Yesterday I ran 20 miles. 20 whole miles.
It’s been a heavy few weeks. I had a cold 3 or 4 weeks ago that completely screwed up that week’s running & stressed me out as I knew I was getting to the critical training period. It was fine though, I took a few days off running to sleep off the virus and hit it hard again the following week.
Then two weeks ago I ran 18 miles. I ran it in a good time, but it was the first long run where I really ached afterwards. It took a good couple of days to get back to walking normally! That week was probably the peak of my energy and enthusiasm. My body is so fatigued from the training build up that since then I’ve really struggled to find the motivation to run. Not ideal as there’s still weeks until the race!
Last week I had to spice things up a bit to boost my motivation, so even though I’m not supposed to be adding in any new training routines I ran mile intervals for one of my short 5 milers and it made the world of difference. I felt much more energised afterwards. I then ran last week’s 10 mile mid-week long run at an average of 8:50 minutes/mile which is faster than I planned to run the marathon and felt amazing. My other tactic has been running short runs with my friend Damien who is trying to get back into running. He helped me get through a very achey recovery run after that fast 10 miler!
Then we get back to the 20 miler. I spent this weekend in Paris (blog to follow), which involved walking for miles in wedged trainers, eating a huge quantity of ridiculously rich food and drinking rather large quantities of red wine. So I took on 20 miles with tired legs, achey feet, a belly full of food & drink my body wasn’t used to and without having had enough sleep. You won’t find this recommended in any marathon training books I can tell you.
The main thing is that I finished the 20 miles, again in a decent time. Other than backache for the last 3 or 4 miles I wasn’t in any pain, I didn’t get any blisters and my leg muscles coped frighteningly well. The rich food from the weekend repeated on me leaving me feeling very sick and I had a terrible stomach ache by the time I reached home (I also had to make two toilet stops mid-run, but the less said about that the better). The overwhelming feeling though was of exhaustion. I’ve just never been so tired in my entire life. How I kept putting one foot in front of the other for the last 5 miles I have absolutely no idea, but I did.
Incredibly I don’t really ache today – I was expecting to be really sore! I can feel my knees twinge as I walk down stairs and my feet could do with a rub, but other than that I’m fine! It’s an enormous relief, and gives me hope that on the day, when I’ve had much better preparation I’ll be able to stumble through the full 26.2 miles.
That was the peak of my training so from now on it’s rest & refuel time. A few weeks of carbohydrates and gentle running & there is no reason I won’t finish Brighton Marathon in less than my goal of 4 hours 15 minutes. If you want to give me a final push, please sponsor me so I can think of Goodgym and have a reason to keep putting one foot in front of the other on the day.