As January came to an end my focus was on completing Phase 3 and getting to grips with Phase 4 which is essentially practicing for the actual race weekend.
Week 14 on the plan went well on paper; I hit 60 miles in the week, but it took it’s toll on me. Every run felt as if I had weights in my legs and it seemed to be a real effort. The double run day on the Friday even had me feeling a little light headed on the second run. Part of the training on the Saturday was my local Parkrun. Each one I have done during the training has seen me set a new personal best time. Having not done one since New Year’s Day I was keen to see what improvements I had made over the month. But alas it was not to be. I was 11 seconds slower than my best time and left disappointed. My body just didn’t want to comply. By the Sunday and Monday I had developed a barking cough and by the Tuesday I had succumbed to that nasty flu bug. I just wasn’t ready to admit it just yet. As I took to my sickbed I worked out how I could make up the 12 miles I had missed that day within the rest of the week’s training. By the Friday when I was still in bed it became clear I couldn’t make it back, and by Saturday when I was at the local hospital coughing up blood I knew the week was a write off. For someone who is NEVER ill this was hard to accept. Up to that point I hadn’t missed a single session on the plan, and I started to worry how long it would be until I would be back pounding the streets. An unsuccessful attempt to return to work on the Monday saw me back in bed and I wasn’t able to try a gentle run again until the Thursday, having lost 66 miles of training across the two weeks.
I’m not entirely sure if I was ready to go back to running by that point – it’s hard to know but I needed to get back out there, not only to get back on the plan, but to see daylight too! What I did notice is that the fatigue after a run was exacerbated and it’s only a week later as I write this that I am starting to feel normal again. My coach told me that my bloodstream still had waste in it from the viral infection, so the fatigue was to be expected. I’m pretty sure the fact that he cancelled my rest day on Monday would have contributed too but at least I’m back out there and clocking up the miles again. As we enter the final stages of training the speed work is dropping away and it’s more about running slowly and preventing injury. This week is asking 70 miles from me – I could basically run from home to Brighton! The weekend requires 11 on Saturday and 19 on Sunday. Sundays are normally required to be run over a hilly route but there’s no mention of that on the plan and I’m sure as heck not going to check with my Coach! Let’s just worry about the bitterly cold weather and the growing beastly blisters on my big toe without adding hills too!
Next week will bring its own challenges in the form of what the forecasters are calling “The Beast From The East”. Quite frankly Siberia can keep it’s below freezing temperatures, and the coldest February week in 5 years. I am NOT interested! However, I know for a fact that it will be significantly warmer by the weekend. That’s because I’m off to LA for a long weekend so bring on the new running routes along Venice Beach! Let’s not think about the jet-lag though – EEK!
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