Well, I asked for advice and you, my dear blog readers gave it. And it was pretty consistent - stop and rest! So I did. All in all I went for 9 days without running and I think I feel better all round for having done it. Lots of sleep and fluids saw off my chest infection pretty quickly and by Wednesday I did my first little loop - 1.4 miles. The weather has been glorious so it's a pleasure to get out there, and I added a few more miles on Thursday and Friday, though nothing too strenuous.
As for the marathon - I'm going to see but, in principle, I'm going to do it. Surfing around the net it seems that if the general opinion is that if you're following a long-ish program (mine is 18 weeks) you can afford to miss a few weeks. It may well affect the outcome in terms of time, but I'm not so worried about that. I'm really looking forward to running a small marathon (200 people) and running it on trails in stunning Derbyshire. It'll be so different from New York and Chicago and probably quite challenging (hilly!) so I'm not going to pressure myself to get round in a particular time. I'll just channel my inner diesel engine and keep going..
Speaking of schedules, I am, somewhat belatedly, beginning to have my doubts about following Hal Higdon's schedules. At least - in the somewhat loose way I do. The fact that there is no speedwork or strengthwork involved and only one pace run a week is not good for me, I think. I think if, in the long term, I would like to speed up my marathons a bit, I need to concentrate on those elements more than I have been doing. I have been listening avidly to Steve Runner's preparation for Boston and he has followed a quite unusual schedule this time, referred to as the Hansons' moderate consistent plan or "something of substance" which involves not quite so many really long runs (the longest is 16 miles) but instead incorporates much more serious speed and strength work and relies on "quality" workouts every day (and has you running 6 days a week). Once I've done this marathon in Derbyshire I may use their half-marathon schedule to train for a half in early autumn, not sure which one, and see what happens.
But - I'm not changing horses this late in the game and, in fairness to Hal, I could have been a lot stricter about following his schedule than I have been.. So it's into week 13 of Hal's schedule, with a 13 miler to wedge in tomorrow as I have no childcare today. I'll let you know how I get on - and thank you so much for your feedback last week - I really appreciated it all.