I really didn't want to run today. We'd had guests the night before, and an easy morning on the sofa with a book beckoned. But I needed to get my long run in, and so, after faffing about as much as I could, I headed out the door at 10 a.m.
I ran up to the canal - a distance of a mile - and then six miles along it. The late December sun was low, but welcome after days of rain. As an incentive to do the run, I brought my daughter's ipod shuffle, and listened to Marketplace, The Extra Mile, and Run Run Live podcasts. At around an hour, I reached the turn around point, and headed back.
I like the idea of running a strong second hour. Hopefully, once my miles increase, I'll get to the third hour. This is where I feel I'm getting marathon endurance.
I was tired, but I finished. Again, perhaps the longer midweek run (in this instance, race) took some of the sting out of this run. At 14 miles, surprisingly, it was likely my longest run of the year.
The past week looked like the following:
Monday - 850 m swim (with children)
Tues - 5.4 mile run (town loop)
Weds. - 2.5 mile run (while xmas turkey was in!)
Thurs. - 8.1 mile trail race
Fri. - nothing
Sat. - 5.4 mile run
Sun. - 14 mile run
Timewise, I ran for 5:14 this week.
My children are off of school for the holidays, and my son consented to having his toenails painted by my daughter.
This month has seen dark, wet days, as waves of low pressure have rolled over Scotland.
This morning, however, dawned brighter. This was perfect weather for a local "Boxing Day" handicap race.
Long-story-short: I felt good, and ran strong over the 13.5 k course. I was pleased to put a spurt on in the last 100 m and catch another runner.
My training is ticking over, though I haven't been following my place too closely. Rather, I've just been trying to get in miles when I can. One thing I think I will try to incorporate in this training cycle is mid-week longish runs. These seem to make me feel stronger on my Sunday long runs, which at times seem like slogs. Also, I've been trying to keep track of the amount of time I spend running each week. This is an underestimate of my workouts, as I also swim and play basketball occasionally, but it is still of interest. Last week, I came in around 3:21 for the week. (Yes, this is a bit light, but includes a 7-mile mid-week run, a 5k parkrun race, and a 9 mile long run in the woods. Also, it doesn't include 2 swims and 1.5 hrs of basketball.)
My blogs have been sporadic since my last marathon, so here's a quick summary of the past year. My goal was a half-ironman distance triathlon in August, and to that end I swam (mostly), ran, and biked (occasionally), and, well, I finished. It was good, and I think with more biking and running miles in the bank, I could run a better race. The year I spent training for this has coloured my training perspective now, and I've retained swimming as an upper-body work-out. There's something satisfying about being swim-fit. Also, this keeps my options open for some shorter distance triathlons next summer.
But next year's "A" goal is the marathon.
Psychologically, I haven't started training for it yet, although this week could be considered Week 1 of 20-week training cycle. I've chosen the New York City Marathon Official Program for training, although I will modify it as I go.
So, this has been my week:
Monday: Run 4 miles on the track (7:44 - 7:58) pace (tired from 8-miler on Sunday)
Tues: basketball for 1.5 hours; swim 500m to cool off after
Thurs: swim 900m; run 5 miles on track (7:05 - 7:42 pace)
Saturday: 6.5 mile run, some on trails
Sunday: 9 mile run, mostly on trails (1:29 total)
So, with the jog down to the track and conservative estimations of my mileage, I think this was a 25-mile week.
The week before last I had a long weekend backpacking in the Grand Canyon, on my return from a work trip. And now, back in dark Scotland, I still day-dream about my nights sleeping out.