Marathon Training week 15 : A time to reflect
D. O. N. E.
Those 4 letters (and overzealous punctuation) accompanied a Facebook post I made after completing my peak-distance long-run of my marathon training.
I had blogged just before going on my run that there were some nerves about the upcoming 20 miler, what with it being the longest single distance I’d run in almost two years. I’m happy/relieved to report that the run went off without a hitch. Consistent prior training and following my routine on the day allowed me to go out and complete the 32km without any dramas. There was a bit of a tough period from about between 23-25km, which taught me that on race day I need to hit a gel and some sports drink at 20km. However, I was able to power through kms 26-30 at a slightly faster pace than the average for the day, which means that I’ll hopefully be looking good for getting through the last 10km on race day without dropping too much pace.
As I move into my 3 week taper and my focus turns to peaking for the race I thought it might be useful to me to reflect on the last four weeks since my bonked long run, to assess the progress made since then and say ‘farewell’ to the build-up phase of my training.
As I said, four weeks ago I bonked my long run, and it shook me a bit. Not in an “Oh my God I can’t do this” sort of way, just that it was unexpected and there seemed to be no real reason. Luckily that wasn’t the first long run I’ve bonked (far from it, unfortunately) so I knew that it didn’t mean much other than that run itself had been less successful than I would have liked. I analysed the run and took whatever positives I could out of the experience and continued with my training schedule. I have to trust in the schedule, otherwise what else can I trust?
Following the bonk, my next run was scheduled as a threshold run, so I decided to use it as a bit of a confidence booster and pace check. “Sure, I didn’t go well on Sunday, but if on Tuesday I can still go fast then it shows it’s just a blip” was the mentality. After my warm-up I reset my Garmin and did a 5km time trial. Result – fastest 5k time since owning my Garmin. Not the fastest 5km I’ve ever run (I used to be able to go under 21 minutes some 17 long years ago), but the fastest in recent memory.
That run ‘got me back on the horse’ and since then my training has been good. The odd up and down, but generally good. There were a couple of short and medium runs where mileage was a bit low, balanced by a couple where mileage a bit extra. On a couple of short runs fatigue presented a barrier to getting much below 10k pace, balanced out by some great 10km steep trail runs while on vacation which really built leg strength and refreshed me mentally. Overall, a reasonably balanced and, more importantly, consistent build-up phase with average paces roughly where they need to be for the race.
Looking forwards, I’m at the beginning of my 3 week taper. It’s a rest day today, with some physio planned in to keep the calf muscles tuned-up, and then the rest of this week will focus on quality with slightly reduced distances and continuing hard running. Next week is ‘metronome’ week, further reduced distances with all my runs paced at marathon pace to hone my pacing, with the penultimate week being vastly reduced distances all run at easy pace with the odd kilometre or two of race-pace in the middle.
And then it’s Mallorca, a 26 mile, 385 yard long scenic sight-seeing tour encompassing the old town, the marina and the coastline.
Gulp. But only a small gulp…
Happy running everyone!
Get Going, Get Running!