This is a graphical analysis of all of my runs since training started in October!
- Race Day!April 19th, 201522 days to go.
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!
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:
It has been some time since the last update, almost 2 months in fact. That’s because there has really been very little of anything noteworthy to report…
Most of December was part of the “Getting Faster” phase which consisted of 10k runs at a reasonably fast pace. Most of these were done on a treadmill so that I could be sure of pacing and generally either preceded or followed a Spinning class. To be honest by the end of December I was completely fed up with the treadmill!
I also started on the longer sessions and completed three 13-mile runs during December, all of which felt easy even with one of them at 3-hour marathon pace. The once a week long runs have continued through January, up to 16 miles, and the mileage will increase as the weeks go on but importantly at a sensible pace!
So, it’s all going to plan and I have remained injury free :-)
More rest than planned over the last couple of weeks but a few decent quality runs despite the injury and 20 runs completed overall:
I’ll post a full analysis of my performance vs the original plan at the end of November :-)
So after 2 weeks of not running (apart from last weeks cross country race which made things worse), the heavy strapping that remained firmly stuck to my foot for over 4 days clearly did the trick. I ran a test 5k yesterday, at an average of 6min7s/mile, and then a further 10k today (following an hours cycle class) at an average of 6m29s/mile with no problems at all. The plan may have been amended somewhat over the last couple of weeks but it looks like things are back on track again now. :-)
It’s official. I have an injury. Despite not running for a week I was in “considerable discomfort” during and after a Cross Country race at the weekend. Luckily one of our running club members is a physio and I managed to get an appointment for the next day to get checked out. I had already made a self diagnosis and although I don’t know why or how I have picked up the injury, the physio confirmed my initial conclusion. I have Plantar Fasciitis.
Plantar Fasciitis means inflammation of your plantar fascia. Your plantar fascia is a strong band of tissue (like a ligament) that stretches from your heel to your middle foot bones. It supports the arch of your foot and also acts as a shock-absorber in your foot.
I will post some further detail on this on the “Injuries” Page but this could potentially be a major setback at a time when I am trying to build a strong base before moving onto longer runs. Luckily the physio does not believe the situation is serious (yet!) and that if I am careful, there is no reason why I can’t start back running at low intensities by the end of this week. Of course it all depends on what has caused the issue in the first place but we both think it could be down to a completely different set of running shoes that I have been using for some of my runs that just don’t suit my high arch.
So, I came away from the phyiso with my foot heavily strapped and I can feel that this has really helped already so I am hopeful that this is just a minor blip and that by going back to my trusty Nike Pegasus running shoes, all will be well again. Otherwise this could be a very short marathon training programme!