Weekly distance: 62.3 miles (100.2 km)
It’s back to a volume week. Knowing this is the first of 3 volume weeks has me feeling a little apprehensive. Week 6 taught me I can hit 100 km in a week and that was followed by a low mileage recovery week. This time I have 105 km, and 2 more fuller weeks to follow with on top.
The accumulating raw numbers aren’t my concern; more that I’m at that part of the cycle where I notice the accumulation of aches and pains. It seems each marathon training cycle stresses a different part of my body. First were knee issues, then clicking hips. A series of lingering calf pulls, and for Berlin it seems my ankles, not achilles as such, just ankle joints are complaining. The training is intense enough that I’m edging toward injury and thus now listening to my body lots. I know enough to ease back or sacrifice a run here or there to the cause of getting to the start line. The familiar morning hobble has been present for a couple of weeks already, a tentative few minutes until things stretch out.
This is the backdrop in which George yesterday asked me an interesting question.
“Are you still enjoying running?”
For once I paused to think before answering. I guess this question has been in my head also.
I’m running more miles for Berlin than any previous marathon. The workload is closest to last November’s NYC, though higher, and most of those NYC runs were done from work so she didn’t see them. My running schedule is perhaps beginning to wear more thinly.
To be honest then, the thought of my workouts feels more often like work right now; more than before. That’s my feeling waking up in the morning in anticipation of the hobble. It’s true that in my first marathon I went at every single run with gusto. Less so now, but there are in fairness a great deal more runs to my program.
I am completely comfortable with this mild dampening of enthusiasm if I’m going to call it that. I’m far enough into the program to feel it, with enough of it still to come to wonder if I’ll make it through. That seems like a natural feeling. It’s that halfway point in the program that I recognise as where things get tougher; more real. But there’s a broader landscape to see here that is my greater motivation.
I’m fully accountable for this schedule. This is a continuation of my big experiment to see what I’m capable of. How much better can I train, how much faster can I go in the marathon? I signed up to this and look forward to seeing the answer and gathering the data.
Then there’s the changes I see in the mirror. I’ve never been fitter, or healthier. My body shape has changed. That makes me happy too because it’s where I’ve wanted to be for a bunch of years.
So day to day perhaps I don’t have the enthusiasm that I did in my first marathon. But this is my experiment and I’m in it for the long game, for a bigger pay off. It’s probable I won’t sustain this after Berlin, but I have ideas of how to continue this journey without training full time.
And so over the weekend I signed up for a half marathon between now and Berlin. It’s only a few weeks away which gives me new excitement. The race experience is good mental training. It should be a good thing.
Bring it on week 9. I think I’m ready for you.