March – the month of the long runs!
It’s been my highest mileage month to date and there have been highs and lows. The more I have run though the stronger I have become mentally as well as physically. I even managed to bag a half marathon personal best at Weymouth and I have completed 2 x 20 milers, so that can’t be bad.
When I look back over my months activity, It doesn’t seem to me like I have done that much. I mean I don’t count the countless gym training I have been doing but I guess that all contributes towards marathon training too right? As far as my running goes, I haven’t followed a strict training plan, I just run when I can, when it suits my lifestyle. I made my own plan.
I’ve not managed to fit in many lunchtime 5k’s this month due to a busy time at work, but I have committed to as much as I can at the weekends with the longer runs and attended the mid week FAC OFF runs where possible combining road and off-road training.
Pushing through the pain
The first of the 20 milers was with the lovely Laura, it was on the towpath and it was wet and windy! We were only meant to be doing 18 but we pushed on to do 20. I wore the complete wrong footwear, my trail shoes mainly because of all the puddles, so my feet did hurt a bit afterwards as they are not great for support on a towpath surface – but miraculously I had no blisters!
I struggled on the return. The first 10 miles felt great and I experimented with my first ever gel which was ok, quite tasty actually, it was like an ice pop that had melted but was a bit syrupy. But the last 10km or so I was feeling it and getting frustrated at myself for needing to keep stopping with pain at the back of my knee. We went for a coffee afterwards in the local Sainsburys (the thought of that coffee kept me going!)
Did he really just finger that cake?!
I just remember standing in the queue desperate to be served so I could sit down and there was an elderly couple before me faffing around taking ages. I had dead finger syndrome (Raynauds, I get it now and then), my legs were hurting and I wanted sugar and coffee NOW. When the chap in front of me then proceeded to prod the cake I was eyeing up with his finger I was really not best pleased – but it made Laura giggle when I loudly said did he really just finger that cake? On the plus side after the coffee and a ‘wrapped’ cake bar, I soon recovered pretty quickly and then started to feel good about what I had achieved. I had run 20 miles all before 10am on a wet Sunday morning!
My second 20 miler was with Paddy and Steve. I ran at Paddy’s heart rate pace which I discovered afterwards was about 85% for me, but it was really insightful to do that and amazing at what a difference it made to my pacing and mile splits, they were really consistent. The only stop off was at McDonalds in Bath where I needed the loo (a burger would have been nice too) but we managed to do the 20 miles in 3 hours which I was really happy with. I felt really sick when I got home after that run and wondered whether it was the gels, I had taken on 2 on that run, but once I had a banana and a flapjack I felt ok again, I think my body was just depleted of everything.
I’ve started to experience a few little niggles which is inevitable really. My left leg in particular has had some pains at the back of my knee and I have had some glute pain. I’ve increased my massage treatments to every 3 weeks leading up to the Marathon. Helen from Lifecare Health has treated my IT band, adductors, piriformis and glutes, but I’m pleased to say nothing has been too serious, it’s all just muscular and really to be expected with the amount the legs have been through compared to normal, and I have managed to remain injury free throughout my entire marathon training. With now only 3 weeks to go. I am proud of that (but I don’t want to jinx it now).
The running watch minefield
I’ve been doing loads of research on running watches… its a minefield out there. I’ve been using my trusty FitBit Surge up until now but after the run with Paddy realised that it’s not really a proper running watch, I need something that helps me with my heart rate training and pacing a bit more. Trying to find something suitable is so hard, there are so many on the market. I almost went for a TomTom and still might… but I opted in the end for an Apple Nike watch. I know it’s not a true runners watch but I have to think of the 95% of the time I am not running too and I can’t afford 2 at the moment!
I’m really very grateful to have received several donations this month to the charity. Remember this is one of the reasons I am doing this for my Dad, and for Alzheimers Research UK. I want to bring that medal home for him.
My Virgin Money Giving page has reached £350 online (not including the donations my Stepmum has collected offline too) so I am almost at my target of £500. I was worried that I wouldn’t reach it and I will, thanks to the support of you my friends and family so A HUGE HEARTFELT THANK YOU!
3 weeks to go…
I can’t quite believe that the big one is almost here. This race has consumed my life for the past few months. I watched a time lapse movie the other day of the 26.2 route and boy it looks long….! So this is it, the last training blog. I hope you have enjoyed following my progress. The next one is likely to be my account of the race itself after 23rd April!
In the meantime I will be updating Strava with my activity and you only have another few weeks to endure of my banging on about the marathon on Facebook! So thank you for persevering with me.
Don’t forget you can donate to my page here. Any donation is much appreciated. I will also be running a ‘Guess My Finish Time Sweepstake’ so have a go, it’s only £2 a go and you could win a hamper full of goodies from champagne to some yummy Neal’s Yard beauty products if you guess the nearest to my actual official finish time whatever that may be.
Thats all for now, until April xx