After taking a welcome 2 days off after Crêtes de Spa, I put on my running shoes on Wednesday for an 18k run with my new training buddy Gwendolyn, followed by an attempt to follow her for 55 minutes at “race speed” on Thursday. We started off at 15.8kph average, and I managed to tag along for about 20 minutes. My legs had run full after 10 minutes and then I managed to ignore them for another 10, but then it was just too much I joined her for some another 5 minutes and the last 10 minutes, but it wasn’t working out too well. It dawned on me that this had been the first time I’d really suffered while running in what must have been a year or so. Sure, there have been those days the legs were feeling tired, or the steep climbs in the Austrian mountains. But I’d always managed by dropping to a comfortable speed and this time, this hadn’t been an option. This had then been a week of extremes. The triumph in Spa, doing things lots of people think of as ” inhuman”, the failure on the track just 4 days later.
I realised that there were two causes for this failure: on one hand, there’s the fact that I’d run 50k in the Ardennes 4 days before and my legs were still sore. On the other hand, there’s the fact that I’m really not used to running at speeds above my default pace. With plans for a sub 3 hour-marathon and a default pace of about 12.8kph (a sub 3h marathon means 14kph), something needed to change here. Shorter runs, faster runs, more interval training sessions, increase my pace,…
At the same time, the trail running I’ve been doing lately is, well, not doing any good for my speed. And this is where it hurts. Over the past year, I’ve grown to love the woods, the meadow roads, the swamps, the hills… The idea of having to skip those is not an attractive one. I am standing in the middle of a crossroads.
Well, for now, I choose not to choose (intentional Trainspotting reference). For the time being, I’m going to combine both and see how far I get on that marathon. After all, it’s not like I’m aiming for some top level time. 3 hours should be well within my reach, even without the perfect preparation. So let’s just see where this goes and, for now, keep running the woods. Oh, about that: I’m running the Trail des Vallées du Chevalier on May 5th! Here’s a video from last year’s edition (please ignore/mute the music):