Reading FIT Magazine last week really brought home how close we are to marathon day. Similar to the Irish Runner magazine, much of the focus is now on the big race.
Excitement and nerves are building in equal measure, and personally I don't think I can read enough snippets of advice and experience from the experts.
This week, we were building towards our final long run of the schedule, and 35k awaited us on Sunday morning. To help with the increased tiredness and to give myself a better shot at completing the long run in a little more comfort, I took a half-day's annual leave on Thursday and Friday.
The plan called for a double easy pace run on Wednesday, but I was too tired after the speed session on Tuesday so I opted only to run 12k in the evening.
After getting home early on Thursday, I managed to have a short lie-down before attempting to get the quality session completed early.
It was absolutely bucketing down with rain for the day, and after a considerable amount of stalling in the house I eventually left for what could be better described as a swimming session.
There was a slight increase in the target to 70 minutes running at marathon pace (up from 65 minutes last week) plus a 10-minute warm up and five minute cool down.
I squelched around Drogheda for the 85-minute session and came in just under the target time for the approximate 19k.
There was an immediate shower to reduce the chance of catching a cold, and then a protein shake to help with the body's recovery.
I take a 500ml bottle of water mixed with electrolyte during or after each session, and then also a protein shake after any quality or heavy session.
This has also helped to reduce the munchies, but I can't lie and tell you that I don't avoid any comfort eating (chocolate and jellies are particular favourites).
I met some of the guys from the group on Friday evening for a 10k recovery run, before roughly the same run early on Saturday. The 35k long run would bring the total for the week to 102k.
Pat, Colin and myself joined up again for the long run at 7.30am and the target was to complete 5k at easy pace, with a double pick-up of 12k at marathon pace with a 1k recovery, followed by a final pick-up for 2k before a cool-down for the final 2k.
I managed to stick with the guys for the entire run (2:43) this week, but there were times when various parts of my body were screaming in protest, not least my knees and calf muscles.
At the beginning of the final pick-up, my legs felt incredibly heavy and I wasn't sure if I'd even finish at easy pace. Somehow we got going again but that was a real battle of mind over matter.
Afterwards I walked to our nearby training field at Meadowview where our club was hosting the Louth Novice CC event. I managed to stretch the legs while cheering them on as they competed against our neighbouring clubs.
Afterwards I found a new technique for foam-rolling as I lay down on our living room floor and Jack and Sam pounced to jump and bounce on me. It's no more painful than the foam roller, but definitely more fun, for the two boys at least!
I did a 10k recovery run on Monday and had physio on Tuesday.
That evening, it was another speed session of 3x3k repeats, which thankfully leaves only one quality session before tapering officially begins. Yipee!