I know February is a a short month, but wow! How can that be another month of the year over? Believe it or not, we are now a sixth of the way into 2014!
Last month, I was very pleased to have completed all of my planned training and to have maintained the consistency of my running all the way through January, despite Mother Nature’s best attempts to derail my plans. In all honesty, the weather in February hasn’t been much better and I’ve endured several more soggy runs and one or two when I genuinely thought I might be blown off the face of the Earth! But in marathon training, you just have to get your head down and carry on. I try to look for the positives in even the toughest sessions so have come to the conclusion that all those wet and windy runs not only make me stronger and better able to cope should race day bring less than favourable conditions, but have also been “character building”! Whether or not I need it (and Steve would say I certainly don’t!) I have definitely built much more “character” in recent weeks, but this too is a vital part of marathon training as 26.2 miles will test not only your physical ability, but also your strength of character to keep on going when things are getting tough and every last fibre of your being is screaming at you to stop. Those tricky runs have toughened me up and, given that I have been training alone, have left me feeling confident that I can overcome any race day demons to reach the finish line, hopefully with a new PB.
Unfortunately, I didn’t quite manage all of my planned sessions in February. It was all looking good until the very last gasp when I missed one midweek run due to not feeling very well, however all things considered I’m not overly worried about that. Looking at the big picture, I’d say it’s better to miss one midweek run and hit the weekend fighting fit than to carry on regardless and not only make an illness linger, but potentially affect the quality of the all-important long run.
With that in mind, my training for the final week of February should have been:
Monday – 20 min recovery jog
Tuesday – 7 miles
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Coaching running club
Friday – Metafit
Saturday – 40 mins easy
Sunday – 20 miles
But I woke up on Monday with the sort of prickly throat which normally heralds an imminent cold. I decided to go ahead with my recovery jog since this was a treadmill session and therefore easily curtailed if necessary, and there was the added draw of going to use the steam room and sauna afterwards as this has proven successful in the past at warding off the lurgy. In actual fact, I felt fine while I was running and by the time I’d had a steam and sauna, felt much more human than I had all day. I followed this up with a preventative Lemsip and an early night, awaking on Tuesday to feel much better. Sadly, as the day went on I began to feel below par again and worrying about whether or not to run didn’t help. Finally, I asked myself a couple of questions: could I run? Yes. Should I run? Hmmm, not so sure. In the end, it was Steve who helped me decide to forget about that particular run and said if I felt like it I could go for a swim, but to listen to my body. My body was saying rest and after a couple of hours of quality sofa time and my scheduled sports massage, I was once more feeling much better. Another preventative Lemsip and another early night were called for.
Wednesday is my rest day anyway, but whatever bug was trying to invade my system had one last go and I spent the day with a sore throat and a general achy, “bleurgh” feeling. Instead of my orchestra rehearsal that evening, I opted for a nice hot bath and a catch up with my running magazine before an early night with (you guessed it!) a Lemsip.
But this time I beat it.
By the time I woke up on Thursday morning, I felt brand new. My legs felt a little heavy and sluggish, but this was in all likelihood because I had missed a run. Fortunately, Steve had given me a particularly “interesting” route to take the running club on that evening. Just shy of 3 miles, it included a hill, a gradual incline, a bit of a hill, a brief adventure in the darkness and a lovely downhill glide back to where we started. The runners all did a brilliant job and it gave my legs a chance to loosen up a bit again. Oddly enough, I loved it!
I continued to feel good as I headed towards the weekend confident that I had, indeed, beaten the bug. Metafit went well and I had a lovely Saturday morning easy run ahead of an afternoon orchestra rehearsal and evening concert. Perhaps not the most conventional of preparation for a 20 mile run, but it was interesting to spend a day engaged in a completely different activity (i.e. there was no opportunity to talk about running!).
For my Sunday long run, I had decided to cover pretty much the same route as last Sunday, but with an extra loop in town before setting out and a slightly extended diversion in Scone to make up the distance. I had high hopes of a dry day, however shortly before heading out there was a bit of a passing shower so the lightweight running jacket was called into play. As it turned out, there was actually only the briefest of showers early on in the run before it dried up again (and there was even a guest appearance by the sunshine for a while). More importantly, although there was some wind it was nothing like last week’s brutal, swirling cross winds which I was overjoyed about – perhaps it is now spring!
As is typical of my training routes, there were some pretty challenging hills in there but I did have a target time in mind for my run which I met. I was so happy about this that when my watch finally bleeped to tell me I had run 20 miles, I experienced something akin to the wave of emotions that engulfs you on the finish line of a marathon and for a few moments I thought I might actually cry – God knows what I’ll be like if I do manage to run a PB in Paris!
And so with a successful 20 mile run March, and the Around the World Running Blog Relay (ATWRBR2014) begins. I now have just one more 20 mile run to complete in a couple of weeks before the glorious taper when my legs can recover, my body can store energy, and my mind can play all kinds of tricks on me. I”m still feeling strong and I can’t wait to get to that start line in Paris.
I’ll leave you with this great link I came across earlier: Google Translate for Runners. It certainly gave me a laugh!
What additions would you make to the running translations?
Has your training been affected by illness? How did you cope?