So it didn’t take long for the planned frequent updates on my marathon training to come to a shuddering halt. Weeks 1, 2, 3 and 4 & 5 are available elsewhere on the blog. I’ve had a bit of a wobble in the intervening 5 weeks and I think that is why I’ve struggled to keep the blog up to date but hopefully everything is on the right track now.
Week 6 was the beginning of my wobble. It started well enough with the first run of the week which was a 6 mile progression run with a 2 mile warm down. Really struggled to get out of bed for this run but it was well worth it and everything went to plan. With what was to come on the Sunday this was a much needed confidence boost. Sunday saw me take on my second half marathon, the Haweswater half marathon. I’ve written about this race in more detail here but suffice to say this was a real struggle. Yes I ended up with a shiny new sub 2 hour pb but in retrospect this race really dented my confidence. At the time and even the following day I was pretty happy with the race, yes I’d struggled but I’d completed it. However as we entered the next week my confidence plummeted.
Entering week 7 I was really struggling mentally. The overriding thought in my mind was that if I’d struggled this much with a half marathon how was I going to cope with a full marathon. In the end I only ended up going out for one run 5 miles at a steady pace. It was good to get out again but there wasn’t anything particularly remarkable or memorable about this run.
Week 8 was where I began to turn a corner. The first run of the week was when Storm Gareth was still kicking around. An easy pace 8 miles, slightly too quick but given that parts felt like running through treacle, thanks to the wind, it was pretty tough to judge my pace so I was pretty happy with the run. The second run of the week is what made me realise I’d turned a corner. What should have just been a simple, nothing major easy pace 6 miles with 6x100m strides afterwards felt pretty damn good. The weather was horrible as well what started as steady rain turned heavier, then sleetier, then snowier by the minute and yet I didn’t want to give in. The week 8 Sunday long run was an easy pace 13 miles. Oh my god this run felt so so much better than that half marathon in week 6 and actually wasn’t a great deal slower than that. These last two runs in week 8 had me feeling like I might actually be able to do this.
Week 9 started with another 6 mile progression run with a 2 mile warm down. I’d intended to do this run before work, then couldn’t get out of bed and then I’d intended to do it straight after work and then got distracted. I eventually got out for the run and the first two miles were a struggle to get the legs moving but eventually everything clicked into place and I got what I wanted out of the run. The next run was 2 mile warm up, followed by 3x 2 miles at half marathon pace with a 500m recovery and then a 1 mile warm down. I’ll readily admit to being a bit scared about this run prior to heading out but I actually surprised myself with how I was able to keep to the required paces. Saturday saw me head out for an easy pace 6 miles which was a shambles as it was far too fast for easy pace and I couldn’t get the pacing right for love nor money. Sunday long run was another one that scared me a touch. 15 miles at an easy pace would be my longest ever run. It actually felt brilliant, I could feel myself get into a groove and my confidence that the marathon would be doable rocketed.
Week 10 started with some swelling on my ankle. I decided to take an ultra cautious approach and rested and iced. I probably could have been back running by Thursday but decided to take it easy. Saturday I went out for 8 easy pace miles to test my ankle. I started out too quick but I was really happy with the consistency of the last 4 miles running 9:35, 9:35, 9:35 and 9:32 miles to finish the run. It seems that as every week passes the long run begins to scare me and this weeks was no different. I set out intending on doing 2 miles easy pace warm up, then 3x 3 miles at marathon pace with 2 miles recovery and ending with 1 mile easy pace warm down. It was a lovely morning for a long run shame mine was a complete failure. Didn’t feel great at easy pace in the warm up and then the 3 blocks of 3 miles at marathon pace came to a grinding halt in the first mile when I realised I had absolutely nothing in my legs. I then decided just to run it at easy pace and at least get the mileage in, but with some pain in my foot that had a bit of swelling at the start of the week I thought it was better just to abort and move on.
I knew going into this that training for a marathon is hard otherwise everyone would be doing it but after that last failure I’m really starting to wonder if I can actually do it. The mind is a strange thing one good run and everything feels great and you feel full of confidence. One bad run and the sky is falling and you doubt you can do anything.