40 mile week?!

What a chilly start to the week! As I’ve said before, I really don’t being cold. Tuesday morning it was still -2o when I finished work at 8:30am. I’d felt cold since I got up at 4:15 that morning so decided it probably wasn’t the best plan to go for a run in literally freezing temperatures. So, I went home and did my run mid-afternoon instead. Seven miles complete, at a pace slightly slower than it should have been, but I just couldn’t muster any more speed.

Wednesday brought a run and catch up with Jay, perfect for keeping the pace ‘easy’. Five miles on my plan, but we got a bit carried away and did five and a half. With over 500ft of elevation, although we kept to a pace where we could talk, the terrain was by no means ‘easy’.

My last weekday run of the week should have been another seven miles. Having started working all day on a Thursday it’s a struggle to fit a run in. I can’t keep missing it so my plan is to either get up early to do it before work, or do part before and part after work. We’ll see what happens with that this week!

Saturday’s long run was due to be 16 miles. I’d been planning to do Parkrun and then continue for the remaining 13 afterwards. When I woke up Saturday morning I didn’t even want to go to Parkrun, let alone run 16 miles! I got myself up and dragged myself along to Parkrun, only just making it in time for the pre-run briefing. I placed myself quite centrally in the starting group, hoping to use those around me to get going. Just under a mile in someone caught up with me and kept on my shoulder. It was clear we were both running at threshold, so conversation wasn’t possible. We kept going, shoulder to shoulder, silently pushing each other to keep the pace going. This was faster than I’d run for a little while and with good chunk of the course being on grass (mud), it was taking all I had to keep going. Second lap, we came off of the tarmac and I could feel myself slowing. Somehow, this lady who had kept on my shoulder, managed to muster enough breath to shout at me to keep going, just what I needed. I caught back up and we stayed together until the final straight. Somehow, I pretty much always manage to pull a ‘sprint’ out at the end. I couldn’t shout to encourage the lady to keep up with me, but she did, and we finished one second apart. We congratulated and thanked each other for a great run at the finish, both achieving a faster run than we would have otherwise. Thank you Clare for being a great human being.

So, a great morning run, I should feel motivated to get out and get the rest of my miles done, right? wrong! I went to the coffee shop, sat to do some work admin and text Jay about my morning achievement and the mental struggle I was having. It’s so invaluable to me to have someone I can turn to who has been through the same emotions, mental states etc, that I’m going through during this training. By the end of our text chat I had a plan of action, with a backup plan if it went wrong.

Mid-afternoon I got myself ready to run, and queued up a playlist on my phone to get me through. When I first started running I always listened to music, but after entering my first races I got into the habit of running without music due to so many races not allowing headphones. As a result I very rarely listen to music while I run now. Anyway, I got a playlist up that says it’s 155bpm, meaning all the songs would be around the same sort of tempo and I could use this to help keep a regular pace. I got going and quickly realised the benefit the music was having. Everything felt easier because I could use the beat and it was keeping me at a pace within my endurance pace range.

Eight and a half miles in, disaster struck. The battery on my watch died! Because of the way my head had been, I needed to have this run logged, so I decided to walk home. And it’s a good job I did. Within minutes I realised that something wasn’t right. I was feeling itchy all down my back and having removed my watch saw that underneath the strap my wrist was covered in hives. I was having some sort of allergic reaction. Thankfully the reaction stayed at an itchy rash, even if it covered most of my body by the time I got home. 11.5 miles done out of 16, and that was all I was going to be able to do today. Disappointed I hadn’t been able to complete the miles I needed, but pleased I did what I had, I spent the rest of the day chilling on the sofa, the first opportunity I’d had to do so all week.

Sunday I was scheduled to run 5 miles, and had arranged to do this with my friend Roeland who was running a lapped event at Greenham Common. I felt the need to make up some extra miles not only from Saturday, but from my missed Thursday run. So I went out in the morning and did five and a half miles, and felt really good! In the afternoon I went over to Newbury, met Roeland and did the last lap of his run with him, just under 4 and a half miles. This meant I’d made up for Saturday’s shortfall and although the weekend had been a bit all over the place, I felt a lot better about it than I otherwise would have.

I finished the week six miles short of the 40 miles I was supposed to have run, but having run more miles than my head wanted me to, and therefore gaining a some mental training as well as physical training. This week my long run goes up to 18 miles, bringing my week’s mileage to 42…

I’m running South Downs Way 50 in aid of Child Bereavement UK. You can sponsor me here…



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