Four weeks until Paris!

Yesterday was my last beast of a long run before the Paris Marathon, and it was my longest ever training run – 23 miles!  Training for marathon number 2 has been, seemingly, much easier than the first time around, and despite starting off with a bit of an injury, and managing to bag only 1-3 runs a week, I’m feeling stronger and more confident than I was four weeks before Loch Ness.  Maybe it’s because I’m not stressing out about it as much (since I know now that even if I feel horrendous from mile 9, I CAN finish a marathon).  Maybe it’s because I haven’t been killing myself as much during the week with monster ‘mid-distance’ runs at a faster pace than necessary.  Maybe it’s because I have been more consistent with gradually upping my long runs, and including adequate drop-down weeks (bliss, by the way).

Just for comparison, here are my ‘long runs’ from Loch Ness next to my long runs (and expected runs over the next few weeks) for Paris:

Loch Ness: 16   7   10   16   13   18   5   20   17.5   13   10   13   9   26.2

Paris:  10.5   15   17.5   13   19   16.5   21   10   23   13   13   8   26.2

I mean, I’m no expert, but my Paris plan looks WAY better than my haphazard approach to training for Loch Ness.

The other thing I have been sensible about is sticking to a steady pace for all of my long runs.  Instead of starting out thinking ‘I’ll slow down when I get tired’, and looking down at my Garmin to see I was running 8:xx minute miles, I have dialled WAY back, and now aim to average 10 minute miles throughout.  I realize this is a practically geriatric pace for some of you speed demons, but I’m still trying to get rid of a stubborn ten pounds I put on after surgery a couple of years ago (but I’ve lost the other 20 – seriously, not being able to work out is not fun), and I am also still finding my marathon feet, so just finishing kind of gives me a semi.

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Anyway, what I have noticed with these slower runs is that I don’t feel completely disgusting after 13 miles, and I have even managed to run 21 miles non-stop!  In fact, yesterday’s 23 would have been non-stop, but being a bit of a dick and not really eating much for breakfast meant I had to stop for some hula hoops and orange juice, and I opted to walk while I was eating because it was freezing, and standing still would have resulted in the loss of my extremities.  In fact, I have felt so strong that during both my 20+ milers, the thought of going that extra 3/5 miles did not reduce me to tears or make me question my sanity.  It felt achievable, and I was even tempted to just go for it, before my various running companions rather aggressively urged me to not do that because we all just wanted our now traditional post run hot chocolate.

Admittedly, I was feeling fatigued at the end of the long runs, and I have adopted a new mantra of ‘fuck you cars’ which I repeatedly murmur in my head grunt aloud whilst crossing a street brazenly in front of drivers, because stopping and starting is a complete bitch when you’re half a mile away from finishing, and people in cars can just fucking wait.  I did also run into a bus stop near the end of yesterday’s run because I genuinely did not notice it thanks to minor delirium.  But considering the 21 and 23 mile runs, had I continued at the same pace, would have both been faster than my time at Loch Ness, I am stoked. I mean, I wasn’t even (that) angry when I got home yesterday afternoon and the sun decided to come out despite playing a very successful game of hide and seek all morning:

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Having run 23 miles, just sitting on my sofa causes extreme happiness.

I am also stoked that I will be back on the medal-collecting train next weekend, as I have the Inverness half marathon (which is officially my nemesis after last year, and I am in two minds about whether or not to race it), and the following weekend is the Garioch half marathon, which I dread thanks to my hilly-as-fuck experience at the 10k last year.  But  since this is a relatively positive post, I’ll end on a high.  I am beyond ecstatic that I ditched the gym yesterday and got in my long run instead, because this morning?  Well, THIS is what I was greeted with when I drew back my bedroom curtains:

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12 thoughts on “Four weeks until Paris!

  1. It’s so refreshing to read posts of people training for marathons who aren’t overdoing it. I also like that your long, slow pace is the only time when you run slower than me 🙂

    I still need to sign up for the Run Garioch 10 km, but I will. It’ll be our first, kinda-sorta race together this year!

    • Well, I think after the first one, the novelty wore off, and I knew what kind of pain to expect. Also, I’m far less ambitious with my time this time around. I mainly want to be able to finish Paris, and also finish the Rock n Roll 1/2 marathon in Edinburgh the following weekend in as little pain as possible. I mean, the medal is sparkly! Priorities. 😛

      And re: Garioch, you might want to be quick! I know Balmoral 10k is sold out already, not sure if there was a cap on entries for Garioch or not.

  2. Excellent post, well done you on the run! Yay for long, slow runs. But boo for the snow.

    I know what you mean about stopping for cars – I guess that’s why I try to stay on towpaths and footpaths and parks. Still, that meant I did get overtaken by some ‘race walkers’ today. They were speedy!

    • Merci (pretty much the extent of my French. I should probably brush up on how to acquire a beer in the immediate future). And don’t worry about race walkers – they aren’t real people anyway. They’re more like really slim penguins from outer space that can take on a realistic human form.

      • hahaha, they are penguins.

        i can help you with beer asking:

        ” Je voudrais une bière, s’il vous plait” or ” Une bière, s’il vous plait ” I wanna do Paris and drink beer!

      • Thanks! If you can break ‘voudrais’ down phonetically, I’ll be on fire!
        Though not a wine drinker, even I am tempted by the French Medoc Marathon that basically serves you wine along the way. I would be destroyed, because I am a complete lightweight at the best of times, but the race photos would be unbelievable!

      • Busy that w/end, but a half sounds MUCH more appropriate. I mean, nobody needs to be exposed to my drunken dance skillz in broad daylight. Nobody.

  3. It’s awesome when you can churn out a 20+ mile effort and not feel like running an extra mile to the ER. Good to see you’re in great shape leading up to Paris. Though I don’t want to temper your exuberant optimism, remind yourself to take it easy in those next two races. As you’re racing, ask yourself, which is the most important race? I’m guessing the answer would be “Paris” so try and use both of those races strictly for medal-collecting and not to shatter a time goal.

    Make it happen.

  4. That looks like great training to me (not that i know a lot about marathons or training well) I wonder what time you would like. You don’t have to say if you think it
    may jinx it btw 🙂

    • Regarding time, I didn’t really have anything in mind, other than maybe a new PB (since my first and only marathon is 8 seconds over 4:30:00, and that really annoys me). I signed up to this as a mini holiday with two other girls, not as a goal crushing race, though I guess I’ll just wait and see how I feel on the day. I have another marathon booked for January that I was going to hopefully use as a ‘fast’ one (for me).

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