A Week in My Trainers – VMLM Training Week 12

I just wanted to start with a massive thanks to everyone who has sponsored me so far.  Alzhiemer’s is a really deserving cause that badly needs to be better understood so we learn how to treat it if possible, and how to live with it in the meantime.  If you’d like to support me then please visit www.justgiving.com/runningforaugust or text POLL96 £3 to 70070.

After 12 weeks of training I’ve had the first feelings this week of something I experienced constantly whilst training for the VMLM 2015 – marathon paranoia.

This year I’ve reduced my training load and am active five times a week, normally with a split of three run sessions and two strength and conditioning sessions.  I haven’t followed a training plan but have done my NRC speed sessions, my long runs and normally a tempo run of my run commute. This has been great for me as it has kept my mind and body relatively fresh and it means I’ve really enjoyed the process of training.  BUT.  What if I haven’t been running enough? What if I should have been doing four run sessions a week like most people.  What if I haven’t done enough?! My 20 mile run was hard – is that because I haven’t followed a plan? Is this all my own fault for being so cavalier that I thought I didn’t even need to follow a plan.  Should I try and run more in the next four weeks? Do I even need to taper when I’ve been doing so little?! Should I even be running?  Why do people even run? What if I don’t get a PB? Does it matter? I feel like I’ve worked for it and have been running better? Except I haven’t been running as much… What if i haven’t been running enough? And the loop starts again.

I’m no expert but I don’t think marathon paranoia is unique to me – though I will admit I can be a particular psycho about it – and if I’ve done enough? Who knows.  I do know that I’ve really enjoyed the training process, and I believe that that part of the marathon is more important than the race day itself.  A new PB would be nice, but it’s not the be all and end all. I do know that I should keep doing what I’m doing if it has suited me up until now and with four weeks to go there is little to change.  I know that stressing about struggling with a 20 mile run is pointless, because if I could just trot out a 20 mile run no problem I would clearly be a bionic woman. Deep breaths and relaxxxxxx.

Monday – CX and Stretch at Tribeca

I ventured over to Ealing to visit the new Tribeca Studios gym.  Tribeca is a new concept gym that is based on being able to do your favourite classes all the time.  It’s pay as you go and has a packed schedule of Body Pump, Attack, Combat etc. as well as yoga, pilates, spin classes, spin classes with weights, S’HIIT hot – their signature high intensity class, and just about any other class that you can think of.  I tried out a CX and Stretch class that involved 30 minutes of targeted core work followed by 15 minutes of proper stretching, and it felt like a really valuable addition to my training schedule.

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If anyone is in the Ealing area then I would definitely recommend a trip to Tribeca for the class schedule, card free swipe everything wrist band, smoothie and juice bar, and even the vending machines.  Everything is designed to promote a fit and healthy lifestyle rather than a simple trip to the gym.

Tuesday – NRC Speed Session


1x 800m at 10k pace

3x 400m at mile pace

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Wednesday – Early morning PT session

A challenge that Sheehan makes me do which is a good marker of improving fitness is the burpee box jump challenge.  Give this a go…

Set a timer and line up a ploy box – I use a 60

In one minute do as many burpees to box jumps as you  can ( I average 14/15)

Take a one minute break, and then do it again.

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Long Run Day – 20 miles

I found this so tough.  It was really hot for a start and I was carrying a heavyish back pack and I lost my target pace of 8:10 at mile 15.  I was really disappointed and sort of shuffled on for a few more miles and even stopped to get some water (it was very hot).  I started running again after I topped up my bottle and decided to just finish and see how I did.  My overall pace was 8:13.  I had genuinely written myself off entirely because I had (barely) fallen behind target.

When I was going over my disappointment afterwards the reason I felt this way became abundantly clear.  I’m obviously mental.  Simple as that.  Running 20 miles is a damn achievement no matter what pace you do it, and I still ran what I think is a good pace.

The reason I’m writing about this is in case anyone experiences the same on their long runs and is worried it’s just them, because running a marathon is mentally tough. I had a bit of a battle inside my head at mile 23 last year and it’s normal to be taken to some quite negative thoughts when you’re doing something physically punishing by yourself for hours at a time.  This is entirely normal – just remember to refuel if you need to, stretch out if you need to, punch your inner negative voice right in the face, and then carry on.

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Saturday – Rest Day with 30 minutes foam rolling and stretching

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Sunday – Recovery Run for two miles and 30 minutes of foam rolling and stretching

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