Let the tapering commence… 15 miles only! 

DSC_0918It is unbelievable how quickly you adapt to these crazy long runs and suddenly running fifteen miles seems like a dream because it is a 25% reduction on the previous weeks’ training.  I find myself saying hilarious things like “I only have to run fifteen miles this week” and similar… honestly *rolls eyes at herself*

I decided I would run on Good Friday last week in order to enjoy a long weekend in Sussex with my Godson and his wonderful family; playing, eating and running around (the new game of choice being ‘chasing’… haha).  It was a lovely weekend and I hugely enjoyed not running on Sunday morning.

As ever, it was tough getting up on Good Friday but I managed it and finally headed out at about 8/8:30am. I decided I wanted to run a circular route both starting and ending at home; so I took the usual marathon route down to Charlton/Woolwich/Greenwich and then down to Surrey Quays and back home again via the ‘short cut’ up Crooms Hill next to Greenwich Park.  The run went very well, it was cool/drizzly but not as rainy as the previous week so I didn’t take any water with me and even took the controversial decision to leave my phone at home as I am now fully confident in the route I needed to run.  So I set out with my rain jacket on again and my runners’ bumbag with only some High Five energy gels, my iPod and some tropical shot bloks (which are new and I discovered tasted almost as good as Refreshers!!! YUM!)… it was lovely to ‘run light’ (as it were) with nothing else to bog me down and off I went with my new-ish marathon training playlist, put together the week before.  The run passed without incident; I observed lots of people coming back from the shops with huge bulging bags of food for the bank holiday weekend and towards the end of my run the pubs seemed to be thronging with those seeking fun and indulgence on the bank holiday.  I knew that I would be free to enjoy myself once the run was over, so seeing others enjoying themselves only spurred me on!

I completed the whole distance in 3hr30 which was a lovely time to achieve and I happily undertook stretches and foam rollering of tired muscles as I ran my cold bath (to be followed by hot) and then aching much less than the week before, I popped out to enjoy a little bank holiday shopping and a naughty fish and chips supper.  I thought I’d earned it by then.

But just because I am now tapering, does not mean that I have lost focus; no indeed, I have a few things to work on in these last three weeks of training.

Long Runs scheduled:

Friday 3rd April – 15 miles

Sunday 12th April – 10 miles

Sunday 19th April – 7 miles (no more than)

To be topped up with a shorter speed run each week of between 1.6 – 3 miles at lunch time once a week for the next three weeks.

In addition to which, I will be working on:

Core Strength*

Nourishing Sleep**

Healthy eating with Carb-Loading in last two weeks***

*Core Strength – I was reading about this in my latest Running W@nkers [read: World] magazine and here they detail exercises to strengthen your transverse abdominus muscles by laying on the floor, concentrating hard on tightening this muscle group and ‘marching’ your legs up and down by c. 3 inches, three sets of 25 times for each leg.  You need to do this every day, so I will start this tonight and keep you posted on how this goes.

**Nourishing Sleep(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brant-secunda-and-mark-allen/good-night-sleep_b_6955530.html)

I am not a good sleeper and my body is generally happy with around 6 hours a night.  However, in the lead up to the marathon I am keen to try to follow guidance around getting more sleep the month before the race, so have already started to attempt getting an extra 30 minutes to an hour each night.  This has met with limited success and it is interesting to note that some of the best runs I’ve had in my training (including my half marathon) were on only 4.5 hours sleep.  However, tips for better sleep include:

1)        Cut back on the caffeine. Limit your consumption of caffeine to the early parts of the day, preferably before noon.

2)        Eat big meals earlier. Having a large meal late in the day can trigger swings in your blood sugar, and wake you up in the night when insulin is overdoing its job. Instead, adopt the Huichol’s approach of eating a lighter dinner most days of the week.

3)        Reduce alcohol consumption. If you want to drink, just keep it in the healthy zone (around one drink a night). Drinking too much alcohol will trigger the release of a hormone that can actually wake you up in the middle of the night.

4)        Tuck those worries to bed. Sleep time is for sleeping, not solving the challenges you face in life. By the time you hit the pillow, your mind should be free of worries. Try this ritual: Go over the day’s events, and then imagine you’re gathering them into a sacred circle in front of your heart. This helps you calm your mind and prepare for deep sleep.

So, I have already failed on tip number one, as I am still drinking a cup of tea… I will make every effort to cut back to decaff after noon.  Though I do already try to do number 2 and number 3, having had only my second glass of wine of the year on Sunday!

***Healthy eating with Carb-Loading in last two weeks

I will of course be referring to BBC Good Food online and planning my menus for the next three weeks to make sure I am getting as much of the relevant nutrients as possible.

Lastly, I am going to book a full body massage two weeks before the race to make sure I am limbered up and ready to go.

Thank you to everyone who has already very generously sponsored me, if you would like to but not got around to it yet, please fine my just giving link below:

https://www.justgiving.com/Joanne-Walby/

For those in my office, don’t forget Friday’s Marathon Fundraising Bake Sale number Four miles thirteen to sixteen !

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