Week 5 – Just Working Through The Process

Week five of eighteen of training, and it’s really just a case of working the process.  And maybe – just maybe – paying a little more attention.

Tuesday was fine.  It was supposed to be a three mile day, I ended up a little over as I ran round Linlithgow Loch.  Nothing much to say about this run, except it was wet and windy…

Wet and Windy on Tuesday
Total distance: 5104 m
Max elevation: 69 m
Min elevation: 41 m

Wednesday wasn’t terribly clever.  I spent some time on Google Maps devising a nice six mile run to do after work, part of which involved joining the canal at a specific point.  Guess what, you can’t join the canal at that point!

So I ran along the road – luckily it had  a pavement, because it was pitch dark.  Eventually I was able to join the towpath at Philipstoun, but my six mile easy run had beome considerably longer.  So much longer, in fact, that I was desperate to get back and so I ran faster than I should have for an easy run. 

So, call that one eight miles…

This is where I had hoped to join the canal
Total distance: 13523 m
Max elevation: 102 m
Min elevation: 54 m

Thursday saw me doing pilates at lunchtime, and watching as the weather just got worse and worse.  Eventually I decided to chicken out and do my short three mile run on the treadmill.  It was so sweaty, though – I do prefer being outside

Sweaty Me!

On Saturday, the wind was blowing strongly.  Gusting over 40mph, I was to be found running along the canal for a six miler at marathon pace.  And my Apple Watch was playing up too; suddenly all my times were in minutes per km rather than minutes per mile.  So I spent much of the run trying to work out whether my speed was appropriate!

I also tried climbing the Wallacestone Brae.  I’m afraid to say it defeated me.  I have a lot more hill practice to do!

How windy was it?  Windy enough that a tree was blown over in the local park… I hope nobody was sitting on that bench!

Damage caused by the wind
Total distance: 10397 m
Max elevation: 152 m
Min elevation: 74 m

And that just left Sunday, the long, slow run.  As with the past few weeks, I started from Stirling Uni, this time I simply added an extra lap of Airthrey Loch to get the distance up to twelve miles.

No snow, minimal rain – this time it was wind causing the problem.  The outbound portion of the run was fine, but the wind was against me as I came back west along the Hillfoots and up towards Innovation Park.

So, that’s another week down.  Next week is a step-back week, then the distances rise a bit – the LSRs in the following two weeks will be fourteen and fifteen miles.

I have, however, booked in for the Alloa Half Marathon on 18th March.  This is a beautiful run and I was very disappointed that I didn’t think I would have been able to take part in it.   However, I have re-checked the schedule and it turns out I can take part.  This will be the end of week 12 of my training.  My goal is to run the Half at training pace – ten minutes per mile – and just enjoy the scenery.

The week after that is seriously scary.

New Gutties!

Asics Gel Kayano 24

My old shoes have clocked up pretty close to 400 miles, so it’s definitely time to be replacing them.

I’ve been pretty much solidly an Asics man for shoes since I bought my first pair of GT-2100s. I guess I’m just a creature of habit, but I’ve never had any reason to change.

So, to replace my Asics Gel Kayano model 23 from last year, I’ve excitingly gone for Asics Gel Kayano 24s… Who says I’m not original?

Hopefully they will last me through the marathon and beyond.


Week 4 – Weather!

Week four saw a new opponent trying to make training harder – the weather!

Monday was a rest day, and everything was fine.  It was Tuesday when things went wrong.

Normally on Tuesday I run round Linlithgow Loch with an office colleague.  However, the snow in the morning was pretty severe – so much so that I got a message from the doggy daycare service to tell me that they would be unable to look after my dog.  Which meant I had to work from home, which meant I would be unable to go for my Loch run.

Oh well, such is life.  I decided that I would wait until everyone was home, and go to the gym to do my three miles on the treadmill.  I did have to run the gauntlet of “you really shouldn’t be going out in this weather”, and they were probably wise.  The snow outside the gym was certainly quite heavy.

Snow in Falkirk
Even more snow…

However, I got my miles in and made it home safely, so all was well

Wednesday was no better.  I had to do six miles today, and I thought of running at lunchtime. I got myself togged out and ready to go for a run, but I feared that I would trip and break myself, so I grabbed a picture and then gave up

Pretending to run in the snow


But I decided that that just wasn’t going to be, so once again I went to the gym in the evening and managed to stomach six miles on the treadmill.


By Thursday, I was back at work and I was sick of the treadmill.  So I went out for a run round the loch, using my head torch to help me round.  Conditions underfoot were pretty awful, and I had to pick my way carefully over the snow, especially on the “back” (north) side of the loch.

On the other hand, the Palace was looking rather pretty.

Linlithgow Palace by night
Total distance: 5558 m
Max elevation: 74 m
Min elevation: 41 m

Friday was a rest day, and Saturday called for a further six miles.  Conditions were still not great underfoot, so I reluctantly decided to have another shot on the treadmill.  Fun, it really wasn’t.

