Week 6, run 3: The wood for the trees

This has continued to be a challenging week, and I’m even more glad than usual that it’s Friday. I am also glad that I’ve managed to get in my three mid-week runs, even though the two key runs (speed and tempo) didn’t go as well as I would have liked.

I squeezed in my tempo run yesterday evening, after getting home from work. It was very cold, and dark, and I didn’t much feel like going out again; but I guess the running habit is so ingrained in me now that somehow I got out of the door. I ran a mile to warm up, and then three miles at tempo pace. I found this¬†really¬†hard, and I was slower than I wanted to be, perhaps because I’d done my speed run on Wednesday rather than Tuesday, and my legs were still suffering a bit. I was then supposed to run a mile to cool down, but I cut this short in my haste to get back home and into the warm.

Right now, I’m finding it hard to see the wood for the trees. Life is proving difficult and all-consuming at times, and it’s easy to get caught up in that and forget about marathon training, and I sometimes wonder why I’m even doing it. I am hoping, though, that if I keep putting in the work anyway, even if I don’t feel I’m achieving much at the time, it will all add up. I am hoping it means that I will get out of this thicket and be in a good place on the starting line in ten weeks’ time.

Miles run yesterday: 4.4 / Average pace: 9:09 minute-miles (with tempo section at about 8:30-8:40 pace) / Miles run this week: 14.1

Week 6, run 1: Not a morning person

This week is a stressful one for various reasons. I sometimes find it challenging to fit my weekday running around other commitments, especially as my other commitments are rigid, and especially in winter, when it is usually dark at the times I have available to run. I would love to have a more flexible schedule, and, partly thanks to running, I’m starting to think more seriously about how I can achieve that.

Anyway. As my weekday runs for marathon training have become longer and more challenging, I’ve been thinking about how I can mix it up, such as with different routes and running at different times. There is a running track near where I work. I haven’t used it yet, as I find it difficult to get away from my conviction that it is for proper runners, and I am not one. However, it would be useful to do a weekday speed session there, as I could just go over straight after work, and not have to worry about an early morning or late evening run. And, of course, a track is a perfect setting for speed work.

I was planning to be brave and use the track this week, but because of other things going on, I’ve changed my plans a little. Today is usually a speed day, but I swapped it with tomorrow’s slow run. I ran early this morning, as I saw that sleet is forecast for this evening. Although it was dark and very cold, I appreciated the peacefulness of the streets, and I felt energised after running at a gentle recovery pace.

When I run in the early morning, I always enjoy it and tell myself I should do it more, even though I see myself as not-a-morning-person. I don’t have a lot of time in the mornings and it takes me a while after waking up to become human, so I often leave running to the evening. This is okay, but my motivation to run usually declines as the day goes on, and it does involve some effort to get out of the door again once I’ve arrived home.

Anyway, week 6, run 1 is done. And, as I suggested in my last post, I am feeling a little better today than I was yesterday (and running definitely helped with this).

Miles run today: 4.3 / Type of run: Recovery / Average pace: 10:16 minute-miles / Miles run this week: 4.3

 

Hannover Marathon training: the dawn of week 6

I am currently training for my first marathon – Hannover in April. I chose this one rather than one in the UK because I went there in April last year with a group of running friends, some of whom did the marathon (others did the half marathon). I was part of a five-person relay team. I ran the third leg, which was about five miles long. I enjoyed this so much that I thought Hannover would be a good place to do a first marathon – it was flat, and there seemed to be lots of space, and the weather was sunny and gorgeous after what had felt like months of bleak, cold UK winter.

Of course, I have no idea what the weather will be like this time, and 26.2 miles is a tad further than five. Nevertheless, having the memory of last year’s positive experience to draw on, however rose-tinted it may be, is proving to be very helpful at the moment.

I have just completed week five of a Runner’s World training plan. There are 11 weeks to go, and although so far my body has handled the increased training load quite well, there is still a lot to come, and I am a little apprehensive. This is uncharted territory for me. I try to be sensible with stretching and doing strength exercises, but, to be honest, I, like many others, find these dark winter months really sap my general energy levels and can also affect my mental health. Some days the hardest demons to conquer are the mental ones.

So far, I have completed all my training runs; but I do my three mid-week runs alone and it has been difficult on occasion to motivate myself. I have tweaked the plan slightly in the last few weeks so that I do fewer miles in the week and more at the weekend, when I tend to run with others (or at least meet them afterwards). I don’t know if this is a sensible approach or not, being the marathon newbie that I am; but I figured that if I do the same overall weekly mileage as stated in the plan, I should be okay.

Anyway. Today is a non-running day, and, frankly, the mental demons have been raging. I can only hope that they’ll get bored and disappear and that tomorrow, a running day, will dawn bright and shiny new.