My Week in Training – Adventures with alcohol

Top tip – drinking several beers, a house measure G&T and a straight gin along with not getting to bed until 1am isn’t conducive to a great running performance the next day!

I’m sure you were all wondering the answer to that conundrum and so I took the time to carry out this all important research. I suspect the quantity of alcohol I had is many people’s warm up but when you’re not used to drinking a lot, it doesn’t take much to tip things over the edge. We’d been at a surprise party for my running mate Graeme’s 40th birthday and it was an absolute blast. Lots of fun, lots of laughter and, of course, lots of alcohol. Looking back, it would’ve been more sensible to do my long run on the day of the party so that I could enjoy a drink and not have to worry about the next day. Lesson learned for future Steve I think.

The week had been pretty good until today with a good 10k on a testing route on Wednesday and a 4 mile hill run the next day. I usually struggle with daytime runs but I did both runs at lunchtime and this seems like a good time for me so this may be a solution for fitting in midweek runs  going forward.

View from my midweek runs
View from my midweek runs

After the success of last week’s long run, my focus for these runs would be to run and feel comfortable all the way round and so I was really pleased that I finished the run feeling like it was easy and that I could easily keep going. This was especially pleasing seeing as the route was pretty hilly. What was even more pleasing was that I was so much into my flow with the run that I had gone round the hilliest part of the route without really noticing much of it, even though its steep enough to become a challenge to keep running rather than stop and walk a bit. It just felt really peaceful, my pace felt good and I was able to switch off and think of other things. The hill run the next day was a different story as it’s just very steep going up so little chance to switch off. The view from the top was amazing as was the descent that followed. I love the adrenaline rush of running downhill, even better when there are no dogwalkers on the paths to slow down for.

Lovely morning for Parkrun
Lovely morning for Parkrun

Parkrun yesterday was slowly getting back to my best. None of the problems from last week although I was a bit tired from rubbish sleep the last few nights and that caught up with me in the latter stages and I found the last mile really hard or harder than usual. I finished in 19.14 and I will wait now until after Loch Ness before trying to get back to sub 19mins again. That brings us to today’s run…..

I got up just after 7am, around the same time I normally get up on a Sunday, but I felt really sluggish in the way to do when you wake up after a night out feeling like you’ve never actually slept. I decided to do same route as Wednesday but to add in another loop of the main hilly bit and a little bit more to take it up to 10 miles. The first 2 miles felt great then my body remembered the alcohol consumption from the night before. The first section which is usually hard but reasonable felt exceptionally tough, enough to stop and walk for a bit. The rest of the uphill section felt like I was giving an elephant a piggy-back! Thankfully, I had the latest Marathon Talk podcast to distract me!

When I finished the first loop, I had thought of heading straight home but I decided, in my wisdom, to keep going so I went back up round the loop to the hill again, making an emergency toilet stop and taking a gel (not at the same time) on route. As I ran downhill the second time, I started to feel better but then the lack of quality sleep kicked in and the rest of the run was more of a glorified pensioner shuffle and when I got to junctions, instead of running straight across when traffic flow allowed, I stopped to wait for the green man and felt glad to stop.

All in all, it took me to run 10 miles what it normally takes me to run close to Half Marathon and I’ve probably run easier marathons than this run today but despite everything, I did it. I kept on going when it would’ve been easier to stop and that has given me the resilience I will need next week in the final 10k of the Loch Ness Marathon.

Have you ever tried running after a few ‘shandies’? How did you get on?

Remember, a run that feels way harder than it should does not define your training so don’t worry about it. Make sure you get your pre-race preparation right, get plenty rest, sleep, hydration and your race will be just fine.

Happy running 🙂

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