Settling In: Marathon Training Week 2

After a positive first week of training, week 2 coincided with my return to work for the new term and gave me the chance to settle into the routine I’ll be following up until Easter. I find that people often tell me they don’t understand how I find time to fit in training, however I don’t understand how they manage without it! For me, a bit of time away from working means I go back to whatever I need to do in the evening refreshed and complete tasks much more efficiently. Marathon training, in particular, seems to make me much more efficient with my time as I know exactly what time is available to me, forcing me to plan when I’m going to get things done. Take today as an example: up at about 8:30am, breakfast, quick read of a running magazine then out for a run at the back of ten for just under an hour. When I got back I stretched, showered, dressed and had some lunch. This afternoon I’ve made soup and now I’m sitting in a coffee shop having a cup of peppermint tea and writing my blog knowing I’ve done everything I needed to do this weekend (I achieved quite a lot yesterday as well!) and therefore have a nice relaxing evening ahead of me. Obviously as the length of my Sunday runs increases my time will be squeezed a bit more, but hopefully I’ll still retain a good level of efficiency.

So what about this week’s training? Last week I deviated slightly from my plan but this week I was able to stick much closer to what was planned.

Planned training this week:
Monday – Gym
Tuesday – Club run
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – Club track session
Friday – Rest/Swim
Saturday – 4 miles steady
Sunday 10K faster

The first thing I noticed was that as I warmed up on the treadmill for my Monday gym session, my legs felt good after running two days in a row last weekend. Very slightly weary, but holding up well. The gym session itself was another TRX workout, still focusing on upper body and oh boy did my abs know about it on Tuesday! Tuesday’s club run also went very well. I couldn’t believe how many people turned up to run – it just looked like a sea of hi-vis milling around the sports centre foyer! My training partner from last year was there and I hadn’t seen her in ages so I took the first part of the run easy so I could have a good old blether and catch up with her. On the second part of the run, however, I decided to test myself and speeded up a bit. I soon, to my eternal surprise, found myself running at the front of the group I was with rather than the back and maintained a good pace all the way back. I came home with a real buzz after having kept pace with people I’m normally trailing way behind. Even more surprising was that my legs STILL felt good on Wednesday. I expected to be feeling it after pushing myself on Tuesday, but aside from a slight weariness again, there was no problem and I completed another upper body workout on the TRX (including more work on my poor abs!).

Sadly things went a bit wrong on Thursday. I came home from work and got changed for a track session. Our running track is at one of the local schools, and when I got up there I discovered that there was something going on at the school and the car park was packed! Every space was filled, as was every teeny tiny spot where one could possibly leave a car. Despite driving around a few times (resulting in me actually getting stuck in the car park when a huge surge of even more cars arrived!) there was absolutely nowhere I could leave my car. The nearest space was too far away as the session had already started and I would be far too late by the time I got there. A bit disheartened, I headed home trying to figure out what I could do instead. Gym? Didn’t have my membership card with me and I would be far too hot in the kit I was wearing. Go for a run? I wasn’t wearing any hi-vis, and besides it was getting on for 7pm. In the end there was nothing for it but to give up and go home. This whole adventure took up almost an hour of my evening and all for nothing, however there was no point dwelling on it so I had a nice relaxing evening instead. After all, in a few weeks I might be grateful for a night off!

My weekend training has been much more positive again. A short swim on Friday evening followed by a jacuzzi and sauna to set me up for another two days of running. On Saturday I headed out for a steady run of 4.5 miles and the hardest thing about it was trying to keep the pace down. Lately I find I’m running fairly comfortably at 8.30 – 9.00 mins per mile (dependant on hills) so for a steady run I’m aiming for about 9.00 – 9.20 per mile and I’m actually finding it quite tricky to get the pace right. I did do a bit better with it than last week though and the whole point was that I would then run faster today, which I did. Today’s session was a 10k run (although I ended up with 6.4 miles rather than 6.2) and despite running up one of the steepest hills around here, I kept a good pace with a sub-9.00 average so overall I’m very pleased.

So far then, these split runs seem to be working. I’ve not yet run more than about 6.5 miles yet I’m accumulating more mileage than this time last year and my legs feel good. What’s more, the steady run on Saturday is helping to ease off my leg muscles ready for my long run on Sunday and this is a good thing as from next Sunday those runs are only gong to get longer! Hopefully, this positive pattern will continue…

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