Three months of training done already? Since the end of June I’ve put in a hell of a lot of running in my Dublin Marathon 2014 preparations.
In the month gone by, where I peaked at 55 miles in the Pfitzinger and Douglas programme, the workload has threatened to catch up on me. I’ve been feeling tired, mentally and physically, and I had one particular interval session last week when my head cracked a little.
But with naps and warm baths when needed I’ve managed to restore myself to top condition.
Long runs were the highlights of my training this last month. I went past the psychological 20-mile barrier with two 22-mile runs. The first one felt okay while I was out running, but as soon as I got home I felt nauseous and light-headed – I needed an hour to recover my senses.
However, the second 22-mile run, two weeks later, was a triumph. All the way around I felt strong mentally and physically, especially in the second half of the run. Through 20 miles I felt good enough to run on for the full marathon distance if I had wanted. Straight afterwards I felt fine, as if I had only been out for a 5-mile recovery spin.
Perhaps my recent physical and mental tiredness are the delayed effects of that run. Since then I’ve been careful to look for signs of overtraining or peaking too soon.
That said, my final long run of the month was a tough one – 18 miles around the Mullaghmore peninsula in Co. Sligo, along a coast road that was hillier and bleaker than I expected. And straight afterwards I hit the beach for an afternoon of further physical activity – squeezing into a wetsuit, then catching some waves on a body-board. (This was meant to have been a relaxing weekend break, you know.)
Among the long runs I did some hard racing too. At the Frank Duffy 10 Mile in Dublin I smashed out a new P.B. of 67:08 for my first sub-70 at the distance.
That great performance was due to the hard work I’ve put in on the lactate threshold runs prescribed by the Pf. and D. plan. Those sessions have finished now, but the speed and strength I’ve built up in them will complement the stamina I’ve gained with my long runs.
So what does the next month of training hold in store? Right away I have another race – the Dublin Half Marathon in the Phoenix Park this Saturday morning. Last year I ran this race in 1:37:51, a time I bettered by over two minutes in July at the Clontarf Half Marathon, despite my uneven pacing and my struggles through the soft sandy stretches of the beachfront course.
A new P.B. and even a first-ever sub-90 half marathon would be a great result for me on Saturday. This depends on how well I can recover from my hard training beforehand, though.
At the far end of this coming month I’ll be starting my pre-marathon taper. That will mark the winding-down of my training and the start of serious race-day preparations.
The Dublin Marathon is getting closer, that’s for sure.