In my efforts to keep things in perspective this Spring, I have been concentrating on my Highland Fling training one week at a time. There was a time not so long ago in January when I was looking at my schedule and I could not comprehend how it was going to be possible for me to fit my massive training runs in around my life, or even complete them in the first place. To stop myself from freaking out I made a promise to myself that I’d consider each training week one by one, and that those 7 days and 5 runs ahead was all that mattered.
In fairness this has worked really well. There have been some ups and downs and missed runs here and there, but I finished off March having ran my 500th mile of the year and today, the 1st of April, means it’s time to look ahead a further 7 days.
- Monday – Yoga
- Tuesday – 6 miles
- Wednesday – 8 miles
- Thursday – 4 miles
- Friday – Rest
- Saturday – 3 miles
- Sunday – PARIS MARATHON!!!!!
Yes; somehow, somewhere along the line, it has failed to properly sink in that on the 7th of April I will be setting out with Rachel, Naomi and 49,997 other running chums to complete the 3rd largest marathon in the world. It’s one of the world marathon majors, it’s ran in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, the route takes in pretty much all the sights in Paris – it’s a big damn deal. I am so excited!!
This is going to be a slightly different experience compared to any race which we’ve done before. We’ve all ran marathons and plenty of other races, but nothing on this scale. I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere of the start, the continuous crowd support on the course, and soak up the collective excitement of thousands of runners from all over the world coming together to take on the classic distance challenge. Also: PARIS!
pictures from paris-touristguide.com/
We’re flying out on Thursday after work, so will have Friday and Saturday to do a little sightseeing and visit the Running Expo. I am staying with Naomi in her Mum’s apartment and Rachel is close by in a hotel, and both locations are very close to the race village which ought to make for a calm start to race morning.
The weather outlook is good – different websites have different forecasts but it would appear to be going to be dry and sunny with a high of around 8C. This is very acceptable to me, but to be honest after this winter I’m happy with anything over 0C these days. I have picked out a suitably Scottish outfit to wear, and unless there’s some truly apocalyptic weather I will be wearing the following:
Stonehaven vest, lightweight kilted skirt with compression shorts underneath, 2XU compression sleeves and my cloudsurfer shoes. In my waist pack will be a Saltire tucked away, ready for celebratory waving when completing the victory mile down Avenue Foch to the finish line.
In terms of time goals; I had made some murmurs about an attempt at sub-4 after my encouraging performance at the D33, but I have some reservations about that. I know I’ve got a PB in me but I’m not sure whether Paris is the place to attempt the big 3:XX:XX. I really want to enjoy this race and soak up the whole experience, so labouring under a big goal maybe isn’t the best thing to do. I have my usual concerns about keeping myself injury-free for the Highland Fling so pushing past the point of pain to hit a target in this race is probably not a sensible choice.
When I ran Moray last year, my garmin died a couple of miles into the race so I was far less aware of my pace than I should have been. Never-the-less I managed to keep on track and despite running the race ‘blind’ I came in at 4:19 which was only 7 minutes slower than my goal (4:12 – or an hour off of my previous PB). I know if I’d been wearing a garmin I would have gone faster at certain points and would have come in much closer to, or faster than 4:12. To crack 4 hours I need to maintain under 9 min/mile pace throughout, which may or may not be possible for me on Sunday; I’m not sure. I haven’t done marathon specific training at that pace, but I do know that I can maintain 9:30 min/mile for that distance (as evidenced at D33) so to me this seems like the best plan to take. Starting at 9:30 min/mile with a fast finish would see me finish somewhere in the region on 4:05 – 4:10 which I would be very happy with.
Because I haven’t been thinking about it too much, the whole idea of going to Paris to run a marathon seems totally abstract to me at the moment. I don’t think it’s going to sink in until I actually get off the plane on Thursday night, or maybe not until I’m lining up at the start. Given the state I was in before Moray last year I am really surprised that this race hasn’t ruffled my feathers more. Ultra-marathoning does strange things to your head!
I’m going to take my tablet computer with me, so hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in a quick update on Saturday night after a couple of days of adventures with the girls, including the International Breakfast run on Saturday morning.
Until then – wish us luck!