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Paris Marathon training: Week 22

April 4, 2010

The taper is like the calm before the storm. Having besieged my spare time with running for the past few months, to reduce my long runs and not cram some kind of run into what feels like virtually every spare moment feels strange. Consequently, I’ve gone a little off-piste with my schedule, lengthening a few runs and throwing in a little cross training to burn off some excess energy.

The purpose of the taper is to give your muscles time to recover and fully recharge in time for the final race effort. Having spent much of the past few months recovering from various runs, the shortening of the Sunday run meant that I started the week with more energy than normal – and not creaking around the office with stiff limbs.

My runs this week have been focused on progression – starting at a manageable slow pace and gradually speeding up to race pace and beyond. This helps you get used to running at speed while tired, which should be good preparation for the sunset miles of the marathon. I mention this specifically because it has brought down the average pace of the runs this week. (In order to satisfy my own vanity, I’ve added bottom and top splits so it doesn’t look like I’ve just been sauntering along! I’ve also started to mix up the units of measurement, largely due to the complexities of various gadgets…)

Sunday: 15.5 miles @ 7:10 per mile

Monday: 60 lengths swimming

Tuesday: 7.5 miles @ 7:03 per mile (mile 1 @ 8:24; mile 7 @ 6:42 and the final 0.5 at 6:32 pace)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Gym – 5km (3.1 miles) @ 4:17 per km (starting at 12kmph, rising to – for 500 metres – 18kmph @ 4% incline)

Friday: 10.3 miles @ 7:10 per mile (mile 1 @ 7:39; mile 10 @ 6:59 and the final 0.3 at 6:26 pace)

Saturday: Rest

I’d also like to note that the run on Friday was in filthy miserable weather. Blowing a gale and with bitingly cold horizontal rain, I wasn’t best pleased when the sun came out almost immediately after I’d finished running. Consequently, I’ve been reminded that I need to buy some plasters or some Vaseline before I get to the start line in Paris. I’ll leave it at that.

If you’re reading this, there’s actually a pretty good chance you’ve already donated! I’m running the Paris Marathon (in literally a week’s time – eek!) to raise money for The Stroke Association. I’m hugely grateful to all those who have given, helping me reach my target of raising £1000 (before even accounting for my employer’s matching scheme) before I get to the start line. If you’ve not yet given, but feel moved to do so, please go to my JustGiving page or ask me for the good old-fashioned sponsorship form. It really is a very good cause.

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