NDW50 Wk 16: A gloriously sunny 12 at marathon pace (wc 27.02.17)

A gloriously sunny 12 marathon paced miles

12 miles, 1:40:11, 8:20 min/mile, 46ft elevation gain (ha ha ha ha ha!)

And that was EXACTLY what I needed!

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I almost deleted last weeks post. I don’t like negativity & was worried I was beginning to focus too much on it & that by doing so I was actually talking myself into a negative state of mind. After my knee flaring up & forcing an early end to last week’s long run I delayed my recovery run by 24 hours until Tuesday morning. I felt good setting off, deliberately keeping it slow & easy in heart rate zone two. Then my knee went four miles in, I cut the session short at five miles when the pain increased & walked home almost in tears. In my head it was all coming crashing down.

It may have ended in (near) tears but Tuesday's run started pretty well!
It may have ended in (near) tears but Tuesday’s run started pretty well!

I usually try & keep social media fairly lively & upbeat but in the same vein I want it to be a reflection if real life, so I posted on Instagram how overwhelmed & low in confidence I was feeling about my running & training at the moment.

The number of people who sent me messages, offered positive words of encouragement, showed support & also admitted to feeling a similar way was incredible. On a bit of a low day, I really appreciated it & it helped me to refocus my thoughts & my mind.

Realising how completely exhausted I was, as well as sore, I decided to take two complete days off exercise. Wednesday & Thursday I did nothing. It felt very strange getting up in the morning & not working out. I had a leisurely breakfast, drank coffee, read a book… Luxury! Friday morning I did a gentle 30 minutes on the cross trainer & 60 minutes strength work. Nothing hurt, my body, having appreciated a little rest, was feeling stronger. I began to feel a little more positive.

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Resting…

Saturday morning, after checking the weekends weather forecast (sunny Saturday, heavy rain Sunday) I made a snap decision to forgo the scheduled 3 mile tempo run & bring my long-run forward a day.

A good decision.

So this is where we are now.

12 miles, a little faster than goal marathon pace, just within heart rate zone two & feeling good throughout! To be honest I actually struggled to keep my pace down. I was aiming for 8:30 min/miles but averaged at 8:20.

A sign as to where my confidence was at the start I choose a route that had a number of stopping points (aka train stations) along the way & ran the Waterlink Way from South Norwood Country Park up to Greenwich. Rather than crossing the river, as I usually do on this run, I turned left & headed along the southern Thames Path back towards Tower Bridge. I’ve only run this section once before (in the opposite direction) so it was good to run somewhere a little different.

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And what a glorious day in London Town! Two miles in I stripped off down to my vest & ran the remaining ten in shorts, vest & sunglasses! I cannot tell you how good it felt to be running with the sun on my back again. Spring is on it’s way, woohoo!

The Thames beach...
The Thames beach…

A week away from the Thames Meander Marathon that was the confidence boost that I needed. I now need to be sensible this week. I’m not taking a full taper as this was never a goal race but I am going to ease off a little so that I can go into the race with fresh(ish) legs. I’ve postponed Sunday’s recovery run to Monday as I’ve learnt over the years that when my body is a little sore (risk of injury sore, not just running sore) running on consecutive days is not wise. I’ll do an easy club run on Wednesday & perhaps a very gentle leg shaker on Friday. And stretching. Lots of stretching…

I do need to prepare myself mentally to run a marathon though & to think about race strategy.

This was originally booked as a training race. And ok, it was booked on a bit of a (drunken) whim because the temptation to run a marathon actually on my birthday was too great… But, (knee soreness aside) with the way my training has been going I am wondering if I just go for it? My current marathon PB is 3:54. I know I can run faster than than. My original goal for Brighton in less than five weeks time (before this crazy 50 miler adventure kicked in…) was sub-3:45 & London GFA. I also know I am capable of that.

Do I just go for it next week, see what I can do? If I detonate I have four weeks until Brighton, nine weeks until NDW50, plenty of time to recover & refocus.

But, I could just do it…

Week Fifteen: 17 miles in total with 174 ft elevation gain (I find this elevation laughable!)

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Author: photogirlruns

Photographer. Runner. Green. Vegetarian & proud to run on plants. This is a personal blog as I embark on a slightly crazy running adventure...

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