Hoka Highland Fling training blog week 8: Throwing caution to the wind

Originally posted on Runner’s World

In the eighth week of her training our Online News Ed Rhalou rebels and mixes up her training plan.

261 Women's Marathon Palma

Week eight of my training plan for the The Hoka Highland Fling stipulated a 35-minute run, a couple of interval sessions, some strength and conditioning work and a 22-miler at the weekend.

Despite trying extremely hard to stick rigidly to the plan, I’m going to have to come clean and admit that I made an executive decision to mess with my training plan for my own gain. I’m off to run the 261 Womens Marathon in Palma, Mallorca next weekend because my colleague Annie couldn’t make it, and running 22 miles the week before seemed like a bonkers idea. So I ignored my training plan and ran a half marathon distance instead. I really hope the running Gods don’t strike me down with great vengeance and furious anger.

On the plus side, running an impromptu marathon is an excellent dummy run for the main event and has reminded me just how neurotic I can be in the run up to race day. In the last few days I have self-diagnosed flu, gastroenteritis, Ebola and a broken foot. Who knows what ‘maranoia’ I will have to look forward to for the full 53-mile race. I suspect I am due some life threatening illnesses.

But pre-race neurosis aside, this little wobble in my training schedule has highlighted the importance of being flexible and remembering to live my own life. At first I felt wracked with guilt and convinced something untoward would happen if I didn’t stick rigidly to the plan. Over the past eight weeks I have come to realise that training plans are a great tool for progression and provide a useful structure. However, after careful consideration, I have come to the conclusion that feeling relaxed and happy when I rock up to the start line in April is considerably more important.

There are no laws about running ultra marathons. From stinking colds to impromptu marathons, you never know what life is going to throw at you in the in the run up to race day. As long as you put in the majority of your training, everything is going to be OK. Beating yourself up and agonising over the details is not a constructive way to spend your time.

So to that end I’m off to Palma to throw caution to the wind and celebrate International Women’s Day surrounded by amazing female runners. Skipping around Spain is going to be a far cry from scrabbling over the West Highland Way, but what the hell, it’s still miles on my feet. Wish me luck! @Rhalou




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