There’s been a slight setback this past week but generally Paris Marathon training has been going very well. I’m well into the sixth week of my plan, and for the first five weeks I managed to complete every scheduled training session. My fitness has improved and I feel physically stronger.
Last weekend, for the first time in this training cycle, I was lucky enough to do my long run with friends. Junior had just secured his place in the London Marathon, which is two weeks after Paris, and was scheduled to do a 9 miler. I had 14 miles to do and Jason, who’s running the Tokyo Marathon for the second time next month was down to do the full 20 miles. We decided to head down to where the River Lea passes near my home in Hackney, and to enjoy the forecast good weather with the benefit of a flat course, enabling us to focus on form and pace.
I enjoyed pacing Junior through his nine miles with Jason. Junior was strong over the first five, but then the doubts set in. Jason and I had warned him we wouldn’t let him reduce the pace or stop, and we were as good as our word. I could tell from Junior’s running form that he was physically in a good place; the need to stop was all in his mind. He powered through to the start of the eighth mile, but then psychologically it became even more tough for him. In spite of this we were able to help Junior keep the pace up so that he finished within 5 seconds of his target pace, as we’d agreed.
We stopped to catch breath and high five Junior, then Jason and I headed East towards the Olympic Park. We accelerated to our marathon goal pace, but all too soon I had to peel off and leave Jason to carry on his longer run alone as I headed home. I slowed slightly over the last half mile, but it was all uphill, so no worries there. Jason powered through and managed to complete his 20 miles in sterling fashion.
There’s a challenge on Strava where you see how many kilometres you can run in the month. I’m near the top of the leaderboard of my friends due to to the heavier training load, but it has contributed to a niggle that has not gone away, and which eventually led me to listen to my body and take a few days off running this week. I seem to have bruised the metatarsal bones on the bottom of my feet through increasing my pavement pounding too quickly- the right more than the left- leading to a dull ache that I initially ran through. I have flat feet, which may have exacerbated the problem, so when it didn’t go away, I took the first half of this week off, and then did track yesterday. The feet feel much better, and although they’re not 100%, I think I’m alright to push on with the training plan. I’m permanently swapping one of the two scheduled easy runs for supplementary training, as my plan had me running six days a week and I want to reduce my load. I’m also getting some trail shoes so I can run on softer, more forgiving surfaces. Watch this space for news of trail running with Chris McLean and co.
Hal Higdon claims you won’t have time to cross-train when doing his Advanced Marathon Plan, but he doesn’t know about me. Having read a lot about the need for supplementary strengthening and stretching work in Advanced Marathoning, I’ve been doing my best to incorporate some yoga, bodyweight and core training into my routine. I actually enjoy and look forward to stretching and foam rolling these days- crazy. I’m making an effort to get out to Paddington Rec for Track Mafia on a Thursday whenever possible, and will be putting hill training or threshold runs in on those Thursdays when I can’t make it. I’m also keen to get back to the yoga classes at 1948 on a Monday once my social diary calms down from February. I’m also keen to find a tune-up race or two- I hope FlatLine10 will be back in February, and I’d like to do a half or 15/20 miler as well if I can find one. Any tips?
So, six weeks in to Paris Marathon training I’m enjoying it, am listening to my body, have built an endurance base and am ready to move into the next cycle. I’m so excited about hitting the streets of Paris with Run Dem Crew. Bring it on.
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