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Edinburgh Marathon training: Weeks 3 and 4

May 19, 2012

This period between the London Marathon and the Edinburgh Marathon has been a little strange in the cold light of day. In the days leading up to the Oxford Town & Gown 10k Dom and I discussed the fact that the recovery period could potentially bleed into the taper period, resulting in a good five weeks of no running.

However, that’s not how it has worked out – which is probably for the best, because I’m not sure my girlfriend fancied a massive repeat of the taper madness. Since my last long run was tough and I’d felt the strain of a 60-mile week two weeks after the marathon, I’d curbed back on the mileage. In fact, I curbed it back to the point where I only had three runs, clocking up 26 and a smidge miles.

Me on the final stretch of the Town & Gown

The finish of the Town & Gown 10k, moments away from a brand spanking new PB

Which doesn’t sound like the first week of a taper, but it was in the build up to a 10k race. You can read about the precise details of the race here, but in short I ran much faster than I’d expected and ripped myself a brand new PB. So, I took this as a sign that I was fully recovered. To answer my question of previous weeks about how long it would take me to recover fully: three weeks.

So, with the fourth week of Edinburgh Marathon training and the second week of my taper, I’ve been picking up again. By the time the week is out, I’ll have run about 45 miles, including a few fairly hard sessions. For example, on Friday I did a double run to and from work, with my rucksack. Back when I started these runs, I was typically running 7:30 miles, but I’ve now got that down to an average of about 7:07 – not taking account of waiting at traffic lights, getting stuck behind groups of tourists, etc.

In training you experience peaks and troughs. For each substantial improvement (i.e. a really hard session, so let’s say the London Marathon), you experience a dip in performance while your body recovers. But, once recovered, you should be fitter and stronger and able to manage an even harder session. Since I’ve managed to avoid a post-race illness and have managed to keep up decent mileage, I should be well-prepared for Edinburgh.

The big question, though, is what to try to achieve with the marathon next week? Is it going to be a case of taking it easy and enjoying the experience, or (provided the conditions are favourable) might I decide to hit the race hard and try to capitalise on my current form?

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