Three Weeks Tomorrow.

Tomorrow will be Sunday and in three weeks, I will be racing the Manchester Marathon and I am shitting it.

Training has not been good. But next week I will be doing a nice temp run in Langdale with some good hill walking before I begin to taper and spend those extra hours where I would have been running to concentrate on core and do some cross training.

I need to squeeze one long run in again and maybe doing a 15 miler at speed just to convince myself that I am ready.

Oh well off to what has been distracting me and preventing me training the way I wanted to. Thats right Work.

Just When you Start to Doubt

Well a couple of blogs ago I mentioned that I was turning my efforts to the 10K as my training for the Marathon has fallen behind schedule a little.

Even with this knowledge I still need to get my long runs in, if I am to even complete the course. My little mind had decided that the dream of getting a sub 3.30 or 3.45 was out of the question and I should just concentrate on finishing and invest my time and efforts into my 10K training to get a new PB and hopefully a sub 40.

However today on my long run of over 21 miles, and I will be the first to hold my hand up and say from mile 18/19 I was wanting to quit. I found that I had run a very fast good run. If I was to run as fast as that on the day it would see me come in at 3:40:22. So basically my mind is now back on the idea of trying to get a sub 3:45.

I have excuses why today was a little hard. Not enough sleep this week. Not enough carb loading. Too much booze in the week. Way to many chocolates and not a good pre race meal. All of these can be changed and with a month to go what better place than to start now.

I also quite enjoyed the run, and I’m sure that having a crowd of people cheering me on will also make me forgot about any pain that my quads are complaining about.

Right now for food and sleep.

Change of Plan

It’s always good to have a plan B. Lets face it what kind of General would you be if you didn’t have a ‘Plan B’ even shouting the orders to ‘retreat’ is a kind of Plan B.

I once read a book. I have since read several others, but none of the others offer the information to explain the subject of this blog. Sure I could try to use the plot of Jurassic Park except they were not clever enough to have a Plan B as they thought everything would be okay and that was like me on my first Marathon. Hang on, wait a minute… I have just referenced another book to explain my point.

The point is, that in the book I was reading all about Marathons the runner talked about some advice he got from a coach. That tiny bit of advice as seen the way I train and think about races completely change. Within the advice the coach offered, she said always have three times in your head.

Simple really. It explains where I have gone wrong. My first Marathon was like many other people’s. I dreamed of getting around the course within the golden four hours. I didn’t even think about any other times and so when my Garmin read 3:30 at 18 miles I knew I had blown it and with it my sense of caring. I was now just going to finish. At the Manchester 10K when I wanted to break my PB, and saw with a Kilometre to go that this was not going to happen I just slowed down to my Sunday run pace. Time only mattered if it was better than the last.

However when I ran my latest half. I had three times. Sub 1:30, Sub 1:35 and 1:40. The latter I knew I could achieve. When I saw I was not going to do a Sub 1:30 my determination and energy went in to obtaining the 1:35, which as we know paid off. Without these three times in my head I think I may have just slowed and crossed in rather disappointing but still respectful 1:45.

So what has this got to do with my ‘Plan B’ well my marathon , which I have coming up has three times. To break the four-hour time, followed by 3:45 or really trying my luck 3:30. However my training has been a little lax, and my long runs have only been lengthy in terms of the time between me getting my trainers on and running. Not to beat my self up, I would like to say I have done two long runs of 20 miles, and one of 16. But that is not enough and with todays run of a little sneaky speedy 10K and speed session I decided that I should concentrate my efforts on chasing a new 10K PB of sub 40 or a sub 35 and just be happy to complete the marathon course. As long as I come in within 4:15 it will be a new PB and I should be happy with that.

I said to my friend after Snowdon that I would never doing the distance again, but with me going to New Zealand and Manchester being my first, I just had to race it again and while I enjoying running long, I must admit that I think my distance wis the half. I enjoy the way it is long but also fast. 26.2 miles just seems nothing more that a long time on your feet which you have to pace correctly.

So with only five weeks to go, I think I will start on my 10K training and sneak in some long runs just so I can complete the last Marathon I will possibly run in the UK.

