The cold symptoms have thankfully gradually disappeared over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t managed any intervals or hills for a while, so I went for 20 reps of West Walk hard up with recovery on the way down. At least I have finally worked out how to use the lap button to keep track of the number of reps, a simple mental task that is completely beyond me when I am pushing hard.
I’ve been using the marathon training to run some new and interesting long routes, so the next dayI ran the scenic route home from work for the first time. This took me from Paddington down through the Royal parks to the houses of parliament, where there were poignant reminders of the attack the week before, and then along the river to Kew Bridge and home. There was quite a head wind, and my legs felt heavy, but it is an interesting route. Unlike the bridges further upstream, those in the centre don’t have pedestrian underpasses, so it was a bit more stop start, and there is the odd tricky bit where the path leaves the riverside, but fortunately there were enough other runners to follow that I didn’t get lost. I cut across through Barnes after passing some outdoor broadcasting equipment setting up for the boat race. I fortunately made it back in time to lead a club run for the first time, but I was too tired and stiff to actually run it.
I had a couple of days rest before one final long run, as I struggled a bit on the last one. I wanted to incorporate a more distant parkrun, but miscalculating how early I needed to get up for Bushy parkrun I did a late switch to Kingston parkrun, but still left too late. I thought I had missed it completely when the runners streamed past, and I continued on to find the start to tag along at the back. It would have been my slowest parkrun, even if I hadn’t started some 5 minutes late. Still, another ticked off the list, and a nice route along the riverside. I continued on to loop back through Bushy Park anyway (pictured), and by the time I was home it was over 39k at 8 minute mile pace. It was good to have that distance under my belt without hitting a wall or injury.
The following week was resolved to do some shorter runs to aid recovery and start the taper. Towards the end of the run on Monday I felt some pain behind the back of my left knee. When I stopped I found my knee strap had rubbed my skin raw. I’m not sure if the knee straps are still necessary, but I’m not going to experiment ditching them so close to the marathon. I was worried it wasn’t going to heal as it was painful on the next couple of runs, particularly the more I bent my knee. Fortunately by the end of the week it seemed to be healing up.
Compared to the other bloggers I have been lucky, and have been able to keep running through cold and niggles. I still have the odd aches, particularly in my left ankle before it is warmed up, but now that I have made it to the taper and have the miles in the bank, my worries are more about the weather and logistics on the day, and whether I will do those miles justice. I keep having doubts about the pace to run on the day despite the examples of the half marathon times last month. I’ll be running the Thames Towpath 10 miler tomorrow, which will give me a final data point, before I have to dash off to my daughter’s birthday party. She was suddenly ill last night – I hope she recovers quickly, and not just for her sake.