Weeks 10 & 11 of marathon training: Recovery, race, recovery

Once again, another week has passed without an update. I’ve ticked off three more runs since last Wednesday, so I suppose I’ve just been getting on with it rather than stopping to analyse, which I think is a good thing.

Saturday’s run was a very easy 20 minutes around the block. I had treated myself to a lie-in, rather than my usual Saturday morning routine of going to parkrun. Turned out this was a good call. I realised just how much of my time lately has been taken up with running and related socialising. Not that I don’t enjoy it, but I do need my alone time.

I definitely felt the benefits of an extra bit of rest, especially as on Sunday, I was running the Thorpe and Egham Half Marathon, along with S. and a group of friends. It was an early start: S. and I picked up two friends at 7.15am, and then went on to another friend’s house, where we arranged ourselves into three cars and drove to a car park about ten minutes’ walk from the race event village.

It was a really beautiful day: a bright, frosty morning, followed by blue skies and blazing sun. It was perfect running weather. I hadn’t really decided what sort of run I wanted to do – I had been so focused on the marathon that I hadn’t really thought about this race. In the training plan that I am sort-of-but-not-really following, it did say to aim for a fast half marathon in time of less than 1 hour 50 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was quite at that standard, but I did vaguely think I might be able to do around 1:51-1:52 – which would be a half marathon PB for me, by around four minutes.

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Not very far into the race – still smiling.

I set off a little too fast (getting carried away by the race adrenaline as usual), but reined myself in and slowed down to about an 8:30-8:40 pace. This felt fairly comfortable, so I stuck at that. Although the course was hillier than I had expected, and I did feel a bit tired at times, I managed to hold my pace until the end – something I hadn’t managed to achieve before in a half marathon (I have always slowed down in the last few miles). The big timer showed 1:53:56 when I crossed the finish line. I was very pleased with that – and even more pleased to learn that my chip time was 1:52:43.

I collected a pile of post-race goodies – medal, yellow t-shirt, flapjack, etc. – and joined 52647429_10158237798678047_4814764673616314368_nthe rest of the group for stretching, photos, and then lunch at an Italian restaurant. There were several PBs to celebrate, and it was also a friend’s birthday. All in all, a good team day out.

My legs felt quite sore on Monday (and still do now) so I was glad to have a rest day. Yesterday I went for a very easy four-mile run. A speed workout was on the plan, but my legs still weren’t up to much more than recovery pace, and I was okay with that. Tonight I need to do some proper stretching (and maybe foam rolling – eek) before the next batch of training runs.

39 days to go!

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