I have purposely taken an 'easy' week this week, to follow the previous week's 50 miles, and preceding the impending 21-miler that will come with week 11. It's also been a seriously hectic week with work and my experiment, and I've still not taken a day off in 3 weeks - I'm now totalling at 20 days without a break!! Argh!
I approached last Sunday's 15-miler with a really strange attitude: "it's only 15 miles", I could hear myself thinking - amazing when I think back to my early running days, and how hard that first 10k was!* This wasn't a good approach, as 11 miles in I was hot and tired, desperate for the 'meagre' 4 miles that I had left to pass as quickly as possible! This was my first run in my new Vegetarian Cycling and AC vest, and I wore it with pride and delight - it really was a lovely sunny day! My tiredness may have been due to that cursed grit around the riverside paths that I had chosen to cover, or the cobbles as I wound around the streets of Gamla Stan, but there is no point finding excuses - I was tired and the running wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. My final pace was 9;48 which is perfectly good for the present situation (and faster than I intent to run Windermere), but a better pace would have reflected a better run.
I decided to go easy on myself for the rest of the week, starting with a lovely slow recovery run on Monday evening. I didn't have much energy for intervals on Tuesday morning - especially since it was the killer 6mins fast: 2mins slow session - but I dragged myself out anyway as the weather was amazing. I was going to trudge around a bit and head home after about 4 miles, but I suddenly got a case of 'Runner's Urge', and took an enthusiastic turn towards my intervals - so much so that I ended up running 7 sets rather than 5, and covering over 7 miles: crazy runners indeed! Wednesday was a much-needed rest day, then I had a wonderful evening run on Thursday which I had to cut short due to pain in what I think might have been my Achilles (noooooo!!). It was a forest run, and was amazing while it lasted, but after 9.5 slow miles I was pleased to arrive home and not bothered about sticking to my schedule in the slightest. I stuck to my hill session on Friday as I wanted to say one last goodbye to the amazing hill that I've been using, but I didn't add any extra miles on to the 10 hill reps, and came home to a well-earned chilli and an early night.
I covered 39 miles in total, but other than the interval session I would say that this week was not of particularly good quality when it came to pace or even the way I felt. I'm starting to tire of the training now, and am so glad I'm taking a shorter training period than I did last year (12 weeks rather than 16): tapering can not come soon enough! I'm ready for a break, and almost ready for the race, I think, and with only 3 weeks to go this is a good position to be in. I have enjoyed my training so far, but now I remember how utterly consuming marathon training has to be. Daniel keeps telling me to take it easy, or to not push myself too hard, but every time I have the same response: "I'm training for a marathon, I have to push hard!". I guess it comes easy to some people, but not me! This week's focus is on having fun, even if it's an uncomfortable and plodding sort of fun!
*And 10k is still hard sometimes: I do not want to belittle any sort of distance!