So, we’re cracking through the weeks now. I saw a post from the Flying Pig organisers saying 100 days to go. I wasn’t sure if that felt near or far but hey, I do know there’s still 662 miles to run.
Week 4 in review:
Ice, ice baby, too cold, too cold. I wimped out to the treadie twice this week, both times simply standing on a path felt unsteady. I did brave the outdoors a few times though, once with my mate Kate on a -18 day. What’s the worse that could happen (well for one thing your eyelashes freeze). But hey, it wasn’t that bad, not least because running with Kate is always rather joyful and we covered books, life and also the pain cave. This is my area of focus for this post, see further down. I put my 10 x 100m strides into a treadmill session, which made that fun (and accurate). A few people on the social pages were asking this week how to make treadmill miles less dull and I do recommend these short interval sessions. I had 2 miles pass in a flash where I was fiddling with the speed and getting my breath back.
My final long run of the week got tough towards the end. I sandwiched it with 8 miles of company. I am almost certain I didn’t fuel right. (*About 12oz of Tailwind and a mini payday before, half a gel at mile 10? Enough?). Either way it was a weary and welcome finish.
This coming week’s to do list:
- Medium Long: 10 miles (easy pace)
- Long: 16 miles (10 @ marathon pace, 8:50)
- Other: 16 min, 14 min @ threshold with 4 minutes recovery
Weekly total: 45 miles
My Weekly Inner Philosophical Debate: The Pain Cave
This is something I find fascinating. How much should we or do we need to go into it? And by the Pain Cave I mean that place where we are no longer that comfortable; where we are not sure how much further we can go or if breathing is still a viable concept, where the legs feel heavy and maybe actually sometimes we are ready to puke. In real terms, you’ve gone outside your comfort zone in speed or distance terms.
In most marathon plans as far as I can see, you take yourself into your cave in nice, safe, manageable increments, thus preventing injury. But it is important, if you want to make improvements to times to keep paying that cave visits. My personal view is that we just need to (and it is very personal), manage our visits appropriately. If you get a trip to the cave wrong it can be soul destroying. Being left behind in a group, having to stop, forcing a faster friend to slow down – all these things can knock confidence.
I ran with Kate this week, Kate is one of the fastest runners I run with, she ran her first marathon this year at around 3:30 and runs half marathons at 1:33 roughly. She is also supportive and encouraging of anyone who wants to push. On my run with her this week she said, “Jackie, what I like about you is that you are not afraid of the pain.” Naturally, I held my head a bit higher and picked up my pace proudly – a pace already a bit fast for me. “Yes, Kate,” I said, “I’m fine with a bit of pain”. One mile later, in my head only, I’m feeling ever so slightly less fine with it, but hey, we’ve only got 1, maybe 2, (actually 3) miles to go, I could hang on. *This was helped momentarily by a giant willy that someone had drawn in a snow bank to our right. We turned in a 6.5 miler, in -18 degrees at an average pace of 7:45mm. (It was supposed to be an easy run (sorry coach)). But this is the thing: when you exit the Pain Cave, you go DIRECTLY into a MUCH nicer place.
A trip to the Pain Cave is very often rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment, pride, endorphins and a safer knowledge that you are capable of just a little bit more than you thought you were.
When I first started marathon training, the pain cave would terrify me. But I remember one of my first LTP runs, training for Columbus. I think it was the first time I’d held anywhere near a sub 8 mile for that particular distance. I posted it on my Moms running page with literally EXTREME pride. I think I worded that post – “I think I’m more proud of this than I will be of the marathon itself.” Whether or not that was true, once you’ve ever felt like that, you’re going to want to go back in that cave.
So that’s my thought for the week. Don’t fear the Pain Cave, visit it sensibly in your own special way. It really is worth it.