So that’s it. All the training runs are finished although I did sneak a quick 40k bike ride in before the 12.5 miler this morning which wasn’t in the plan (but then neither was the Parkrun or Body Pump class I did yesterday!
I will probably only do 1 short, steady run during the coming week, a couple of easier swims and maybe a gentle bike ride to keep my legs ticking over. I need to be fully rested and recovered and considering there hasn’t been much in the way of a taper period, I must ensure I don’t overdo it this week.
Bring it on! :-)
I have been logging every run and despite over 3 weeks off during my ski trip, I am still only down 10% distance-wise overall and yet my average pace is quite a bit quicker than planned! I have run 688 miles so far :-)
So, all of the long runs are now done and I think that this year I have completed more runs of 20 miles or more than ever before. The difference is that they have all been at a slow, steady pace which in some ways feels odd because on the day I need to know I can run much faster for the entire distance. However I have generally been running on tired legs for the long runs (usually having done Spinning and/or Body Pump the day before) and extrapolating time and pace would have brought me in with a sub 3hr10m marathon without any undue effort every time. I know I have some decent pace and this was evidence by my Essex 20 race almost 1 month ago.
A Parkrun today, an easy 12-15 miles tomorrow and then some easy miles during the week should do nicely (with a few easy bike rides thrown in for good measure!). I must force myself to take it easy with everything else too so that I am fresh for the big day!
My running plan has kindly reminded me of the following:
The weather looks lovely too…
However it seems to have forgotten that I did my longest run last week and given the poor weather (and my lingering cold), I may amend the mileage and pace slightly!
This is a graphical analysis of all of my runs since training started in October!
All being well (and assuming the cold does not get any worse), I have one more long run of circa 20 miles, one more run of circa 15 miles and then some shorter/faster sessions in between. On 15th March I ran the Essex 20 Road Race and completed it in just under 2 hours 13 minutes. Despite still running on relatively tired legs, my average pace would have equated to a sub 2hr55 marathon time and it certainly felt like I had plenty left in the tank for the extra 6.2 miles.
This gave me real confidence and to some extent, there is no need for me to go too mad over the next couple of weeks. I know I can do the distance, I seem to have the pace so it’s basically a case of keeping healthy, keeping injury free and hoping it all goes well on the day.
I just have to get rid of my cold…
Where has the time gone?! It seems like no time at all that I was away skiing and yet it is now only 3 weeks to the big day…
Generally things have gone very well. I was starting to get concerned that my legs just were not adapting to the long miles as they were remaining quite stiff and sore after every long run. However the last couple of long runs have gone very well (including a 20 mile race run at race pace) and my legs were fine following a 24 mile run last week.
There has been a slight blip along the way in that towards the end of February I did a long run on a Saturday followed by a very muddy, hilly cross country race the next day. Cross country racing is not my area of expertise and with tired legs and the amount of mud, I managed to tweak a muscle in my right buttock which led to some issues for a couple of weeks. It’s still not completely right but it’s not impacting on performance any more so as long as I am careful and as long as I keep doing flexibility work, I should be fine.
One more small blip. Despite managing to keep illness free for months, I now have a cold :-(
So the annual ski trip is over. It actually meant that in the space of a month, I only completed two 5k runs and these were the week following my return home. The ski trip was exhausting and I knew that I needed to take the first week back a little easier. I swam twice, completed two bike/turbo sessions and ran twice (plus a few extra bits and pieces such as Body Pump & Circuit Training). Out of everything I did that week, the running felt absolutely terrible which was surprising given the altitude based training I had been doing. Clearly I needed more time to recover!
I knew that I needed to get my distance training on track again so I attempted an 18-20 mile slow, steady run on Sunday 15th February. I was dreading this and whilst it felt far harder than it should have, I made it. I had 11 hours sleep on the Friday night, slept for an extra couple of hours during the Saturday and had an early night to give me the best chance (shows how tired I was)! I could barely walk for the next 3 days…
Every day over the past week has felt a little better, with two quality running sessions during the week in addition to some longer bike workouts and swims. My legs have slowly been loosening up and I generally don’t feel as exhausted. This culminated with a strong 19 mile run this weekend followed by a very muddy cross country race.
With any luck, I should be fully back up to speed in the next week or so. There is no messing about from this point on!
Just to prove that I am not slacking with training, I completed another long(ish) Nordic Ski Session today:
Nordic Ski Session Details (Garmin Website)
The only issue with training for a spring marathon is that the annual ski trip get’s in the way! The ski trip is something that has to happen so running takes a break for the best part of 3 weeks. My last run was on Tuesday 20th January and my next will not be until the around 10th February (depending how tired I am).
However to ensure that my fitness is maintained, Nordic skiing will be used as a substitute for running. Nordic skiing is hard work, especially when at high altitude (minimum elevation of circa 9,700ft!) and is definitely good training. My first long session was a tough 13 miles: