Emergency Training

Right.  That’s enough. Stop drinking. You don’t need it.  Look how angry you are.  Look at your training.  Remember why you’re doing this.  Remember Dad.  Remember all those people who have sponsored you.  Remember all those supporting you.  Remember yourself.  Snap out of it!

The final week of September was spent looking at how to train for a marathon with just over a month to go.  What I’ve found out is that it is not a good idea.  However it is not impossible!

I won’t put up my Emergency Training Plan in case anyone actually decides to follow it.  It’s not a good idea, folks.  From now, my plan has to be about surviving the marathon.  It was never about getting a time.  It’s about getting through it.  For me.  For Dad.  For Addaction.  For anyone struggling in similar situations.  Or even those who are not. 

I put my plan together.   28th September to 28th October.  Spoke with Coach JB about it.  Let’s do this!  I’d already been out with the club that week for Fartlek, and went out for a club run the next day which involved hill repeats and boxing gloves.  I love my club, I really do.

That weekend the aim was to run about 2.30 – 3 hours.  Doesn’t matter the distance, just get out there slowly and do it.  I mapped out a route I thought was suitable (hills galore).  And off I went.  I enjoyed the run.  Mostly.  Walked a fair bit.  But that didn’t matter.  It was about being out on the legs for that long.    As I was nearing the end, I was getting tired.  I decided 2:45 should be my cut off.  My mum and my brother randomly drove by me as I had eight minutes to go.  Brother jumped out of the car and ran with me until it was over.  He’s good.  That helped.  And that’s it.  It was done.  23.2km. 14.4 Miles.  Not bad.  Happy with that.  This was also the first time I’d managed a long run all on my lonesome.  Not part of a race.  Not with the club.  Just me.  This was a good feeling.  Maybe I can do this.

The next week the plan had me swimming, club run, Fartlek and a long run of 16-18 miles.  Pffffffffffffft.  I didn’t swim, but did go out for a slow jog to clear my head.  Had a terrible Monday at work and rather than down the gin sitting in my kitchen, I just went straight out the door.  Went to the woods.  Cried in the dark. Crazy person. Done.

The club run was great.  Felt super easy.  Coach JB said that when you run longer distances, the short runs do just seem a doddle.  I liked that feeling!  I skipped Fartlek the next day as I was just not feeling it, but figured that was fine.  Rest my legs an extra day before the run on Friday.

Friday came.  As planned, I left work early and went out for a run.  I had my Addaction running vest on to make sure it was comfortable for the marathon.  Also had a new Camelbak to test out. (My other one is a cycling one and a bit bulky so I bought a running specific one).  I’d mapped out a route before I left.  19 Miles.  Wasn’t planning to run 19 really as figured I could walk back home when I wanted to stop.  16 or 17 miles would be sensible considering the 14 the previous week and my legs may not take any more.  So off I went.

I didn’t feel that great when I set off.  It was a tad too warm.  It was the afternoon.    I had long sleeves.  I’d had cheese, crackers and onion chutney for lunch (Why !??!?!?).  This is not my usual preparation for a long run!

I did feel like stopping so many times, but took a breath, walked if I had to and just carried on.

The route I mapped was all on familiar roads until I crossed over the A5. At this point I was heading over to Woburn Sands and then looping round to Bow Brickhill.  I’ve walked to Woburn Sands before, but not run on these roads.  Terrifying.  Wasn’t a super busy road, but it was busy enough to be scary!  I then went through some woods which is always a joy and then a mega steep descent into Woburn Sands.  Happy days.  Messaged JB at this point to let him know where I was.  He works nearby and said he’d meet me on his bike and ride back with me.  I ran the road between Woburn Sands and Bow Brickhill.  Terrible road to run on.  Busy.  But there is a path.  There was also a man with a chainsaw. I'm sure he was harmless (making wooden sculptures), but when you're tired and a bit dehydrated.  It's scary seeing..and hearing...a chainsaw.

JB was waiting for me in Bow Brickhill at the bottom of the climb.  Oh yes the climb.  Now I don’t know this hill in Bow Brickhill at all.  JB and his work running friends will often run what they call the “loop of justice” incorporating this climb.  And it’s a killer.  Strava is telling me that its steepest gradient is 18.3%.  In half a km you climb 54m.  Ridiculous. 

So I walked up this horrendous climb.  Got to the top and headed back over the A5 again towards Little Brickhill and roads I know and like.  It was getting dark now.  By the time we hit Great Brickhill again it was super dark.  We had to go through a wooded bit to get back home.  There was me with my phone torch trying to work out where to go.  JB thankfully had his bike lights on to guide the way also!

Out of the woods and then it was 800m downhill to the end.  Stopped my watch at 30.6km.   19 miles.  19. Ruddy. Miles.  WHAT!  Can you even believe it?!   How amazing! MASSIVE.

Super super chuffed with that.  My legs were in pieces.  I made sure I stretched.  Had a protein shake straight away.  Then all the pasta in the world was eaten that night when I was out for dinner.

Legs were sore the next day, but ok.  Had a bath.  Magnesium salts.  Lots of Magnesium Oil.  Walked into town and back (30 minutes each way) to stretch out.  Ready for Sunday.

What are you doing on Sunday, Jen?  Surely not more running?  Why, yes.  Yes I am.  The emergency plan had me running 10 miles at least two days following the 16-18 mile run.  I ran 19 miles. I had entered MONTHS ago the Ridgeway Run in Tring – 9.6 miles.  Take it slow.  This is fine. 

It wasn’t fine.  My legs were still stiff on the Sunday.  I got to the race and started.  About 4km in though, I pulled out.  My calves were pulling.  My legs were in pieces.  I probably could have got to the end, but then I may have done more damage to myself.  The marathon is more important.

I stupidly ran 19 miles when I’d only run 14 the week before. This is not the thing to do at all!

So the new plan is to rest the legs and try a short run on Tuesday…tonight! I walk to and from work  every day which is 30 minutes each way.  Nice stretch out.  This week I’ll do two short runs and then I’ve got a half marathon at the weekend.  No more super longs runs now.

I am so happy I’ve got the 19 miles in.  That’s much further than my final training run for MK last year!

Now I’ve got to keep the legs ticking over and make sure I’m well hydrated and fueling enough the next few weeks.

18 days to go.

17 days alcohol free.

I’ve got this.


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