Sunday, 22 March 2009

Taper time

That's the first week of the taper out of the way. This time in 2 weeks and Paris will all be over and done with. For this year at least. More on that later.

Not been a bad week really. A few highs and a few...well...not so highs I suppose.

Monday was the warmest and sunniest day of the year so far and after starting my work early I decided to go for a walk at dinner time. The walk itself was quite pleasant and I discovered a few ginnels I didn't know were there but going out in desert boots was a mistake when I had a slowly recovering blister on my foot. It was painful after 15 minutes and when I took a look afterwards the blister was larger than the compeed dressing and didn't look to healthy. I trimmed it (delightful) and later went to the surgery and the nurse cleaned and dressed it. Its been getting slowly better since.

On Tuesday evening I went out for a club run. It was 7 miles, hilly and (for me) pretty brisk but I did well and felt great afterwards, particularly as I felt a little under the weather before. Then on Thursday I went for a 4 mile run from home, hilly again, and whilst it was ok overall I could still feel Tuesday's exertions in my legs.

Saturday's LSR was due to be 12 miles and that left me with an unwitting dilema - it wasn't long enough for me to focus on and prepare for beforehand but was lengthy enough to be a pretty substantial effort on the day. It wasn't great but I didn't leave in the best frame of mind, with insufficient water, most of the kit I'd expected to wear still in the washing basket and no real idea of what pace I wanted to run it at. Should I go for a quick 12 miles well under marathon pace, practice sustained running at the pace I want to go at in Paris or take it really easy and slow right down?

In the end I did a mix of the first two. At this stage I'm planning on doing Paris somewhere between 10.00 and 10.10 a mile and the first 8 miles were all between 9.56 and 10.06. After that I did speed up a little to finish at an average of 9.49 partly due to adding on an extra 0.6 miles and running it at 8.14 so I finished on a high.

At 6 miles I felt the dressing covering the blister bunching up and when I had a look the whole dressing was coming loose meaning I'd need to run back with no covering. Fortunately no great damage seemed to have been done.

An hour at the gym followed today, mainly on the cross trainer but with a good stretching session too.

Best news this week has probably been weight loss. After over eating again on Monday evening I've been very focussed since and was rewarded today when the scales registered 12st 6.6lb. My target at the beginning of the year was to get below 12st 7lb for Paris so hopefully I'll knock another pound or so off from that by this time next week.

With Paris being so close and Edinburgh not too far behind thoughts have inevitably been towards 'what next' and I think I now have a clearer idea what.

Marathon training has given me a good framework for fitness and weight loss and I want to maintain that and take it a little further too. Ideally that'll lead to a sub 4 hour marathon at some stage but to do that will probably need harder training and more training. On the one hand I could go for it for an autumn marathon - either Berlin in September or Dublin in October - but if I want to do a spring marathon next year that would mean 4 marathons and 15 months pretty constant training and I'm not sure that would be the wisest idea.

Instead I think I'll take a few easy weeks after Edinburgh and then lose any remaining weight and try to do some pressure free running - shorter runs but more frequent and harder - with a view to getting PBs at 10k, 10 miles and half marathon. That'll give me a good indication of what I'll be capable of next year as well as putting me in a strong starting position for tougher marathon training. There's just 2 problems though: what do I go for next spring - Paris or Rome - and will I be able to find 3 early autumn races to go for as so many seem to have dissapeared in the last couple of years.

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