Wednesday, 29 January 2014

The runs are getting longer

73 days until the London marathon.


This past weekend I had a long-planned hill race on Saturday, and then a long run scheduled for Sunday. The hill race was a relay, and together with a colleague I slogged through the wind, up the hills, and across the saturated ground for our ~ 6 mile leg. Thankfully, there was split-pea and mint soup, rolls, and cake at the race headquarters afterwards.

I was tired, but not too beat up, and so I thought my scheduled 18-miler on Sunday would be doable.


On Sunday, I faffed. I wanted to rest in the morning and recover from the race. My 18-miler, the longest run of the training cycle thusfar, would take me close to three hours, so I couldn't do it in the morning, as I had to take my daughter someplace at 10 a.m. Prior to this, I popped a pot-roast and vegetables into the oven for Sunday lunch.

After lunch, I stretched out on the couch. It was raining and windy outside, again. There was the newspaper to read. And this interesting book that my wife gave me for Christmas - The Story of the Human Body. My son wanted me to continue reading a bit of The Two Towers to him.

My daughter then went off with her friends. My wife took my son to see a local castle. It was 3:00.


It started raining one mile into the run. I had used google maps to measure out a 9 mile loop, and planned on running it twice. The loop was hilly, but mostly on farm roads, so there wasn't much traffic. I was sore, so I took it slow on the hills. At one point, I had a view out to the Firth of Forth, and stopped for a photo.

After the first lap, I took a sip of water from a water bottle that I'd stashed in a tree near the start of the run. I also had a chocolate chip cookie. It became dark on the second lap, but I didn't really struggle until the last two miles. At that point, I took a few walk breaks so that I could recover more quickly from the run.

And then it was done! With 7:16 of running this week, it had been my biggest week so far.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

A brush with injury

84 days until the London marathon.


The past week I had a brush with a hamstring pull. I'd done a hard parkrun (5k race) the past Saturday, and then ran a tired 14.6 miles the next day.
I did 7 on the track on Tuesday, but by Weds. my body was hurting. I did an easy 5 miles, but my right upper hamstring felt sore. On Thursday, I was scheduled to do 10 miles, but after 2 I could barely run, and called it quits.

I swam on Friday, and felt good in the pool. My leg was still sore.

On Saturday, I really wanted to do a long run, but after one 5.4 mile loop through town I decided to stop because of the hamstring.

On Sunday evening, I tried again. The hamstring was sore, but it didn't feel like it was getting any worse, so I did my 16 miles.

Now, a few days later, it seems to have cleared up. In looking back, it was a good idea to pull back when I did, but I can also see that I have
tried to push through a potential injury. Rationally, stopping running for a few days does not matter, but I get into this trap of thinking I have to make up missed workouts.


The nights are still long here, but on occasion we get a good glimpse of the stars from our back garden.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

In which I pick a marathon training plan

95 days until the London marathon. Gulp.


In my past marathons, I've used the New York City Marathon Official training plan, available via an interactive tool at the New York Times. I've like having the structure of a plan, and the tool has been useful for marking my progress.

But this time around, I haven't really engaged with the tool. I punched in my dates, got my schedule, but just haven't been looking at it much.

I've also felt that something was lacking. Because of my previous epic fades, I was starting to think that I need more long runs. In particular, I wanted to do more mid-week long runs. These would pave the way for less traumatic weekend long runs.

And then I listened to this.


The Pete Pfitzinger plan, as described in his book Advanced Marathoning, is just what I've been looking for. Basically, it includes lots of longish mid-week runs, and a gradual increase in overall weekly mileage. I've adopted an 18-week, 55 mile (peak week) plan, and it has been a slight jump up as I've entered it in Week 3 of the plan. I'm hoping my body will adapt. In the meantime I've eased back a bit on the mileage if my legs are tired. Today, for example, the plan called for a 9 mile run, and I did 7.


So, my past week, which included the New Years holiday, looked like the following:

Mon: swim 1600m
Tues: nothing
Weds: 1:06 (6.5 miles?) in the countryside (New Years day; a touch hung-over)
Thurs: 1:05 (6 miles ish?) Hill reps x 10 with club
Fri: swim 800 m, some weights after
Sat: 2 mile warm up + park run race (3.1 miles hard)+ 1 mile cool down
Sun: 14.6 tiring miles

All in, about 5:13 of running.


The past month has been the wettest ever in Scotland, apparently. The river near the bottom of our garden was high for several days, but dropped recently so that the usual rocks are now visible.