Slight change of strategy. Life took over last week and I didn't get all my runs in and I realised I was crazy trying to get ready for a 20 miler in 4 weeks when I haven't run further than 6 in three months.. I was putting so much pressure on myself to accelerate through a training schedule that a knee pain I haven't felt in years emerged and that's when I realised I had to stop and be sensible.
So, my reasoned response is to pull out Stamford and instead I've entered the White Peak marathon in May. It's a totally different marathon from NYC and Chicago. Only 200 entrants, run on trails (though not very difficult ones, apparently road shoes are fine), very few water stations and not many spectators. However, the scenery should be pretty spectacular - Derbyshire is beautiful - and I just love being in that area. I'm going to try and not pressurize myself time-wise - I just need to get past the 10M point by 2 hours as they pull you off otherwise - there aren't enough people marshalling to be able to deal with the slowpokes, apparently. If I can cruise at 1o minute miles I should be fine though. So I'm going back to Hal Higdon's intermediate I programme and doing the cross training properly this time as well as some strength and hill training (thanks for that tip Terry - I've been quite lax on that in the past and particularly for this marathon it's going to be really important).
In the course of my training I'm planning a few shorter races - perhaps the Sleaford half (if my knee is recovered) and the Lincoln 10K. Going back to the knee - I hope that it can be remedied with new shoes. I've been running in my Asics Gel Kayanos which I love but which I think are just a tad too unsupportive. I went back to an old pair of Brooks Adrenalins today and the pain was much alleviated. I think I've done more than 500 miles in both pairs though so as soon as there is a glimmer of light in my financial darkness I shall invest in something new.
Went to our local running shop on Friday to buy my husband some running kit - yes! - and they introduced me to the concept of Skins - this amazing compression clothing which they say has a marked effect on your recovery rate. I'm quite tempted by a new pair of tights - I spilled bleach down my one pair and they're looking pretty grim now - but hoo ha! the price! 60 pounds for a pair! Anyone out there tried them and reckon they're worth it? I'm very willing to be convinced but need some independent support.. In the meantime, it's not been too cold to run in shorts yet so I'm fine, if a tad blue.
Right - schedule begins tomorrow. Cross training and weights. So I'm going to do 30mins on my crosstrainer (I'll try to do 6K in that time) and then do weight and resistance. After listening to Adam Tinkov of Burning Twenty I decided to invest in some weights and a resistance band - I will keep you posted on progress or lack thereof. I'm somewhat daunted - it all looks amazingly serious for me - but hey - 4 years ago I had never run more than a mile so maybe I can manage some light weights and some exercises. I am always stumped by the enormous amount of things I have to remember at the same time with exercises - when to breathe, what to relax, what to tighten - my brain starts to panic - but I'm really going to try this time. I might even post some pictures if I can manage to make it all look faintly credible.
Off to bed now after an alcohol-free night - oh, the thrills of being an athlete...