Week 12 beckons. One more week of training runs before the taper. One more 20 miler. One more week of 30 plus miles. This week, I've been preparing for my last long run next weekend, the dress rehearsal for the big day.
I had a few kit failures when I did the the Meadows Half and that's been a really important bit of learning for me. I hated being too hot and it is much colder running along the open beach into the wind, so I've got a couple of new lighter weight tops. My big toe-pad got sore because my socks were a wee bitty worn, so I've got Balega socks which are wonderfully soft and cushioned yet light. I also stocked up on gels as I need a boost at about 7 miles (more mental than physical). I'm loving the SIS berry and caffeine ones - you don't need to take them with water. And to counter the flapping i pod and melting jelly babies, I've got a neat little Nathan belt for my drinks and one for the iplayer. I tried them all out yesterday and it all felt pretty comfortable. I think I might need something more through, I don't travel light - tissues and lip salve are essentials!
It's been a massive challenge to stick to my cunning plan and I thought I'd got it sussed, but this week I caught myself at it again - trying to get out of the deal so I can do it more quickly. At about half way through my short run this week, I caught myself arguing with myself that I run for 10 k or an hour which ever comes first. I caved in (I've been fretting about my slower 10K and half marathon times) and I ran too fast. I might have saved myself a few minutes running time, but my knee hurt and niggled me on my long run yesterday. And it was harder to slip into that endurance frame of mind because I'd focussed on speed again. Grrr! Silly Sue!
But better to know this now than bombing it on the big day and I still have time to make some adjustments. I realised that this is probably what they mean by working out a race strategy. So that's on my list as well. Up until now my strategy has been to get to the start line in one piece and then run til the end and finish with a smile. I've also been practicing negative splits as a way to manage my speed addiction and it's taught me how much better I do if I keep it slow at the start. So I'm going to treat Saturday's last long run like a mock marathon; a dress rehearsal. Not 26.2 miles, but I am going to give myself a treat afterwards to mark an achievement - getting to the end of another stage of the journey.
This week has been a lower mileage week - 30 miles in total (I nearly said 'only' 30 miles and then realised that was silly!). I've done my Pilates, yoga and rolling and stretching which have become as essential as the running. I even managed a Sunday swim to loosen everything up and take the weight off everything. I'm ready for the last push.
Four weeks today til the Lochaber Marathon- if I'm spared and well. Four more weeks.
Whatever you're up to, have a good week.