Week 7 – It’s Getting Serious Now

With week seven, things start getting pretty serious.  The training plan calls for thirty-six miles of running this week.  Let me put that in context – last time I did a marathon, back in May 2012, the week with the most running in it was thirty-seven miles.  That was the week with my longest run.  And this time, we’re hitting that before we even reach the half way point.

And I didn’t even manage one of the runs that week last time! 

As usual, the week started with a rest day on Monday, and on Tuesday I was taking Cameron to the gym.  The weather was horrible, so I elected to do my four miles at the gym

Gym machines – not the ones I was running on!

Wednesday was a proper run, however,.  I left the office and joined the canal behind Tesco, then ran as far as the aqueduct.  Then I turned round and went back to the office.  No picture here, it wasn’t that kind of day.  If nothing else, it was too cold to stop and tkae any pictures

Total distance: 11857 m
Max elevation: 83 m
Min elevation: 54 m

Back to four miles for Thursday, a simple run along the canal.  I seem to be spending a lot of time on the canal this week

Total distance: 6828 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 74 m

Friday was a rest day, so Saturday saw a longer run.  Once again I ended up on the canal, but I also thoroughly enjoyed the portion along some delightfully rural roads just a couple of miles from the house. 

This was supposed to be at marathon pace, but I managed my speed pretty poorly and ended up doing the seven mailer at 8:41 per mile.  Running at that pace will pretty much guarantee I hit the wall on the real thing!

Total distance: 11626 m
Max elevation: 138 m
Min elevation: 74 m

One thing I was made very aware of last time was how important stretching after a run is.  I am not saying that doing stretches will guarantee that I will get to the marathon date uninjured, but I am sure that missing out on these stretches would ensure some form of injury

Touching my toes – I think this is generally frowned upon as a stretching style
Prayer arms – I wish my legs were as flexible as my arms!

Sunday called for a fourteen mile run.  Now I’m not going to lie, I was scared of this one.  I haven’t run over 13.1 miles since the Edinburgh Marathon in May 2012, and so this was pretty much uncharted territory.

To make matters worse, our plans changed and so I found I wasn’t going to be doing the run in Stirling, but would be doing it from home.  So, coffee-free and with a few gels in my waist pack, I set off from the house to find – once again – the Canal.

Learning to use gels is, I think, going to be important to me.  So I had one just before I left the house, and consumed two more through the run.  I think that, in truth, I should have had three – but I only managed the two.

Going coffee free is proving to be very beneficial.  I don’t seem to need to stop at the roadside quite so often!

Anyway, the first  half of the run was lovely.  The wind was at my back and I was running easily.  I felt good as I reached the Linlithgow Canal Centre and turned round.  On the second half of the run I think I was starting to get bored with the whole thing, and I started speeding up.  And since the wind was in my face, that made the whole thing much harder.

The climb from the canal to the house is not massive – it’s about 100 feet – but given that it was at the end of the run, I’m quite happy that I managed it without having to stop.  The longest climb in the real marathon is about 200ft (from the A84/A873 junction to Dunblane) but that is done over six miles and so, I hope, should be tolerable.

Total distance: 23408 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 60 m

And so my total for the week was 37.3 miles.  That is over three miles longer than my longest week in 2012.  Whatever else I might be doing badly, at least I am putting in the miles!