Mixed marathon emotions

I was so grumpy on Wednesday and Thursday of this week.  Sorry to anyone I rang/saw on those days because I was pretty annoyed that following a great Winter of training I went and spoilt all my hard work by rushing downstairs and into a door too quickly – breaking my toe.

Up until the toe breakage I was fully on target for a good race at Milton Keynes marathon which falls in just three weeks time.  

Previous marathons:
#1 Milton Keynes – 5h 6m 52s
#2 Milton Keynes – 5h 25m 52s
#3 Mablethorpe – 5h 11m 15s
#4 London – 5h 4m 15s
#5 Mablethorpe – 5h 7m 16s
#6 Gower – 7h 36m 11s
#7 South Devon – 6h 48m 39s
(The last two were trail races)

As you can see during previous road marathons my times were all within seven minutes of each other (other than my second Milton Keynes experience when it was ridiculously hot).  The plan this year was to switch my training up and aim for closer to 4h 45m, less if I could manage it.  If you keep doing the same thing, you can only expect the same result.

Endurance Life medal and t-shirt

Since Christmas I have regularly run five/six days a week, each week including hills, a long run, some speedwork and some easy runs.  I’ve focused on training by heart rate (I had wanted to get a post up about this but with me not running at the moment, I feel like a bit of a sham and I want to include actual data of how my times had improved…I shall get something up once my toe has fully recovered).  Training by heart rate has meant that the majority of my runs have been run at a much slower pace, but more consistently and I have learnt how hard I can push my body, rather than what speed my body can run at (which can change day by day dependent on so many factors).  Training by heart rate has given me the confidence to keep pushing when the going gets tough.

I have also actually run a marathon during this cycle of marathon training!  The South Devon trail marathon back in February.  Other ‘long runs’ worth mentioning, were the Oakley 20 mile race a fortnight ago, Ashridge Boundary 16 mile trail race and a windy 15 miler.  Although no regular ‘long’ runs, up until injury I was also regularly running a ten mile trail run each Friday evening, which I felt was a nice addition to the week and got me a second longer than normal run in – helping to build up my endurance.

Although I can run without pain, (and am very capable of running long distances still as proven at Oakley!) I’ve been advised to start an extreme taper ready for the marathon now.  I am a bit nervous about this.  I’d done everything else by the book and now I shall be going into race day with five broken weeks of training/potentially with three of them not having run much at all.  I’m more terrified of damaging my foot further or affecting my running style and ending up injured elsewhere on my body though if I was to continue to run.  That would be just my luck.

Not only am I missing out on training but I feel I’m missing out on all the fun as well.  Now that the nights are lighter, Friday evening runs have turned into pub runs and even the Saturday morning runs are upping in distance, number of runners and activities along the way…stop off at a cake shop?  Don’t mind if I do!

Victoria sponge cake

New plan: swim, gym, core work, have a go at aqua jogging and replicate my runs using gym equipment.  I have a bid for a cross-trainer going strong at the moment.  There’s no space for one in my current house, but with us moving house next month and gaining a garage, I figure, what are garages actually used for?…!  Gym equipment, obviously!

I’m feeling much more positive.

How do you cope when injured?
Any chance of me still hitting my goal on race day?…

10 thoughts on “Mixed marathon emotions

  1. I’m terrible when injured, like actually awful to be around! I’ve been injured in the run up to three of my last four marathons, and had to miss weeks/months of training through all of them. I think you’ve put in the hard work, and it would definitely be more sensible to start an early taper than risk making it worse, you’ve done plenty of long runs and have plenty of experience, so I’ve now doubt you are more than capable of hitting your goal!
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) recently posted…Training Essentials: GlutamineMy Profile

    1. That gives me a little bit of hope as you have had some good marathons despite limited training. Fingers crossed I sub 5 this time round at least.

  2. Unfortunately I don’t cope well when injured at all! The best thing for me is to completely shut down and retreat from social media, because I don’t have the level of selfless involvement in running that you do and hearing/reading about running from all sides simply makes my own situation worse. Even when I’m recovering I tend to limit which blogs I read (as I am doing now) because some of them are so triggering for me. But I never feel ‘whole’ without running…there’s just this huge gap both literally in my day and emotionally in my soul (oh, the melodrama…) without running, and over the years it has developed into running a decent distance too. Shorter runs just don’t have the same endorphin-boosting effect any more.

    I’m so sorry you’ve had such rotten luck with your foot. At least you have the bright spot of being able to run enough in order to make it to the start line of the marathon, which is the primary goal when all is said and done! Your previous times have always been marred either by the weather or long courses, and you were clearly capable of so much more. On that basis, the comparative lack of training might not cause a 5+ hour result. Being conservative now might well still get you that 4:45 later.

    One thing I have discovered from my own period of downtime is the fact that stress impacts things so negatively. Worrying and/or getting upset is only going to set you back and doubting yourself is an immensely destructive pursuit. It’s easier said than done, and believe me I’m still useless at it, but cultivating a little faith in your abilities, despite the setbacks, can go a long way towards meeting your goals.

    1. I completely understand the statement ‘I never feel whole without running’. I have felt so incredibly antsy this week, even whilst still working out using the cross-trainer. It’s just not the same. :(
      I am feeling very determined about MK and was originally feeling very positive as well. The positivity has faded a fair bit, because I just do not know what to expect after so long away from my trainers. I think all I can do is ride the remaining fifteen days and play it by ear on the day. If I don’t succeed at MK I’m looking for a back up marathon a little later in the Spring to hopefully try and bank a time there instead. So game face is on!

  3. Sorry to hear about this, but you have such a strong base of training behind you that a longer taper should not do much damage, if any- and might make you more rested and raring to go on race day. I was reading a Q&A on the lazy girl runs facebook page- I was worrying about how long ago my last long run was, but she said you lose speed quickly but endurance takes ages to be lost, so try to enjoy the rest, as hard as it is.
    I have every faith that you can achieve the time you want.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Now and thenMy Profile

    1. I’m not too worried about covering the distance. I know that I’ve run it several times before, it’s how well my body copes with that distance after the extreme taper that’s worrying me now unfortunately! Hopefully, as you say, my strong training base won’t do too much damage and I will still be able to achieve a time I am happy with.

  4. Oh man, I so feel for you right now. I lost all of March to flu and then got plantar fascitis so I missed Brighton on Sunday. I am doing London and it will be happening, but a bit of me is still idly wondering if I can hit goal?

    Good luck, you’re a fit girl, don’t give up on the time just yet! But if it doesn’t happen, you got injured, there are other marathons. That’s what I’m telling myself. Heatbreaking as it is.
    Helen recently posted…Feeling Upbeat – Protein Drink ReviewMy Profile

    1. I do have a backup marathon idea in place, just in case. Such a shame that you missed Brighton, but I’m sure that your decision will give you a much better experience at London.

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