So after the 7.00am cancellation of my 7.30am client session, what to do? Go back to bed and get a few more zzzzs? No, armed with a strong black coffee, I’m updating you all on my running week or more specifically the very last minute developments in my half marathon training!
After my last half at the end of March I was determined to be ready for the very imminent Royal Parks Half Marathon by following a structured training plan. “Structured” in that I was planning to do a long 15kish run twice a month. This all fell apart from the outset and about three months ago I ended up devising my own plan which essentially entailed extending my running distances in line with the recommended 10% per week.
Once we got passed the 6/7k point, this didn’t go entirely to plan either, partly due to a “dodgy ankle” which is still dodgy but not as bad.
In the middle of August I managed a 13k run with no walking, followed by a 12k run/3k run walk a week later and a continuous 15k run a few weeks ago. Apart from that, just runs ranging from 5 to 8k.
Then last week something miraculous happened! I did an 18k continuous run not once but twice and on both occasions the pace would have had me not far off my half marathon PB (achieved in 2008). How did that happen!?
And even better, at the end of both runs I felt like I had another 3k in me – just! “Why didn’t you go for it then Jones”, I hear you ask? Well on the first occasion, I had only been planning on a 16k and the route I took left me 5k from home at that point and several inclines in between. One slight but loooong and one shorter but steeper and my mind couldn’t overcome those hurdles.
I did manage the first one which quite surprised me because the thought of this hill has had me avoid this particular route in the recent past. Unfortunately, at the 18k point, even the downhill before the second uphill couldn’t quite keep my legs running so I walked the last 3k home. It was supposed to be a walk/run but my knees wouldn’t lift themselves up high enough for the run part. (Note to self – my post half marathon training will include hill sessions!)
The second time though, on Sunday evening, I stayed closer to home and by the end I was running 2k circuits to try to get the distance up. Bearing in mind I started out with just 5k in mind, this turned to “try to get to 8k”, “you can do 10k”, “12k would be good”, “another circuit for 14k”, “might as well do 15k”, “16k would be 10miles” and finally “it would be a shame not to do 18k again now you’ve got this far”. I think the dog walkers I passed three times were going through a sense of déjà vu but, hey.
Because I hadn’t intended to run quite that far on Sunday evening, I hadn’t taken any water, etc with me and I think I was powered by the aroma of other people’s Sunday roasts! On the previous 18k I had used a freebie High5 energy tablet in my water. On my previous 15k run, I had used a freebie High5 energy gel which although not exactly tasty, wasn’t too revolting and reasonably palatable.
Neither resulted in any “digestive repercussions”, so I’ve invested in a tube of High5 Zero sports energy tablets. I’m a bit confused by the “zero sugar” “zero cal” claims. Where does the energy come from then? And in some respects as I managed to do 18k without any water or “fuel” on Sunday, do I actually need anything? But I’m not going to risk it on 12 October. And the drink’s got to be easier to handle than trying to extricate jelly beans from my running bum bag.
I think one of the other things that got me around on Sunday was the thought that if I managed 18k, I could justify that as being my last “long run”. The pressure would then be off for the next two weeks and I could stick to cementing my running with a few 10ks and/or shorter. And I have lined myself up to be the tail runner at parkrun on the day before the run just to keep my legs turning over.
So all in all, although it’s been a bit last minute, I’m feeling a bit more confident about my ability to complete the run. The distance is in the legs but now all I have to do is control my pacing in the first half of the route!
In the meantime, I have an exciting exercise class coming up this week “Burlexercise”, a combination of cardio and resistance work incorporating showgirl elements and including weighted boas! Bearing in mind my complete lack of natural dance rhythm as evidenced on Saturday night at “Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet”, and a few co-ordination problems, this could be quite interesting. I will report back!