It’s so very hard not to be jealous of all the Comrades runners as they count down the days to the Big C. Yes, I even get jealous of their taper madness. The way they cringe when someone coughs near them. The way they furiously rub their weary legs with weird smelling stuff. The way they imagine they are coming down with the Black Plague or some sort of muscle paralysis.
So when I managed this run on Sunday – “fastest long run” according to TomTom – I was really, really chuffed. Maybe by this time next year I can join in the madness!
I’m busy sorting through 6000 photos in an effort to organize myself before migrating from my Windows laptop to my new MacBook Air (exquisite creature). Hence the arb pic that has nothing to do with this post, except that it was taken on my running turf.
What I really want to write about is the week leading up to the marathon. My Coach Mo (no, settle down, it’s not Mo Farah) favours a low volume, high intensity approach to training so we do not have much of a taper. Certainly no time to be lolling around, stressing about what the weather will do on Sunday, or the germs I may pick up between now and then. But I do cut out my cross training (which is mainly Pilates) in the last week.
This led me to think of things to do with that extra time, things that will make me feel relaxed and ready. I came up with these:
- Take a long soak every day in an Epsom salts bath. The magnesium that your body absorbs could help fight off cramps. Also, there is nothing better for tired muscles. I like to add essential oils as well as the Epsom salts. At the moment I’m using rosemary and black pepper – both good for circulation.
- Read an inspiring book. I have hundreds of running books but that classic Born To Run by Christopher McDougall must surely be the most inspiring. I’m reading it again for the umpteenth time.
- Watch some inspiring video clips and come up with a mantra or two of your own. These should match your cadence and breathing pattern. Practise it in your last few runs. I like “Fight to the end” and “Core of steel”. The latter will remind me to engage my abs to keep me strong.
- Look up and learn how to do proper Pilates breathing. This needs to be done carefully because proper from is imperative but once you have mastered it, it can only improve your running. Lie on a mat and practise. Pilates breathing will be my go-to solution in the late stages of the marathon when I feel my wheels are falling off!
And that’s it – let’s see if it works on Sunday!