Technically, I’ve only a few more weeks of ‘proper’ training left to go. Weeks 17 and 18 don’t have anything greater than an 8 mile run (well, apart from the 26 miler at the end of week 18!)
This week was one of those weeks where everything went really, really well. Which is great, because the last few have been a test of faith.
Training Schedule – Week 13
- Mon – 5 miles easy
- Tues – Rest
- Wed – 5 miles marathon pace
- Thurs – 5 miles easy
- Fri – Rest
- Sat – Rest
- Sun – 19 Miles Long Slow
First thing’s first….the new shoes!!
The manufacturer description : “The game-changing Bondi is the most cushioned shoe in HOKA ONE ONE®’s road-shoe lineup. The Bondi 6 offers a smooth, balanced ride delivered by the full EVA midsole, the comfortable and breathable upper, and our Meta-Rocker technology. This delivers a consistent ride for all distances.“
My description : “Wow, these are high. Clown shoes. Springy like pogo sticks. Excellent, my toes aren’t squished. Weird, I barely need to lift my feet to run…that’ll be the meta-rocker thingy. I like them”
I guess I won’t be writing up their marketing strategy any time soon. I gave them a proper testing on my Sunday long run and wow, what a difference it made. More on that later.
Monday’s run was with Montrose Flyers, a nice route around town and an opportunity to catch up with folk. Sticking with the ‘slow pace group’ has been my go-to for some time – usually because that’s what the training plan suggests, but also because I’ve been running longer distances at the weekend. Perhaps once the marathon is done and dusted, I’ll brave a faster paced group again. (Correction – I ran with the middle paced group last night – quite enjoyed it)
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to get out with Jake for a run to the viaduct and back. I was dying to try out my new shoes too. Jake seemed happy enough to bounce along beside me at my marathon pace, although I had forgotten how often he likes to stop, so I didn’t really get a feel for them that I’d get on a longer continuous run. What I did notice straight away is how light they felt, compared to how heavy they look.
Thursday I ran with Jane and Emily C – we had for various reasons switched our usual Wednesday run to Thursday. An easy out and back 5 miles with regular bouts of blethering, we honestly did try to stick with an easy 10 min/mile pace, but ended up running at a still comfortable albeit faster pace.
I spent some of my free time this week researching blister prevention. The new shoes certainly seemed to give my toes lots of space, but with a REALLY long run looming at the weekend, I wanted to make sure I was doing everything possible to prevent rather than treat. This article is really good, with plenty of useful advice. I bought some Kinesio Tape to try and followed a YouTube clip on how best to apply the tape to the area I was having trouble with. Think I did an ok job?
I went along to Montrose parkrun on Saturday, just to try out the taping. It all held together for a slow 5K so I was set for Sunday’s long run. Claire kindly loaned me some blister prevention power to try too.
Sunday morning was glorious. Sunny, not half as windy as it has been and not particularly cold. Nothing left to do but get this 19 mile run done! I ran two loops of Montrose Basin. The first loop was anticlockwise, a little longer, heading round the local cycle path first. I ran it solo (and a little bit with fellow Flyer Michael who caught up with me on the return leg). I then met up with Jo B to do a second loop clockwise. On the way round, I met lots of familiar faces. Colleen and Emily R were also out early on one of Emily’s training runs. She’s doing the Declaration of Arbroath Half along with many other running club members and friends. Training looks like it’s going well. On the second loop, it was clear that Sunday was unofficial ‘run round the Basin day’ as we passed Barrie M and Donny. We missed Brenda, who had been round earlier.
The shoes were absolutely everything I hoped they would be for a long run. Comfortable, roomy, light and requiring little effort to run in at a slower pace. I wouldn’t say they would be suited to sprinting or fast paced running. I did find myself dragging my feet a little towards the end, I think I pelted Jo with stones a few times as I caught myself skiffing my feet. I could just imagine my Mum saying, “lift your feet” like she did when I was wee. It was probably a combination of fatigue and the meta-rocker sole, but a small price to pay for the comfort and blister-free run. Oddly, I had none of the usual next day muscle stiffness I get with a long run usually.
In the end – I managed to run just over 20 miles on Sunday. Psychologically, this is a massive milestone for me in terms of the overall training plan. I was tired, my legs were heavy, but at the same time, running another 10K seems very much in the realms of possibility now. Jo was brilliant at keeping me going towards the end too, sharing stories about the marathons she’s run (Reykjavik and Manchester) and the strategies she used to get to the finish line. I’ll find out in a couple of weeks if I can repeat the distance without too many stops when I do the Inverness Half Marathon preceded by a 7 mile run!
I’ve signed up for quite a few nice races over the coming weeks – before Gent, I’ll be doing the Arbroath Smokies 10 mile, Inverness Half and Lathallan 9K with added training miles, to tie in with my long run schedule. I’ve been really lucky to do most of my training with others, it’s going to be strange running the marathon on my own!!
Thanks for reading. Hope to see a few of you at Smokies on Sunday!