A Week in Review (13 Mar – 18 Mar 2012)

Starting to take its toll…

7 days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. This is a summary of my running week. Ups and downs. Aches and pains. Feelings and emotions.

Distance: 40.86 miles | Time on my feet: 6:02:55 | Races: 0 | PBs: 0


My God I’m tired.

Mentally I’m still focussed on my training and although I am repeatedly reminded by various emails of the risk of a staleness creeping in around this point, I thankfully don’t have any problem doing the training from a motivational point of view. I’ve already spoken about how I have been unable to identify the source of my motivation but hey, if it ain’t broken… I’ve also rediscovered the ability to switch my mind towards long-distance running. I remember when I started the training (when a club run was around the 5 or 6 mile mark) thinking how much of a jump it was to consider doing longer distances regularly again. Now, anything less than 10 miles is a ‘short’ run in my mind. Running has almost completely taken over my life now to the point that it’s going to be odd after the race to adjust back into a ‘normal’ training regime.

Physically, this has been an interesting week. My body is starting to feel the effects of all the miles and niggling pains are starting to emerge. Muscle tightness, joints aching…general fatigue. A strange thing has happened with my feet (all, I’m convinced, to the credit of the massages and stretching) and the blisters I have been plagued with for as long as I have been running are almost a thing of the past. The shift in my alignment is manifesting symptoms elsewhere, mind, and as I enter the coming week’s training I look forward to another massage session on Friday with great anticipation and the prospect of another beneficial session.

Schedule vs. Actual

Schedule Actual
Monday Rest 5 miles recovery
Tuesday 7 miles with strides 10.03 miles (87 mins)
Wednesday 5 miles recovery Rest
Thursday 10 miles (inc. 6 miles @ 08:00) 7.52 miles @ 08:07 average
Friday Rest Rest
Saturday 20 miles 18.36 miles (2h51m)
Sunday 5 miles recovery Rest
TOTAL 47 miles 40.91 miles

Main points of note:

We had a plan this week. Since Mandy and I both felt we started last week’s long run with an unhelpful amount of residual soreness in our muscles, we decided to swap the schedule round a bit. I was heading out to Wales again towards the end of the week so it suited both our personal circumstances to swap Tuesday and Thursday round. We also agreed to back down the mileage on Saturday from 20 to 18 in readiness for the final 22 next week. This too, we were to find out, was a good decision.

After the 21 mile run last Saturday, I found myself itching to run again the following day (I can’t believe how quickly I recovered) but, as tempting as it was, I resisted the urge. A call from a running buddy on Monday evening to do a steady 5 miles with him was just the ticket, although I was surprised how heavy my legs were feeling to haul me round at 08:50 pace. Looking back now it’s easy to understand why, but at the time I thought it would’ve been easier…

The next night we headed to the club and the rescheduled 10-miler on Tuesday was, in the main, a good, solid run – well, for the first 8 miles at least. As we approached the final turn and began to head back I was suddenly aware of a niggling pain in my left knee which felt as though it was behind my kneecap. Uh-oh. I didn’t get much worse but it was enough to make me concerned that it was a warning sign.

Rest on Wednesday evening as I travelled to Wales for the concluding installment of my training there and thoughts were towards the 7-miler which were to follow the night after. I remember when I started the training in October 2011 thinking that by the time the last session came round in March 2012 I’d be a month away from the race and suddenly here I was! Unlike the other months, including last month, this time my headlamp was redundant as the day’s light was still holding on. Spring is well and truly on its way. I also decided to run the route on Thursday in reverse by way of a final farewell to the roads and turns I have come to be so familiar with over the last 6 months. The daylight meant something else I had not been used to too – people! Farmers working the fields paused to look at me quizzically as I passed by and people in the village looked over at me with a similar amount of puzzlement and interest; faces hinting at their confusion why someone would be running fast out in the middle of nowhere without so much as a handbag under my arm and a policeman in close pursuit. I get the feeling not many people run for leisure round there. My niggling knee was present but I was convinced that it was not going to stop me get round. I was more concerned how it would fair on the weekend’s long run and I spent most of Friday thinking about it, what I could do about it, what was going on with it. Because I was thinking about it, it ached all day Friday.

And so to Saturday. As I emerged from the car I was apprehensive about my knee and the general state of tiredness I felt. My sleeping had been irregular in the week and I knew I’d not had enough. My legs were feeling heavy and it was only the prospect of a shorter run that made the task at hand seem possible. Thank God we weren’t doing 22 miles that day. Right from the start it felt as though I was dragging a weight behind me, but we settled into the pace and plodded on. It’s good to know that I wasn’t alone in feeling like I did – my running buddy was also feeling the effects of the preceding week and whilst by her own admittance she didn’t feel like she was gliding around like a princess at a ball, she did do a very good job of making it look easy compared to the effort I had to put in to make my legs function. Thankfully my knee was OK throughout (just the odd reminder of its presence which I was able to acknowledge and shelve) and we finished the 18.3 mile loop feeling OK. I would probably say that 18 miles is my threshold distance now – the point at which muscle fatigue starts to appear. Our average pace of 09:19 was an improvement over the previous two weeks also so all in all a positive run.

An email from the Paris Marathon organisers brought things into perspective for me this week. It loudly announced that there was less than 30 days to go until the big day and that the bulk of the training was now behind me. It also said to listen to your body and once again my thoughts were towards my knee. Was it a temporary glitch? A minor niggle? Or was it the initial signs of something more serious? I checked how many miles I’d done in my shoes to see whether they were beginning to wear out. 270 miles. Not likely, then, that the cushioning was wearing out. As I write this I’m unsure of its nature or severity and it will feature heavily in my thoughts throughout this week’s training.

What I do know is that Paris is getting scarily close now!

27 days, 22 hours and 30 minutes to go…


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