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Virgin London Marathon training: Week 9

February 26, 2012

And it was all going so well…

Off the back of last week’s brush with over-training, I’d decided to make sure I focused more on recovery by sticking to my days off rather than succumbing to the urge to squeeze in one more run. And so Monday had started with a double-run to and from work, which felt good after a day off on Sunday.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but the more I run the more I fetishise running style. (That sounds bad, let me explain.) So, running towards Camden from Euston, when I was overtaken by another commuter runner I pushed the pace to tag along behind and found myself watching his footfall. A lovely neutral effortless gait. (Hmm, not sounding any better…) When I run – particularly when I’m carrying a rucksack – my footfall sometimes feels heavy and graceless, and I have to focus on landing on my mid-foot. I aspire towards a tidier gait, so I often find myself checking how others run and comparing it to my own running style.

The other runner headed off in a different direction at Camden and I found myself running alone again. The focus on speed and style had helped ease my legs, so I felt comfortable to push harder on my way home. Then, coming up past Manor House I found myself with some running company again.

A small group of kids had been sitting to one side of the pavement as I ran past. Clearly something about being a runner had attracted some attention as the moment I passed them I heard a single voice yelling a staccato of c-words. ‘Cabbage! Chariot! Cobblers! Cardigans!’ For the avoidance of doubt, these were not the words shouted – this is a family-friendly blog, after all. The word was repeated with rabid fervour, intermittently punctuated by the sound of spitting.

The owner of the voice pulled alongside me and finally uttered something coherent. ‘Haha, I can keep up with you!’

I looked round to see a chubby kid of 11 or 12 pistoning his arms. I glanced up and down, getting the measure of the kid. I laughed and incredulously said ‘Really?!’ I pumped my arm, put some extra power into my toe-off, and left him for dust.

The rest of the week was less eventful. On Tuesday I home, and on Wednesday I ran home, dumped my bag in the hallway and knocked out a set of 8 full-on sprints up the length of the road. The harder effort felt good and strong, and like something I should definitely include in my weekly schedule to build speed.

Thursday was a rest day – as planned – and on Friday I set out for my double-lap of Regent’s Park. My Garmin was taking an age to catch a signal, so I set off without waiting for it to catch, meaning that I don’t have a full list of splits. However, once the signal caught mid-way round the park, I was clocking decent splits (including two sub-6 minute miles) and running strong. Overall, an average of 6:21 minute miles over 8.5 miles, which I was pleased with.

Then, according to the plan, Saturday was a rest day and Sunday was a long paced run. But, through an awkward night’s sleep, I woke on Saturday with a stiff and painful neck, which prevented me from managing more than 2 hours of fitful sleep on Saturday night. So, today, instead of running 24 miles, I’ve been taking painkillers and trying to improve the range of motion in my neck. Not ideal by any means.

So, with 34 miles under my belt for the week I’m a little on the back-foot. My focus is on getting my neck back to normal so I don’t cause myself a real injury. But there are 8 weeks until London, 13 weeks until Edinburgh, I’m running fast and I’m virtually at distance. As I’ve written before (and as I’ll write again, no doubt) getting over the set-backs takes patience and discipline. A couple of days out now is better than a week or more if I try to push on through.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. February 29, 2012 11:35 pm

    Ha ha ha. In your face kid.

    • March 1, 2012 1:59 pm

      No run is complete without a bit of playground name-calling.

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