The Aftermarathon

The title of this post is taken from The Competitive Runner’s Handbook. I bought a second hand copy of this recently and have been dipping in and out and enjoying how thorough and level-headed it is. My other half, S., made fun of me having a dated-looking book on the bedside table (it was published in 1999), but little does he know that the principles in it are timeless. In fact, most of the more recent articles I read online seem to be based on foundations from this book. So there.

It’s just over three weeks since I ran Abingdon Marathon, so technically I’m still in the Aftermarathon phase (the handbook suggests that you shouldn’t race again for four weeks after doing a marathon). I’ve actually run quite a lot in the last few weeks. I took five whole days off running after the marathon, even though I didn’t feel too bad. I then did a pretty good parkrun on the Saturday, and a pretty bad four-mile run the day after that.

As well as a few easy-ish mid-week runs in the 3-6 mile range, I also took part in the Winter Ballbuster duathlon on Box Hill, Surrey, as part of a relay team. Unfortunately the event was called off after the first run because of awful weather (there were very strong winds and it would have been too dangerous to cycle).

However, I was doing the first run and I was allowed to finish. It was eight miles, with much of the first half downhill, and the last few miles very much uphill. I was pleased that while I wasn’t fast, I kept a nice steady pace throughout and made it up the hill despite the slashing rain and gusty winds.

This weekend just gone, I was away in Manchester for a friend’s wedding. S. and I managed to squeeze in a parkrun on Saturday morning. We ran there and back for a total of 11 miles. The parkrun itself wasn’t that enjoyable because it was very crowded in the first mile, and because of deep mud and puddles (hi, winter running!). Still, I’m glad that we got the run in and we had a really nice breakfast at the hotel afterwards and a lovely time at the wedding.

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Delicious post-run breakfast 🙂

I’m starting to feel impatient about getting back into running. I’m going to try and do some speed running this week, but will ease myself in gently. I’m looking forward to having the energy to do more tempo and speed runs now that I don’t have to do 16+ mile runs every week. Here’s to not marathon training! Cheers *raises teacup*.

Weeks 9 & 10 of marathon training: Update

Somehow it’s Wednesday and Week 10 of marathon training already, and I haven’t written about the last two runs of Week 9 yet. I hope the next six weeks don’t go so quickly. I feel like I still have a lot of training to squeeze in!

On Saturday I decided to get up early and get my long run out of the way. This wasn’t too difficult as I was wide awake at 4am. I’m not sure why – excitement about running, maybe?!

2019-02-16 06.34.04I left the house at 6.45, and ran to Bushy Park. It was lovely and quiet – practically empty, apart from a couple of dog-walkers. I ran one lap of the park fairly slowly (which works out at about 7 miles, when I run from home) and then a slightly shorter lap (about 6 miles), and arrived at the parkrun start a few minutes early. Not wanting to break up the run, I did a few laps back and forth alongside the Diana Fountain. When everyone set off, I joined in at the back of the pack.

I was feeling tired by then, but quite strong, and managed to pick up my pace to run parkrun at roughly marathon pace (dream marathon pace, anyway). When I stopped my watch at the finish line, I had run 16.4 miles – my longest run ever. I felt a little emotional, I think because I believed, perhaps for the first time, that I could actually run a marathon.

On Sunday, after Saturday’s efforts, I thought I would just do about 30 minutes around the block at a very easy pace. It was a beautiful sunny morning, and I was glad to get out, but it became clear very quickly that my legs were very heavy and I was only going to do about 20 minutes (one lap of the block).

I plodded around and then went home and got ready to go for a pub lunch in Ashtead, where I was meeting S. and a load of running friends, many of whom were running to the pub from various different locations. We worked out that we ran a collective total of at least 154 miles on Sunday (although I brought the total down by cheating and getting my long run out of the way on Saturday).

Phew. So those were the final runs of Week 9. Yesterday evening I forced myself back out after getting home from work to do the first run of Week 10 – mile intervals. I was supposed to do these earlier in the training plan, but had ended up substituting it for something else.

This was my first attempt at mile intervals, and although it was hard and I pushed myself, I actually enjoyed it! I especially enjoyed the 400m cool-down between each interval, something you don’t get in a tempo run. I did three intervals and managed to do each mile at a faster pace than the last one.

I still have occasional pain in my ankle/calf and also my other calf, now, so I still need to be a bit careful; but generally, I feel strong and ready to tackle this last stretch. 46 days to go!

Miles run at the weekend: 18.4 / Types of run: Long and slow on Saturday; Short recovery on Sunday / Average pace: Saturday: 9:52-minute miles; Sunday: 10:48

Miles run yesterday: 5.4 / Type of run: Mile intervals / Average pace: 9:01 (with mile sections at 7:42-8:09) / Miles run this week: 5.4

Week 6, run 2: Running into the wind

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to run at lunchtime, which meant in daylight. Unheard of! I’d had a crappy morning, though, and wasn’t sure I could face doing the planned interval session. In the end, I (and my other half) told myself: just do it. Run the crap out of your system (although hopefully not literally).

I headed for a small local park which has a nice triangular shape with long, straight paths, ideal for intervals (although it can get busy with dog walkers). I started with a one-mile jog to warm up, and then did the planned session: two minutes fast followed by two-minute recoveries, repeated eight times, with a one-mile jog to cool down.

Normally the interval sessions in the training plan I’m following are measured by distance, not time; but this one was meant to be a hill session (run two minutes up hill and then jog back). As it’s hard for me to get to a big enough hill during the week, I’ve decided to replace the hill sessions with intervals on the flat.

I don’t think I pushed myself as much as I could, but I still tried fairly hard. There was a ferocious cold wind blowing against me much of the time, so I’ll use that as my excuse. I was wrapped up in two long-sleeved layers, a hat, gloves and buff (and tights, of course); but I had a numb face and streaming eyes and nose. The hot shower and cup of tea afterwards were very welcome (and necessary). The weather has been pretty brutal this week.

Today I’m supposed to be doing a tempo run. I chickened out of doing it this morning (I mean, I’ve already done one early-morning run this week. I can’t possibly do another!) so I need to get out and do it this evening. It was probably a good idea to give myself a bit more recovery time after yesterday’s run, as normally I don’t do two hard runs two days in a row. It’s still very cold, and I’m also feeling a bit under the weather, so I’m not looking forward to it. Roll on spring.

Miles run yesterday: 5.3 / Average pace: 9:36 minute-miles (interval sections around 7:30-7:45 pace) / Type of run: Speed / Miles run this week: 9.6