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Paris Marathon training: Week 5

December 7, 2009

This has been my first week of trying to combine long-distance training with a middle-distance race. It’s good practice since I’m doing the same thing again next week.

So, starting the week with a snappy 10k where it would normally have started with a much longer run doesn’t sound too difficult. Except I find racing very different from training. When you race, you build up adrenaline, push yourself much harder than you would on a normal run, and – unless you’ve killed yourself halfway round – you try your best to end with a burst of speed. This all combines to lace your muscles with lactic acid, giving rise to something of a John Wayne walk the morning after.

After a good 10k you need a day’s rest. (After you run a longer distance, such as a marathon, you’re meant to take a day off from racing for each mile you’ve run.)  So, Monday started restfully, with the intention of preparing me for the usual Tuesday club run. Except I wasn’t feeling immensely nippy as we ran round Abingdon in the wind. I started with the intention of running the convoluted 14.5k route, but ended up running something like 10k, with an additional jog home to bring the total up to 13.9k. Either way, it was a slow run.

Sometimes the only way to put a bad run behind you is to get back on with another run. So, knowing that Friday’s planned training session had been written off by the Oxford University Press show (a fine combination of publishing in-jokes and wine), I opted for a longer run. A much faster double-lap of Abingdon gave me a much better feeling of progress, bringing with it some surprisingly simple revelations that I’ve been trying to implement in subsequent runs.

Thursday was a circuit training session, notable only for the fact that the track started to freeze. Trying to run 400m as fast as you can is one thing. Trying to run it without breaking your neck on the corners of the track is quite another…

Finally, Saturday’s rather arbitrary gym session of 7.3k was all I could manage in the time after I’d been out for a long round of golf with some friends. (As ever, I received a mighty whuppin’ as a result of my lengthy shuffles round the green.) Which raised the question in my mind of whether golf is a game or a sport… My money is on game since, like Tiddlywinks, it requires strategy, determination and no physicality beyond the ability to knock something into a designated space.

Sunday: 10k @ 4:02 per km

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 13.9k @ 4:34 per km

Wednesday: 20.5k @ 4:16 per km

Thursday: Circuits – (3 x hills, 3 x 60 sec exercises, 400m sprint) x 3

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 7.3k @ 4:03

A weekly total of 51.7k, which puts me a little behind my target for this week – but not as far off as feared. Now, I’m off to go and put together some fundraising stuff – more of which to come here. In the meantime, please take the time to visit http://www.justgiving.com/lewis-birchon and help me nudge closer to the target. (By the way, it might seem like a long way off at the moment, but my employer will match contributions up to £500, so contribute while it can count for double!)

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