Like a puppy a marathon is not just for Christmas

As I write this update it is now 114 days to go. Sitting on the plane to Berlin for a few days with the family to celebrate my wife’s special birthday I thought now would be a good time to reflect on the training schedule over the past few weeks.

With plenty of celebrations on the go training over the last week or so has been hard to fit in and a real dose of reality on the intensity that is required. There has been a lot of miles put in with a mixture of fun and getting used to time on my feet.

The last working day before the holidays required an early 10km run before work. As it had just passed the Winter solstice I decided to get up early and get some work done in the house before heading out just as the sun was coming up. I love running at that time of the day as I can feel my energy levels rising as the sun gets higher in the sky.

Christmas Eve was time for the first long run of the festive season – 100 minutes per the plan which equated to 19.6km or 12 miles. Thankfully my London training partner from my running club Graham was able to join me and the miles passed quickly as we talked Christmas day plans and shared tales of how we were going to spend the next few days. Graham has run quite a few marathons now and has loads of experience for me to draw on (2018 will be his London debut). My main takeaway from this run was how I need to spend time on my feet getting those miles in – this will stop the muscles from tiring too early in the run enabling me to maintain good technique and posture.

Christmas Day was time for my 2nd most favourite run of the year (2nd only to the Santa dash) which was Pollok Parkrun with the family. It has become an annual event in our household where we join around 480 others to get Christmas Day kicked off in style. The atmosphere is great with everyone in fine form. For some reason it often ends up with me running with my son at these events but fate decided to move things around this year and I had the pleasure of 30 minutes of my daughter’s time These are the moments you cherish – hearing their chat and watching the joy on their faces as they cross the finish line. Exercising on Christmas day is most rewarding – you really earn that extra “Piggy in Blanket”! Next year we hope to do a 3 generation Christmas Day parkrun as Beth’s Dad is training hard to overcome injury and get on the start line in 2018 with us.

27th December was time for some more fun – the annual turkey run with the running club where our members are encouraged to bring their relatives / friends and enjoy a relaxed social run. Wow what a day we had – the run is held in Mugdock park which is quite high up and therefore had a light covering of snow. We had the pleasure of 8kms in the clearest blue skies I have seen for a while – picture postcard stuff. We also held the draw for the club space in the London Marathon afterwards which was won by Rob another very experienced long distance runner. With a bit of luck he will join Graham and I on our long runs and I will be able to pick his brain also.

As I was heading off to Berlin for a few days I needed to change the plan around a bit so 28th December meant another long run – this time 22.5kms or 14 miles. Once again I was joined by Graham thankfully. We had to be careful of the route as a cold snap had really kicked in and ice was a danger. All was going very well until about 3kms to go when Graham had a bit of tumble – bizarre thing was not a bit of ice in sight. How ironic that a few minutes before we had been talking about the state of the pavements. We took our time coming home and he assures me after a bit of ice on his knee he will be fine – fingers crossed! When we reached home I had only done 21kms so I was quite proud that I took the mentally tough decision and went round the block again to ensure I completed the correct distance per the plan. Yes it was only another 1.5kms but that meant another 7 minutes on my feet which is what this part of the plan is all about. I need to get into the mindset that you can’t cut down on the miles.

So now … off to Berlin .. yes the trainers are in the bag for an easy 10km (or will I make it 13km to ensure I manage a total of 1,600kms running for the year).

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