Abingdon Marathon training, week 7

Week 7 was a good week of training. Resting last Sunday was a good idea, as I seemed to handle the increased amount of running well.

Monday and Thursday – these were rest days.

Tuesday –  I ran 3.8 miles in the park at lunchtime. I did some fast bursts in the middle, which is always fun. I wore my new trainers again, and they seemed fine. Phew.

Wednesday – This was a tough run: 7.5 miles including 4 x 1 mile at tempo pace. The weather wasn’t great: warm, but wet and windy. I also realised afterwards that I had misread the training plan and made my recoveries after the tempo sections longer than they were supposed to be. Oops.

Friday – An easy run: 4.2 miles in the park at lunchtime again. Once again, it was warm but wet and windy.

Saturday – I cycled to parkrun with S. We were both volunteering: he as Volunteer Coordinator, and me as a marshal. I supervised a spot at a crossroads near the beginning where runners have to veer off to the right and not carry on straight ahead where they would be joining the end of the course (it’s tempting to take a shortcut at that point). I then joined the marshal on the other side of the crossroads to cheer the runners to the end.

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Deer in the park. It was nice to dawdle and appreciate the scenery for once.

After that, we cycled home. I (reluctantly) went out again and ran an easy 5k around the block. I wore my other new trainers. Unfortunately, although they felt better than last time, I still felt discomfort in my calf/ankle. And it rained again! It’s been a wet week.

Sunday – I did my long run – 17 miles. I followed a similar route to the 16-miler I did two weeks ago: an out-and-back along the Thames path. I felt apprehensive, again, as I seem to do before all my long runs. I checked the weather forecast. It said sunny and dry. It was sunny and dry for about half of the run – but then there was a torrential downpour which only got heavier. I wasn’t prepared at all for rain, let alone that much. I was cold and absolutely soaked – and I still had over an hour’s worth of running left.

I briefly took shelter under a tree about three miles from the end to phone S and ask if he could bring dry socks, trainers and extra clothes for me as I was supposed to be meeting him for brunch. I got to the brunch place looking like a miserable drowned rat. After changing and thawing out, I had a pot of tea and a cooked breakfast and felt better. I’m not sure I could class this as my worst training run ever in terms of weather conditions, but it’s probably in the top ten.

Total mileage: 35.8 (my highest ever weekly mileage!)

9 weeks to go!

Running report, 10-24 June

Although I have two weeks of running to recap, it probably won’t take that long. Last week was especially light on running as I was away on holiday (although it was still a rather active holiday). Anyway, here’s what I did.

Tuesday 11th June – a short, slow lunchtime run into Bushy Park and back. I recently started a new job where I can work from home a lot. Lunchtime running from home, or running slightly later in the morning before sitting at my desk, is working well for me. Definitely beats having to try to squeeze runs into the early or late hours of the day.

I wanted to do another run before we went on holiday on 13th June, but on the 12th June I ended up not having time because of having lots of work to finish/having no water all day at home because of a burst pipe/having to pack for the holiday.

We arrived in Luxembourg on Thursday 13th June (after driving through Belgium and France). Friday 14th was spent sorting out registration for the Ironman event that we were taking part in.

On Saturday 15th, a group of us drove from Luxembourg to the nearest parkrun – Leinpfad, which was 45 minutes away, and happened to be in Merzig, Germany. We received a friendly welcome. The course was twisty for the first half (and went through a zoo, which featured llamas); then it was out and back along the towpath (hence the name of the parkrun – Leinpfad means towpath). It was rather warm and I didn’t do the greatest run ever; but it rained near the end which provided some welcome relief from the humidity.

Sunday 16th was the day of the Ironman 70.3 triathlon. My other half, S., and six of the friends we’d come with were all doing the full event. I was in a relay team, doing the run part of the course (a half marathon). I watched the swim start at around 9am; then waited around and spectated before running at 1.45pm.

It was a tough run: it was very warm; I had knee pain from around five miles in and had to slow down; and it was a mentally gruelling three-lap course up and down a long, straight road. I squeezed in at under two hours – my official time was 1:59:07. I was pleased with that, seeing as I’d wanted to quit during the second lap; but I know I could have done better. Still, it was good to get a decent result for the team; and everyone else did really well on the full event (there were several PBs).

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Our home for the week

On Monday 17th, we packed up and drove to Fourdrain, France, where we were spending a week in a château, with the aim of relaxing, eating, and drinking. A lot of eating and drinking was definitely done; but I didn’t get much chance to relax.

On Tuesday I went on two bike rides – a 5-mile round trip to a bakery and back, and then a 40-mile ride to the town of Marle and back. I think I can safely say that I’ve well and truly christened the new bike. I coped well with the hefty mileage, although my knee was aggravated again towards the end.

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Wednesday was a rest day, with just a gentle stroll around the old and pretty town of Laon. On Thursday I went for what I thought was going to be a 5k easy road run with a couple of the others; but it turned into a cross-country adventure through long, wet grass; a steep uphill section through a wood; a slippery, muddy downhill slope; and a stretch of uneven terrain alongside a busy road. Fun, but also mildly panic-inducing. I was glad to get back to the house in one piece.

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Woodland running

Friday was another cycling day – a shorter ride this time, 14 miles to Tergnier. I bailed out there and got a lift back home as my knee was playing up again. Saturday was travelling-home day.

Yesterday, back at home, I ran to the park with the intention of doing 10k at an easy pace. I did the distance; but was feeling surprisingly good, despite the humidity, so I picked up the pace in the second half. I must have looked like I was really going for it, as an elderly man called out, ‘You go girl!’ I was pleased to get to the café, and once I’d finally stopped sweating buckets, rewarded myself with tea and a cookie.

Today I ran again – an easy 4 miles at lunchtime. It felt good to be running at a relaxed pace, and it seemed to loosen some stiffness in my legs. It was still very humid – when I got home I cooled myself down with an orange ice lolly.

This week is my final ‘rest’ week before diving into marathon training again. It is now less than three months until Abingdon Marathon. I am feeling apprehensive about training for another marathon after doing my first one not very long ago. I think I’m going to take a one-day-at-a-time approach and see how that goes.