Making a Difference – 7 Weeks to Go

A week ago I was cursing being way off pace, legs feeling heavy on my long run and needing to change my training schedule during the week. Today, I’m happy as a few tweaks and I’m now back on track towards my target but there is still a lot of work to be done.

During last week’s run, I found myself trying to imagine how I want to run in Paris and started to run that way for a short period of time. On Monday, I thought more about how I wanted to run, how I wanted to feel during the marathon and “tried it on for size”, a bit like trying on a new coat. It felt really good and definitely a feeling I want to have in every race I run, not just in Paris. I changed what I usually eat for lunch everyday, focused on fitting in a run or two everyday and also got my bike serviced so that I could start to use that again as I remembered how effective it was in the build up to Loch Ness.

On Monday, I ran home from work (1.5 miles) at lunchtime then ran back again a wee while later and managed to run both faster per mile than I did in any mile the day before even though I had done 15 miles then. I did some cadence drills the next day and after dropping the pace last time, I stepped it up again as I felt my body wanted to run quicker. A few short bursts over the next couple of days and while I had the perfect opportunity to go for a run on Friday as I had a relatively quiet day, I did very little and used it as recovery.

One of the biggest differences today was a change in fuelling. Apart from race-day breakfasts in hotels, I’ve generally gone for oatcakes and peanut butter but today I had porridge with some peanut butter stirred in. I was due to go to promote my Personal Training business at a Wedding Fair at a local hotel and so I had worked out when I needed to go out for a run and also what time I had to get up so I could have breakfast and allow it to settle before going for a run. A bowl of porridge, SIS Electrolyte drink, water and a cup of Costa Rican blend coffee later, I was ready and off out the door. I chose a route my wife, Allison, ran last week, switched on the latest Marathon Talk podcast started my Garmin and off I went.

I’m starting to find listening to the MT podcast a welcome distraction when I run, which is interesting as I always used to prefer music all the time. I decided to follow the advice given by double Olympian, Liz Yelling, from a couple of weeks ago where she recommended running every 3rd mile at roughly 30 seconds quicker than target marathon pace and so did that but started it at 5 miles as I got so lost in my run that I had forgotten to start it at mile 3. I must say, while it was pretty hard as the run wore on, it was actually enjoyable and it was good to have something to focus on. Overall, it turned out that my overall time was 4 minutes slower than last week despite running a mile further, my average heart rate was pretty much the same and my average pace was 15 seconds per mile faster today than last week even though I was fluctuating the pace more today than last week. One song which came on my iPod later in the run made such a difference, here it is:

I’m pleased with the progress made in one week and this week I will be working this coming week to be even better next week. Never let one bad workout get you down, instead learn from it and use it to make you stronger.

Happy Running!

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