The accidental marathon

As you might have read in my last blog, I am currently training for a marathon (Red Kite event in a very hilly part of Wales in late February, what could possibly go wrong?!)

I am as I type in week 4 of my training. So far, so good! Last week, you could argue (and be right) that I might have done a little too much. I really wouldn’t advise what I am going to admit to for even the most experienced runner. Monday, I started the week with a local 5k – a route I run regularly. It was a speed session and I picked up a Strava crown which made my day as you can imagine.

Tuesday, I was joined by a friend at the gym and we worked through our strength/weights plan. It was great to have company making the time really fly by! Later than day, I canicrossed with Bailey and a friend (plus her pooch) running a tempo (more like speedy!) 9k.

Wednesday was my rest day, but I felt the need to move my legs so did a 10k cycle at a very steady pace. Does anyone else suffer from guilt on a rest day? Well I know I do and think this is why I decided to cycle.

Thursday, I was booked onto an event with one of my favourite race organisers; Big Bear Events.  Paul who organises the event is clearly a runner and cares about the experience at his races. The idea of the event is that you have 6 hours to run as many laps of the course (usually between 3-4 miles) as you can within the time frame. You can run 1 lap and stop, carry on until the 6 hour time lapses or anything in between. The event last week was at Hicks Lodge and was a 3.7 mile loop. My long run plan for the week was 13 miles so as I set off (with another friend) we agreed to do the required 3 and a bit laps to hit the 13 mile goal and see how we felt. We almost decided to stop at this point, however we were waiting for other friends who were volunteering/racing so we chose to carry on.

7 and a bit laps later, we finished. And guess what? That took us to the marathon distance and for me in my fastest time ever so I now have a new PB of 04:35:17, not too bad for a trail event in the rain whilst only on week 3 of my marathon training. As many of you will know, a marathon is a lot about your mental strength. However, I have done lots of running this year so my body felt comfortable with this. I really wouldn’t recommend setting out to run 26.2 miles if the most you have ever done before is 10 miles for example.

As you can imagine, Friday was an enforced rest day. I felt fine so in the evening, I completed by second strength session of the week to complete that element of my training.

You guessed it, next comes parkrun day. I ran with my 9 year old Finley so we took it steady and enjoyed a social run with fellow parkrunners at our local home parkrun Beeston. At this point, I have done my marathon planned mileage for the week so I should stop there, shouldn’t I? But no, I had committed to my first cross country race since I was at school.

I arrived to the venue a tad nervous. In fact very nervous! I hated cross country at school and now I was about to line up to represent my club, Beeston AC. It was a 5 miler and I did my best qualifying in 4th place to take the final team slot. Our team came in 4th place, only one point between bronze. So definitely not too shabby a first attempt. I will definitely return to cross country, but my main focus at the moment needs to remain this marathon. Otherwise I am in danger of regularly over-training and i’d hated for that to lead to an injury.

Sunday, alongside another friend we organised a charity 5k run. Despite my many miles this week, Bailey (my dog) who is training for the marathon with me hadn’t done many miles. So a speed session it was. This meant I finished fast enough to help with the organising. Best news is that we fundraised over £650 for VICTA. Sunday was 1st December so a great excuse to dress Bailey up as a reindeer and get my own festive kit out too!

Week 4 is off to a good start. A slower recovery 5 miler yesterday and today my strength training. I do not plan on running today, I fear my physio will tell me off otherwise!