I read somewhere once that weeks five to thirteen of marathon training are the most intense. I don't know if this is true, but I suspect it's probably not looking at my training plan, either way five weeks felt like a good time to up the ante.
I'm weak. Like really weak, can only hold a plank for 15 seconds weak. It bugs me - I worry it could be my marathon undoing, and vainly I'm annoyed that I don't always look like I work out as much as I do. Obviously I've always known that strength training would help sort out both of these concerns, but until now I've not cared enough to do anything about it. This week that changed. Taking a deep breath I walked in to the gym and asked a trainer to sort me out with a program.
It was terrifying.
Running is easy, I can do it and I'm fairly good at it, strength training is a whole different proposition (which is probably why I put it off for so long). When you're learning to run it's easy to hide away so no one sees you. When you're strength training you're in a gym, surrounded by people who you fear will judge you, or who you will judge yourself against. Getting in the gym on Monday and saying I wanted to get strong (and toned!) was a pretty big deal. Especially when the trainer wanted me to jump on to some pretty unstable looking boxes. That was a bit precarious. The whole program was hard, but it was also good. I came out feeling like things were possible and like I could stick to it. Probably because I really want to. It's amazing what happens when you want something.
In fact I wanted it so much I was back in the gym on Thursday for treadmill intervals and strength training, dragging two friends along for the ride. Becky and Cara were total troopers as I subjected them to a workout that had us all sprawled on the floor of the gym with exhaustion by the end. As the selfie shows, it was a sweaty one.
My running week was only marginally less scary. On Wednesday I let Lululemon's run club...and managed to loose about four people which was mortifying...leading run club is harder than it looks. However I am super proud that the crew managed a steady five miles - the longest run we've ever done (and it wasn't at all because I had five miles set out on my training plan...).
Thursday's treadmill intervals were killer - the type that have the treadmill tilting upwards at a terrifying angle while the belt spins chaotically. I don't normally do a lot of interval training, but trading out a three mile run for something a little different feels like a good move, and it means I'm properly warmed up for strength training.
One thing that really surprised me this week is that I wasn't totally shattered by Friday. I'm probably still riding on a restful festive break, but it was nice not to feel like death as I crawled in to work. Sadly the brightness didn't last all day, and as DT and I headed out for a three mile evening run I really had to haul my tired body around.
My original plan for Sunday's long run was to run along the river and down to Richmond, but life doesn't always work out as you plan and instead I ended up running ten miles around South London through Camberwell, Clapham and Dulwich. I can't say the change in plan was a bad thing, I got to spent 10 miles running with two awesome friends and had brunch in Boulangerie Jade possibly the best cake shop in the whole of East Dulwich. It was epic. I love having friends who run marathons, Sunday morning are like a crazy lycra-clad social club where everyone just gets each other.
If you've not read it yet, my next marathon training blog is up on We Heart Living.
Miles run to Paris - 85