Thinking of the hill…

I’ve only been out running once since the Leicester Big 10k, and concentrated instead on reigniting my strength training (and by the evidence of the first sessions, that was long overdue!) For that too I’m following one of the training plans from miCoach (as mentioned in a previous post) complimented by a core-specific day (perhaps unnecessarily so, as the miCoach programmes feel balanced enough in the first place).

On the one occasion I did run though, it was on the treadmill and I decided I’d try to simulate the long climb that awaits in the Athens marathon: 13km (from 19 to 32) at an average incline of 2%… I tried maintaining that with what I hope to be my race pace in November, and it just about killed me! To the extent that I had to take two short breathers at 0% incline… And that without the 19 (mostly flat) km that precede the climb or the final 10.2 km section into the centre of Athens (fortunately mostly downhill, but by that stage in the marathon you feel the downhill running on your hips and knees…)

So it looks like I have my work cut out for me when I come back in July and start my training proper! At least I know the route, I have the benefit of knowing that my pacing strategy of three years ago worked and with a little luck (and much training) I should be able to adapt it to my current pace… Or that’s the plan, anyway!

But thinking back at all the things that went well in 2011, the elation that I felt on completing my first marathon in 3:52:19, I feel a bit sad at the thought that it will take something very, very special to compare with that day…

Athens 2011-0641

More special in fact that what I believe I have in me. So I’ve decided to settle. If I can’t expect a special race from myself, I at least want one with no regrets: regrets over missing key training sessions, or even whole weeks; neglecting my strength training & core conditioning; not practicing my race nutrition and hydration till I’m sure I’ve got it nailed; setting off too fast or too slow on the day, etc.

I think I’m saying that I want a race I can be really proud of again!

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