Lesson learned. Again.

Lesson learned. Again.

The first part of my training plan for the Paris Marathon went precisely how Hal Higdon would have liked it to have gone. Bring it on, I thought. A little early, as it turned out, as when embarking the second part of the plan, several life-factors conspired to rob me of energy, making each run a chore and causing me to wonder what the hell I was doing.

Mostly, I only had myself to blame. I had a short trip to the US East Coast, literally there and back again in 2.5 days. I missed one run on the Monday morning to get the outbound flight and got back to Edinburgh Airport at 8am on the Wednesday morning, determined not to miss a second. I got home, got changed, pushed myself out of the door and ran 8 miles. And, not surprisingly, I felt like shit.

By the Friday my jetlag was augmented with a cold, and I decided that I should run it off. I set off on my now-regular Friday run, 10 miles flat along Union Canal. About a mile in my Garmin informed me that my pace was v-e-r-y s-l-o-w. I pushed on and sped up a little but could only hold it for a short distance. I completely ran out of steam after 5 miles and felt like I was running through treacle all the way back home. Despite my attempts to keep going, my pace just kept dropping and dropping. I finished feeling like I could not go another step. It was the same story the following week with each run. No energy. Pace dropping to a crawl, and exhausted at the end, no matter what distance.

I already had some advice from twitter on colds during marathon training…

I also realised that I had not been giving any thought to to fuel intake recently and decided to go back to the regime I was using last summer. I started with a vitamin binge; Vitamin C + Zinc, Ginseng, Iron, echinacea, Berocca and anything else I could score at Boots. I re-instigated a gel-per-45-minutes policy and added a carbohydrate + electrolyte pre-run drink each time. For food, I felt I was getting enough carbs in, but a quick google informed me that the symptoms I was seeing (colds and lack of energy) could also be a result of not getting enough protein. So up went the red meat meter. and I brought on High5 recovery protein shakes (chocolate flavour mixed with milk is the business).

vitaminsWhatever the root cause – jetlag, cold, protein or just general fatigue associated with doing more exercise than I have ever done before, the vitamin and fuel reset seems to be working. I did my first 18 mile run last week and felt good, (well, except for the incident) finishing strongly and feeling like I could go further. Subsequent runs have been improving until today, when I developed a hamstring pain and had to walk. But I don’t want to talk about that now as I’ve deep cooled it and hope it goes away in time for the Devilla Forest 15K race on Sunday.

Next week the plan hits peak mileage as I have my first 20 miler in the middle of the week, with the Meadows Half Marathon to follow at the weekend. If I get through all that, I have to believe I am back on track.