The Last 16: 2 Weeks To Go!

Today was the last 16 mile run of the plan. This sounds okay, particularly if you’re a Hanson devotee. However, theit’s the second of only two 16 mile runs. I’ve squeezed in a 15 and a 14, but the reality is that the training is not what is should have been. This is the problem with spur of the moment decisions. I’m sure at some point during the virtual race I’ll find myself wishing I’d stuck to my guns regarding deferral!

Reflections on Training

Last marathon block (London 2019), I seriously committed to training, running 750 miles in the build up to the race, and this fared me well. For the virtual attempt this year, my annual mileage has just nudged past this (we’re in September, London 2019 was in April!) with a measly 420 miles in training over the last 14 weeks. Weekly mileage has topped out at 45 mpw with only 5 runs, as opposed to 55 mpw with 6 runs per week. On the upside, I’ve incorporated strength training this cycle and physically feel I’ve benefited from this.

Bottom line, I knew what I was getting into and need to be realistic about what I can achieve.

Fuelling the Long Run

I decided today to run a flatter route for a change, my longer runs usually on the forest trails. I’ve been experimenting with new gels – Huma – having pretty much tried everything else on the market over the years, and figured it might be an idea to stay closer to civilisation in case they didn’t agree with me. As it transpired they did the business with no ill effects. Having taken one before leaving the house, and two more at 30 minutes and an hour respectively, I felt secure enough to leave Duthie Park, where I’d been running laps and suffering the consequences of boredom, to head out the Deeside Line. A fourth gel further out the line saw me consume what should hopefully be enough to get me through the distance in a couple of weeks time.

No sooner had I started out the line than I bumped into the Mackies. The line was busy, lots of walkers and cyclists along the route, quietening down as I moved further out from the park.

Having gone right out to the AWPR, I bumped into another familiar face, enjoying the sunshine and views over the countryside. Having stopped for a blether, I made a mental note that standing still for 5 minutes mid-run does nothing for my legs. It was a real struggle to persuade them to go again!

Autumn Approaches

While beautiful to see some of the trees beginning to change, some autumnal colours in the leaves, I found it a little sad. This year, I’m sure many will agree, feels to quite some extent like it’s been stolen. There have been so many occasions missed and little social contact with family and friends. To realise that, despite the glorious September sunshine, the days will soon draw in as winter approaches is not a positive thought.

Taper Time

However, before any of that, I have a couple of weeks of rest and recuperation to look forward to, with a long weekend thrown in for good measure. Never looking more than a week ahead having chosen my plan, it fills me with joy to realise that the runs this week are predominantly easy miles, even if I do feel like I’m ‘cheating’ by tapering after such a short plan. No amount of hard work now will make the ‘race’ any better; all I can do is trust in the training and hope my body remembers what it needs to do.

So, easy miles, rest, sleep and recovery. Two weeks to go until the virtual marathon. I may even be a tad excited.

Listen to your body!

They say the body is very intuitive; I’ve been told by the physiotherapist in the past that I have good body awareness. Thus, if it’s talking to me by expressing soreness or a niggle, I have no qualms about taking an extra rest day.

I frequently find myself reminding others that rest is your friend. In order to perform well and avoid breaking down you do need to allow your muscles to recover, especially after a hard workout or run.

Touch wood, this self-care surely must be part of the reason why I’m rarely injured (possibly alongside the monthly massage I’ve enjoyed since 2008)! I may at times be too in touch with my body. It often suggests taking a break to enjoy a glass of wine on the sofa, or stopping off for coffee and cake on the way home rather than enduring a soaking on a miserable winter’s night.

And so, through listening intuitively the yoga ‘streak’ ended on Thursday. I have managed 31 consecutive days of yoga (in addition to weekly Pilates and some running), but found myself increasingly tired this week, probably due to the germs that are being readily shared at work, and by the time I reached home last night my body was ready to rest.

A poor excuse for a Friday night, I slobbed on the sofa watching catch up TV before getting an early night. No parkrun today as I’m feeling a little under the weather still. Instead, I have spent some time on the yoga mat – the practice will continue – and I am going to nourish both body and mind by lunching out with friends.

Hopefully a day of rest will see me fit for the trails tomorrow but time will tell.

Has your body spoken to you recently? What did it say?