunch.

I’ll admit now that if I was on my own I wouldn’t have done it, there was a general incline at this point on a section I usually take slowly, but knowing everyone was behind me I dug deep and dredged up every last ounce of energy I had.

Never have I been so glad to feel the buzz on my wrist as the distance thankfully ticked over to 5km. But I had done it. That last kilometre was amongst my fastest ever.

That left me drained for the remainder of the run so I dropped right to the back of the pack, but I wasn’t that worried. I had achieved my objective for the evening. I hadn’t set out with that in mind but once it became a real possibility I went for it.

So what to do for the rest of the week? Do I try to fit in my missed long run, or just do slightly longer runs than normal to make up the missing miles ahead of Sunday’s final longest run before tapering kicks in?

I guess I’ll just play it by ear. I could alter my schedule slightly, and do that 17.5 on Wednesday, for example, and then the 19 or 20 the following Wednesday. In the grand scheme of things a few days here and there won’t make much of a difference.

One thing’s for sure, it’ll not be anywhere near as fast as tonight!

If you’ve enjoyed following my progress so far could I be so bold as to ask you if you’d consider making a donation to my chosen London Marathon charity this year – Asthma UK? No amount is too small, and all donations are received with such heartfelt thanks. My fundraising page can be found here. Thank-you so much.

London Marathon Training (208 miles – 42 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 14.9 miles (4 runs; average 3.7 miles per run)
Week 6 – 18.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 7 – 20.3 miles (4 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)
Week 8 – 23.7 miles (4 runs; average 5.9 miles per run)
Week 9 – 18 miles (3 runs; average 6 miles per run)
Week 10 – 21.9 miles (3 runs; average 7.3 miles per run)
Week 11 – 24.6 miles (4 runs; average 6.2 miles per run)
Week 12 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 13 – 4 miles (1 run; average 4 miles per run)

Testing, testing … 1, 2, Hoka Clifton 3

FullSizeRender 56London Marathon Training
Week 12, Day 1

It seems so long since my last run. It’s only been four days, but it has felt much longer although it has been my longest break since Christmas week when I was struck down by the dreaded lurgy.

After the triumph of the weekend I decided to give myself a couple of days off, fully intending to get back at it on Wednesday night. But that didn’t happen, nor did it happen on Thursday.

One, I couldn’t be bothered, my confidence had gone, I felt there was no way I’d be able to reach the heights of Belfast and Hastings and my mood suggested that anything less would be a disappointment. Plus the weather was rubbish. Big wuss.

And, two, my left calf had suddenly and annoying decided to develop a slightly worrying niggle in it so, with it only being a month until the marathon, I didn’t really want to risk anything until it felt better.

Which brings us to tonight, Friday. A fantastic day weather wise, my leg felt better after a walk into town and back, so I didn’t really have any excuses.

Tonight’s run was my first in my new trainers, Hoka Clifton 3’s. I was sorely tempted to use them in my last two races but that wouldn’t have been sensible. I had walked in them every day to break them in, and they felt amazing, so I was content they’d be ok to run in tonight.

I was only planning 5k so what harm could it do? After the first km I wasn’t entirely convinced. Yes, they were soft and I got a good bounce and landing from them but my feet and ankles didn’t seem impressed.

I carried on regardless, putting it down to teething problems and their general new-ness.

My first km split was good, and my second was almost as fast. As ever, that troublesome third kilometre proved to be a bit of an issue (damn my legs!) but I gradually began to settle into them and, as the run progressed, they turned out to be everything I had hoped for. They were light and helped each step flow much better than before.

I felt really comfortable and strong in those final two kilometres and, crucially, confident in my shoes. I was getting an impressively positive response from them and, rather than tire, I actually began to get significantly quicker, eventually recording a new best time for 5k on my Garmin (an improvement of 18 seconds), albeit still frustratingly outside my PB. Some day, some day.

It was pleasing to get back out again. My calf felt fine once I got going and, rather than a loss of performance from the weekend, I actually maintained my form – plus there’s the added bonus of a hugely positive first outing with my new trainers.

If you’ve enjoyed following my progress so far could I be so bold as to ask you if you’d consider making a donation to my chosen London Marathon charity this year – Asthma UK? No amount is too small, and all donations are received with such heartfelt thanks. My fundraising page can be found here. Thank-you so much.

London Marathon Training (204 miles – 41 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 14.9 miles (4 runs; average 3.7 miles per run)
Week 6 – 18.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 7 – 20.3 miles (4 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)
Week 8 – 23.7 miles (4 runs; average 5.9 miles per run)
Week 9 – 18 miles (3 runs; average 6 miles per run)
Week 10 – 21.9 miles (3 runs; average 7.3 miles per run)
Week 11 – 24.6 miles (4 runs; average 6.2 miles per run)
Week 12 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)