Paris Marathon Training – Week 8

It’s always nice to feel like you’re making progress as your target race gets closer. After the changes made towards the end of last week, I carried that into this week mixing mobility training with rest as well as my runs and have been feeling better for it.

This week:

Monday – Rest
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – 9.6 miles – 2 miles fast, 2 miles slow x2 with 1 mile warm up
Thursday – Rest
Friday – 2-3 miles Jog/Walk with PT client
Saturday – 5k with PT client; Parkrun
Sunday – 18 miles

Complete rest on Mondays are working well for me although when I say rest, I mean no running. As a Personal Trainer, it’s impossible NOT to do any exercise! This paid dividends as I went out on Tuesday early morning and ran 4 miles in 29 minutes, the first time I’ve done that in a while.

On Wednesday, I repeated my workout from last week of 1 mile warm up then 2 miles fast, 2 miles recovery but just did 2 rounds this time. I started from the house rather than my studio and changed the route but what a difference! It felt so much easier to run sub 7 mins/mile, hitting the first of the 2 miles in 6:38 and the first of the second 2 miles in 6:34 then average 6:48 for the other 2 miles. What was even more pleasing was that the recovery miles were all quicker than last week and my average pace for the entire workout was 7:23, which would give me my target time in Paris if I can maintain it and based on Wednesday’s performance, I feel like I could.

Thursday was another easy day with some hopping up steps in the evening at my run group. Friday was another easy day with a 2-3 mile walk/jog effort with a PT client.

Saturday was ‘interesting’ as I ran 5k with a client, she wanted to do the Parkrun course and hopefully it won’t be long before she plucks up the courage to come and do it properly at Parkrun! We set off just after 8.30am and by the time we finished and went our separate ways, it was 9.15am and just enough time to change my shoes, nip to the loo, have a drink then get ready for the start at Parkrun. I knew within the first mile that this run was going to be a hard one given I’d just run the course! It almost felt like last week but instead of porridge weighing me down, it was weary legs particularly along the muddy grass section! I was delighted  that I still managed a strong finish and pass the guy who was in front of me just before the line and hold off Jason, one of my neighbours, who had been right behind me. I’m pleased that I had that performance in me and was able to finish 14 seconds quicker than last week.

Relief after Parkrun!
Relief after Parkrun!

Today was long run day and I went out with an open mind of doing anywhere between 12 and 18 miles. I thought of cutting the distance back this week before stepping up again next week and I chose a good route that would give me space to increase if I wanted. I headed out with the intention of doing one of my favourite routes, The Rhynd Road Loop. It’s a continual climb heading out of Perth and you can either choose to continue going uphill followed by an amazing descent before a long climb back up to Perth or go downhill for a good section after that initial climb before targeting a shortish but steep uphill before a gradual downhill and so I chose the latter. Like I always do.

The run felt pretty sluggish and my plan had been to run every 3rd mile faster, which I did but my ‘fast’ times were roughly the same as my recovery times from Wednesday. Running continually into a head wind didn’t help! It was quickly turning into one of those runs where just getting round and getting the miles in was more valuable than the pace. I had thought of cutting it short for the 12 but as I approached 10 miles, I bumped into Tessa, a running friend, who was heading roughly the same way. She was heading for a 4 mile loop and so I decided to join her as I knew that running with someone else would be a welcome distraction. I stopped paying attention to my plan and enjoy the company instead.

We had a good chat as we ran and I discovered that she stays not that far from us so it was good to finish the run with her. I checked my watch and knew that this would take me to 18 miles, something I was delighted with! The funny thing is, like a run a few weeks back, it was my legs that felt heavy and my mind knew it could keep on going. It’s usually the mind that gives up first. I had long since stopped looking to see what my pace was but asked the question I always ask myself at the end of a run which is “Could I keep on going?” and the answer was yes.

The overriding lesson from today’s run is to go back to running to how I feel. I discovered it last year at the Inverness Half Marathon, where I just relaxed at the start and ran knowing that I could speed up at any time. I began to enjoy the run more without the pressure of sticking to a certain pace. As it turned out, my finishing time was only a few minutes outside my PB.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from your training?

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