Sunday 19th October 2014

Workout Soundtrack: CLR Podcast ‘#294 mixed by Chris Liebing’

11km 47:11 (Frankfurt Marathon, session 16)

Another day, another battle with negative vibes! I woke up earlier than I did yesterday and was feeling pretty good after a great night of solid, unbroken sleep. My ankle felt fine as did my legs and body in general so I was looking forward to my run after a piece of toast and a cup of coffee.

I decided to test run my race day gear for Frankfurt considering the marathon is only a week away it made sense! I also decided I’d run at between 4:10 and 4:18 for between 10 and 11 klicks and I hoped to finish the run with an average of between 4:15 and 4:18 per klick. Mission accomplished on that front as I ran 11k with an average of 4:17 per kilometre – this was going to be my intended marathon pace but after this run I have scrapped that idea. I’m now going to run Frankfurt entirely on feel and I’m going to ignore my watch for the vast majority of the race.

Today’s workout was pretty appalling because, like yesterday, my legs just felt dead tree trunks. I started with my first kilometre being 4:01 which is 9 seconds faster than I wanted, the second K was on target and in the pace zone but again the third was three seconds faster than I would have liked. I struggled to keep up my pace on the slightest of inclines, the first being at kilometre 4 where I dropped off the pace by 7 seconds and spent the next kilometre urging myself to claw those back and losing out by 1 second! Kilometres six, seven and eight were all on target and were about the only section of the run where I managed to relax and smile a little but then kilometre nine was awful and I feel off the pace on a long, slow and not very steep gradient by 19 seconds – I pulled back to target pace during kilometre ten and then finished uninspiringly trying to gain 4 seconds as my pace yet again dropped outside my target zone – I failed and finished the run feeling forlorn and dejected.

Quite quicky into the run I noticed that my hamstrings both felt pretty tight and without any power emanating from them and this is what was causing the lead legs feeling from the get go. I’ll be hitting them hard with the foam roller over the next few days and staying off the roads and trails – I’ll probably stay away from the pool too as it’s too late now to salavage any semblance of my usual cardio-vascular fitness level. I honestly can’t remember feeling this tired, slow and lethargic before any of my previous races and it is really, really playing on my mind both at home and out on the run.

I usually managed to clear my mind on the run, maintain positive thoughts and focus on mantras when the going gets tough but the past two days I have really struggled with my mind screaming at me to just stop, to give up or at the very least to slow down and it is very disconcerting! I think the notion that I’m going to be 31 years old in seven days is having an effect which I wasn’t expecting, then the fact I’ll be starting a new job in a new environment two days after returning from holiday on November 3rd and the fact that I’ll be running in a very large marathon with about 30,000 other people isn’t exactly helping my anxiety levels. Add into the mix the my ankle injury which has been playing havoc with my usual physical and mental preparation and the ensuing guilt I’ve had about not training for 12 straight days either by lifting weights, working on my core or hitting the pool and I think it’s plain to see I’m really not at the top of my game. One other thing that’s on my mind too is that I weighed myself on Thursday and found myself to be about 7 kilograms heavier than when I ran my ultra in August and when I ran the Pisa Marathon in December 2013 – this did not fill me with joy!

I’ll be honest, I just want to get to Frankfurt and get it done. Any idea of a PR is dust, at this rate I’ll just be happy to finish because there is no way I can put together two 1:35 half marathons right now or hold an average of 4:17 for the vast majority of 26.2 miles. So, the thing I’m most looking forward to is spending time with Gabrielle with no external pressures on the beautiful island of Fuerteventura for a few days after the marathon – I can’t wait to do some open water swimming, drink some wine and catch some rays and not have to think about running, work or life in general!

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