Respecting the Plan


I can't believe how quickly the weeks are passing. As I write this, it's only six weeks until my marathon debut. How did that happen?

Training this week has been good, on the whole. Around about now, my plan transitions from the speed work we've done the past 4 weeks or so, to more stamina focused work. That's meant that Tuesday was a VO2 Max session, 14 x 1 minute intervals at 'medium to hard pace', whilst Thursday was a tempo run.

The biggest challenge I've faced this week has been when I've had to do these workouts. As regular readers will know, I prefer to train at dawn, often up with the larks and out the door before 5.30am. However work commitments meant that both Tuesday & Thursday sessions would have to be done after work. I find that really tough, both mentally & physically.

So on Tuesday I set off with a sense of trepidation. Don't get me wrong, I was trying to think positive, to talk myself into a good workout, but at the back of my mind I was worried about how I'd get through the session. I felt lethargic on the warm-up, even stopping to check my phone (in reality I needed to take a breather – on the warm up! 😱). But when the Intervals started, I was on top if it. Game face on. Slowly but surely I pushed the Intervals out, bang on the money. It's funny – sometimes I find it easier to run hard than to run easy! Go figure….

I then died a thousand deaths on the cool down, having to stop & sit on the pavement as I got back to the village. I just needed to recover, before I could do the last mile back to the house. But I got the session done.

Thursday wasn't so bad, albeit it was a shorter session. I made sure to eat well during the day, and fuel up with a gel during the tempo effort. Maybe that's what it comes down to – making sure I'm properly fuelled for evening sessions?

I also had to move my long run from Sunday to Saturday as we were out for dinner with friends on Saturday evening, and I didn't fancy a long, hard, run after a night of food & drink. However my legs were still heavy from Thursday night's efforts, so it wasn't a great run. The plan was for 7 miles easy, 7 miles at goal marathon pace, then a mile cool down. It wasn't pretty, and I'll admit to taking a couple of strategic pee-breaks on the faster section. But again I got it done.

Do you have runs like that? I'd love to know.

Reflecting on all of this on my easy run this morning, I'm learning that a marathon plan is designed the way it is for a reason. More than at shorter distances, recovery is key. If I want to be able to do each session well, I need to respect the plan. To allow my body to recover, and to fuel it well. Sometimes work and life will get in the way, and I need to adapt, which is absolutely fine. However if I'm going to move sessions around, then I need to be mindful of recovery times. I can't get away with it on a marathon plan the way I could training for a 10k or half.

In other news, we've booked a week in Lanzarote at the end of October. By then I'll be starting to get back into structured training, so it'll be great to kickstart my winter training in the sunshine and warmth of the volcanic island. I've been there once before – for a training camp when I was still racing my bike back in 2014, although I only got to see the Island from my bike, and even then I spent most of that week hanging onto wheels and finding my fitness, so I'm looking forward to going back and enjoying the Island at a different pace.

How's your week been?

This week in numbers:

  • Miles run – 33.9
  • Time on my feet – 4:58:46
  • Bike rides – 1

2 thoughts on “Respecting the Plan

  1. Good work! Looks like you’re getting there! You do get these runs where you’re not at your best but I believe they still serve you well on Marathon day. Whether you did them the way you’re supposed to isn’t important as it’s one run out of a whole training plan and the fact you went out anyway is more important. If you do get a run where you’re not feeling your best for what you’re about to do, focus on how you feel or how you want to feel on race day instead and run to that. That can often be more powerful when you’re not feeling the intensity of what you should be doing đŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Steve. The evening thing is weird – over the years of bike racing, I’ve often trained and raced in the evenings without any problem. This year, however, I’ve had at least a handful of evenings where I’ve just felt completely flat. I don’t know whether it’s the accumulated effect of marathon training, my hayfever (which has been particularly bad this year), or my workload. Maybe it’s all three? I have two evening runs again this week, so we’ll see how they go….

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