Sorry Sir

No this is not about school or being told off. No, hang on it is about being told off. I have for over a year been seeing a physio and very good he is too. The exercises he’s given me I try to do but my job often gets in the way and being a runner then running over physio will come first.

If I do have a spare 30 minutes then running 4 miles is more important to me than spending time working on my core or doing the strengthening exercises he has shown me.  The trouble is over the past month I have been really busy. Not like the usual busy of not being bothered to get out of bed or leave the house but really non stop working busy. So busy in fact that I have had very little time for running and the time I have had I did not feel up to it.

The issue is that come Friday I have another appointment and I am as stiff as a plank of wood. He already complains about the long distances I do as apparently it is bad for you. Well if loosing over 3 stone in weight and feeling good and beating PB’s upon PB’s and having a good night sleep is bad for you then I have been reading the wrong information.

The trouble is my time is so short at the moment that I have not been doing any real cool downs and I am now paying the price. My legs, while they don’t ache are tight and I can feel this as I run and today I even tried to stretch some important bits but failed as I realised I would be spending a good fifteen minutes on each calve muscle just to levitate some of the tightness, I would have to spend a lot longer to really give it a good stretch.

So the end result is Dom is going to shake his head and tell me that this is what long distance running does. What really annoys me is that I started the year and have improved in my flexibility so much I have almost been able to touch my toes but judging my hamstring stretch today all that work has been run out of my legs so to speak.

So with the thought of Friday looming and the facing Dom and one of his lectures about why running is bad for you… I need to spend an evening with my stick and foam roller to iron out all those knots. I don’t know why I bother as I am only going to go to the gym tomorrow for some hill and speed work on the treadmill which will end up undoing all my good work.

Rest

We all need it. That is why we sleep. But it can all be a bit boring.

For those who read the wonderful post yesterday from my legs then you may be able to guess what this short post is about. I need to rest before my race on Sunday. I somewhat over did the running and speed work this week after having a little unwelcome break from my running due to work commitments and the sudden lost in faith that led to me not being bothered and losing any kind of motivation to get out and run.

Like a novice I dived back in with both feet and ran up the miles. I ignored the screams and pleads from my legs to stop and carried on. While my legs do not feel heavy they have a touch of the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) So with this I said that Friday and Saturday will be rest. Plenty of carbs and protein and feet up. The truth of the matter is, I want to run.

This sitting about lark is a tad boring. I would like to go and walk or run even cycle but I fear any extra stress or pressure I put on the tired legs will result in failure on Sunday. Speaking of which I am still undecided if to run a PB or just run the course. I know deep down that my mind is attracted to a new PB as I am looking at the Pace I will need to obtain a Sub 1:35, and that is after all why I have legs up resting. If I was to just run and practice my marathon pace, taking on gels etc then I would not be to concerned with the state of my legs. If anything it would be good practice to see how I cope with tired legs. After all come Mile 20 that is how they will feel.

But resting is what I am doing. Gentle exercise on the foam rollers and the Stick to ease knots. Wearing my compression clothing to help freshen my legs. Eating the right food, and drink the right liquid all to ensure my legs are fresh and ready for Sunday.

Oh well. Off to eat some more seeds and nuts and rest up some more. I might just go for a gentle stroll round town to get the blood flowing to help the repair.

A letter

To Thomas,

I know you enjoy it and you read all the mags and articles on that world wide web thingy. I even know you have that race coming up and that you are determined to break some PB in a couple of months time. But I do beg you to listen to me.

I enjoyed the two weeks off that I had and really enjoyed taking it easy but you must remember I am not a car. I can’t be started up and driven long distances, I need to warm up and get back in the game.

After this week, and I will be the first to admit the mileage is very little and the work load has been on the small scale but I am feeling it. Feeling so much that come Sunday I may refuse to play ball at the start line and if I do play along I may throw in the towel in the last 400 meters.

So if you don’t want a DNF on you record then may I suggest you spend the next two days giving me a rest. Giving me some TLC. It’s all well and good running long and hard and doing hills and speed work but like you I need time to recover and the harder you train the longer I need.

