Updated: Feb 18
Week commencing 3rd of February. Coming into my final few weeks of training and I am full of excitement because I am right where I need to be mentally and physically. Like two old friends, long distance running and I have been reacquainted distance over the last week or so and I’m feeling tremendous. We’ve had a rocky relationship but there is a certain amount of confidence that can be gained from a long run and it has to be respected.
A few weeks ago, as I was coming back from a sore calf, I grew unsure of myself. But this last 7 to 10 days, my confidence is soaring and my mindset
has switched from worry to focus and determination again. Often it is about getting out to see how your body feels. Some of my best and longest runs have come when I’ve gone out with the mentality “I’ll see how far I get”. When I’ve set off with no mileage in mind, I usually end up going for miles working on the basis of ‘one step at a time’.
There is something I love about a long run and my body always seems to settle into it. It is here where I found my real passion for running. I always describe it to people as a bit of a picnic without the sitting down. This might sound a bit bizarre so let me explain- I pack my bag full of drinks and snacks and begin shufflling along, taking in the scenery and the beautiful outdoors, eating and drinking on the way. There is no real rush for me to get anywhere, I just take it steady and enjoy the ride. I am not a fast runner and one of the good things about this challenge is I’m not racing anyone but myself. In fact, this sums up my views on running and life in general: it’s not healthy to compare yourself to others. Your journey is your own and, as long as you are striving to get better, you are doing the right thing. It is just as commendable for a brand new runner to start from 0 and get to 5k as it a seasoned runner running a 100 mile race. It is all relative to you and your own perspective and mindset. Take this challenge, for example. It initially began as this huge challenge of running around all these stadiums, whereas I’m now seeing it as more of a nice touring football holiday around the country. Not that it will be anything remotely close to a holiday, but that helps my brain rationalise it.
Running and Training
My hardest run to date came last Sunday: 13 miles with added weight. It was made all the more difficult by the man flu I had been suffering with all week. My energy was down much earlier than usual and it just didn’t feel right, but I had to keep going. I fought through and when I returned I needed to do all the right things, and I did. Firstly, I stretched off for 30 minutes then had an ice bath before crashing out on my bed for a 20 minute nap. I followed that up with a hearty meal, veg and plenty of fluids and I was back on track. As I mature, so does my running and I realise the powers of recovery are so important. More and more, I’m seeing that what you do before and after a run is just as crucial as the running itself.
Everything was aching but it’s the best kind of pain, knowing I’m putting my body through its paces. I’ve never been so happy to see the bruise on my toenail forming as it prepares itself to break off. This is so satisfying because it means one thing: I’m going further and my body is getting stronger.
My recovery was everything this week and I have been stretching 3 or 4 times a day to keep as loose as I can. This seems to be helping a lot as well as eating the right things.
Sunday- 13 miles
Monday - 3 miles
Thursday - 6 miles
Friday- 6 miles
Saturday- 7 miles
My best week yet with 35 miles keeps me on track and the mileage is increasing. I’ll now have another week of pushing myself that bit further before beginning to ease off before the start of the challenge.