2 Major Marathons in 2 Weeks - Training Recap
I set myself a fun goal for April 2019: to run Boston and my favourite marathon, London (sorry, Boston fans). My new coach went along with it - thank you Heather McKirdy - on the proviso that I give marathoning a rest for 4-6 months afterwards. I agreed. We made that agreement just before Chicago 2018. And boy, was I tired of marathon training at that point!
Fast forward to May 2019... I miss marathon running! lol!
Now for a quick summary of my training over the Winter 2018-2019.
Training Recap for 2 Marathons
I somehow managed to have another rollercoaster training cycle this past winter. Here are the bite-sized points:
In the preceding 2 years, I had run myself into a bit of a black hole. By that I mean I had depleted my body's iron stores with the increased mileage and foot-strike haemolysis (breakdown of red cells with every time my foot hit the ground) that went with it.
I also found that as my training paces were increased in the Summer of 2018, I fell further behind what I could achieve in workouts. Basically, I was still quite iron-deficient for my previous level of training. Something had to give.
Firstly, I reached out to McKirdy Trained as possible new coaches to see what they could work with me to achieve. I was initially alarmed when James McKirdy told me over the phone, "Maybe your not as fast as you thought you were!". I rejected that because I knew myself better than that. I was still not feeling myself, both during runs and even in my daily life.
He then asked if my training volume had been reduced whilst I was trying to rebuild my iron stores (and this tired little body). I answered "Nope". He then went on to explain that they had experience with many athletes who had experienced similar drops in performance with iron depletion who responded better to both a reduction in training load AND an increase in supplementation. He suggested I get my iron levels checked. That was in August.
I amicably parted ways with my previous coach as I felt our goals for myself were at cross purposes. I wanted to get faster but not at the expense of my health and well-being.
James paired me up with Heather - his soon-to-be bride! And we were off!
We had a very gentle ticking over training plan to get me through Chicago.
I got to meet my new Coach in Chicago and we had a plan to get me through that race.
The winter of 2018-19 was okay. I did my treadmill thing for a lot of it. I traveled home to Nigeria for two weeks to be with family and nephews. So yes, A LOT of treadmill running.
Once back in the UK, I moved up North to Chester and started a new job. On the weekends, I had my long runs which were often with marathon pace workouts. Somehow, my paces initially dipped! I was not best pleased. I kept worrying about my iron levels. A repeat blood test the day I was flying out to Portugal was it! I ran to the hospital!
I had one half-marathon to run on the weekend before my Spring Training running camp. The Vitality Big Half. The day rolled around and it was a 50mph windy mess. Somehow, I managed to PR by a few seconds in spite of the conditions. And I ran sub 7-mins for the last 3 miles!
On arrival in Portugal, I was loving that Vitamin D infusion (with Sunscreen of course). I got a running roommate, H-M and my blood tests came back with a higher Ferritin level than I've seen in almost 3 years.
That may have done it! I started enjoying my runs again! Twice daily runs with proper easy paces and even an afternoon off were the order of the day. I was still fasting for Lent (when am I not?) but I felt a weight lifted off me.
By the time the hilly 5K race rolled around, I was on another level! I ran a PR for that course and even got 3rd place female in my age group for the running camp group (there were over a hundred of us there!).
On return to the hills of Chester, I slowed down my easy runs and started reaching my paces for the quality sessions. My marathon paces dropped back to the faster paces and I enjoyed my spicy long runs. I particularly enjoyed an alternating Marathon Pace and Easy (steady) Pace 14-miler in the midst of an 18.5 mile run! Who was I?
In the final weeks before the first race, I was feeling a bit more like my old self. Okay, not the full-blown insomniac of yesteryear but a person who prioritised all the parts of training. Running, recovery, foam rolling, yoga, sleep! Yes, sleep!
I was still stressed with work (new town) and the new responsibilities thrown at me. Who wouldn't be? However, my running was back to being not just in the "love it but it hates me" territory but the "love it and it loves me back" one!
I'll end the recap on this note! Look forward to the actual Expo and Race week updates! Trust me, it'll be a good one!
Hi, I'm Lola!
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