It’s All in Your Head

Isn’t it strange how the simple act of signing up for a marathon rather than just running a distance ‘because I feel like it’ changes your entire view of the run.

Before I went out today I was suddenly faced with a feeling of despair at ‘having’ to run a prescribed distance as per the training plan that I am following. It wasn’t a case of just running what I wanted to based on current fitness level and what I felt like doing that day.

I know it is all in my head and that following the plans is a good way to ensure that you get to your marathon at the right level of fitness, but it does feel like a constraint that I’m not used to having to put up with. However, at this point it is only just over a month away so it should not be too much of a problem for long!

Today’s 20 miler was beautiful. At this point most of the leaves have already fallen and decorated the ground. I had to face twenty miles of this: 

 The run went smoothly and I was averaging an 8:28 pace on the way out. Due to the time change there weren’t many people about early… I guess they were luxuriating in the extra hour of sleep they got; that doesn’t apply to any one with little kids or ‘poor starving pussy cats’.

The route has some significant hills but not too many. The evening before my wife had been describing an article she read about trying to get some extra value out of your long runs by doing a little bit of faster running in the last section. The idea being that you put some extra effort in when your legs are already tired. This didn’t seem like a bad thing to try so from mile 16 I started to speed up a little. 

This is the pace profile for the run: 

 It shows that I was still able to squeeze some extra speed out of my weary legs toward the end of the run. Hopefully this will help with race day, but I guess time will tell. 

Food-wise I stuck to my regular Clif mint chocolate bar and a pack of the cranrazz Clif shot bloks. I didn’t eat the chocolate bar quickly enough and found that I still had some left at the turn around point. Fearing I’d run out of energy, I scoffed down the last of it and started on the blocks. I also took a bottle of water with me on the trail. 

The temps were a lovely 54F and running in shorts and summer-t is good at this time of year. 

I feel like the run met several key points the training required; running a long way at a slower pace so that you are used to being on your legs for longer, and then increasing your effort when already tired. Now to get through the rest of the week with some speed work and recovery runs. 😉


3 thoughts on “It’s All in Your Head

    1. pauldburton Post author

      You can only do this to a point. There comes a time when you reach a plateau and you have to find other means to motivate yourself until you can move from that point…


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