Let’s get real- 4 weeks out

I feel like my updates have been slightly sporadic recently, and not very representative of my season. I most recently posted my Halfway to Marathon update, which I considered an accurate portrayal at the time of writing. But the thing is, I wrote it a week or so before it published, and a lot has happened since then. Let’s have a quick rundown of what’s been going on:

  1. I skipped interval training two weeks in a row (oops)
  2. I did my peak training run- the 20 miler (yay!)
  3. I hurt my knee during the 20 miler (boo!)
  4. I got put on a week of rest from running (ouch)
  5. I got a bit out of sorts and started doubting myself (eugh)

 

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I have to admit that I’ve been feeling really weary the past few weeks, and the majority of that has come from self-doubt and second guessing myself. In her most recent episode of Ask Lauren Fleshman, my favourite runner talked about the value of having a coach. To be clear, I do not have a coach. But what Lauren said really resonated with me; it takes all the guesswork out of training. You can often find yourself halfway through a training session still wondering if you’re doing the right thing, hitting the right paces, focusing on the right aspect of your running in that moment. I think that’s been the trickiest thing for me this season so far-never quite being sure that I’m doing the right thing.

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And then, there’s the inevitable self-doubt, and not just the self doubt of Am I really a marathoner? but more the objective self-doubt of My body doesn’t seem capable of this. When combined with injury and several niggles, as well as the opinions of well-meaning friends, family and colleagues, it can all be a bit overwhelming.

What I’m trying to focus on at the moment is listening to runners who are more experienced than myself. I’m trying not to panic, and I’ll be getting myself to a doctor as quickly as possible just to make sure I’m not in any serious danger with my knee. On a more positive note, I managed to go for a gentle 3-mile run today without any pain, and I now have a plan for my last three weeks leading up to the marathon, which involves a very slight increase in mileage next week before a two week taper.

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Aside from that, I’ll be taking a self-care weekend, and getting myself back to top shape for the weeks ahead.

 

Do you train with a coach? If not, how do you take the guesswork out of training?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

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11 thoughts on “Let’s get real- 4 weeks out

  1. I just wing it. I get out there most days of the week (4-5 usually). Short runs most day, medium and long runs on the days I can. I aim to stretch out the long runs to reach 20 miles 3 weeks out, then taper. I usually get to the long run too soon, and get 2-4 20+ milers in before race day. I don’t even pretend that I will be strength training. My long/slow runs and my short fast runs are actually about the same speed. I am typically also training for triathlon, so the cross training is build in…but messes with any semblance of a plan.

    I did follow a plan from a book for Ironman training…but I did a massive overhaul before I started to align it with my real world schedule. Then, I used it as a rough “suggestion”.

    Of course, my last marathon, I “upgraded” my half marathon to a full…3 weeks before race day. I spent my the next week trying to string together a long run (I managed an 18 miler) follow by a two week taper.

    I am not a good roll model for plans…but I can be an inspiration to those who had their plans completely derail. They can look to me and realize that they didn’t mess it up as badly as I did, and if I can finish…

    Have a great race! You’ll be awesome!

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    1. Your approach is certainly unique! I think triathlon training is so useful when it comes to running performance- all the triathletes I know are much stronger runners than me, and they barely ever get injured! I really want to find a way to fit in strength training, because marathon training always leaves me feeling a bit flabby and overworked, as opposed to strong and lean like I’d always imagined! But I guess swimming and cycling involves a lot of resistance so it works for you. Having said that, my biggest takeaway from my last training season was to keep it simple- something that was echoed by most of my runner friends!

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  2. I have a coach and it really helps. I see Chris Kay at the Running School in Bristol and he is brilliant. I saw him last year to get me through my first marathon and he has done a plan for me for Loch Ness Marathon this coming weekend (eek!). For each marathon we have six one-one sessions where we work on my running technique and he writes me a 20 week training plan. The training plan is given to me in four sections so that he can adjust it depending on my feedback. He encourages me to email him every week with updates.This year the plan was a bit tougher than last year but then I’m not a complete novice any more. He is also a qualified physio and sports rehab specialist so he can sort out any niggles I have before they become big problems. I also have had a few sports massages from him which have been a great help. He is also great at encouraging me and being supportive when I hit a bad patch.The Running School is also in London, Southampton, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – definitely worth checking out.

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  3. No running coach, I pretty much read what articles or fitness bloggers say and I try to make it work for me. I also follow a few pros on Strava and see what kind of runs they do. But no matter what training plans I’m trying to follow, I always take into consideration my own circumstances, it’s impossible to do the runs and the workouts the exact days the plan says.
    xx Andreea

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    1. Yeah I think my problem is I’m too stubborn to adapt the plan, especially if it’s due to exhaustion or illness, but that just makes things so much worse as the issue will snowball and I’ll end up out for a week. Hmmmm. Guess it’s a learning curve!

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