Despite a challenging week (and weekend) at work, I still managed to get out for a total of forty miles. This isn't a bad number of miles with which to begin my spring marathon training, but is particularly pleasing because it was my first week back running since picking up a groin strain towards the end of November. I've absolutely no idea what caused the strain, but woke up in agony the morning after a track session and ended up having to wait six weeks for the soft tissue swelling (I even checked with my GP that it wasn't a hernia) to subside and for the dull ache in my abdomen to completely disappear.
When I look back on that period in late November, work had begun to get busy and I do recall turning up to the track session late and failing to warm up properly. I also hadn't been able to make it to Pilates for a couple of weeks and had neglected any kind of strength training for a while- perhaps it was this combination of failings which contributed to me getting injured? Whatever it was, I don't plan on making the same mistakes this spring marathon campaign and, in addition to getting some miles in the bank, this week I made sure that I both went to a Pilates class and lifted some weights.
Having to rest for six weeks meant that I was unable to begin the 18 week P&D schedule as intended. I therefore revised my plan so that it began with two weeks of building base mileage into my legs before embarking upon P&D's 12 week schedule of 55-70 miles a week. This struck me as a far more sensible approach to take than to throw myself straight into week 5 of the 18 week schedule- and so it proved as my legs were already sore by Wednesday morning and I needed to take a day's rest from running in order to avoid injury.
Bar one of Saturday's runs when, despite a full day at work, I inexplicably had enough energy to turn up the pace as I ran home, all of this week's runs were at a steady 8 minute mile pace. This was pretty much all I could manage, but I'm hoping that it's just a case of needing to get fitter, whilst also losing a bit of Christmas podge. I started the week weighing 73kg, which is a little on the heavy side as I normally hover around 70kg and managed to get down to 68kg for last year's Manchester Marathon. I was surprised to find, therefore, that the increase in activity didn't lead to me knocking any weight off this week- though that may be down to the last Lindt chocolate bear that lingered in the fridge post-Christmas! There is plenty of evidence to suggest that being lighter makes you quicker, so I hope that the weight will soon drop off and help me get my legs moving a little quicker...
Finally, if you haven't signed up already, don't miss out on Jantastic. Created by the Marathon Talk team, Jantastic is a brilliant community-based motivational challenge which runs throughout January, February and March. You can join a team and rival other runners with similar aspirations to your own, but, at the end of the day, you're your own competition- just as all running should be.