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Paris Marathon training: Week 13

January 31, 2010

This week started well. My long run wasn’t too cold, the battery lasted on my Garmin, and I managed to knock something like 10 minutes off my time for the same run the previous week. Then I missed the scheduled Monday run by assuming it was a rest day, and things spiraled from there as the temperature plummeted again.

Marathon runners on the road to Athens
At least one of these chaps is eying up the next toilet stop. Image via Wikipedia

When you miss a run from your schedule, there are two options you have to weigh up. Do you

  1. decide that you’re going to let it slide, and just carry on with your schedule as normal, or
  2. reshuffle your rest days and try to build in the extra miles elsewhere?

While there are just under 70 days left until the big event, the long runs are obviously pretty important. Building aerobic capacity and endurance both playing fairly key roles in the ability to run 26.2 miles. However, the shorter runs are designed to build speed and running efficiency. It’s well and good being able to run ad infinitum, but if you’re not able to maintain a pace there’s a good chance you’ll be running the marathon for a whole lot longer than you’d really like to.

So, with Monday’s 10k inadvertently skipped, I hit the gym on Wednesday pondering on whether I could tolerate 15k on a treadmill. If you’re not keen on knowing the physical side-effects of running, probably best skip the next two paragraphs of this post.

However, if you’ve done some long-distance training, there’s a chance you might be familiar with the phenomenon unpleasantly known as ‘runners’ trots’. Essentially, there’s something about running that speeds up your digestive cycle, and it’s not uncommon for runners to experience stomach cramps as they try to trot with, um, trotting. Anyway, I was saved from running on the spot for an hour by this condition.

And although it’s not something I suffer from much, it again hit me on Friday in the last few kilometres of my run round Abingdon. It slowed me down, but I made it home relatively comfortably. In order to make the Paris Marathon experience as enjoyable as possible, I need to pin down my pre-running routine to avoid anything similar to this. I can only imagine that queuing for a portaloo midway through the race would firstly ruin my time, and secondly be generally quite unpleasant.

Sunday: 33.85 (21 miles) @ 4:29 per km

Monday: Rest (whoops)

Tuesday: 10.3k @ 4:20 per km

Wednesday: 8k @ 4:04 per km

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 11.5k @ 4:16 per km

Saturday: 11.5k @ 4:10 per km (plus two hours of bouncing a friend’s baby – a strenuous upper body workout)

So, despite a couple of blips on the training radar, this week’s tally notches up as just over 75k, versus my target for the week of 74.5k. I’m now only three weeks away from the peak distance of my schedule, so soon the shorter runs will become more important. Although I’ve just checked my schedule, and Monday most definitely is a rest day.

In case you’re new to this, I’m running the Paris Marathon on 11 April 2010 to raise money for The Stroke Association. My target is to raise £1000, and while I’m progressing well towards this target, your help is needed. Come spend a penny (literally, not metaphorically, thank you very much) at my JustGiving page.

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