Friday, 1 March 2013

Time may change me...

…but I can’t change time. And this is getting to be a problem.

I have trained for marathons before – some seasons much more diligently than others. But until the current fear-filled VLM/Wall Run combo I haven’t ever attempted to string together quality, consistent high-mileage weeks, and it is taking its toll.

In training terms, it’s going well. I am getting stronger and faster, recovering more quickly and even sometimes feeling like I could manage two good sessions in a day. But the timetabling of these training sessions is turning into a major headache.

I am training five times a week, running around 15-20 miles across Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, then doing two long-ish runs on the weekend. As the runs get longer my need to squeeze every possible ounce of training value out of my free time is becoming more intense. For example, I simply cannot fit a run of more than five miles into my lunch hour, unless I forgo one of: showering, changing, or actually eating lunch. More than once it’s the food that’s lost out. I have the luxury of a gym on hand at work and have been using the dreadmill for some of the shorter lunchtime runs, as this saves the navigation/traffic light/distraction time involved in a proper run, but this results in such a sweatfest that I spend what feels like even more time trying to make myself presentable to get back to the office.

In the evenings I have to balance the cold, the available daylight, my ridiculously high standards of designing interesting routes and other commitments. Oh yeah, other commitments. Like seeing my wife and eating food.

Oh and I’ve got a job as well, did I mention that?

And this blog to write! Humbug.

Plus sometimes I drink intoxicating beverages and this makes running much trickier.

You’re thinking that I should get up early and run before work. This is because you’ve never seen me in the mornings. So forget that – I just can’t do it.

At the weekends things are somehow more difficult. This weekend coming I’m planning 16 miles on Saturday morning and another 8 or 9 on Sunday morning. I regularly start these runs at hours that mean I’m having breakfast at a time beginning with 7. Soon it will have to be 6. At the weekend! Invariably, when I finish a long run: broken, exhausted, inspired and elated, I dash off almost immediately post-shower to meet someone, be somewhere, do something, or perhaps get on a plane or train or back in the car.

There seems to be no let up, no wiggle room and I confess that I am struggling to keep all the plates spinning. I often get to the end of the week, look smugly at my mileage total that I’ve diligently logged in the diary, then morosely look ahead to all the empty weeks stretching out until these two monstrous racing commitments are done. What kind of moron would design himself such a punishing schedule?

All that, and my mileage is due to almost double in the next two months.

Two things keep me going. One is my enormous commitments to my main races this year. Between the honour of pacing duties at the VLM and the gentlemanly bond we have entered into over the Wall, there’s no way I can let training slide. The other is the classic maxim, applicable to many parts of life, that ‘somewhere, right now, someone busier than you is out for a run’.

And I’m off to catch him.

Happy running


2013 to date: miles run - 208.4, races: 1, parkruns: 1, miles biked: 3

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