Life in the slow lane


Puddleduck Lane – one of our running routes. It comes with, of course, a ‘Jemima’ cottage. A bit twee but very English.

I don’t remember the last time I exercised for 7 consecutive days, while at home. In the end, it was 71km on the turbo, 34.2km running and a weights session in the gym – nothing too extreme but nicely consistent and really all very enjoyable.

The pace is still a bit of an issue. I ran to the gym and back alone and thought I was going quite fast but I wasn’t – I’m still a handful of seconds off 4 hour marathon pace, even for a run of just a few miles. It must be the hills, or the wind, or the temperature, or something …. not the age of the runner, of course.

The achilles’ have improved – despite the continued exercise – so I guess it was the over-enthusiastic calf raises in the gym two weeks ago that caused the problem, and not the running.

I’m now bored of writing about them (but probably not as bored as others are of reading about them). I have nobody but myself to blame for the problem anyway, so no more of that (unless I really hurt them again).

I’ve been doing some research into marathon running but am ending up confused. There is a lot of detail and different advice.

They seem to expect a lot – one 16 week plan assumes you are already running 20 miles a week at the start of the programme. Another 20 week plan goes straight in with two 4 milers, one 6 miler, a day of speed work and a day with cross-training for the first week.

However, whether they suggest a 4, 5 or 6 months programme with 4, 5 or 6 days a week of training, the things they do agree on are the importance of a long, relatively slow, run each week (that’s playing to my strengths), faster shorter runs (oh dear) and the need for some speed work/interval training (even more ‘oh dear’).

I failed to follow any programme when I ran in the late ’90s so I don’t think I’m going to start now. I’ll take the principles and see what works for me. I’ve found one plan that specifically includes a day’s cross-training each week so I’ll adopt that as a principle. Now the worst of the recent rain and wind seems to have passed, it’s back on the bike next week!

As a bit of a fair weather individual, training through the winter for a spring marathon is a real pain, but I’ve always thought that running in the cold and wet is marginally better than cycling in it. The dark is a bigger problem as there are no streetlights and almost no pavements (sidewalks) near us – happily that must be where being retired comes in handy.

Applications for the Rotterdam marathon open in early October. It’s nearly ‘money where your mouth is’ time. I just wish I could do a decent run at 4 hour marathon pace before I have to commit to it.


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