Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Marathon Training – Week 7

on 14 February 2016

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Those of you with an aptitude for numbers will notice that Week 6 is missing from my marathon training journey, the reason for this being that I didn’t really do any marathon training in week 6 as I was completely and utterly struck down with plague. Normally when I get a headcold I soldier on anyway and just carry my own bodyweight about in tissues, but this one really did a number on me and I spent last weekend not able to do very much of anything at all!

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This week has been about getting back on track again as I’ve been shaking off the cold and finding my trainers again. I went out on Monday with J and her step-son G who was going for his first trip into trainer land, a one-way ticket to a new addiction! We did just over a mile along the river and back, and G did excellently – a full half mile straight off the bat without a walk break (he wasn’t spared a talk break – I like to yak when I’m running with people!). I have been reliably informed he has already been for his second run! (Possibly in slightly less loose trousers…least said and all that!) I shall be watching to see when he starts overtaking me as I suspect there’s quite a nippy runner hiding in there!

I was intending on going out and doing another few miles after bidding J & G farewell, but the sun was setting and the wind along the waterfront was getting rather cold, so in the interests of not going completely back to square one with my cold, I wimped out and went home 🙂 I did go for a run on Wednesday, heading out over Consett way for a tidy 6 miles. Pretty happy with my pace of 10:27 total, especially with a 300ft elevation at one point coming up the bank. I was feeling a bit more like myself for this one: It was a dark, clear night with a bright yellow crescent moon and I could just breathe deep and head out. I was toying with going for 8 miles but decided not to push it too much too fast and just feel pleased about how comfortable the 10k distance is for me now. Not a pb time, but with the hill and not pushing myself hugely, probably not a million miles off! That <1hr 10k time is getting closer 🙂

I bought a new headtorch recently, one the same as one of the Bounders uses which is something akin to a mobile sun. It comes with rechargeable mega-batteries, and when I bought it I’d ordered a couple of extras wanting backups for Kielder. It’s a good thing I have – it was used for 1hr-ish at Gibside Night Run (which I had to miss with my chest – absolutely gutted – P & I filled our face with pizza while N ran it for the first time) and then for a further hour for this local run without a recharge in the middle, and it was getting decidedly dim at the end – fine for being seen, not so great for seeing, so I’m definitely going to need all 3 sets of batteries for Kielder as I’m expecting to come in around the 5.5-6 hour mark and would dearly love to be able to see where I’m going to the end!

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Thursday night I did a 1hr home workout; my core strength short session, extra leg work, and three circuits of weights. I’m feeling stronger every time I do this, particularly on the core section, but it’s still at a level where I feel like I’m working rather than just going through the motions so I think I’ve got it pegged about right so far. Another few weeks and hopefully I’ll be looking at increasing the intensity of one or two of the sets 🙂

I had Friday off as we were driving to P’s parents’ for the weekend, which meant my long run on Saturday was somewhere I don’t have any routes planned, and I know that most of the pavements only go between villages and then disappear when you get onto the roads proper. Not really knowing anything except the roads, having only really driven the roads rather than walking out cross-country for any distance, I was somewhat constrained in where I could go. I headed out down to one village, figuring I’d go until I ran out of footpath, then take the other road for the same, and then head back past the house and out the other way to make up as much mileage as I needed to in order to hit the distance I wanted.

It was cool but sunny when I left, a nice spring-esque day for a long run, and to add to the novelty I actually saw a guy in a tweed hat on a penny farthing at one point…and as I was only on about mile 4 I definitely wasn’t tired enough to be hallucinating quite yet! My legs were feeling heavy even from the word go, and I had resigned myself to plodding along slowly the entire way – but when I checked my watch a couple of times, I was actually pretty steady in the first half at 10:15-20ish mins/mile which for me on a distance run is actually pretty good, so I parked up my ‘heavy thighs’ as a mental thing for now (the mirror may disagree! All that chocolate has to go somewhere!) and headed along anyway. I did about 8 miles in my first loop and headed on past the house hoping to turn around at about 12.5 miles and come in at 17 total. 15.5 miles remains my current max., and it’s not far enough.

Nature, unfortunately, intervened – in two ways. I don’t know to what degree this is going to be TMI (probably quite a large degree), but my last few runs over the sort of 12 mile distance have resulted in a degree of…jolted about intestinal discomfort shall we say? It’s really demoralising knowing that your legs can keep going and something you have limited control over is holding you back and dropping you to a walk. My first attempt at the half marathon distance before Liverpool was ruined the same way and I ended up walking home in the cold until P came to find me with a jumper. This time, it was about mile 11; walking far before I have for any other run for the rest of the year, the sun having gone away and the wind getting very chilly (that was nature mk2), and it was very difficult to maintain the mental willpower to continue even run-walking.

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Learning from my run down to the riverside in the freezing wind with J a fortnight ago, I had shoved my waterproof jacket in the front strings of my water pack – so was comfortable in both the wind and with a slower pace – I will be doing this again until the summer! Definitely sensible. I’d also tried making my own flapjack and taking that with me – crammed with nuts and fruit incase it was the sugary processed snacks I’d been eating for energy on some of the other runs. These really worked from an energy point of view, and I’ll be making these again too, but they didn’t help with Nature Mk1.

Next weekend, the Bounders Anniversary Run is going along the Derwent Walk back to Blackhill – a total of 11 miles, and the start line is 9 miles from my house, so I want to run down and use the support of the club to get me to that 20 mile marker I just cannot seem to hit on my own. I’ve checked with the Trail Outlaws; there are loos around Kielder for the run (and a lot of woodland but hopefully we won’t have to go quite that au naturale!), and I was hoping to be able to pop in to one at the runners’ start point next weekend – except there isn’t one…which leaves me with trying something I was hoping not to have to; Imodium. The runner’s secret weapon against Nature Mk1 (that’s sticking btw).

Don’t say I never share things with you. Sharing isn’t always caring!

I did get 14 miles in on Saturday, and I’ve shown myself I can do run-walk sections – normally I run until I can’t go any further in one go and then come to a wimpering stagger with ball-and-socket landed-sailor knees and no hope of moving at more than a hobble for some time. I actually felt pretty ok – the half marathon distance is not quite the daunting prospect it used to be and is becoming a still challenging but manageable distance, which I take quite a bit of comfort from. I used to have to build myself up to go out for 10k, and then 10 miles whereas now they’re both ‘normal’ distances and I’m feeling stronger at both every time I do them.

I’m really counting on my club to get me up to distance next week. I know the route they’re taking, and the 11 miles with them is slightly uphill the whole way. Still, if I can’t do it with them, I’m going to need robotic legs to do it without them! Fingers crossed next week’s update is another major milestone crossed, and Nature Mk1 sorted! 6 weeks yesterday to race day. We’re only panicking a little teensy weensy bit…especially having read a bit about the elevation profile when looking for toilet stop info on the race page…doesn’t look like any of it’s flat :”’-(

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