Training for a half marathon is hard work.

This week was tough. I’m lacking in motivation, I’m going through a stressful personal time, and to top it all off, I’m (TMI warning) pre-menstrual. This was reflected in my eating habits this week – I overeat when I’m stressed and I did so a few times this week which left me feeling bloaty, sluggish and lethargic. Not conducive to half marathon training, let me tell you.

I had an 11 week scheduled for yesterday that I was dreading. I was not in the mood for running this week and was feeling really quite fed up. I felt like throwing my toys out of the pram – I’m a bit over the constant training each week – the runs, the speed work, the cross-training. I’m so nervous for Run Hackney but I am ready for it to be here so I can stop worrying about it.

Anyway, moving on! Last week had a scheduled 15 miles for me to tackle. 3 mile steady run, 1 mile hills and an 11 mile long run.

Wednesday morning I was going to run commute, but it was a bit grey and drizzly, and I hadn’t packed my bag the night before, plus I just didn’t fancy running, so I didn’t. Instead, I ran to the gym and did 2.7 miles of hill running intervals (in hindsight it’s good that I did because this definitely helped during the long run) at a 6% incline. It took me 29 minutes and I really went for it – increasing my pace to 10.5 km/h on the hills & intervals in the second half.

According to my  plan, I was supposed to do a mile of hills the next day. But because I’d already done that the day before, I thought I’d just do a mile of speed intervals instead. Except apparently I didn’t, because on Thursday I did no exercise. I wasn’t feeling it and motivation had gone out the window, so I didn’t. I remember feeling as though my training schedule was trying to control my life, and so breaking the rules felt liberating. Ha. Take that training plan. I make my own rules.

To make up for it, on Friday I worked out twice – a twenty minute upper body circuit that left me in a sweaty mess and a 2 mile jaunt around the neighbourhood at lunch (benefits of working from home). It was a fast run and I did 2.14 miles in 20 odd minutes at a pace of 9’36. I was happy with that!

Sunday’s long run was looming ahead and I was not looking forward to it one bit. I headed up to my parents place just out of London for the bank holiday, and took my running kit with me. I hoped that being in an new, but familiar area would motivate me for Sundays run.

It didn’t.

All night long on Saturday, I ate. I was planning on running quite early in the morning to get it out of the way, so I knew I had to fuel up properly the night before. I had a meal of wholewheat pasta & homemade arrabbiata sauce with flaked cod, which did satisfy me. However as I sat down on my laptop to plan out my route the next morning, I scoffed my way through raw pecan pie base (almonds, dates, coconut, cashews & pecans), vegetable crisps, dried strawberries & blackberries, and mixed nuts. I told myself I was carb-loading, but really I was just incredibly anxious about running 11 miles the next morning. At about 1am, too full and sleepy, I went to bed.

I awoke the next morning feeling ROUGH. My stomach was distended and bloated, I felt sluggish and generally gross all over. I quickly changed into my running kit and set my route on my phone, and headed out. I started out slooooow and by about half a mile in, I knew that this was going to be long, hard and tough. 11 miles, double-digit miles. Was I going to be able to do it? My stomach was angry at me and I was beginning to feel cramps (thanks PMS). One thing about not preparing routes for long runs in advance, is that if you change your mind last-minute and decide to run to your old neighbourhood/park (Arnos Grove – anyone know it?) and back for your long run, without checking out the route elevation, you’re going to have surprises. Surprises like mapping out a nice, hilly, 11 miles for yourself to run. FAIL! The hills weren’t that bad; I simply had to slow down to get up them. Once I’d run 5 miles I knew I could do it.

By the time I got to half way, I was feeling much more positive about and was just looking forward to getting home. I was so thirsty my mouth felt like sandpaper, and I was also suffering from intense cramps. Running with cramps is not easy, and I had to stop once as I had a cramp and a stitch and was also running up a hill – not a fun combination. At 9 miles I picked up the pace, and although Nike+ told me I only had .7 miles remaining, when I got to my parents street I increased my speed for a sprint finish. I was too thirsty to run for another mile, and I desperately just wanted to be done.

Wednesday – 3 miles – 2.7 hills instead.
Thursday – 1 mile hills – didn’t do.
Friday – 2 mile speedy
Sunday – 11 miles – 10.37 instead.

Now that I’ve run *almost* 11 miles, I am feeling a lot more confident about the 13.1 for Run Hackney. It’s true what they say…you don’t know your limits until you go out there and try them. I never in a million years thought I’d be able to run 6 miles let alone 10! This was a tough training week physically & mentally, but I am looking forward to finishing the next few weeks training and getting the half done with!

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