Week 11 is peak distance week for the plan. There are weeks with longer runs, several of them, but this is the biggest total week.
Here is how the week played out.
Monday – Rest day
Tuesday – Hill repeats on the plan, ersatz hills done on the cross trainer by order of the physio. I looked back at a past hill session and figured out how long it took me to run up each long hill, 2:30, then replicated this on the cross trainer with the resistance turned up and with my legs and arms going like the clappers. I’m sure it’s not the same, but I felt like I’d worked quite hard by the end of it. All this was followed by kettle bell swings and a leg workout.
Wednesday – 8km on the plan, an equivalent 47 minutes done on the cross-trainer, followed by a core sesh postponed from Tuesday.
Thursday – 11.2km on the plan, 11.2km run along the Thames. My running partner on these runch sessions pulled up lame with a few km to go so I left him in my dust, turning the pace up to marathon goal pace. It felt good.
Friday – 11.2km on the plan, 11.2m run. I may not need my head torch next week as it was getting light by 7am.
Saturday – 6.4km on the plan, 37 minutes on the cross trainer done, followed by a leg and core sesh. I left out some of the calf exercises as I had the long run the next day.
Sunday – 32.2km on the plan, 32.3km run. Storm Dennis loomed large in the weather forecast the day before, with heavy rain and high winds being the order of the day. I can’t say I was looking forward to having Dennis as a running buddy, but it did give me an opportunity to try out a new waterproof running jacket. I was awake before 6am so decided to get up and get going, leaving the house just after 06:30. It was raining out, but not that much, and it was windy, but nowhere near as much as advertised. The rain lasted for the first 5k or so then stopped, or at least I stopped noticing it. I had used the Ordnance Survey app to plan the route so I was sure the distance was right. I ran from home into Reading then to the A4 until the Wargrave turning then up to Henley and across back to Caversham along the back roads. As I passed the half way mark I reflected on the fact that last week’s so-called long run was just the halfway distance marker for this week’s long run.
On the return leg the road was flooded in a few places, ankle deep with no option but to wade through. At one point a guy in a car stopped to tell me that the road was flooded ahead and I might not get through it. Pah, I said, I’ll just get wet. When I got there I was confronted with a good 100m of flooded road, 20-30cm deep, a proper flood. Just as I was girding my loins to wade in, a van pulled up and offered me a lift through it. Seemed churlish to refuse! By this point the rain had picked up again too, so Dennis did have a little sting in the tail.
This was my longest ever run. I did feel it in my legs, my calves and hamstrings were a bit tight for the last 7 or 8km, and I have been properly weary since. The idea of doing another 10km for the full marathon distance doesn’t fill me with joy, but it does now seem possible. I have to say that right now the idea of tacking on another 62km just seems utterly bonkers. I suppose I’ll have to trust that the ultra training over the summer will prepare me right for that.
Long run fuel – I opted for a double hit of tailwind in one of my 500ml bottles, enough for 2 hours, pus I took a fruity oat bar and a gel, although I didn’t actually use the gel. I need to get some more tailwind, I’m almost out. I did take on what I thought was a lot of water too, about 1L in total, but I have felt quite dehydrated since getting home. I probably need to drink more when I’m running.
Injury status – The only gig in town really is this pesky tibialis posterior. It was sore before I went out this morning and is now properly pissed off. I’m going to get some ice on it, I think, shut it up for a while. The achilles, the hamstring and the knee are all quiet or at least manageable.
All in all, a good week, the plan overall is going well, despite me having to mince about compensating for various injuries. I think once the marathon is done I will have a total rest from running for 2 or 3 weeks, give things a chance to mend properly.
I’ll be back in a week with another update.