Diary of an aspiring half-marathoner! Training week 8

After last week’s triumph of achieving that all important 9-miles & thereby defeating that inner demon, I’ve been on a bit of a high.  When people have been asking me how training is going, I’ve been genuinely positive when responding rather than forcing myself to say things are going well when inside I’m actually freaking out and worrying that I’m not going to be able to do it!  This is a big change for me, and this has enabled me to relax a little bit as I’m no longer panicking that I’m not going to be ready!

However, this week I have learnt a valuable lesson about the importance of preparation, and how seemingly small changes in your general daily lifestyle can really have an impact on training.

Feeling more confident & relaxed is all very well and good, and its definitely a positive step – but I fear this week I’ve perhaps been a little too relaxed!  You might notice I haven’t mentioned my targets at the start of this week’s blog – that’s because they changed. 

Following the success of what I will now always proudly refer to as “super Saturday!” I had a lovely weekend with friends and family and in-keeping with my new relaxed attitude, I allowed myself to celebrate, of course promising myself this was a one off treat & I’d get straight back on track first thing Monday morning. 

Yeah right! 

I’m sure some of you reading this right now have done this yourself before, therefore you know exactly how this plan went!  Yep – my “treat night” evolving into “treat weekend” which very quickly turned into “treat week” and the plan went well & truly out the window! The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that like many, I’ve been glued to the Olympics and the fantastic performance of TeamGB and therefore staying up waaaaaay past my normal bedtime. 

Consequently I’ve been grabbing late night, sugary or calorific snacks (ie. sweets/crisps etc..) without any real nutritional value which has the knock on effect of making me feel constantly hungry the following day & therefore grazing all day on whatever happens to be to hand in the fridge or my drawers at work (or from the sandwich van once I’d exhausted my “emergency” snack supply), then resorting to a takeaway in the evening because I’d got no food in & couldn’t possibly wait the time needed to shop for ingredients and then cook it before eating! It was a vicious cycle.  To top things off, my water intake (which had gradually been getting better over the past weeks) also fell by the wayside and I’d gone back to my old habits which meant my fluid intake was really poor too.

The outcome of this was I felt really lethargic all week – and my lack of energy also dampened my enthusiasm somewhat!  Luckily for me, my running buddies were also feeling a little off form themselves this week, and with Carrie away on her hollibobs we took full advantage & feeling a little bit like naughty schoolgirls bunking off, we decided to go off-piste & “change the plan”!  So instead of a 10-mile longer run on Saturday we decided to drop this back to 7-miles to give ourselves a week to recover & regain our momentum before pushing upwards & onwards.

This was definitely a sensible decision!  The run itself went absolutely fine, a little slow to warm up but not terrible (and we finished just before the heavens opened – phew!), but I did feel pretty shattered at the end & I doubt that I’d have been able to go much further at the time. I fear that if we had attempted the 10-miles originally planned, I might not have made it – or at the very least the last few miles would have felt like hell, and those demons that I finally laid to rest last week would have resurfaced, loudly screeching “I told you so!”. 

So, thankfully, crisis averted – I know that I didn’t have the best of weeks but I also know this was largely down to poor diet, hydration and lack of sleep rather than ability.  I’d never have believed that this would have such a drastic effect after just one week! 

But, lesson learnt – it will be early nights, proper food & plenty of fluids for me from now on!