Marathon training is a funny thing.
Well, I say funny, but what I actually mean is all-consuming. I’m in week 6 of a 16 week programme that culminates in the 26.2 miles from Blackheath Common to the Mall on 24th April, but already, most of the time when I’m not actually running is spent thinking about my next big run. I’ll give you an example: my training programme says that my long midweek run this week needs to cover 8 miles. For the sake of time-efficiency, at the moment I’m breaking my long mid-week run up into two pieces by running the 3.6 miles to the office in the morning and the 3.6 miles home in the evening. This isn’t quite the same thing as running 7 miles all in one go, but the mileage is the same and the run home in particular is good training on tired legs. As these runs soon start to peak over 10 miles, I think I’m going to just run them in one go in the evenings when I get home from work, but for now I’m happy enough to break it up.
There’s a problem. As I’m sure you can probably work out for yourself, 3.6 miles plus 3.6 miles does not equal 8 miles. As anyone who has trained to a programme like this before, you can add miles to your training runs, but you can’t run less than you have scheduled. For me at least, it’s really important that I line up at the start of my marathon knowing that I haven’t taken any shortcuts and that I’ve put in the mileage required to be able to get me around the course in one piece.
So this morning, I got up into my running kit, ran to the doctor’s surgery for an appointment. It's on the way to work, but once I was done there, I ran back on myself to add another mile or so to my run before heading into work. That way, I could make make sure that my total this evening covered the full 8 miles. Ridiculous, right? And I had to plan that out in advance and everything, you know. And as I was planning that, I was simultaneously mapping out my route for my Sunday 16 miler in my head: a long loop of the Embankment from Lady Bay bridge is about 6 miles. If I run that and then throw in a 10 mile Big Track loop, that will be my miles covered. Job done. I should get another few hours of “Wolf Hall” done too.
You see? All-consuming.
I’m going skiing in a couple of weeks. We’re going Saturday to Saturday, so this means that I can get my long run in on the Sunday after we get back, but that I need to cover my long run before we go. So.... I’ve taken that Friday off so that I can fit an 18 miler in before we go. That's what normal people do with their holiday time, right? If you’re interested, I’ll tell you the route I’m considering.
No? Suit yourselves.
I’ll still be taking my running gear to Austria, obviously… but I think I can cope with missing the midweek runs as long as I have the long runs covered.
So yeah, I think it’s fair to say that I’m spending an awful lot of time at the moment either running, or thinking about running. The really worrying part is that I’ve still got ten more weeks of this to go and the mileage is only getting bigger from here.
Just as long as I’m not boring anyone though, yeah?
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