Whilst everyone has slightly different training regimes (because what works for one person doesn't necessarily work for another), your training in terms of total mileage should be coming to a peak over the next 4 to 6 weeks, before tapering before the big day on 23 June. I've said before that for me I have tried to concentrate on the quality of the sessions over the last couple of years, rather than banging out endless miles, but in order to finish (besides a strong mental approach) you do need those miles in your legs pounding the streets.
It can be quite difficult to maintain motivation to go out training at this point, when it is needed most. It is especially true if the weather is poor (which can't be said for this weekend!), but also if you have a lot on at work and trying to maintain a balance with family activities it can be difficult. I have just finished reading a book by Dean Karnazes called Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner and if you are looking for a bit of motivation or inspiration I would wholly recommend it. Basically, he had an epiphany whilst out drinking celebating his 30th birthday - went home and put on an old pair of trainers and just ran through the night. He had done some running at school, but nothing in the following 10 years or so and ended up covering 30 miles but incapacitated himself for weeks afterwards. However, from this he became a reborn athlete and built up from doing 5km and 10km races to marathons and then on to ultramarathons.
Whilst he manages to acheive all these super human feats such as the 4 deserts challenge in the same year and continuously running for 226 miles, impressively he has also been able to hold down a full time job and maintain a happy and stable family life, whilst competing and training all year round. The fact that he needs little sleep and gets up at 4am most days to train, doesn't detract from the feat. If you get the opportunity I would definitely suggest reading the book, as there are a lot of similarities between the endurance events he does and the Parish Walk in terms of preparation, training, nutrition, mental approach and the overall experience. I'm certainly feeling fired up after reading it and also picked up some useful tips.
Back to this week's training - after Monday Morning's walk with a slight hangover, the following day the two Daves and I met at the Bottleneck Car Park and did the Groudle Loop, which after finishing back on the promenade was just under 10 miles. I didn't make circuit training on Wednesday, but still managed to get out for an 8 mile walk around Baldwin on my own, apart from my I-Pod. With training in a group I couldn't remember the last time I went out walking with my I-Pod on. I didn't really look at my Garmin watch, but was surprised at the end at how quickly I had covered the 8 miles, as my mind had been distracted by the Podcast I was listening to. Apart from the first year I finished the Parish Walk, when I needed any distraction possible to take my mind off the pain, I haven't used an I-Pod in the event since and I haven't missed it either.
I missed the usual Thursday training session due to work commitments and was busy on Friday, so it was important to get a decent walk in on Saturday. Vinny, Mike and I met up at 7am at the NSC and set off towards Marine Drive and on the way up to Manx Radio Dave W met us. He can be forgiven for sleeping in, as he was the on-call Doctor in A&E and had been summoned to the hospital in the early hours of the morning. We carried on along Marine Drive all the way to Port Soderick and took a right turn to join the old Castletown Road and continued south joining the Parish Walk route. At this point we walked it in reverse along Oatlands Road and on to the Cleaynagh Road and then straight through the crossroads. On reaching the Garth crossroads we took a right, which takes you down to Crosby, passed the old Marown School, which I attended as child and remember the outside toilets, which use to freeze in the winter! Continuing straight on at Crosby the four of us had a good race up the hill and instead of stopping at the top it carried on for a while longer, neck and neck all the way. I think we were all relieved when eventually Vinny asked if anyone was going to bother slowing down! We then worked our way through Mount Rule out to Abbeylands and back into Douglas, covering just over 18 miles in the end. Not quite as far as previous weeks, but more than sufficient with the Sara Killey Memorial Walk next Sunday.
In the afternoon I popped into work for a bit before heading out to Laxey. My in-laws own the Shore Hotel, so I decided it was a good idea to go out for a pint to watch the Grand National. It is the only time each year when Kyley and I will bet on a horse race and my record is shocking, whilst Kyley usually picks the winner every year. This year was an exception, as whilst my luck was unchanged (with the various donkeys I chose pulling out early on), she only picked the second (by a photo finish) and fourth placed horses and also won on the sweep in the pub! Not only did the horse racing not go my way, but Man City hammered Norwich and Liverpool got through to the FA Cup final.
I had a couple of drinks to commiserate the run of bad luck and ended up leaving my car in Laxey, so ran out to pick it up this morning. Considering the walk yesterday my legs felt ok, apart from jogging up Whitebridge and I got out there in decent time. Now I have finished this blog we are going to go out for a coffee before I watch Man U beat Aston Villa. We have a really good record against Villa, but having said that we also had an impressive record against Wigan - until last Wednesday, so can't take anything for granted. Paul Scholes is back and it is at Old Trafford, so I'm pretty confident. It doesn't say much for the standard of Premiership this year though when the best English midfielder is a 38 year old, who has come out of retirement!