The week before the marathon always seems a but weird. It’s when you get to say you ‘just’ did a small number of miles (8 for me today) whereas under normal circumstances, that would be a big deal. This is the week where you really put the icing on the cake and the days leading up to next Sunday are about keeping things ticking over.
It’s been a good week in training, got a 4 mile run done on Tuesday afternoon and a 6 mile run done on Wednesday and got out on the bike as much as I could on the other days. The bike rides are relatively short distances but it’s more about the speed and power in the legs that I’m going for. Anything to help me next week if I’m being honest!
When it came to yesterday’s Parkrun, I tried something I haven’t done in a long time and that was to aim for a royal flush negative split where you run each mile faster than the one before. I started off a bit easier, trying to feel more in control of my pace and feeling like I’ve got a lot to give. The first mile felt good in 6:26, then another good mile in 6:17 but the last mile let me down with 6:20. It was good experience and something to work on after Loch Ness.
In these last few weeks where my training hasn’t been as consistent as it was before I cut my foot, I haven’t thought much about how I’m going to run next week and so when I woke up this morning, I decided to go out feeling like my form (which had been a large part of my training) flowed well. This is something I’ve learned in recent years – to focus on the quality of the run. Knowing how a good run feels is easier to replicate than the pace you run at. The pace will change but the feeling stays the same.
With that in mind, I went out and ran feeling like I was just cruising, feeling like everything was flowing well and that I always had something else to give. I rarely looked at my watch and it felt fantastic! At one point, I passed some cows in a field and a couple of them started to run alongside me for a short distance before stopping to eat some grass but they made it all look completely effortless and graceful, something I need to work on!
To next week, my only desire is to run in a similar fashion to today and see what happens. My focus will solely be on running with the best form and feeling good all the way round or as good as you can feel in the latter stages of a marathon anyway. What happens will happen and it’s important not to become too fixated on pace etc that you forget to enjoy the experience.
How do you feel a week out from a race? Do you get anxious about your pace or fear that something crazy will happen to stop you running or are you completely relaxed?