Over the past number of years training for a marathon or half marathon, I always have a horrendous training run. So far during this training plan, I have been lucky that I havent had anything too bad, however that was until Sunday’s 18 mile training run, which was in one word, the most horrendous, concerning and demoralising training run I have ever run.
You may read the first paragraph and think I am slightly exaggerating, however let me set the context. Over the last two years, I steadily run no slower than 8 minute miles and have managed to finish marathons in well under the 3 1/2 hour window. On top of this, training this years has gone well, even with the added strain of fitting training in around Rosie, family and work. This has been shown in good performances in the half marathon series and a sub 40 min 10k only a couple of weeks ago. On Sunday I hit the road for my second 18 mile training run off the plan, running a 20 mile a week before and a 18 the week previous. The first 10 miles I felt ok, however the legs did feel a little tight and stiff but nothing to be overly concerned about. However upon hitting around mile 13, I knew something wasnt ‘right” I have always been able to pull my legs and havent usually performed well on hill sessions because of this, but upon hitting mile 13 my legs didnt want to pull, there was nothing there. This was a big concern, especially given the fact I have completed the training the last couple of weeks, I have ran both 18 and 20 mile runs the previous two weeks in under 8 minute mile pace. My times gradually got slower and slower, to the point where mile 17 was hitting 9 minute mile pace. It was like someone had turned the energy and endurance tap on, left it on over night and the tank was dry.
I managed to complete the run, but felt awful after it. I then spent the next couple of days trying to figure out why, and I think there are a number of reasons. One, the couple of days before I had squeezed in a 7 and 10 mile run, not ideal preparation for a 18 mile run. Two; my diet during the week wasnt great. I had a couple of ‘binge’ days and my fruit intake wasnt good. Three, work has been extremely hectic and has probably taken quite a bit out of me. Four, core strength has dropped badly. With Rosie I havent managed to fit any circuit training in, and I think the fall off in core and upper body strength may be having a detrimental affect, more than I imagined.
I must admit it has caused concern on not only my ability to run a good time in Dublin, but to run at all. As I have said in a post previous, there is nothing wrong with doubts, if anything they are healthy, however I think the fall in energy and endurance between Sunday and the previous week where I ran a good 20 mile run in 2hr 35 and 1hr 33min half marathon has taken me by surprise.
This week is a big week, as at the end of the week I have a 22 mile run. We are nearly at the end of the training plan, and there is a large part of me that cannot wait to get it over!