Paris Marathon Training: the 18 miler

On Sunday I ran 18 miles. 18 miles! In one go. In 2 hours 57 mins.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting to finish. After hitting the wall last week and dragging myself through 15 miles, some of which I walked, I really had no confidence that I would make it.20130226-110131.jpg

having my doubts

I also didn’t want to go out. If I’m at all honest, I picked a fight with my boyfriend 10 minutes before I had to leave, and had a little cry! Just shows the dread that sometimes surrounds the Sunday Long Run…

the run itself

When I got out there, I decided on a new route. I wasn’t sure whether or not this was a good idea, but in the end it was the best plan and I actually enjoyed myself!!20130226-110201.jpg

I ran along the Regents Canal to Victoria Park (my usual destination on a Sunday run) and right up the top to find a route to Hackney Marshes. There were not that many runners there, but the routes were lovely. I usually run on roads so it was a relief to have some real ground beneath my feet. It was at this point that I took my first ever ‘gel’.

YUCK

No one had told me that running gels were revolting!! I used up half of my water supply trying to wash it down! I also chewed on some blocs, which weren’t much better. Of course, now I have taken gel, blocs and sweets instead of split testing on different sessions, I now have to take all on the big day because one of them obviously worked!

I carried some haribo with me too, so chewed on them after mile 10. At this point I knew I’d do it. I wasn’t aching, I was running at under 10 mins a mile and feeling really positive about my new route.

weekday training

This week I had help from runner @SponsorStephen on Twitter who said I should be doing some interval training. This really pushed me – as I said in my last post (Paris Marathon Training: phase two) I did promise that I would be incorporating this kind of training, though I hadn’t actually got round to it somehow… Anyway, on Wednesday I did interval training and surprised myself with how well it went! It meant that my Thursday session was faster than expected too. Thank you to Stephen for pushing me to do it! I think this training definitely improved my performance on Sunday.

will power

The more I run the more I realise the power of my mind. Even as I’m doing something mundane like brushing my teeth, sometimes a voice will pop up in my head to say “you do realise it’s 26 miles?? You can’t even manage 15!”

I’m constantly battling with myself about it. Finishing that Sunday run at 18.25 miles had made me realise I really can do it. I had less than 8 miles to go before I reached a marathon distance, and I could have done it!

Bring it on.

In case you like running numbers, here you are:

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Love this blog – I have heard this so many times since signing up for the Paris Marathon!

super generic girl

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Every time I hear someone say that running is bad for my knees, I want to knee them where it hurts to prove that my knees are actually just fine, thankyouverymuch.

But then other days, weird stuff happens. Meteorites fall on earth, a new Die Hard movie comes out, it rains spiders somewhere, the pope resigns like being the pope is just another office job, and I… I wake up all understanding and nice and stuff. On those weird days, I try to make sense of where those ideas come from.

It’s really easy to assume running is bad for your knees. Look at those hot runners pounding the ground like nobody’s business. It looks like hard work and those knees are getting the impact. But guess what? That’s what they’re designed to do.

Here’s a quick list of things that are bad for your knees: endless hours of sitting…

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Paris Marathon Training: phase two…

So, it’s now just 7 weeks until I start my (pretty short seeing as I live in King’s Cross) journey to Paris, and the marathon. To say that I’m scared would be incorrect – I am a little fluttery but mainly excited at this stage! I am confident that I have pretty much followed the intermediate training plan, and I can do it.

self improvement

I know that I can do distances now. My longest distance has been 14.7 miles, which while pretty boring at over 2h 20m, was completely manageable. In fact, it’s so easy to build up and up in distance. I truly believe that anyone could manage a 15 mile stretch if they build it up bit by bit each week over several months.

challenging myself

The thing I’m concerned about is that I genuinely feel, no I know, I haven’t been challenging myself physically. I have been ignoring the ‘speed runs’ and opting for easy runs, and I have only once really pushed myself to do interval training. In fact, I have been getting slower and slower as the weeks and months pass. Basically, I know that I could do much better than I am now. So here comes phase two…

the last stretch

As we come into the last seven weeks of training, I have to bear in mind that though we will soon be tapering, I have to concentrate on pushing myself speed-wise. I am going to take the long distance running as a given, and put tons of effort into my weekday runs. Everyone’s ‘personal best’ is different, but my aim is to get to under 9min/mile on the long runs. I also know that I should start practising the ‘positive split’? From my understanding this means running faster in the second half of a long run than you did in the first… am I right?

feeling positive

Despite my doubts and moaning, I am feeling quite positive about the whole experience. I had to take six rest days last week, because of a nasty cold, but getting back into it already. At least it didn’t happen the week of the race! I also had a couple of good dreams about running (something I never thought would happen!): one was that I missed both of my 20 milers (Ruislip and Hyde Park) and I was gutted, and the other was a vague one about Paris. The second one may have been a day-dream, but I felt really positive about running the marathon and especially finishing!

I have now booked my hotel (Fri – Tues) and my Eurostar tickets, and am really quite excited! How is your marathon training going?

Books on the Underground

I love reading. I love free books. I love sharing books I have enjoyed… but before now there was no way of getting my books out to the masses.

Introducing Books on the Underground

Have you ever read a book so good that you simply have to share it with everyone and anyone? Well, now you CAN!

books-on-the-underground-logo-2Books on the Underground is a new movement to bring books to every Londoner for free.

how it works

All you do is request stickers from BotU and pop them on any books you have read and are happy to give away. You stick them on, and away you go! When you’ve left the book(s) at an underground station or in a train carriage, you simply tweet about it to @BooksUndergrnd using #booksontheunderground and pop up a picture much like this one:

Books-on-the-Underground - Book with sticker

There is nothing to stop this movement really taking off, and everyone in London having access to a constantly changing and moving array of books. You pick one up, you read it, and you return it to the underground!

This February Books on the Underground is launching love on the underground with the help of Mills & Boon… so now everyone can fall in love with reading on the tube.

If you love this idea, you can read more about Books on the Underground by clicking on the logo:

books on the underground colourSome lovely coverage for Books on the Underground:

Timeout: Join the underground movement of swapping books on the tube

The Unlikely Bookworm | love on the underground

What book would you leave on the tube? My I must share with the world books are definitely Phillipe Claudel’s Monsieur Linh and his Child and Mick Jackson’s The Underground Man