Marathon training week 12/20: turbo, turbo, run, run, run. Heading back on track for Rotterdam?

One problem I have with running (among many) is how long it takes to get to the end of a long straight road

After walking in the Lake District and skiing, last Sunday’s run was my first for three weeks – textbook marathon training!

It went pretty well but the key issue was how the Achilles tendons were going to react. They’ve been problem children after every run since September so it could have gone either way – the rest could have done them good, or the sudden exercise could have aggravated the underlying issues.

Well, Monday morning revealed – confusion. The tendons certainly didn’t hurt where they had before (right down at the back of the heel) but there was some soreness on both legs about 6 inches (15 cm) higher up. I’m not sure if the pain is at the bottom of the calf muscle or the top of the tendon. I assume it’s the calf muscle as the tendons only ever hurt when stretched and the new injury hurts (slightly) when the heel is raised or lowered.

That’s probably a bit encouraging – as long as it’s not just the start of another injury problem. Right at the start of the marathon process I said it was probably going to be more about injury management than training itself – I’m sorry to have been proved quite so right.

It was an hour on the turbo trainer on Monday for 27.95km (17.37 miles) and another hour on Tuesday for 28.4km (17.6miles). One of these two sessions can replace the running intervals (I’m still protecting the Achilles’) and one can be the week’s cross-training (the shoulder I hurt skiing wouldn’t let me do a gym session yet).

Although I appreciate the need to focus on running if I’m going to avoid an unpleasant experience at the Rotterdam Marathon in April, I’m starting to look forward to getting back on the bike properly soon afterwards.

I ran on Wednesday – 13.25km (8.2miles). I must run a different distance as I can’t get “8 miles and running, got my 7th album droppin” out of my mind.

It was rather too far outside 4 hour marathon pace for comfort. I misjudged the weather and overdressed badly so I dripped the whole way round. The shoulder and new calf/tendon pains are still there, but no worse, so I’ll settle for that.

I did the same run on Friday to see if I could up the pace a little. Strangely, Strava recorded it as 0.14km further at 13.39km (8.3m) and with 35% more elevation. Garmin Connect recorded the second run as 0.2 miles further – very confusing as I’d assumed these things were pretty reliable and accurate.

It was hard but despite the rain and a wind gusting over 40mph, I managed to run 11 seconds a km faster. It’s not going to shake the world of running – and it’s still outside 4 hour marathon pace – but it’s some sort of progress.

Sunday, today, was long slow run day. It was the first time I really didn’t want to run – there was a little drizzle, it was cool and it was a long run. I was just thinking about some breakfast and a wrestle with myself to get out later when my wife decided to run. She always wants to run early – so I abandoned breakfast and left after just a cup of coffee. I’d forgotten that she was going to do hill reps and as we parted ways after just a few hundred metres. I realised that I didn’t really have a course in mind as the original plan was to drive a couple of miles and run from there.

I made up a route on the hoof – roads I know well from cycling but not from running, and not being very sure of the distance involved. At least it was a proper route without all the doubling back and multiple loops that are usually involved.

It rained and was a bit hillier than I’d like for running but it went OK, if not very fast. The main problem was that it did go on a bit. I had no water with me and just two cheap cereal bars (I ate one of them) and in the end I ran for 17.6 miles (28.3km). Curiously, just a few hundred metres beyond two thirds marathon distance.

It wasn’t at all fast – about 4.5 hour marathon pace – but it was certainly hard.

I don’t know if the lack of food and water was a factor or whether it was just that I’d run nearly 17 miles in the previous 4 days but it was certainly hard. Perhaps it’s simply being 63.

So, over 34 miles running in the week, by far the furthest in the training programme – but very hard.

Week Run Cycle X-train
1 16.1m  (25.9km) 9.8m  (15.8 km)  2:00
2 18.5m  (29.8km) 13.3m  (21.5km) 2:00
3 20.7m  (33.3km) 65.8m (105.9km) 1:00
4 22.2m  (35.8km) 13.7m (22.07km) 1:00
5 24m (38.6km) 13m  (21km) 1:00
6 (Christmas) 13.2m (21.3km)    
7 25.56m (41.1km)62.7m (100.9km) 3:00
8 14.63m (23.6km)13.2m (21.2km) 7:00
9 (Skiing) 15.51m (25km)   12:00
10 (Skiing)     12:00
11 (Skiing) 7.1m (11.4km)   6:00
12 34.1m  (55km) 35m (56.4km) 1:00
‘Running’ totals 171.4m (276.1km) 213.2m (342.7km) 47:00

3 thoughts on “Marathon training week 12/20: turbo, turbo, run, run, run. Heading back on track for Rotterdam?

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