Getting back into training again after a rest is always going to be hard as the legs try to figure out what they’re meant to be doing. The sensible idea would be to break in gently with a couple of easy runs during the week before stretching it a bit at the weekend. Maybe one of these days I’ll follow the sensible route. I decided it would be a good idea to dive straight in at the deep end and do Parkrun on Saturday and a long run on Sunday!
To be fair, I picked up a chest cough after Paris and my training efforts this past week have been nothing more than cycling back and forward to work. That said, as the week has gone on, I’ve started to feel stronger and so Parkrun didn’t really faze me. We had been invited to the Discovery Ball on Friday night by Macmillan and had a fantastic night, a late one and I was up early on Saturday for a PT session with a client. I was tired going into Parkrun and I was ok with that as I just wanted to get back into running again. As soon as we started, my head thought ‘brilliant, let’s go for it!’ I went through the first mile in 6.37 but as we came back across the grass section, my body reminded me that it was tired and my legs began to feel like lead weights. We were heading back along the path and I was slowing, allowing a few people I had passed previously to come back and pass me. I thought if I could hold onto them I could beat them in the final 100m or so. As we made our way back round, this began to appear more unlikely and as we got to the finish, my legs felt like they were running through treacle and I crossed the line in 21.05. My official time was 20.59 so I was really delighted with that.
After resting and a good night’s sleep, I was up early on Sunday ready for my long run. I had planned 10 miles and a mix of weariness in my legs from the exertions the day before and the London Marathon about to start on the TV made it a wee bit harder to get up and go out. With the couch becoming increasingly tempting, I got changed and headed out. I chose one of my all time favourite routes in Perth, up the hill at Necessity Brae to Aberdalgie, across to Craigend and back. One of the last times I ran that route, I was attacked by a buzzard but this time was ok. I made the conscious effort to go easy in the first mile then run the 2nd, 5th and 8th miles quicker than my target pace, a tip I learned from Liz Yelling on an episode of Marathon Talk. This seemed fine and my body felt like it was working harder in these miles but my split times probably tell a different story! I wasn’t expecting to be anywhere near target pace anyway, I just wanted to get into the feeling of doing it.
Running on consecutive days is one of a number of training tips I have learned from Liz and Martin Yelling over the last few years and they have all made a huge difference to my running. The basis is to run hard on day one (Parkrun) then do the distance run the next day and that run gets you used to running on tired legs, valuable when training for a marathon. The first time you try it, the 2nd day run feels incredibly hard but the body adapts very quickly and you soon find yourself running a lot stronger. The running every 3rd mile is designed to help build speed and I will be interested to see how that works over the next few weeks in the build up to Edinburgh.
The challenge I face now for Edinburgh is to get faster over the Half Marathon in order to complete all four races at the end of May. I ran the first half of Paris in 1hr 47mins which is the best I’ve done this year but I need to get that down to 1hr 30mins (or less) in order to get back to Edinburgh in time for the start of the marathon. I narrowly managed to cross the start line last year before they lifted the mats up and I can’t take the chance of having that luck or worse still, arriving back to find the mats already lifted. The thought of getting back too late isn’t one I wish to consider and so the next few weeks will be focused on getting the time down.
It’s always good to have a challenge that takes you right out of your comfort zone and make you work harder to achieve it. The training is tough but the rewards are amazing, potentially life changing.
Do you set yourself a challenge that requires you to step completely out of your comfort zone?
I ran the Paris Marathon as part of my 2015 in 2015 challenge to raise money for Macmillan. Macmillan do a fantastic job of providing essential support to people on their journey and also to friends and family. Please help me help Macmillan support even more people by sponsoring me. Thank you