And here we are: the countdown. I feel like I’ve been thinking about this for a thousand years, and to be honest at the moment I have very mixed feelings about the whole thing.
On the weekend I did a 12 mile run as per my trusty plan, and by the end my feet were in shreds. Throughout this whole thing I 100% didn’t expect blisters to be my biggest concern.
Actually, they’re more like mutant blisters, like I’m trying to grow an extra foot on each side, but I promise no more details. Let’s just say that right now, the biggest reason for not hitting my goals will be because of my skin’s inability to play it cool. Literally.
Other than that, I thought it might be time for a check in on ‘What I have Learned throughout this Process’. I know thousands of people do marathons every week, but I’m sure they’ll all tell you that the first is a watershed moment. Half way through I did a similar summary, so it’s only fitting to do one now…..
- Long runs are a mindset more than a fitness test. Boom. Is your mind blown? Again, this is something that every marathon-er will tell you. However, when you experience it first hand, you feel like you’ve tapped into The Secret, and want to jump on Oprah’s couch sharing your gem. My first long run (which I count as 18 miles) was beset by mental challenges. I’m so tired already at 6 miles, how will I feel in 10 miles time…???!?!? That kind of thing. Then the next time, I worked hard to change my mindset, and since then it’s been ok.
- My body has changed in these last 8 weeks. At the half-way check in, I noted that my body hasn’t changed shape. But now, my chest is smaller, and my calves and glutes are bigger. I have fallen into the trap of eating whatever I like because I’m training-for-a-marathon-dont-you-know, and also because my whole family has been to visit over the last 6 weeks. And we’ve been on holiday. No picture: I don’t think you’re ready for that jelly.
- Work/life balance becomes Work/life/run balance. I found traveling with work and keeping to my running plan really hard. Work travel equals late nights, dinners out, and being in a strange place so you don’t know where/when you can get your 7 mile progression run in. Plus, when I was at home, every social activity was viewed through the lens of ‘when can I get my run in that day’. This in itself takes a lot of energy, and that’s before you even leave the house.
- You hit new goals each week. I love hitting goals. There is nothing I enjoy more than crossing things off a list, and this experience has been one long list that I get to cross. My proudest moments during training are: fastest 10k (45:18), furthest distance (21 miles – also one of my favourite runs this training), and knowing I can comfortably do 7 miles in less than an hour. Now it’s just the Big Goal to go.
- It can be lonely. I have hardly run with my running group on a Wednesday this year, because I wanted to focus on my Tuesday speed work and Thursday steady runs. So I’ve been on my own a lot this year – which has been great when I’ve had things to work through and consider (because my thoughts are very important) – but it can be lonely.
- It is mostly awesome. I’ve been very lucky not to injure myself, and I’ve really enjoyed having a reason to get out and run, especially when I’ve seen new cities and sights. I have never finished a run regretting that time in the fresh air, with my music, and my garmin, and my goals. I have to remind myself of this if things don’t go to plan on Sunday!
Training views: Durham bluebells, NYC from Central Park, Durham Cathedral, Big Ben, Stockholm, Durham
I’m not running this week to give myself the best chance for good feet this weekend. There’s also at least one more reflective post this week…. Sorry if I’ve become this:
And finally – Happy Birthday Gilly!!! I hope you had a wonderful day, and I can’t wait to hear about it xx