Off course you are able to help in this matter. Some more protein, seeds, nuts, fruit. Less bad fat and chocolate. Plenty of stretching after the runs. At least half an hour. You use to be so good at your warm downs now you seem to think a poxey five minutes with the foam roller will suffice. Well have I got news for you… It won’t.

Like a car I need the correct fuel and maintenance. If you spend time looking after me I will perform and keep on performing for many years to come. I’ve shown my worth in the past… Looking how your PB’s keep being smashed. Look how far I have carried you. The speed I have travelled.

So please take note. I’m tired, and I really don’t want us to fall out over this as I know how happy you get when pounding the streets. But you won’t be happy when I can’t carry you forward and get an injury.

I hear from Left and Right Foot that you treated them to some new socks and trainers. They pass on their gratitude. Now if you can only show me the same respect and give me some rest. The miles I am use too. The new training scheme of hills and speed is something I need to get use to, and this needs time. Heart and Lung do their best, but over the years I’ve adapted to long distance and need time to adjust. And I’m not just talking about in training. Recovery is when I grow and repair myself and at the moment you are refusing to give me that time.

So I beg of you Thomas. Please surrender the trainers until Sunday and allow me and your body to recover.

Thank you for your time

Your’s

Legs.

 

 

Hello Mr Magpie

Now I can be described as quite shy. I will often not talk to random people. If I go to a party or a new place of work it takes me time to really open up and start talking to people. However when I run, I’m quite outward.

Now I have discussed this before. It comes under the runners code, for when you see another runner a little nod or wave to communicate that you are in this together. That you are part of the fraternity of runners. If you are able to spare any breath then a simple ‘Hi’ would also communicate this. All to often I see ‘Joggers’ and I will call them such as they ignore this simple rule of acknowledgement and after all why should I expect them to know the ‘Runners’ code when they are just simple ‘Joggers’. After all they only come out when the sun has his hat on or there is a rather large ‘Great Run’ event to train for which they have left too late with their 3 year old trainers that have seen better days. Now I’m not being a snob about running, but the correct footwear is a must.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think any one who runs, jogs or walks at a quick pace is better than those who remain with their buttocks firmly attached to the sofa. But it does annoy me when I see fellow runners who ignore me. After all hill walkers have the same code and they even go as far to stop and engage in discourse. ‘Where you come from?’ ‘What route you taking?’ ‘Have you done this before?’ Off course like with running some hill walkers have little respect for their brethren as I have often passed walkers descending a path only to find out that the path has become impassable from the recent weather. Off course many hill walkers will pass that bit of info on and maybe even stop and discuss the next best alternative route to the top.

Runners as I have said are a funny bunch. We are a strong community, a bond. We share the passion and dreams but yet we seem to carry out the mere function of running alone. Even when we run with a pack or a group we tend to be in our zone but a simple hand wave, nod, brief ‘hello’ demonstrates that you are in this together.

So the point of the title… Well its simple. The the other day I was out running and said hello to around seven fellow runners. Five returned the greeting in their own way while two ignored my efforts. The odd thing is, like me one of the ‘ignorers’ seemed to be superstitious as I saw her salute and greet a Magpie. Now I often say ‘Good day Mr Magpie’ I have no idea why, but I can always remember being told to say hello as it was good luck. The peculiar thing is that this runner wouldn’t waste energy on greeting a fellow runner one of her own but instead chose to waste breath on a bird.

Now lets not get into the nitty gritty. But like walkers, runners often inform one another of the perils or dangers ahead. I was once told you should always say hello to a fellow hill walker so they remember you. Because if for some reason you got lost, standard or injured there would be someone on the ground who could remember your last whereabouts. Surly this is the same with runners. I often see the same faces at races and on the paths of Manchester and a simple hello after pounding the pavements is a real energy boost knowing that there is someone else like you who is feeling the same. Lets face it, a bird isn’t going to give a dam about what you are going through let alone even know what a ‘salute’ means.

So if you have time to say hello to a magpie which for me is important and I always do, then say a hello to your fellow runners. You will be surprised how good it makes you feel.