Oh the irony of life…! The last couple of weeks I was feeling a bit deflated when it came to marathon training. Then I ran 16 miles with  and kicked off Week 13 of training feeling super optimistic and proud of what my body and legs can accomplish.

training week 13 - 1

The 5 mile run on Tuesday felt like a breeze and it was the first time in a long time I felt fit, in form and generally positive about my running. The knee niggles and soreness that I experienced on my long run returned after 4.5 miles, but I was hoping it was just from tiredness and not something serious.

training week 13 - RICE knees

Having learned from previous mistakes of over-training and injury, I RICE-d (Rest/Ice/Compress/Elevate) my knees as soon as I got in and hoped for the best.

training week 13 - 2

The following day I set out to do 9 miles but the knee niggles came back around 4.5 miles again, and I knew that I would be a fool if I pushed through. I stopped at 5 miles, a bit heavy hearted and sad. I was running super strong and confident for the first 4 miles, so it felt like a bit if a confidence blow to have silly knee niggles stopping me from running.

I decided to be sensible on Thursday and skipped my 4 mile run to let my knees rest. I was hoping that RICE-ing and resting for a few days would mean that I could take on the 18 miler on the weekend with confidence and a big smile on my face.

training week 13 - 4

Saturday approached and as me and Cata set out to do our 18 miles I have to say that it was amazing running weather (sunny with some cloud, cold with a light breeze). We decided to do a reversed and slightly different route than our usual long one to accommodate my poor knees, incorporating less steep / long hill stretches and more parks.

Spring was definitely in the air, and even though I made the stupid mistake of (yet again) leaving my breakfast too close to my run, I was really enjoying it. As we ran through New Cross Gate and Peckham I couldn’t help but to smile and feel a sense of pride of how far we had come since the beginning of our training 11-13 weeks ago.

I started my training in mid January this year struggling to make it past 1 mile, and now I was about to casually run 5 more miles than what it takes to complete a half marathon!! Oh yes, not only was I a little bit smug and proud, but for the first time in a very long time, I was enjoying the feeling of running and the thought of the many miles ahead.

But then the pain in my knees kicked in between 4½-5 miles and I was faced with a dilemma – I could either carry on running and ignore the pain, whilst potentially hurting myself so much I would miss out on the marathon OR I could swallow my damn pride (and the fear of not being prepared enough come race day) and stop running.

A lot of thoughts rushed through my head for the following 3,3 miles, but in the end, I decided nothing was worth putting my well-being and race day at risk, so I stopped 8,3 miles in.

Annoyed, disappointed, sad, angry, jealous and defeated are just a few words that describes how I felt as I said goodbye to Cata by Oval tube station. I never thought I would be jealous of anybody having to run 18 miles (for “fun”) – yet there I stood on the platform, waiting for the train with a big lump in my throat.

As I shed a few tears being my sunglasses I realised how much this journey means (and has meant) to me, how determined I am to make it to the end, and how badly I want to run this marathon.

Those 26,2 miles might scare me to the core of my being, but the thought of not being able to run them due to injury that was a result of my own stupidity and stubbornness scare me even more.

So with that in mind, the plan for the next 10 days are as follows:

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 14:

  • RICE
  • Foam roll
  • Do strengthening exercises to improve knees and related body parts
  • Stretch
  • Rest

It seems that week 12 of my marathon training was a very mixed bag of good and bad moments. Having ended the previous week with two very shitty runs – I wasn’t feeling very optimistic about anything this week.

training week 12 - 1

Because my Sunday long run had been cut short, I felt much more energetic on Tuesday and the initial goal was to run 8 miles again. Despite a strong start and my legs feeling great, I kept having issues of slightly throwing up/”heavy burping” from around 2 miles onwards.

I had the same issue on my Sunday run but that was because I ran too soon after eating. This time I had done research the day before my run  about what to eat when before a run, and I didnt really eat anything to warrant any of those reactions, so VERY disorienting and quite disappointing to be honest!

I decided to try to push through it and maybe do 5 miles instead of the initial 8, but just before 4 miles I got the craziest twisting stomach pains – so bad in fact that I had to scream from the pain at one point, very odd! Managed to push through until 4.6 miles in, and then I took the train home pretty deflated and disappointed.

training week 12 - 2

The thought of yet ANOTHER bad run was really putting me off running this race all together, so when I got an email from Nike asking me if I wanted to do a spinning class at BOOM cycle as part of the We Own The Night training, I jumped at the chance! I’ve never been into cycling or spinning really, but I love some of the classes they have at BOOM (like the hip hop one!!) so this was a great way of doing something different but still keeping active.

