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Paris Marathon training: Week 18

March 6, 2010

I haven’t raced for a while. The last race I competed in was on Boxing Day, I was recovering from a nasty cold/flu thing, and since I was spewing green phlegm like a scene from The Exorcist it wasn’t the greatest of experiences. I mention this because I’m racing tomorrow, and as my last race before the Paris Marathon, it’s taken on a certain level of significance.

Having focused for so long on building my weekly distance, this week has been a real mix of approaches that has ultimately led to some quite poor race preparation technique. And it all started off so promisingly:

  • On Sunday, after a number of close-but-not-quite attempts, I ran beyond race distance.
  • On Tuesday my club run went well until two miles from the end I had waddle-inducingly bad stomach cramps going on. I don’t think you want more detail than that.
  • Realising that the week was looking increasingly busy, I decided to taper my training and embrace the enforced rest days
  • … until, predictably, I caved and squeezed in a run on Thursday night and Friday lunchtime.

In the run-up to a race, the last thing you want is a bad training session. But in my angst to get out on Thursday night and build some speed into my runs, I set off (without any form of warm up, so asking for trouble really) at 6:30 mile pace. Two miles in was fine, but I hadn’t anticipated how cold the air would be, which just constricted my chest as I breathed in deeply. I had to stop to let my lungs warm up and revise my pace down.

I came out of the run feeling thoroughly unprepared and like running a slow 13.1 miles was all I could look forward to on Sunday.

However, on Friday lunchtime, short of time but in glorious sunshine, I managed to keep all miles under 7:00 and felt relaxed and – most importantly – was breathing easily. A good psychological lift in the last few days before the half marathon.

Sunday: 43.5km @ 4:45 per km

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10.1km @ 4:21 per km

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 11.5km @ 4:19 per km

Friday: 9.8km @ 4:09 per km

Saturday: Rest (and almost carb loading – whoop!)

So, despite this technically being a taper week, I’ve clocked up 46.5 miles… Which is pretty much what I had scheduled, except over fewer runs. Kind of begs the question of what I was thinking when I drew up this schedule because this blatantly isn’t any kind of a taper.

I shouldn’t complain, really. After the past few weeks, it’s good to be back on track – no matter how ill-conceived that track might be.

I have set myself the goal of raising £1000 for The Stroke Association by running the Paris Marathon on 11 April 2010. Today is literally your last chance to get 50% more running for your sponsorship money as I’m running the Bath Half Marathon tomorrow. (And if you donate quickly, you might still be able to have your contribution doubled by my employer’s matching scheme.) Come join the growing list of legends at my JustGiving page (or ask me if you would prefer to put a pledge on my paper-based sponsorship form).

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