Week 1 (ish), running weeknotes:

And then there was snow

I’m training to run 100km in one go in July 2018. These are my training weeknotes.

Let’s count this as the first proper week back running since before Christmas. I have run 34km (21.1 miles). My longest run of the week was 12km (7.48 miles) today — Sunday 3rd February.

It’s 13 weeks until Milton Keynes marathon and 23 weeks until I have to run 100km in one go.

The view from the top of Windmill Hill, which goes up one side of a rare ridge of high ground on The Somerset Levels

When I get tired during a run, I like to do sums in my head. Not because I’m a mathematical genius. The opposite. It’s because I have to really pay attention to my brain cogs if I’m doing any kind of mental arithmetic, and that takes me away from whichever bit of me is hurting. Normally it’s my heart and lungs, which don’t hurt as much as I just become aware of them. And I never really like to be aware of my internal organs. I prefer them to stay as strangers, quietly doing their thing without me having to attend to them.

The sums on today’s run were mostly working out — due to the impulse decision to sign up for the 100k — how many weeks I have between now and then, and the same for this week’s additional impulse decision to stick a marathon in the middle of that.

Not enough, is my conclusion.

Not enough indeed.

The general rule is that to train for a distance run, you do a long slow run once a week and you should increase the distance of that run by no more than about 2k/1 mile each week, otherwise you’ll hurt yourself. And nobody’s getting any younger here. Today I ran 12k. There are 13 weeks until the first marathon. I shouldn’t be running my longest run in the week or two before it, so that means my longest run can only possibly get to about 34k (21.1 miles), and that’s if everything goes well between now and then. This is okay, I guess, but a marathon is 26.2 miles (42km) and I remember what it feels like in the last six miles and it’s bloody awful.

Sums aside, it has been a good week’s running. The days have been cold and sunny, with icy puddles that you can press your toe on and watch the bubbles slide about underneath. Ice puddles and rockpools are magical mystery worlds.

The windmill at the top of Windmill Hill. Let it be known that the people of Somerset can name a hill.

Each run has started with my fists twisted into my sleeves to keep my fingers warm, until a mile or so in when I can see the steam rising from my arms. It’s times like these when I feel machine-like, a locomotive powered by fire and pistons. That is, until a couple more miles, when I’m back to my normal self; squeaky, clunky and un-oiled.

I don’t notice the day to day changes in my face as it ages or the slow decline in the leaves of our house plants. It’s only when I realise I now look five years older or that they’ve drooped so much that I need to water them; only when the change has got big enough to register. With running, though, I notice the day to day changes in the light, in the sounds of the birds. Each year, I feel spring in the air long before it makes itself fully known in the hedgerows and trees. The sun is still low in the sky, even near midday, and it strobes through the bare tree branches like someone clanging a saucepan behind my eyeballs, it puts me off my stride a bit until I get to a calmer shaded patch again.

It’s now light by the time I finish my morning runs when just a few weeks ago the stars were out for the duration and I picked my way between the glow of streetlights on icy pavements. The birds are at work and I’ll tune into them chattering if I’m feeling worn out. The crows announce my arrival by their fields with loud caws as they lift off as one to drift over the road ahead.
I’ve always liked crows.

I’m pleased with how this week has gone. Even though snow stopped play for a day or so, I’ve included the main elements I’ve been told are needed in a good training plan: Long slow run; intervals (quick slow quick slow); a faster-paced run; hills (where I can find them: I live on an ancient sea bed), and easy running. I even did an exercise video. BOSH. Just need to run further next week, eh.

Stats this week:

Total distance: 34km (21.1 miles)

Longest run: 12km (7.48 miles)

Fastest run — interval session: 6.53km at 5:21/km (4.06 miles at 8:37/mile)

Cross training: 1x Plyometric Cardio Insanity workout

Fundraising: £0 or £600 target

Next week’s goals:

Long run of 14km, min 2x Insanity videos, min 39km run in total