Not sure if 45 min of spinning counts as doing a 4 mile run, BUT I did sweat so much I snorted my own sweat a few times, so it did really work my cardio and gave at least my mind a welcomed break from running! (my legs felt pretty shaky if im honest!)

training week 12 - 3

Friday I was back running and managed to do a pretty speedy 8 miler. I am not sure why, but for some reason my legs and mind want to keep a 9:15min/mile pace, which is way too fast for me at the moment!

As a result, I had to stop every 2 miles and force myself to run slower. Not the easiest thing, but now isnt the time to try to gain speed!! I want to be able to keep a consistent and comfortable pace for a very long time and without Cata I just get too eager! But I’m working on it and overall it wasn’t such a bad run!

training week 12 - 4

For Sunday my training plan said 12 miles, but since I missed out on a run this week and only did half of my 16 miles the weekend before, me and Cata decided to try to run 16 miles instead.

The weather was perfect! Cloudy but warm and breezy with a hint of rain. I tried out another pair of Nike shorts I had bought plus a new running bag and I have to say I was super happy with both!

As for the run, apart from needing a wee for about 8-10 miles of the 16, it was pretty bearable until we got to around 13-14 miles. After that my knees – or actually the thin bone exactly under my knees – started hurting so much it felt like somebody has taken a hammer and smashed them up. I was struggling with the pain, but as always, having Cata there helped.

training week 12 - 5

Also, I think our routine of doing a quick stop every 4 miles for some refuelling and a drink helps too. We will most likely just walk and not stop on race day, but mentally it helps knowing that I have something to look forward to every 4th mile.

Overall I am happy with my effort for week 12 of training, hopefully I wont have ended up with a bad case of runner’s knee and can continue training as normal – would hate to get an injury this close to the race!

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 13

MON: REST – Done
TUE: 5 miles – Done
WED: 9 miles – NOT DONE! Only managed 5  miles due to knees
THU: 4 miles – NOT DONE!
FRI: REST – Done
SAT: 18 miles – NOT DONE! Only managed 8.3 miles due to knees
SUN: REST 

Week 11 of training felt a bit all over the place if I’m honest. I bought a camelbak in hopes that it would aid my overheating and hydrate me more during my runs, but it has caused more annoyance than help so far.

training week 11 - 1

Tuesday saw my speediest run to date. I felt tired but optimistic and with slightly chillier weather I knocked out 4 miles at a sub 9min mile average. Very difficult but I tried to really push myself beyond my comfort zone.

training week 11 - 2

My camelbak arrived on Wednesday so I decided to take it on a test run with Cata. We had 8 miles planned and after about 2 miles I got a stitch on my right hand side that refused to go away. We had to stop around 2-3 times because it spread to my entire right side of my upper body. Very uncomfortable to say the least.

training week 11 - 3

On Thursday I was determined to give the camelbak another go and whilst I didn’t get a stitch, it still felt like I was being trapped and couldn’t breathe properly. Not one of my best runs and I had to stop twice, literally crawling the last mile (or so it felt anyway).

No strength training all week as I was too tired to get up and with my in laws visiting over the weekend, my usual swimming session got skipped as well (and replaced with lots of uphill walking!).

training week 11 - 4

The long run was meant to be 16 miles but with Cata in Stockholm and a very unenthusiastic Sam, it didn’t quite go as planned. We over indulged at the weekend and I ate way too much too close to the long run, resulting in basically burping & throwing up in my mouth for a good part of 8.6 miles.

Gave the camelbak a last chance but it just wasn’t working. It was hot & muggy and I got overheated 2 miles in. I took of my jacket, but 0.5 miles of carrying the bag with only a tank to on my neck & arms started chaffing, so Sam was kind enough to take it from me.

All in all we did 8.6 miles until Sams ankle gave up. He is a trooper and I am pretty sure that under different circumstances, he would have powered through. But I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, and I didn’t want my ego to be the cause of permanent damage and him potentially missing the marathon (or more training runs) so I decided throw in the towel and accept defeat.

I guess you need to pick your battles and I felt like this one was not worth fighting.

Learnt a lot from last weeks mistakes though and for the next 6 weeks of training I am determined to get the food aspect right – especially the timing of when I eat what!

This is what I have to concur this week:

MARATHON TRAINING WEEK 12

MON: REST – Done
TUE: Strength training & 5 miles – No strength and did 4.6 miles instead of 5 miles
WED: 4 miles – Did a 45 min spinning class instead
THU: REST – Done
FRI: 8 miles – Done
SAT: Swimming – Done
SUN: 12 miles – 16 miles in 2:49!