Training: 11-17 Sept

With renewed motivation I set out into this week knowing there wasn’t too much longer until the big race day. When planning out the week’s training, I decided to try something I dubbed the ‘Deus Double’: running the same hard workout one two consecutive days. This became the tough part of my week, and getting through that was a huge boost. I’ve noticed that my required recovery time has decreased significantly; I was able to do the Swim Serpentine the morning after two hard runs and then keep rolling through the weekend without crashing.

Monday: Easy run

Surprisingly felt OK throughout the day despite only 4.5hrs sleep the night before due to flight delays. Was expecting to be dead at my desk but thankfully that didn’t happen. Even my run in the evening went well. I’ve decided I’m not a big fan of run-commuting anymore, and that my easy runs should be longer than 7km anyway, so I set off around Hyde Park for a few laps after work. Had some tightness in my calves but otherwise no lasting effects from the marathon, which is good.

Tuesday: Strength (lower) + Track

New gym program! Was happy to switch it up today, although the new set which Sye has devised is a killer. This lower body session involved kettlebell moves (lunges, one-legged deadlifts) immediately followed by plyometrics. Ouch!

Joined the AR team for the ‘makeshift’ track session along a 600m section of the canal. The set was 10x600m off 45sec and I managed… some of it. We only had two groups, so I tried to keep up with the fast one for as long as possible. They were running a sub-1:30/400m pace, which I haven’t done in a long time so it was tough. After 2 reps I cut the distance down to 400m, but after a few more of those I still couldn’t keep up. For the last 4 reps I slowed down to run the whole 600m, but even then on the last rep just completely gave up. Eugh. Not very impressed.

Wednesday: Swim

In a last-ditch attempt to cover some distance ahead of the Swim Serpentine race I went to the pool and swam continuous laps for 1.2km. It took ~300m to settle into the swim but towards the end I wanted to fit in more: I felt good. Unfortunately there wasn’t enough time, leaving me slightly concerned about how I was going to add another 2km to that distance come Saturday…

Thursday: Strength (upper) + Massage + Tempo run

New upper body gym session includes a lot of work using the cable machine. In all my years of going to the gym I’ve never used one before, and I quite like it! Wasn’t quite doing the moves correctly but got clarification afterwards.

First part of the Deus Double (named so because this is how Sye’s been training, with awesome results) and I was flying. I have no idea where that speed came from! I was somehow maintaining ~4:15-4:25/km and while it felt fast, it didn’t necessarily feel harder than the other tempo runs I’ve done where my pace was closer to ~4:50/km. I finished the 12km of tempo in 53:59, with only a few stops to regain composure.

Friday: Yoga + Tempo run

Skipped yoga for sleep, but probably could have done with the stretch. The main thing for today was to get through the second part of the Deus Double. I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain the same speed as Thursday, but wanted to try. This time, it felt tough. I got through the ‘out’ section of the run, but on the way back started to crumble. It got to a point where I was having to stop every few hundred metres because mentally I was finding it hard to keep pushing. With 2km to go I found a second wind and finished the tempo section in 54:16 – only 17sec slower than the day before. Job done!

Saturday: Swim Serpentine + Easy run with Jess

All I wanted to do for the swim was finish without cramping (as I did at the Great London Swim) – and I succeeded! The swim went well: there was a bit of chop which meant I sometimes breathed water, but luckily didn’t have any goggle problems. Our wave started late which meant that the start of my second lap coincided with 200 fresh swimmers entering the water. At first I thought this was nice because it was less lonely, but the people I was swimming with were quite aggressive on the turns which was frustrating.

Dashed home from the swim to change and head out to the Thames Path to meet my friend Jess. She had spent the past week making her way from the Thames Source to Thames Barrier – 184miles over 7 days, or ~a marathon per day. Madness! She was in such good spirits and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to join her for 10km of her epic journey. We ran, walked and chatted from Kew to Wandsworth Bridge, after which I ran home (with a stop for food along the way!).

Sunday: Easy run

Took myself out for brunch at this cute cafe in Clapham, and later in the day went out for an easy run with Sye. His training has come a long way and he was happy to run at my pace which was nice! After 10km he went home and I did another loop of Clapham + Wandsworth Common to finish with 16.5km and a fourth day of 15+km in a row.

I reached a mental breakthrough on that run where for the first time I truly believed that I will be able to run my goal time in Amsterdam. It’s hard to explain, but it was this moment of clarity where it felt like things were coming together perfectly. I now just need to keep my focus through these last few weeks, and I will be in the best place possible to make it happen.

Total kilometres: 86km

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