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Paris Marathon training: Week 15

February 17, 2010

There are some common-knowledge elements to long-distance running; aspects of training philosophy that have broken into the mainstream. Curious snippets of wisdom, such as ‘You shouldn’t run the full distance before the big day’, or the concept of carb loading.

Which brings me – rather tenuously – to the fact that I’ve been on holiday to Florence for a few days. The home of pizza and pasta is not only a great destination for vegetarians (Italians don’t understand veggies, but they inadvertently cater for them rather well) but also the source of much long-distance fuel. While holidays tend to be a curious combination of culture, relaxation and immoderate consumption, I always felt that my pizza, pasta and pre-meal bread was going some way to supporting the kind of mileage I’m covering each week.

However, going on holiday isn’t always the natural friend of runners in training. Schedules are prepared well in advance of any last-minute vacation plans, so it’s not always immediately obvious how you’re going to avoid the inevitable drop-off in fitness that comes with a succession of missed training sessions. Fortunately, Florence in the off-peak tourist season is a good location for some rather spectacular runs (I’ll be posting about that separately). So, while I missed the long runs, and probably didn’t keep the same kind of pace I’d like to maintain, I did at least manage to keep up with some reasonable tempo runs.

Sunday: 38.5km (23.9 miles) @ 4:34 per km

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Packing frantically, aka rest

Wednesday: Flying to Florence and finding a nice restaurant, aka rest

Thursday: 12km @ 4:38 per km

Friday: 12km @ 4:38 per km

Saturday: probably around 12km @ 4:38 per km (Garmin ran out of battery)

So, despite being on holiday, and going completely off schedule, I managed 74.5km this week, versus my target of 81. Originally, this was going to be the bulk distance peak of my training, but that will probably shift back by two weeks as a result of this week. In the end, it will probably make little difference as I’m still building the length of my Sunday runs for a good few weeks yet.

I’m sure you’re probably thinking that this whole spending time in Florence, drinking fine wine and eating good food, taking in the sights and soaking up the culture of the ancient Italian city sounds pretty darn tough. Yup. How about if I tell you that Florence has uneven flagstones, which makes running steadily harder, and some pretty steep hills. And it snowed. Anyway, seriously, this is all hard work, and it’s all for a good cause. Come support my fundraising for The Stroke Association at my JustGiving page – all donations greatly appreciated.

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