Edinburgh Half Marathon: Weeks three to five

I HAVE to admit that I’ve not really been committing heart and soul to my training. I’ve been doing a five-week short story course and faffing about writing my book instead, so running has been done if and when I’ve had chance.

Some training has occurred though, just not the kind of training that gets results. The type of training I’ve been doing is called fannying about, which achieves nothing. So, it’s time to stop fannying about, get my arse in gear and get some hard work done.

But before I begin, I thought I’d better confess to what training has looked like so far. Here is my training from 22 January to 11 February. 

Week Three

We had a week off work which wasn’t at all relaxing because we’re renovating the house.

Monday 22 January: No running. I was in Sheffield for a meeting with my writing mentor, followed by lunch with my writing friends.

Tuesday 23 January: No running. Archie, our dog, was having an operation so I was looking after him.

Wednesday 24 January: We escaped the house renovations to do a seven mile run including a 5k effort. It was blowing a gale. I managed 23.19 but felt dreadful. If this is my current 5k time, I’ve lost about three minutes of fitness. That’s not good, but I’ve gained almost 70,000 words of my novel.

Thursday 25 January: No running.

Friday 26 January: No running:

Saturday 27 January: No running.

Sunday 28 January: I did a long run! Ten whole miles! I could hardly believe it. I plodded round at 8.33 minute mile pace. It was an unremarkable run, apart from a collision with a chap who’d decided to cross from the other side of the road without me knowing so that when I turned round, I bumped straight into him. We were both very apologetic of course, but really he could have stayed on his side of the road.

Week Four

Monday 29 January: Chris and I plodded round 5.02 miles. I was struggling to nine-minute mile, so threw in 3 x 15 second efforts to try to get my legs working. Not sure it worked.

Tuesday 30 January to Thursday 1 February: No running at all. I was working on an important writing submission, so had to sacrifice all running to get it finished. I wasn’t happy about it, but writing comes first, and if I’m successful I will be plucked from obscurity to become an international writing phenomenon and the three days of not running will be worthwhile. Haha! I can but hope.

Friday 2 February: I went for runch (run-lunch) at work. I braved the hills of Horsforth, running 5k in 24.09. I enjoyed it and felt good for getting out in daylight. It’s obviously a bit of a faff getting showered, grabbing some lunch and getting back to my desk within the hour, but for those 24 minutes of running it was worth it.

Saturday 3 February: I was meeting my friend for afternoon tea so Chris and I got out early for a fartlek run including 12 x 60 (60) and three-minutes at half-marathon pace of 7.21. Three minutes was enough, not sure how I’ll manage an hour thirty plus at that pace. The race is a long way off though, best not to think about it, so off I went for afternoon tea.

Sunday 4 February: This was a steady seven-mile run off-road to Newmillerdam Woods. I ran 3.5 out and then turned round. I have never felt so lonely as I did at the turnaround point. I was exhausted, had nothing left whatsoever and the thought of running all the way back home almost made me weep. I managed it though, but I felt terrible.

Week Five

Monday 5 February: I had an event at work so there was no time for running.

Tuesday 6 February: Determined to get back on it I headed out on a mission to complete 12 x 400m. And that’s what I did, on the road not the track though. My times varied from 1.36 fastest to 1.47 slowest. It’s on an out and back course, slightly uphill one way and with the wind in your face, which accounts for the drastic time differences. But with all the excuses in the world I have to admit that my slowness comes down to a lack of training and lack of fitness. Rather than comparing myself to the blistering speeds (ha ha) that I used to run, I’m going to focus on what I can do now.

Wednesday 7 February: There was not enough time to train.

Thursday 8 February: I’d been working at home so I took a late lunch and went for a run. It was daylight and I rarely get to run in daylight in winter, so I was absolutely delighted to get out. I was full of good intentions. The plan was a two-mile warm up, 5k effort and two-mile warm down. As soon as I set off I felt awful, then during the 5k I felt faint. I managed to get round in 24.07, which was, I reasoned, better than nothing. But on the warm down, I felt very ill indeed so aborted the run and staggered home.

Friday 9 February: I’ve not been spinning for ages and ages, so it was fantastic to be back on the bike tackling some sprints, hills, and combination climbs. Loved it!

Saturday 10 February: 6.18 miles at 8.39 average pace which included 3 x 2 minute efforts. That is six minutes of running at pace. Six minutes! You’d think that would have been easy, but it was six minutes more than I could manage. I felt dreadful. I put this down to one of three things: spinning legs from last night, lack of fitness, illness (perhaps I was coming down with something). It’s probably a combination of all three.

Sunday 11 February: I was up to my neck trying to organise my manuscript ahead of submitting to my tutor and had also promised Livi that I would go to the cinema, so I squeezed a run in between the two. I did four miles at half marathon pace plus 20 seconds, which averaged at 7.47. I think that’s about a 1:38 half, which is probably right for my current fitness. That said, I was knackered by four miles, so perhaps I was being too optimistic.

And there we have it. Three weeks of fannying around, which added to the two weeks before that equals five weeks of fannying. I know that to achieve the times that I used to run, I need to work hard, be dedicated, motivated and consistent. We’ll see how I get on in week six.

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