I've hit the highest weekly part of the training plan and now its time to slowly reduce each week by 20-30%. And so begins the nagging doubts about whether I've trained enough, tapered too early or trained for too long. Tapering sounds great in theory though what I found throughout April was that as the weeks rolled by, motivation to get out there and run reduced distances was actually not as high as you'd have thought.
Flag from Invest In Me that I'll be taking around Europe!
I think what I've realised with marathon training is that your body and mind adapts itself to the distance you're trying to achieve. Many times I've gone out looking to quickly smash a 5 mile run but found it as tough as a 19 mile one. You can think that you'll be able to run it with no problems and put on the autopilot but you still need to put in the effort and respect the miles or you'll get physically or (sometimes worse) mentally hurt.
I've had my first ever sports massage which was amazingly painful. I found a really good guy called Martin who is a very good club runner (10KM and below) who I was able to grill for training tips as he nearly broke me on a pop up table in my kitchen. Fully worthwhile and good value at £30, definitely felt lighter on my feet and he did say he wondered how I'd been able to run with the mess of twisted muscles and fibres I had in both calves!
Warmer weather on our 16 miler to Avonmouth Docks
April is certainly getting better weather wise, maybe too good as I'm starting to yearn for the cold dark winter temps! I know its going to get tougher turning down park or beer garden beers on Friday nights but this is something I've set my mind on doing and it's impossible to only half commit to a challenge like this. I'm continuing to read and learn as I go along; stretching, breathing, visualisations, getting 'in flow' and using the experience of all 53 training runs so far.
This month I want to talk about mantras. You know, little motivational sayings that all long distance runners hold in the bank for when they hit 'the wall' and/or have to shut the front door behind them on a horrible day. When you hit 20 miles it really just becomes a battle of mind versus body. Body wants to give up and mind has to do the work to keep it going. I already know I'll be focusing on the thought of holding my medal in one hand and a delicious cold Czech beer in the other but sometimes you just need a little more in reserve.
My running buddy Ben Scott (who's running Dublin with me in October) and I came up and borrowed some of these very silly slightly aggressive mantras over many nights of comparing notes and sharing pains, see what you think:
- Tie yourself to the mast my friend and the storm will end ('One Day' by The Verve)
- Our taper is your Everest
- We run so you don't have to
- Nipple blood is the true measure of a man
- Whilst you sleep, I'm out there redefining the thresholds of pain
- My home stretch is your worst nightmare
- When I need gels, you need an ambulance
- Whilst I inspire, you expire
- When I get cramp you get crutches
- Miles are just markers
- We eat up pavement like crazy Pacmen
- Pain is weakness leaving the body
- Come run with me hills
- I am a Marathoner
I'm now very much in rest mode ahead of Prague on the 3rd of May, I'm even taking the bus when I really ought to be walking. And I'm enjoying eating as many carbs as I possibly can now we're in the final week! Thanks for all the nice messages and sponsorship all, hope I get round OK and make a bit of noise for M.E.
Runs completed: 12
Average temp: 11C
Injuries: few niggles