6 weeks out / Finchley 20

Monday:

PM – Running club – flat efforts. 2-4-6-6-4-2 min efforts with 30-60 sec recoveries plus warm up and cool down. Painful! 6 miles total. We were told recoveries could be jog, walk, or bend over and puke. So I stood still, allowing max speed on the efforts but no extra mileage given as soon as I started running, I realised I was pretty sore from the day before.

Tuesday:

AM – Swimming – 2500m

Wednesday:

PM – I still felt so sore from the weekend so instead of 8 mile tempo plus warm up and cool down, I just ran 10 miles to feel and didn’t look at the pace. I think that’s reasonable given when I wrote the plan for a tempo the Sunday just gone and this Sunday were to be long slow runs, but then I entered races instead so they’re tempo long runs which require more recovery.

Thursday:

AM – Switched weights for body weight strength and conditioning – feeling really weak and unstable with lots of niggles at the moment so worked on single leg stuff, ankle mobility/stability, bridges, clams, and core work. (20 mins, did another 5 mins later waiting for my massage)

PM – Sports massage – my most painful in years, my muscles were all so tight! But I felt so much better afterwards. 

Friday:

AM – Lido swim – 2000metres steady

PM – Running club – only 1 other person turned up, we did 7.5 miles at a fairly fast but conversational pace. Usually on a Friday there’s 5-10 starting in a chatty pass at a leisurely pace, and people turn off at various points and the group accelerates and races as the run goes on. Today was the opposite, starting faster than usual, but just over a mile from the end I decided I was desperate for the loo and slowed up instead of going for a sprint finish for glory. 

Saturday: REST DAY / 12.5hr on call shift

Sunday:

AM – Finchley 20 road race. I turned up in a really negative mindset, having bad memories of this race when training for my first marathon in 2009. It’s 4 laps of 5 miles and I had been suffering with shin splints so had new orthotic insoles. Lap 1 blisters started to form, lap 2 they were established, lap 3 they burst, and lap 4 they ripped off, leaving me with large open wounds on both medial arches. Luckily it was the end of term, and I had a lift back to Cardiff and a few days to lie down with my feet bandaged, and hobbled about on crutches. I did it again the following year but have no recollection of the 2010 event. I hate starting with such a blah mindset, and the grey, drizzly, miserableness of the day doesn’t help. I even put on leggings and I always race in shorts, and found myself filling in the emergency contact details on the back of my race number, though I rarely usually bother. But I signed up because it’s very hard to get motivated to do a long run solo, and especially to maintain any semblance of a decent pace or to avoid stopping and starting, to pop into shops and buy a drink etc, so this way I’ve got water handed to me, and other people running to metaphorically drag me around. At home, I’d almost certainly procrastinate and delay and end up going after lunch, whereas this way I’m done before I’d likely otherwise have started. 

Odd start to the race counting down from 10, but the people at the front didn’t hear and didn’t move. Several yells of go, and off we finally went. I had planned a steady 7:45/mile pace but felt quite good. I did a 21:30 first 5km and maintained an average pace around goal marathon pace (7:15) for 2 laps (10 miles). Then I took a toilet break, and made a conscious decision to take the second half steady. The goal today was to get in a long run, not to race 20 miles all out. I am pleased that I got in some race pace practice/tempo, but I think to continue to push the whole way would have caused too much muscle damage, and I’d not do as well in the next week of training or next week’s half marathon. I got to the half marathon point in 1:37:30 so quite pleased with that, only 90 seconds slower than last week’s effort. I had a few low points, where I glanced at my watch and seemed to be trudging along, but the course was more undulating than I recall, and I picked it up coasting down the hills and picking my way back up. I felt thirsty last night and before the race, which isn’t a great way to start so I started at every water station, walking to finish the full cup. It seemed to really thin out on my last lap, but it’s not like I was surrounded by people lapping me and turning off to finish, so I suspect a good number stopped and didn’t do 4 laps. It is psychologically very difficult to run past that finish line FOUR times, especially when you see people turning into the finish. 

I finished in 2:35:49 by my watch (official time 2:37:01 includes toilet trip, and I went inside to the nice ones, no slumming it in a portaloo!) which was bang on 7:45/mile pace. So ended with the exact average pace I’d planned, just not quite the way I’d planned it! I was in 4th after lap 1, 7th after lap 2, and finished 20/128 female finishers and 162/380 overall finishers. I should be chuffed, and I am, but I’m also doubting myself – Were the 2 laps “steady” really all that easy? Could I have continued to push if I’d wanted to? The mystery remains, and marathon day will answer that question!

PM – 1 hour warm and restorative yoga at Feelhotyoga St Albans.

Summary:

Run – 43.5 miles

Bike – 0

Swim – 4500 metres

Other – 1 hr yoga, no weights, but stretching/S&C spread across the week. 

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