Marathon Training, Weeks Two and Three

Oh God. Man was born to suffer. It’s true. I’ve been in hiding in my Happy Place, a rictus grin fixed on my face in an attempt to fool my brain into thinking it’s all fine. It so very, very isn’t. I’m logging miles like a Morris Minor driven by a woman with hairy ears and a floral hat. S-l-o-w-l-y.

My long runs have been a little short but nothing too dreadful. I raced 5 miles and went out later to do another 10 later in the day one week and then did 25km the following Sunday. Both distances are a little less than were on the plan but I felt okay running them. I bonked* last week after 23k and ran out of gels so I stopped when I got back to the car instead of going past it for another mile and then running back which had been my plan.

(*Note for non-runners, bonking is a lot less fun than you’d think.)

Weekdays have been stressful and horrible and filled with what can only really be described as My Job. My Job has dragged me round the country quite a lot or had me damaging my fertility under a hot laptop or sitting in a meeting room in a hotel for so long my legs were like jelly. That’s a funny expression, isn’t it? I used to really love jelly. Jelly came in colours but not in flavours. Red jelly was always my favourite and green jelly would always be left until there was no alternative. Anyway, as much as I love jelly, I don’t really like the feeling of wibbly-wobbliness my legs have after an entire day spent in a meeting room.

Nothing quite saps motivation quite like long, long drives. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been to Manchester and Newcastle and back on consecutive days because I needed to get back to Cambridge to coach at the club. It’s not the same as other ways of draining energy. You need to stay alert to all the other bastards out there intent on killing you on the road. That’s a special form of anxiety and it really nibbles at your ability to function as an athlete or a coach at the end of the trip.

I wanted to run early in the mornings for an hour or so but I didn’t have the energy for that. I ran on Tuesday evening for five and a half miles and Wednesday for about eleven and a bit. Wednesday’s run was the first one that felt good: Ealing to Kew then up the river to Richmond Lock and back to Ealing via Brentford. I was bumping along, ticking off each kilometer in five and a half minutes whenever I didn’t have to cross a road. It felt easy mostly because it was. I’m definitely an evening runner though. You morning people are all weird.

I’m parkrunning tomorrow then maybe doing a few more miles on my own. My long run on Sunday is only 15 miles but I might do more depending on how I feel. Plans are like drunken promises, after all – made only to be broken.

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