I still don’t like the treadmill…

It was Sunday when the weather really started laughing at me.  here was the weather forecast.  Guess when I was running?  Yes, that’s right – just after noon!

Oh well, with nothing to be done for it I got out in the snow and started running.  In all honesty, it may not have been the wisest idea

Snowy here…
Snowy here too…

Even on the way back along the Hillfoots road it was still snowy

Snow near Blairlogie

Eventually I got back to the Uni and I had a celebratory cheeseburger and chips, washed down with a hot cup of coffee.  I was still soaking, but I was starting to feel human again.

As an indication of what conditions were like, have a look at this picture here.  See that big white field behind me?  It’s not a field.  It’s Airthrey Loch, in the grounds of Stirling Uni.  It had frozen over, and the snow was lying on it!

Snow even lying on the loch!
Total distance: 18205 m
Max elevation: 45 m
Min elevation: 4 m

That’s a week I’m glad to have finished, I won’t lie!

Week 3 – Time To Get Back On The Horse

So, the challenge for this week was to find a good balance between resting and getting back to training.

I decided that my best move was to let thing go until Thursday, and then I would see how I got on in Pilates.  That actually went well, so I tried going out  for a run

My initial plan was to do just a couple of miles, but when I was out on the canal towpath I decided to go as far as a specific bridge.  By the time I got back to the car I was already well over two miles, and it would only be a little bit extra to get up to three miles… so I did so.

Running felt quite good – maybe I am in a good enough state to get back to training?

This time I was determined not to make the same mistakes as last week – I had my illuminated belt, a head torch and my reflective leggings.  Nobody was going to miss me on this run!

Total distance: 4972 m
Max elevation: 81 m
Min elevation: 74 m

Friday was a rest day, so my next run was Saturday.  This was down as a five miler at marathon pace in the plan.  I knew that I wasn’t recovered enough to do that, so I stuck to training pace and did a little over four.  I’m just getting back into it, that’s okay

Total distance: 7198 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 69 m

Sunday was the LSR day.  I was dropping my daughter off in Stirling to do her job, and so I decided to go to Stiring Uni for the run.  There is a stretch I wanted to know well before the marathon, that is the section from the Uni out to the A91 junction.  I’ve driven this route many times, but that’s not the same as knowing what it’s like underfoot.

Setting off from the Uni was lovely.  I was able to use the facilities at the student centre before starting, and then head out along the marathon route to the high point of the Uni, where I took photographs of runners last year. Then out to the car park, and downhill to the Airthrey Road (A9).  Turning right there, I ran along to the A91 junction. 

There’s a loop here in the marathon, where the official route goes north on the A91 to the Hillfoots.  Well, I chose not to run that way because there is no pavement.  Instead, I went straight on, and ran as far as the Gogar Loan road.  There I headed north onto the Hillfoots road, then turned back towards the Uni.  I went into the University’s back entrance, climbing the hill to finish the run.

The University is really a pretty place.

But not only that. It has a publicly accessible changing room with showers, and it has a cafeteria that does a first-rate cheeseburger and coffee for under a fiver.  I think I might be doing more of my Sunday LSRs from Stirling Uni!

So, that’ me back on the horse.  I’m not 100%; I still have a bit of a chesty cough.  I hope I am not doing too much too soon.  But I have a day off tomorrow, and a gentle three miler on Tuesday, so that should give me a decent interval for recovery.  It ramps up on Wednesday with a six mile midweek run, then Saturday and Sunday are quite brutal – a six miler at marathon pace followed by a slow eleven mile run.

Things are starting to get real…

Week 2 – Crash

I might have thought I could manage more than a week without crashing, but sadly that hope was not realised

This week started really well.  Monday – New Year’s Day – was a rest day, which I enjoyed to the full.

Tuesday was less cold than it had been, and the relative warmth beckoned.  Having been indoors for ages, pleasantly imprisoned in a centrally-heated space, it was a delight to be able to get outside and get some chill and some rain on my skin.

Running on the Union Canal

The run itself was a pleasant 3.4 miles, I really enjoyed it.

Total distance: 5529 m
Max elevation: 110 m
Min elevation: 67 m

Wednesday saw me back at work, and I had a five miler to do.  So after work I went up onto the canal towpath, and very quickly learned that I need a headlamp.

I had an illuminated belt, which is great.  But I had nothing to help me see where I was going, and that led to a close shave.  Why do bollards have to be so hard?

Total distance: 8484 m
Max elevation: 79 m
Min elevation: 52 m

Then Thursday came.  I was in work all day, but a cold was building up in my chest.  I read various sources, all of which recommended that you do not try to run when the cold is below the neck.  So, I didn’t run.

Later on that evening, I was absolutely frozen.  I went to bed early, and woke late on Friday morning.  I could barely get out of bed.  Saturday was hardly any better, and there was no way I could run on Sunday.

And so that’s it – two weeks in and I’ve already missed half a week.  And this cold is showing no signs of shifting.  I am not impressed…

Training Plan At End Of Week 2