It really doesn’t feel more than a few minutes since I ran Paris Marathon. Then, I had a good few weeks left to go before the Lakesman, and a fair few big sessions left to do. Fast forward a few weeks of hospital work and lots of shifts, a few more hard weeks of training, and all of a sudden, I’m tapering for my first 140.6! So, I thought I’d put together a little recap of what I’ve been up to lately.
Rather than the usual few weeks of no or minimal running post marathon, I had to crack back on after Paris, albeit sensibly and without hammering my legs to the point of injury. I left it 5 days, and was pleasantly surprised to find my running legs in good shape for a final few long runs and brick sessions- mostly in my favourite new tshirt…
Exciting news and a new bike
After putting an application in and promptly forgetting about it, I was delighted when, after a quick phone interview, I was selected as one of ten UK ambassadors for Specialized, joining a global community of women promoting women’s cycling and encouraging women out on the road. Not going to lie, whilst I am excited about developing rides to get more women confidently riding their bikes, the trip to Specialized HQ to collect Anna, my swish new women’s specific road bike, was a VERY exciting day.
Getting in those last few big bike rides
We’ve put in a LOT of big rides this winter, but I still need to keep the miles in my legs leading up to Lakesman, so I’ve been putting in the last few miles testing out my race kit, nutrition plan and pacing plan (namely, keep a lid on it on the bike so I have a fighting chance of running well in the marathon) for the big day, as well as testing how my lovely new bike rides. Safe to say, I think it’s love for us!
Race specific swimming
I’ve been slogging myself up and down the pool all winter working on my stroke, but now the water has warmed up a bit, it’s time to get outside and get ready for race day. After an interesting first lake swim of the year involving horrendous wetsuit chafe, some duck poo and a bit of an altercation with a swan, I popped up to the Lake District to do the Epic Lakes Swim series Ullswater event. A chilly, slightly choppy 3.8k distance was a perfect tune-up practice race, and a good time in it (1:23) has left me confident I can manage the Lakesman swim in warmer, calmer Derwentwater, just fine.
There’s always a fine line to tread between eating enough to fuel sessions properly and recover from them, and guzzling far too many carbs and getting chubby, but I think I’ve just about started to get it right, with some help from the ever-amusing fitnaturally. I’ve not lost a load of weight during training, but I am noticeably leaner and stronger, but have been robust enough to withstand a consistently high training volume whilst working full time- a sign to me that I must be in pretty good health!
(The best recovery food after hot, hard sessions- Greek yoghurt, frozen fruit, granola and honey. YUM!)
Getting my head together
The taper is always a time of panic. Have I done enough? Should I have done more? Should I suddenly invest £2959 in some whizzy gadget I’ve seen on Twitter that promises I’ll be 4mph faster on the bike? The answer to most of these is just to relax, and have faith in the work I’ve done, and my body’s ability to absorb it with a nice rest. I saw this meme on Twitter the other day, and really liked it- a good reminder that there are no magic bullets, and hard work plus sensible preparation should see me at 6am on June 18th, stood in Derwentwater, ready to give it my best shot. That and some mental preparation for how much it’s going to hurt- but I know I’ve already been to some fairly dark places in training and got through it!