London Marathon training – Week 6

I suppose it’s always going to happen at some point, a week that brings something of a dip in confidence and motivation.

Last week had been a really good week, a different week, so returning home from London and getting back to the old routine presented something of a challenge.

Monday, 6th February, 2017
It was back to the reality of knuckling down to continue with my training – and since it was Monday that would mean a club night.

This was a ‘step up’ week which basically means we are challenged to move up to the next group to give it a try.

However, given that my legs were heavy from London and I only landed back at 4pm I decided just to stay with my normal group, and I was glad I did.

I really enjoyed it. There were quite a few people in the group I knew so it was good to run along and chat with them, and to be able to hold a conversation in the first place without gasping for air! I must be getting fitter.

We tackled the dreaded Princes Street again, and I felt as if I really flew up it tonight. Clearly my weekly hill sessions are paying off.

Thursday, 9th February, 2017
I suppose it had to happen eventually. Things have been going too well recently, my running has been enjoyable and I’ve felt that each run has brought a little progress.

But not tonight.

It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t what I would have wanted. I try not to abandon a run early but I’m also of the belief that if it isn’t going for me then there’s no point in flogging a dead horse, it’ll only annoy me, I’ll dwell on it too much and it could easily put me off going on my next run. Just put it out of it’s misery, move on and go again next time.

So that’s what I did. I possibly have matured as a runner because I’m not beating myself up over it as much as I would have done previously.

My plan called for four miles, I struggled to complete two. My head, heart and legs just weren’t in it.

I’ve had a few great runs lately, each of the last three very different so perhaps the mundane banality of returning to running on my own around the same old, boring route didn’t inspire me.

I’m also exhausted. If not physically, then mentally. I didn’t have the strength to battle with my demons tonight, but that happens sometimes too. Gosh, I’m very philosophical about this!

And my legs haven’t helped either. There’s been a return of the fluid in them over the past few days. I’ve been lucky with my Lymphoedema lately and may have possibly become somewhat complacent, not wearing my medically prescribed ‘gentleman’s compression garments’ (tights to you and me!) as much as I should. I’ll take this a reminder not to take my eye off the ball.


Saturday, 11th February, 2017

I will admit I had lost all confidence in myself after Thursday’s botched attempt. In my head it didn’t matter how much progress I’d made over the past few months. That all counted for nothing after one bad two-mile run on tired legs, from a tired body and with a tired head.

But I knew I simply had to get out today. I decided just to do 5k, I didn’t have a lot of time to squeeze a run in.

Not expecting an awful lot from it I somehow recorded a decent time for the first kilometre, and then the second. I went even faster for the third kilometre, usually the point when I start to struggle, regardless of the length of the run until I find my legs. But, no, here I was plugging away and at a decent pace too.

It was a great return to form. I knew deep down that I’d bounce back from a bad run, I always do, I just didn’t believe I had it in me.

Monday, 13th February, 2017
I didn’t go on my planned ten mile run yesterday. Work and life got in the way so, technically, this should have been a week seven run but if you don’t tell anyone neither will I!

I decided to incorporate the distance into tonight’s club session. In other words, go out with the club first and then continue on my own to make up the distance.

But, this being me, I didn’t think I would do it. I toyed with the idea of breaking it up. Do 2-3 miles on my own before the club, do 3-4 with them and 2-3 on my own back home again. I ruled against that in order to save face. I mean, I’m slow enough at the best of times without turning up to tonight’s club session already knackered!

So the plan was, do the 45-minute club run (I had toyed with going with the 60-minute group, maybe next week), tell enough people what I was intending to do (accountability and all that) and then set off on my merry lonesome afterwards.

And that’s exactly what happened … and it was fantastic!

The club session was thoroughly enjoyable. I tried to keep it nice and steady but did allow myself moments to loosen my legs with a wee bit of speed work.

I still hadn’t convinced myself that I’d head off on my own afterwards so I decided to see how I felt after the stretching exercises at the end – and I felt good so I thought I might as well go for it.

We had done 3.75 miles so I had basically another 10k to make up. I surprised myself that I was able to keep to the same pace and tempo, I honestly didn’t think I could manage it without the group around me.

I kept a good, steady and consistent pace throughout which pleased me. Tonight was also an experiment in fuelling etc., and it was only at around the nine mile mark that I started to get hungry, so that’s something to bear in mind for next time. My salt intake also seemed spot on so I’ll try to adopt the same method as my distances get longer (ie: three capsules every 3-4 miles).

Time wise I smashed it. My last ten-miler was the Great South Run in October and tonight I was 13 minutes faster. I’ll take that!

But, more important than anything, I proved to myself that if I miss a run, particularly a long run, for whatever reason I have the capacity within me to pick it up the next day and not let it ruin my schedule or my motivation. That wasn’t always the case.

Adapted from my blog: Huff, Puff and Shuffle

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