If April was all about Paris, then May can only be about one thing – Edinburgh!
At the end of this month I will undertake my second marathon of the year (after a little warm-up in the 5k the day before) while Steve, who has clearly lost his mind, will take on all 4 of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival races over the race weekend (10k and 5k on Saturday then the half and full marathons on Sunday)! He will be the 4th person to take on this feat, which on the Sunday will require him to race the half marathon then be collected by a friend on a motorbike to be taken back to the start for the full marathon. He will technically be taking on an ultra that day so will have to think carefully about his nutrition and race strategy. I’ll be starting the marathon ahead of him, having waved him off early for the half, but I think I’ll be glancing over my shoulder to watch out for him catching me up!
For me, taking on a second marathon just 7 weeks after Paris is an interesting concept. I actually did this once before when I ran both the London and Edinburgh marathons in 2011 with just 5 weeks in between. I found then that I approached the second of the two marathons differently. On the one hand, I had already completed the distance so was confident that I would be able to finish and I had a benchmark time to work against. This left me very relaxed on race morning when ordinarily there would be a lot of nerves. On the other hand, any marathon is an unknown quantity and you never really know what’s going to happen until you’re out there. With one marathon in the tank I could either be really well recovered and run as well (or better) than in Paris, but equally I could find myself still weary and those 26.2 miles could be a bit of a slog. Only time will tell. I think the key thing is to remain relaxed and just take it as it comes.
To prepare, I have been building my long run mileage up a bit again over the last few weeks, however having run one marathon already there was no need to go as far as an 18 or 20 mile run again, I simply needed to let my mileage tick over then ensure that I get a good taper to be fresh for race day. I’ve also continued with some Metafit classes since I have really felt the benefit of these over the last few months.
The only snag is that I’ve been experiencing a discomfort in my lower leg similar to late last summer. I’ve been having massage to try and clear the tension and “grittiness” in the muscle, but to be on the safe side I decided to see my physio again to check that there was nothing serious going on and ensure that I was doing everything I possibly could to relieve the problem – I couldn’t face another painful marathon like in Lochaber a couple of years ago! Fortunately, the physio didn’t find anything to worry about and believes that a bit of muscle tightness post-marathon has caused another muscle to work a bit harder than it’s used to, resulting in the discomfort I’ve felt. The treatment: continue with my stretching and massage and add in an exercise with the Thera-band which I was doing in the autumn, but with more resistance to strengthen the muscle further. Other than that, I can carry on with my planned training and use my tape to allow the muscle a little relief while it recovers. It still throbs a bit after running, but hopefully this will settle down soon and unless it continues to bother me, there’s no need to return for another appointment. Fingers crossed!
Today being Sunday, I had my (physio approved) long run of 16 miles and this is my longest run (other than the marathon I already ran!) before Edinburgh. The discomfort in my leg was still there (contrary to what runners always hope, it hadn’t magically vanished overnight!) however it wasn’t enough to really bother me, nor did it get any worse as the run went on. Overall I thought my average mile time was a little slower, however this may be because I picked one of the hilliest routes possible!
Not exactly easy, and my splits on the flatter sections were spot on so I’m perfectly content with that. The hills are great conditioning and help make me stronger, as I discovered when tackling The Hill at Balmoral last week.
Today’s run was also notable as it constituted my entry for a virtual run I signed up to this month. Someone in a ladies only running group I’m part of on Facebook has been organising virtual runs to fundraise for Macmillan Cancer Support. I could choose to run 5k, 10k or a half marathon (obviously I picked the half marathon since I was heading out for a 16 mile run!), pay my entry fee of £6 then submit my Garmin details after I had completed my run so that I would get my medal. Since Steve and I are supporting Macmillan this year, this seemed like a really easy way to make a donation and effectively means that today I earned a medal just for doing the training run I was going to do anyway – bonus! The medal itself was designed specifically for this event. It looks brilliant and I’m looking forward to mine arriving!
With that run completed, I’m now back to tapering. It feels like no time at all since I last wrote about the marathon taper, yet here I am doing it again already. I coped ok the last time so hopefully the Taper Demons won’t overwhelm me this time either. With a reduction in mileage and some extra strength work to do for my leg, this taper seems to be coming at just the right time to see me on that start line in Edinburgh ready to rock it once again.
Have you ever taken part in a virtual run/race?
Do you include hills in your training?