Monday, 19 March 2012

Marathon training: my big mile weeks

My training for the Brighton Marathon is just about to reach it's peak...last week I ran 45 miles, and this coming week I have 50 miles on the schedule - that's more miles that I've ever covered in a week, and to be honest I'm not entirely looking forward to it!  But I am very pleased with how my long runs have been going over the last month, and I know when I've finished my 50 miles by this time next week, I'll be proud of the achievement.

Anyway, as for last week...I enjoyed my midweek training, with a day at the gym, a day with a double run, and some decent miles, and then on Saturday I headed out to run the 22 miles for my long run that my training plan called for.  I really felt I needed a bit of a change of scenery to my regular runs though, and so drove the half an hour to Waltham Abbey to pick up our closest canal, the Lee Valley Navigational.

I felt like I was cheating a bit running along the canal as it's so incredibly flat (and all my usual routes have hills) but to be honest I felt like I needed an easier route.  It's a lovely run too...there are a number of nature reserves along the canal and the countryside around those areas is pretty, with loads of ducks, swans and geese to keep my company too ;)  Must admit though that when the swans and geese are on the path I have to really steel myself to run past them as I'm terrified they're going to attack me...but of course, they never do!

As we're getting so close to the big Spring marathons, there are an incredible number of runners out at the moment - never see them the rest of the year, but this month they're everywhere ;) It was the same along the canal...hundreds of them!  However (and this is where I start to moan) only about 40% of my fellow runners acknowledged me! I tried to say hi (or nod, or wave or something) to every single runner I passed, and was astonished at the number of people who quite clearly ignored me.  It's not that they were too tired or pushing on a sprint run...they were just ignoring me.  I don't understand it, and it really does spoil things - it's so much nicer when someone returns my grimace ;)

I feel I need to share the excellent vlog from Julia Buckley that she posted a few weeks ago


Anyway, my apparent invisibility aside, I got my 22 miles done at an average of 8:59min/miles with a negative split and an "as fast as I can go on dead legs" final mile too which I was really pleased with.  I remembered how I felt when I last ran a 20+ mile along the canal (in the final stages of my training for the marathon last September) and it's great to realise how much better I felt this time! What a difference six months makes ;)  We went bowling on Saturday night too and I still felt pretty good so it's all a real confidence boost for the marathon.
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Yesterday, I got up at 6am for the Grand Prix (well done Jenson!) and by 8.30am the weather was amazing - bright, warm sunshine and perfect blue skies.  I thought I was still feeling pretty good, so I went out for a 6 mile recovery run before we took my mum out for lunch.  It was very hard, much more difficult than I expected and my legs were so heavy - although it did get easier after the first few miles.  I'm pleased I finished the distance I planned on though: if I'm going to start running all these ultras I definitely need to start getting used to running when my legs hurt!

This morning I'm still really achy but it's a rest day so after sitting down all day at work, I think I'm going to go home and sit on the sofa! 

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