Paris Marathon training: Week 20
With the marathon creeping closer, this week was characteristed by a brief rise in training volume from the previous week, in advance of the gradual tapering towards race day. All well and good, but I’ve (self-diagnosis warning: please take with pinch of salt) bruised my right foot as a result of – I believe – over striding. So, while I’ve been pushing the miles, I’ve also been trying to find a less stressful running style.
In the meantime, spring has been well and truly on its way. The week started promisingly with warming sunshine, although this was accompanied by relatively strong winds, but slid towards heavy-but-warm horizontal rain at the end of the week.
Switching around my schedule slightly, I moved the 20.5km run from Friday to Thursday to accommodate some uncertainty about plans for the weekend. Having worked in London all day and not quite headed home as early as I wanted, I found myself setting out for effectively a half marathon at 7pm. The rain had cleared up, though, so it didn’t seem too bad.
As I’m approaching the taper, I’m really starting to push my runs to compensate for the extra rest days built into my schedule. As such, I set off at a strong pace, which I was able to maintain relatively easily for the first lap of Abingdon. On the second lap, the weather changed. The wind picked up to become a ferocious and perpetual headwind and the rain returned with a vengeance.
It struck me how much a strong run relies on positive conditions. I felt like the wind was sucking the energy out of my strides, and the rain was virtually washing my sticking power away. Still, I persisted, shortening my gait to avoid causing pain to my foot and increasing the speed of my leg turnover to compensate.
I made it home drenched and sore from the abrasive qualities of wet clothing. It had been tough, but I’d pushed it, and looking at my splits on the Garmin, it occurred to me that the weather might not have such a radically detrimental effect. Much of distance running is in the head; to be successful, you have to be mentally strong and determined. It also helps if you have windscreen wipers…
Sunday: 44km @ 4:46 per km
Tuesday: 12.8km @ 4:15 per km
Thursday: 20.5km @ 4:13 per km
It’s now only three weeks until the Paris Marathon, which takes place on 11 April 2010. It will be my first marathon-length race, and I’m raising money for The Stroke Association. I’m edging closer to my goal of raising £1000 for the charity, but I still need donations to help me reach this total. If you’re interested in helping me to reach my target, please go to my JustGiving page. Anything you could give would be very gratefully received.