My training success has been a little patchy in recent weeks. If I am honest I would have to say that the original training plan was over-adventurous. While I have been enjoying the different training elements, my old legs have found it increasingly difficult to recover. No sooner have they dusted themselves down from the stress of the long Sunday run and they are getting hammered by a 10km run around town at lunchtime, closely followed by a battering the same week on the track for intervals or tempo. On the plus side, the Achilles has been holding out just fine. On the negative, in the last month I have been hampered by a very tight hamstring, a sore ankle, painful knee and most alarmingly, an almost constant bruising sensation around the previously damaged metatarsal.

My previous attitude was that I need to get the training done or I was not going to do myself justice in the marathon. I very quickly realised that if I did not adapt then I would not be on the starting line for any marathon. So, an adjustment was called for and from now on, I skip running entirely for 2 days after my long run. This initially seemed like a cop-out, but I am over this now and realise that I really have no choice. Quality is my new mantra. If I do nothing in a week except for a long run, a tough parkrun and one other speed/hill/tempo then I am content. Most weeks will have another run included, but the training plan re-boot has now gained mental acceptance.

March was already a strange month. After a few steady training weeks I found myself in a month with four Sundays consisting of Lasswade 10 mile road race, my longest run to date (24km), Alloa Half Marathon and Grangemouth “Round the Houses” 10km road race.

The Lasswade race went very well. Over a very demanding course I was able to exceed my marathon pace, secure a PB for the event, have a negative split and hit my best mile split times in the final 3 miles. All of this was accomplished with a level of control that I have never been able to find for this event. A few days later a sniffle developed into a very annoying head cold and the 24km long run the next week was one of the most awful runs I can remember, resulting in me retiring to bed only a couple of hours later.

Recovery from Lasswade was closely followed by a very sharp painful pinch in my knee when it flexed to straight. This resulted in me effectively tapering before Alloa Half Marathon, with the exception of a conservative outing at Falkirk parkrun (there is after all the small matter of the annual male competition at stake!)

Alloa went well. I was aiming for a morale-boosting 1:25 to keep me on target for sub 3:00 in the marathon. My final time was 1:27, despite – or perhaps because of – a rapid first half where I felt really good. I found the final 5 miles pretty demanding at my target pace and this has just emphasised the need for me to focus on pushing my tempo runs to help get my legs used to consistently running at speed under stress.  I am not currently tracking to be sub 3:00, but I still have 9 full weeks to fix that. I know the missing pieces of the puzzle and remain confident that I can work on improving each of them in the remaining time.

Next up is Grangemouth “Round the Houses” on Sunday. This is a flat course and gives you the chance to view all that Grangemouth has to offer. Good for running concentration then. It is also something of my “home” course, with most of the route playing a part in my regular runs. With all of my training recently I am seriously looking forward to lining up at the start for a 10k. After the recent training and then the longer races, the 10k will be a refreshing change with the added benefit of a chance to work the fast twitch muscles.

Edinburgh Marathon is now 66 days away.