You know that stage in marathon training where you realise how many weeks left to the race then panic as you notice you’re nowhere near where you want to be? That’s where I am just now and my long run this morning felt like a game of football between the positives and negatives and while the negatives were winning the first half, I’m pleased to say the positives came roaring back in the second half and went on to win. The bonus of these things going on was that I barely recall the miles going in although I remember the scenery being rather nice.
I had good intentions of running 16 miles when I was planning my route last night but after the first 3-4 miles, I decided to go with 15 as my legs felt a bit heavy and I knew I would still be in line to complete my target for Jantastic for the week. I had started the week off pretty well with a couple of good runs, including a cadence drill session, but then by Tuesday evening/early morning on Wednesday, my back was a bit sore and couldn’t run. It was a slight recurrence of a problem I originally had in the late 90’s that got me into running in the first place and while it’s not as bad now, it was a bit uncomfortable. The frustrating thing was, Wednesday and Thursday were quiet for me and plenty of opportunity to get out but I wasn’t able to get a quality run in so I just listened to my body, did loads of stretching and let it recover.
After mile 4 today, I started to feel my legs a bit heavy then started to rethink my plan to run 16 miles. I also became aware that I was way off my target marathon pace and the negatives came out in force with doubts about having enough time to turn my training around and to get anywhere near my target pace. I had chosen to do an out-and-back course and when I got to 7 miles, I thought I could potentially run the second half quicker. With the latest Marathon Talk podcast on my iPod, I found some inspiration from an interview with European Cross-Country Champion Gemma Steel and that perked me up a bit. She was talking about using visualisation in her races and so I started visualising running my perfect race in Paris, thinking about my ideal pace, how I want to feel when I’m running etc and it worked as I felt myself running quicker.
As I started to run the way I want to be able to do in Paris, other positive thoughts came flooding in. Firstly, there was the fact that I had run 7 miles in total on Saturday and so with 15 miles, I would hit 22 miles for the weekend and secondly, I reminded myself that the furthest I had run in training for my most recent marathon was 15 miles and I managed to run that pretty quickly so I realised there’s still hope and also there’s still plenty of time to make a difference to my pace. I will now be creating time in my diary to train through the week as that’s where I’ve been struggling with so far and I know that will bring the most value.
How’s your training going?