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Steady as She Goes

23 January 2012

My first week of marathon training is over and, despite minor ill-health, it went well. I ran 33.5 miles over five runs and it felt like a good ‘foundation’ or ‘base’ running week. Nothing too strenuous, no run longer than 8 miles.

I got scared on Thursday, listening to a Marathon Talk podcast about training, which assumed that ‘intermediate’ marathon runners start from a base of 40 miles a week. That’s before they really start training. I am aiming for that kind of mileage, but it’s going to take me a couple of weeks to get there.  I ran zero miles per week for most of November so I need to be careful.

Having recovered from my cold, I was able to make up for lost time on drinking front on Friday and Saturday, so both weekend runs suffered as a result. Saturday’s was worst: an evil headwind + hilly route + minor hangover = grim 6.5 miles. I meant to run 7 but confess to walking the last half.

Sunday’s was the best run of the week, despite a woolly head. The plan dictated a “steady 8 miles” and I obeyed. I love a “steady” run – which I interpret it as “how I usually run when not training”. I run fast, but make sure that I’m not straining to catch my breath and that my head is always up. I go easy on the uphills and swiftly on the downhills. Basically, I try to enjoy it, which for me means running quickly without killing myself.

The first 6 miles were great – my pace was at 7 minutes 20 per mile, the fastest I’ve run in a while. As mile 7 started, however, I could feel everything slow down and start to hurt, from my lungs to my hips to my feet. What had been easy became a struggle. At this point in my route there’s a slow incline – probably over a mile long. When I first started running around Crouch End I used to hate it, but I hadn’t noticed it lately.  Until yesterday. By the time I turned the corner onto Park Road I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel. A week’s running had taken its toll and I had already run 32 miles – why not just stop?

I slowed down a little bit to catch my breath. I dropped my shoulders and shook my hands to get the tension out of my neck. I sped up past the shops. I ran very slowly up Crouch Hill, then pounded down the other side and made it home in just under 1 hour. My face was hot for the rest of the day – a literal glow of self-satisfaction.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 23 January 2012 10:20 am

    Well done!

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