On the Road Again: Marathon Training Week 7

What a difference a week makes! If last week was characterised by niggles, cross training and frustration, by contrast this week has been very positive. Clearly the decision to take a week out and cross train then run a bit easier last Sunday has had a positive impact and I have had no further problems with the inside of my knee. That’s not to say everything has been a bed of roses – the work I’ve had to do to strengthen various leg muscles has, when combined with running, resulted in my calves being rock solid for a good part of this week. I have, however, surprised myself and run well despite that. I even managed something resembling my actual plan for the week!

Planned training this week:
Monday – Gym
Tuesday – Club Run
Wednesday – Gym
Thursday – Rest
Friday – Mile Repeats
Saturday – 5 miles
Sunday – 13-14 miles

Monday was a tough leg workout using the TRX. It was particularly tough on the calves and given that I’d run a very hilly route last Sunday meant that, predictably, my lower legs were suffering quite a lot. That said, this work in the gym has clearly helped to overcome whatever problem was leading to the discomfort around my knee so short term weary calves are certainly worth the long term gain at the moment.

Unsurprisingly, on Tuesday I hurt. All day I dreaded the club run that evening. It being Valentine’s day I thought that numbers would be down and I had visions of me struggling to keep up with people on lovely fresh legs (what’s that like again?) as I plodded round some murderous route with my calves screaming at every step. In the end, I decided to do my own thing. It seemed far easier to me to walk in the door after work, get changed and head straight back out again to run whatever distance I felt like at whatever pace felt right and just see what happened. What happened was that I ran 4 miles at an average of 8:40 per mile. Not too shabby for a Tuesday night and I was pleased to find I could still keep up a reasonable pace on tired legs.

Wednesday saw me back in the gym following a sports massage to help work out some of the accumulated tightness in my calves. This time, we used a different piece of kit for my workout: the Vipr. Again, the session was very much focused on the lower body but combined with a bit of strength training too. I prefer the TRX but didn’t feel too bad on Thursday. Imagine my surprise, though, when I woke up on Friday and felt the familiar ache of tired muscles. “After a rest day?” I thought. Being unused to the Vipr the DOMS had clearly set in. Great!

Unfortunately, DOMS or no DOMS I had a speed session to do. Normally this is my Thursday workout but since I was on holiday on Thursday I had made plans so swapped the session to Friday. It was lovely to spend Thursday relaxing with a good friend; it was not so good to have mile repeats still looming over me on Friday!

I had originally intended to run 8 mile repeats, but with my calves still feeling tight and knowing that I would be running on both Saturday and Sunday, I decided just to do 6. It was therefore the same session as last time: warm up then 6x 1 mile at 7.5mph with 0.2 mile recovery. Pretty exhausting but my recent quicker pace is testament to how successful this workout is.

And so to the weekend. Saturday was a nice gentle 5 miles at about a 9 minute mile pace to set me up for my long run on Sunday. The plan was to run last week’s route in reverse (which makes it a bit harder) but I added on a bit at the start so overall it was a 13.5 mile route. Pleasingly, despite the tough hills, a little ice and a fairly strong headwind, I completed my run in 2:00:51. All the pace work is definitely paying off, as is running with someone a bit faster that me as it is making me push to run faster. After a frustrating time last week, this week has definitely put me back on track and things are looking good for the sub-2hr half marathon that has been eluding me and, all being well, a nice shiny marathon PB when I run in Lochaber 8 weeks today. Game on!

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