Half-Marathon Training (Week 12) (not such a great week)

Marathon Training Week 12

A little late in reporting last week’s training, which hasn’t been too exciting (other than that fantastic pink sunset I caught on Tuesday’s run). If you look below at my exercise log, you’d see an inordinate number of rest days. Really, while I’ve labelled them rest days they could easily be named instead ‘social outing days’, ‘sick days’, ‘rainy days’, or ‘bad day leading me to reach for the couch instead of my sneakers’ kind of day. The only thing that really made me bummed out about not missing out my regular workout, though, was the last one. Instead of doing a bit of exercise, I went to the couch and to some junk food to make me feel better. Naturally, it didn’t, really, and when I laced up my sneakers to go for a run the next day, I realised all over again that exercise is actually what makes you feel better and the junk food will actually make you feel worse. It’s something I really, really need to tattoo into my mental psyche because even though I know it’s true, I tend to ignore it whenever I do have a bad day!

Weeks like these are the exact reason I’m glad I’ve put in the hard yards and regularly nailed all my weekly fitness goals, occasionally going above and beyond, in the last few weeks because then I don’t feel so guilty when I’ve had to miss a couple of training sessions this week! I definitely don’t want to feel guilty about skipping a workout once in a while to hang out with my friends or to let my body heal itself when I’m sick – it’s definitely not good to beat yourself up if you’ve occasionally missed a workout!

The main thing I missed out on was my long run and my weights workout – the two most important parts of my workout, unfortunately – but I’m hoping to get back into it again this week! I might be missing out my weights workout again, though, because I’m interested in seeing how much swimming practice I can get in this week which leads me to…

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’ve been learning a skill and suddenly find yourself hitting a slump or going backwards for no reason whatsoever? Well, it’s happened to me with swimming! I was doing so well about two weeks ago, thought I was finally nailing that front stroke but when I went for a practice session on Friday it felt like I’d suddenly forgotten everything I’d learned and I kept sinking instead! It was horrible disappointing and also kind of embarrassing as I’m pretty sure there were plenty of swimmers and lifeguards watching me flounder before having to constantly stand up and splutter and cough for air. All the time. Luckily, I’m pretty much immune now to people watching me while I struggle to swim – I keep telling myself, they’re probably not laughing at you…okay, they might be laughing at you but it’ll all be worth it once you learn how to swim!

However, swimming was definitely not on the agenda for last week. Drowning, more like. And when I went to my regular swim class on the weekend, I still hadn’t got it. It wasn’t one of those weeks where I have a crap practice, then everything magically comes together in class. Instead, it was one of those cold, rainy days where it looked like winter had suddenly arrived and no one else showed up for my class, leaving me to a whole one-on-one session with my instructor – which actually was probably a good thing as she could concentrate wholly on me. Also a bad thing, because that meant she could concentrate wholly on me!

She wasn’t sure either why I just didn’t have it together anymore for the front stroke. She helped me with some drills for my kick (my problem was my legs were too far apart and also I was ‘shaking’ my feet and ankles from left to right rather than kicking them up and down). We weren’t too sure what was going on with¬† my arms though and each time I tried adding arms and breathing, I sank like a stone. It was pretty demoralising, but I’m not going to give up here! Each time I think about giving up, I think about Ivan Joseph’s Ted Talk where he gave ‘repetition’ as the key to self confidence and to mastering any skill and told the anecdote about a soccer goalie who just could not catch a ball. He went on to practice catching a ball every day, 350 times a day, every day for eight months. His hands were incredibly callused by the end of it, but he is now playing in Europe. So, yes, gonna persevere and try to figure out new ways to stop myself from drowning – even though I might be literally leaking chlorine water from my lungs at the end of it all.

Second bummer thing about last week – I caught a cold from all the swimming I did. Saturday was meant to be my day for a long run (I had to push back my runs when a couple of friends showed up for a spontaneous visit on Monday) and I just couldn’t do it because of the cold. Technically, I’m not all that sure it was a cold but it was definitely really bad cold-like symptoms – endless sneezing, nasal congestion and stuffy head. I’m guessing it might be a combination of all the chemicals in the pool and being in a heated indoor swimming pool and a nasal spray or Neti pot might be what I need (recommended by other swimmers online with the same issue). If I continue to have this issue at the end of this week, I will definitely buy a nasal spray and see if that works!

On the bright side, the cool weather is making what runs I do go on total dream runs. Running is getting easier and easier for me – I hardly ever flinch at those long runs that are now my short runs! That makes me so psyched that something I’ve worked hard at is paying off!

Now to apply that to swimming – eurgh!!

So, to cap it all off, this is what last week’s training looked like. Looking back, at least I’ve managed to get a workout in every other day. So… not too shabby at all!

March 24th to 30th:

Monday: Rest Day
Tuesday: 7km run
Wednesday: Rest Day
Thursday: 8km run
Friday: One hour swim practice
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: 45 minute swim

Hopefully this week will be much better when I hit y’all up with a recap at the end of the week!

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