A timely reminder

fullsizerender-8London Marathon Training
Week 4, Day 3

I’m not fast. I’ll never be fast. The P&O ferry turns quicker than me. I trundle along at my own pace only too aware that I’ll always be near the back of the pack in any race I enter. That’s fair enough. I’m in my mid-40s, overweight, with dodgy feet and legs and on half-a-dozen pills per day for life for various chronic ailments.

Why am I saying all this? It’s to remind me that, despite all of the above, I get out there and I do it. To send a reminder to myself that there are those who would absolutely love to be able to run. To stop being selfish, to stop feeling sorry for myself, to appreciate what I can do.

There are days when I’m frozen rigid with fear and worry that I can’t run, that I’ll forget how to run, that my previous runs were little more than flukes and that, sooner or later, I’ll be found out.

Today was one of those days. Despite having a good week last week – my best for a long time – my confidence had totally evaporated, mainly because I had convinced myself that there was no way I could possibly repeat those efforts.

How wrong I was.

Exactly a week ago, I recorded my best 5k time since November 2015. So what did I do today? I only went and smashed another 73 seconds off that time! Today was my fourth stand alone 5k in 17 days and, in that time, I have gone progressively quicker with each run, translating into a difference of 3 minutes 28 seconds between that first one and today.

Maybe I need all the nerves and apprehension before a run to feed off when I’m out. It’s a horrible feeling beforehand but perhaps I’m able to channel it somehow into energy or determination.

For today’s run I set off knowing I was going far quicker than I normally would but it felt ok. I almost set a new PB for a mile although I didn’t realise it at the time. It was only after coming home and checking my stats that I saw how close I was. I made an effort to slow things down a bit after that but it didn’t really work, not that I’m complaining. Indeed, looking at my km time splits my third was actually quicker than the second, whilst four and five were also well within my target range.

But I’ll need to slow it down tomorrow, I’ve got nine miles to do, surely there’s no way I’ll be able to keep that pace up. Although, hopefully, my renewed confidence from today’s run, will stay with me until I set off in the morning. I’ll just need to figure out a strategy and try to stick to it for the first few miles at least and then see how I feel.

Watch this space.

London Marathon Training (49 miles – 13 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 9.8 miles (3 runs; average 3.26 miles per run)

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Punishing

fullsizerender-7London Marathon Training
Week 4, Day 2

fullsizerender-6Back to those blasted hills tonight. My training plan demanded that I go out for an hour so I knew it wasn’t going to be pleasant – and it most certainly wasn’t.

I’ve had a bit of a so-so day, either spending it in bed feeling sorry for myself or staring at the wall, so I wasn’t up for a run at all. However, if I didn’t do it today then it’d mess with my schedule so there really wasn’t anything else for it but to do it and get it out of the way.

I decided to ‘treat’ myself with a little downhill section first so I walked up to the top of the Antrim Road to start and ran down to the bottom of the Toome Road before turning left to tackle that beast of a climb.

It went ok and when I got back to the bottom instead of doing as I did last week and go back up the Antrim Road I turned left again and proceeded towards the town centre straight for Princes Street for my second hill of the evening.

I found this a bit tougher because I’d already expended a fair bit of energy getting there but I was happy enough with my efforts, if not my time. But time wasn’t the point of tonight, it was all about building up strength. It has worked so far so I’m hoping that’ll continue into my long run this weekend.

Having gone over the top of Princes Street I then looped back along the Cullybackey Road into town towards home and my third climb of the night, the Antrim Road. It’s always the longest, approx. 500m, and the way it stretches out in front of you takes a bit of mental strength to face it.

Tonight’s run was, hopefully, more beneficial than my overall pace suggested – 30 seconds per mile down on last Thursday, and my second slowest this month.

But, importantly, I reminded myself, once more, that I can get out there when every instinct is pleading with me not to. I also added in that extra hill, something I haven’t done before.

London Marathon Training (45.9 miles – 12 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 6.7 miles (2 runs; average 3.35 miles per run)

Back in the club

London Marathon Training
Week 4, Day 1

fullsizerender-5Tonight was my first night back at the club this year. I’d missed the last couple of sessions through illness so it was good to get back, albeit with some trepidation.

How would my legs cope after yesterday? What group will I go out with? Will I be like a fish out of water?

But it was all good. It was nice to see some familiar faces and chat with a few people, it turns out I wasn’t the only one to have missed a couple of nights.

I decided to go with the 30 minute group, just to be on the safe side. I wasn’t sure what I had left in my legs and didn’t want to be found wanting if I’d gone with the 45s.

As it turned out, I coped admirably. We were taken up Princes Street which is a short, sharp absolute beast of a climb – probably the steepest road in the town centre. Before Christmas I had struggled up it but tonight, whilst it took a bit of work, I swept up it pretty comfortably which hopefully shows my now weekly hill sessions are paying off.

The rest of the run was, I think, the fastest 30-minute session I’d experienced since joining the club but it was still ok and well within my comfort zone.

There  was an interesting little announcement at the end. The club are looking to put together a number of teams of all abilities to compete in the Belfast Marathon relay. It falls eight days after London so I’m not entirely sure – maybe one of the shorter legs would do for me – but it is extremely tempting and it’ll be good to represent the club in a proper event too. Something to think about.

London Marathon Training (41.4 miles – 11 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 2.2 miles (1 run; average 2.2 miles per run)