It’s official, marathon training is well and truly under way! I’m down to 14 weeks to go already and it feels like only a little while ago I was saying “18 weeks to go”… I’m sure the 15th April is going to creep up on me veeery quickly!

This week consisted of:

Monday: 25 mins espinner, 10 mins rowing then strengthening exercises.

Tuesday: 4x800m http://connect.garmin.com/activity/138795303

Wednesday: 30 mins yoga

Thursday: 3M HRC tempo run http://connect.garmin.com/activity/139242529

Friday: REST

Saturday: hill reps http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140070541

Sunday: 12M with Wendy and Laura http://connect.garmin.com/activity/140070582

See, I told you I’d get some cross-training in!

I felt a little silly on Tuesday’s session as I went along to club even though I was going to be doing a different session to them. They were doing 400s with 2 mins recovery, whilst I had recovery jogs between my 800s – it was a little tough to see everyone stopped when I was still going round and round the track! I was supposed to keep each rep to about 4:15 but got a bit carried away and did my first one in 3:42… oops! I tried to hold back a bit for the remaining three reps and ran them each in around 4mins. I was pretty pleased with the session though because I felt strong. Sally has since told me that my reps suggest that my target marathon pace is likely to be sustainable so woohoo to that!!

On Wednesday I tried out a “Yoga Made Easy” book that I picked up. I thought it would be a good way to stretch out in a less boring way, and also want to try to work on my balance and core strength anyway. I only did about half an hour as it’s hard to do the poses for the right amount of time without an instructor there to tell you what to do. Next time I’ll put on some music and make a proper session of it.

My next run was probably my favourite of the week – I love tempo runs… call me crazy! This was with the running club and we started off with a mile warm-up then accelerated to tempo pace. I ran with Laura the whole way and we managed to keep a strong pace for the whole three miles, with an average of 8:12 min/mile. My HR was pretty much spot on what it was supposed to be for the session. We finished off with a mile back to the club, but I carried on with another HRCer to top it up to 50mins so we could flush out the legs a bit. I don’t know why, but tempos are the sessions I look forward to the most at the moment, maybe it’s my new-found faster pace!

Now onto the dreaded hill work! I couldn’t seem to think of any hills in my local town, especially ones that weren’t dark and gloomy, but thanks to some suggestions from Wendy and also Darren I found what I thought would be a suitable hill and I ran to it for my warm up. I realised after the first rep that the hill wasn’t quite as long as it should have been – Sally wanted me to run up for ~60 secs, but it only took 45-50 so was a bit short. I checked my heart rate and decided that it was probably going to be ok as I was reaching over the 180bpm that was prescribed. Another seven reps later and I was done and ready for a steady jog home. It was a really tough session and at the top of each hill I wondered if I was ever going to breath normally again but by the time I got home and showered I felt absolutely fine. I know that hills are going to be good for me so I will plough through these sessions and maybe, just maybe, I will one day come to love hill running!

On to Sunday, the final run of the week. I have to admit I was a little concerned when I woke up and got out of bed to realise my ankle was pretty sore. It’s taken a bit of a battering the last few weeks so I can’t blame it for feeling achy, but I really could do without getting injured. I put my ankle support on, had my porridge and started on my way. Wendy, Laura and I all had different distances to cover in our plans this week but we managed to figure out that if I ran to meet Laura, and then we ran to Wendy’s, did a seven mile loop from there and then ran back again we would each get our distances in – seven for Wendy, 10 for Laura and 12 for me. It’s also a really good way of breaking up a long run so it doesn’t feel so, well … long! By the time we were about three miles in my ankle had started to ease off a bit and we had set a nice pace of between 9 and 10 min/mile. This was my first run experimenting with energy gels and after an hour I proceeded to try to open my first one. Note to SiS – you really should make those buggers easier to open! Juggling a bottle of water and trying to tear the top off a sachet of gel seemingly made of rubber all whilst trying not to fall over is not an easy feat! Still, what were teeth made for huh? I eventually got in to my little pocket of energy goodness and gulped it down with a pleasant surprise at the taste and consistency. I have to say – the struggle to open was worth it when I still felt full of energy towards the end of my run. I had three of the four that Sally told me to take with me but I think that was enough for me as the porridge had kept me pretty full for the first hour. So having dropped Wendy and Laura off at their relevant checkpoints I carried on home to finish with 12.3M under my belt in just less than two hours. Not bad going.

Post-run I stretched out quite a bit today, and boy did I need it! My ankle has started to ache again, but I’ve got active recovery tomorrow, and have been using the ibuprofen gel again this afternoon and evening. I will also pick up some kinesiology tape and start to strap it up for a bit more support. Fingers crossed it holds out as if it doesn’t improve I’m probably going to have to take a week off and I’m not quite sure I’d know what to do with myself!