“PEAK WEEK – Peak week is your highest mileage week of training, which comes from slowly building up to your longest run and is followed by your taper. Taper can be dreaded by many runners…but not when you peak correctly – which is just a couple weeks prior to race day, and your body is now craving the rest!
Studies show that we can improve fitness for four to six months before hitting a temporary plateau. The goal of a training plan is to consistently increase mileage and intensity to a specific peak week, which will be the hardest week of training, followed by taper to race day. By following this method, you are slowly taxing your body to create new levels of fitness, rather than trying to decrease your pace rapidly or increase mileage quickly. Your body is supposed to respond better to this training method rather than pushing yourself to a limit all the time.”

Sunday – I spent the day feeling emotional, frustrated and uncomfortable in my own skin. Very full of self doubt, anger that got released as tears and an overwhelming need to hide away from life…my fiancé took the brunt. We’d had such a lovely day on the Saturday too! A mix of tiredness, hormones, hunger and emotions, it was an odd day. Physically however I was fine and my daily yoga practice helped some what emotionally.

Monday – A good nights sleep and a clear moonlight morning made for a more upbeat me. I headed off in the dark on my recovery run…keeping to zone 2 throughout, baring 10minutes – which was only brought on by slightly more incline and then thinking about how close I was to finishing. Overall however it was a good run, there was slight tightness in my upper legs on both sides and my right hip ached a little around 5K but eased off by the time I’d finished. I’d felt really in the zone throughout and when I got home I decided a laid back approach would help. I did 20minutes of yoga and my back exercises, then calmly sat and had breakfast before a leisurely shower.
I’d got to the point of a half way examination in my first Open Learn course, so took the rest of the morning to look over my notes before completing the test.
Work was busy and we discussed my leave, again raising the potential of part time working – I feel torn to be honest. I want financial freedom and room in my job to learn and develop myself, but I also want time and less stress in life with the ability to care for myself better. I basically need to do some math and I’m not sure why I keep procrastinating over it!
My dear friend had her birthday on Sunday and so after work we had a lovely meal out with friends. It was a wonderful evening of great company, laughter and good food.

Training, my own headspace and our calendar don’t allow a lot of room for socialising, so when it does happen I love being able to fully indulge in it. I got home feeling blessed and grateful to have such amazing, interesting strong women around me.

Tuesday – I’d slept well but not overly soundly and woke feeling like I just wanted an extra 15minutes – so reset my alarm and gave myself the time. I’d looked at workouts on Monday evening, but changed my mind for something a little less intense for half an hours strength training. It was full body and included weights so I knew it would work all of me instead of targeting any set area. I then had just under 40minutes of yoga practice – mainly core and lower back based.
After a shower I felt tired, bodily tired and so made the conscious decision not to do too much. I had plants that needed potting on and salad to cut…

it only took 20minutes to do both, but that was enough. I gathered my book and a coffee and headed to the sofa. I never managed to sleep but did rest myself well before work. Thankfully we didn’t have an extremely busy day, time did however pass fast.
At spin class I was mindful of my back again so, just as with last week no stood sprints or hovers. I had a great session and left energised.

Wednesday – My last and longest midweek run before my marathon! I would usually have had porridge before leaving an hour later but decided a more fasted run, on just half a banana, would be a good test for my body. Slowly as I recover from the chemo I can do more on less, in the same way I now feel warmer and no longer have to layer up.
I set off in the dark and realised that, while I was a little more nervous with not being able to see, that feeling wasn’t as bad as last year.

I did a fartlek run with a repetition of one kilometre slower, than one kilometre faster. I tried to keep an eye on my heart rate in order to bring it down as much as I could in the slower kilometre – nerves, air temperature and hilly sections meant this wasn’t easy. My run was to be 16K and at 14K I set off to start what should have been my last fast kilometre before my cool down. I passed our house as I started and there was just no go in my legs. I pushed to 14.5K and then slowed again until I got to 15K. Oddly as I slowed to cool down my heart rate leapt up…again home was in sight – psychology plays an awfully big part in running and I think it had been the factor at 14K, aswell as towards the end.
I had no discomfort or pain throughout my run and got back feeling up, confident and ready to start my day. Recovery with a Rego shake and ice bath kicked everything off before a hot shower and breakfast. Mindful of not doing too much I put my feet up.
After work we had an evening out that I’ll never forget and meant the world to me – we saw Sir Ranulph Fiennes give a live talk at Buxton Opera House.

