12th February 2020
I’m now, theoretically, deep into the VLM training plan but to be honest I haven’t actually followed it at all. I’m using it to make sure that I don’t go too far off track or go too slowly but in reality I am working under the premise that if I gradually increase my weekly mileage, cross train with swimming and yoga and stay injury free I’ll be OK. I think that will be fine.
As the new week started I couldn’t help noticing that sometimes things work in your favour and you really have nowhere to hide. From the start of this process I have doubted myself and my ability to see it through, I have looked at my running history and found no indication that I am capable of running a marathon. I started the training heavier than when I started running eight years ago and slower than when I started, eight years ago. But, in the few months of training I have lost that weight and got back to running (slightly) quicker. Everything is telling me ‘I can do it’ and to just keep going. Take this weekend just gone, Saturday was lovely with clear skies and just a gentle breeze but on Sunday Storm Ciara turned the UK into a swirling, soaked nightmare. Which day had I arranged my only organised event to date? Yes, Saturday. I can’t deny it, the universe is determined to make me do the marathon and there isn’t anything I can do about it.
OK, just for reference, let’s look at the VLM plan for week 7.
|Day||VLM Training Plan||What I did|
|Sunday||REST DAY – A solid week in the bank allowing training to settle and routine to continue||Spin Class 60 Minutes|
|Monday||40 MINUTES EASY RUN||Swimming 1km|
|Tuesday||REST DAY||Tempo Run 60 Minutes (9km) plus Steady Run 45 minutes (6.5km)|
|Wednesday||RUN 40 MINUTES – 10-minute easy run, (45 sec tempo running, 1 minute 45 sec walk/run) x 8, 10-minute easy run||REST DAY|
|Saturday||RUN 1HR 45 MINUTES – (30-minute jog, 5-minute brisk walk) x 3, or distance goal of 8 miles|
In my running career I have done two half marathons. The first was an unpleasantly difficult rural hill-fest that took me days to recover from and after which left me with no desire to run so far again. Last Saturday I ran another, albeit flatter, half and by the time I got home I felt fine. The following morning I did my weekly spin class and while I was on alert for any tiredness or fatigue I managed to hammer out a really good session despite none of my favourite tracks being played. It was as if it hadn’t happened, which is perplexing.
Later in the day we had a family get-together for my dad’s 93rd birthday and it was lovely to catch up with everyone again. Talk inevitably turned to running as a couple of us are preparing for the London Marathon and my niece’s husband said something interesting about marathons and people’s perceptions. Whenever you mention that you are doing/have done a marathon there is inevitably a short pause before the next question comes out: ‘what time are you aiming for/did you do?’ This immediate value judgement is very strange and, for me at least, a little awkward. If I give an honest answer of ‘about five hours’ I can feel a sense of ‘Oh, is that it’. I know, I’ve done it myself. If I give an ambitious answer of ‘maybe 4:30 with a bit of luck’ I feel dishonest, or I’m setting myself up for failure along with the fact that I know it is still not a great time in the scheme of things. The strange thing is, according to him (after he’s done a few of these events) when you do longer distances nobody EVER asks you how fast you did an event. Bearing in mind that a 50km race is considered an Ultra and is only a little further than a regular marathon maybe I’ll train for one of those so no one ever again asks me what I’m aiming for. Damn, that’s maudlin. Let’s talk about fun stuff.
Tuesday is club night and I am so impressed with myself. Four weeks on the trot now just blows my previous attendance out of the water. Once again I ran there and back but this time I decided to move up to a faster group as it would be led by an old friend. It was following the same route as I went on last week but the higher group was no joke and I could feel myself straining within the first few miles. I stuck with it to the end and held on, I should have more faith in myself. I usually give in and run slower when on my own but these groups are very good at pushing me further and faster. By the end I came up just short of the magic 10 miles but that was ok, and I rounded the evening off with a good twenty minutes of stretching and roller work. What was interesting was that the following day my legs were properly messed up, they ached way more than they had after the half marathon and were still tired by the evening. I guess that’s what actually putting some effort in can do to you.
Distance covered 15.5km
My next training run will be on Thursday and I’m undecided between hill work or interval training as per the training plan. Given the dark evenings I will have to do the interval training on public roads and risk looking a bit silly. So be it.