He is just fantastic…I’d read his book Cold during chemo and was blown away – at the time I only really knew him as the first OAP up Everest and knew he’d done polar traverses but had no idea about the extent of them, plus his trips through the dessert. He’s also a fellow runner and when he lost his wife to cancer he was in a bad way…so he decided to do the 7 marathons in 7 days over 7 continents challenge!
He has the same kind of lack of sanity “yes why not” attitude I have and the way he looks at endurance really resonates with me too, he’s inspired me no end and he’s part of the reason for my 100K next year. To be able to meet him and have my book signed by him is something I shall always treasure.

Thursday – I’d thought about heading to Chatsworth after a leisurely breakfast, doing a trail run and then going for my sports massage at Edensor. However, given how chilly it was Wednesday morning and the fact we’d got back late that evening, I decided a more soulful local run was best.

I did around 2K of warming up from heart rate zones 2 to 3 then headed to a more hilly section for an anaerobic push before heading home. My heart rate was hard to control – the fall out of my 10mile run the day before. However, I felt fine and had no discomfort anywhere, finishing strong and energised just over an hour after leaving home.
I put on loose clothing and popped for my massage. She found no extra issues, just the tension in my back which she released a little more. We agreed that between seeing her and the physio things were going in the right direction…I just need to continue to do as I’ve been advised and listen to my body.
I left feeling really calm and peaceful, totally ready for the day and at work everything flowed…including running talk – I do wonder if my boss is harbouring a secret mission to employ runners, part of me really hopes so…likeminded chat is just excellent!
Once home I got my yoga mat out and did a little practice following Adriennes Movement Medicine for Calm – a perfect way to bring lots of chill to the end of the day.

Friday – Needing to be on the early bus into Sheffield meant another 5am start, so a little Yoga To Wake Up was very much needed before half an hour of upper body strength training. I did another 20minutes of yoga practice afterwards and then got ready to leave. I was so anxious I felt incredibly sick during the whole journey in, arriving at the hospital made things feel even worse…I felt like I couldn’t breath! The wonderful lady on reception instantly put me at ease and chatted to me…still yet again remembering me after so many weeks away.
I saw one of my consultants colleagues, who carried out a full examination and explained that the daily discomfort I have in my left ribs and arm are definitely significant nerve damage…it may get better with time or be something I learn to live with. She said all felt good both sides though…no lumps, plus no lymphedema signs…but to always be mindful of that too.
I was walking out when I found my consultant on the stairs, he was bowled over with how I was doing and so chuffed I’m running the Loch Ness Marathon for the hospital. He had a chat with me and was happy with how everything is progressing, but will chase up my psychotherapy referral as he wants it ensuring all of me is ok. Adding that I have to be mindful with pushing myself too much at work due to the mental toil I’ve been through and all chemo will have done…”remember you’re still recovering and will be into next year”. I left feeling exhausted but ecstatic!

With a few minutes to spare I popped into Smorgas. Again after weeks of not seeing them they still recognised me and wanted to know how I was getting on…such warm, amazing people! I left coffee in hand and two pieces of freshly made dream cake boxed and in my bag to help us celebrate that evening.

I got back and just couldn’t function, I felt absolutely rung out but couldn’t sleep. Driving to work was hard and they’d had a busy morning. Thankfully the afternoon passed without too much issue and we left in the sunshine – the promise of a dry, warm weekend ahead.

Saturday – I got up at 5am to a moonlit morning and a wisp of mist formed as the sun slowly rose. For my last longest run before my marathon I’d decided on an out and back run that would cover three loops near home – each with their own challenges and covering 600m of elevation in all.

Loop one went through the back of the cement works and was a nice trail/road mix with slight undulation.

Loop two was all road running and a flatter route baring the last few kilometres.

Loop three meant nearly 8K of uphill, a nice steady drop downhill into Hathersage and coming back on a flat path in full sun.
I was sensible and power hiked a lot of the uphill sections in order to conserve energy, plus I purposefully didn’t push myself…training run not a race after all…and while I did start to feel it towards the end I could have happily had a few minutes and kept going.
The biggest, proudest part was the fact I came back in under 4hrs and that meant the absolute world…I stood and cried as my watch buzzed 32K.

Running slower to lower heart rate is paying huge dividends, and my aim of a sub 5hour marathon is looking like a possibility!
I had started to tighten up as I finished running and so made sure to stretch well once home, aswell as after my ice bath. After such a busy week it was lovely to just put our feet up and rest for the afternoon – having some peaceful, mindful, quality time together.

Sunday – I feel like I have a cold…I haven’t had a normal illness since before I was diagnosed, so I feel oddly excited! Today I meet a couple of my fellow running group ladies and I’m looking forward to it no end.

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