This week I’ve been “enjoying” half term, juggling work, marathon training and some time off with my children.

As I’m writing this, the boys have gone back to school and I’m feeling a little bit bereft.  I mean, they have driven me nuts at certain points throughout the week but I do miss the squeezy hugs (courtesy of my still very cuddly 4 year old) and the cheeky banter (and occasional absolute gems from my 7 going on 17 year old).  I may be feeling some post-half term nostalgia now, but I guarantee you that within an hour of me picking them up from school I’ll be refereeing some spat or other between them and secretly longing for their bedtime.

In fact, I’d put money on an argument related to those ruddy Match Attax football cards which can be found in every room of my house, despite my pleas for them to please KEEP THEM IN YOUR BEDROOMS and, more particularly, in relation to a much coveted Kevin de Bruyne “100 Club” card which seems to be passed back and forth between them, the rules of exchange becoming increasingly complicated and usually resulting in the younger of the two squirrelling it away in his “special” drawer and denying its very existence.

Anyway, enough of the football cards taking over my life and back to last week’s training.  Looking at my training diary,  I’m pretty pleased with my marathon training is going so far.  Last week saw my highest mileage week for a long time, banking just over 33 miles. And you know what, whilst I don’t want to jinx things, I feel pretty good on it.

I’ve been reading an article in this month’s Runner’s World about easy miles and how in order to benefit from these miles, you need to make sure that you’re running them at an appropriate pace, neither too fast nor too slow. I won’t attempt to paraphrase the article here as you should definitely read it in full, but looking back, I can see that I often take my recovery runs at too fast a pace, meaning that my body doesn’t have the chance to recover and make the necessary adaptations from my more challenging runs.  So, this week I’ve been trying really hard to differentiate in pace and make my easy runs, well, easy!

Followers of my Instagram feed will also have seen the additional “logistical challenges” that training at half term has involved.  Being self-employed, I’m very fortunate to usually have some flexibility as to when I train, but having the children around has turned this on its head somewhat!

Tuesday was scheduled to be 7 miles of tempo work (basically, running at my half marathon pace for one mile, followed by 400 metres of recovery before repeating the same thing again several times). Fortunately, my mum and dad came to visit that day but both kids were mostly just interested in poking each other.  I’m sure most parents will be familiar with this phenomena, which would be solved very swiftly if only they would LEAVE EACH OTHER ALONE.   I can never understand how no matter how many times you separate them when they are in this mood, they continue to be drawn to one another like a pair of fighty magnets?

This left me with a conundrum, as I felt guilty about buggering off for an hour and leaving them all to it, but really needed to do my run.  Hmmm.  In order to be on hand if it all kicked off, I designed the most boring run of my life involving a repeating loop from my house and along the surrounding roads in our village, meaning I would pass the front of the house several times and could be called back to help out with the warring children at a moment’s notice.  The run very nearly broke me.  And sod’s law when I got back they’d had a thoroughly pleasant hour, split between baking muffins and planting some herbs with their grandparents.  Wholesome, calm activities, which simply never would have happened had I stayed at home.  Which just goes to show that children really do save the very worst of their behaviour for their parents.

I also attempted to do some running with the kids on their bikes.  I thought I’d do this on a recovery day so I wouldn’t get hung up on pace, as inevitably it’s a bit stop-start.  Also, I didn’t need to do the 7 miles which were on the training plan in one hit, and could break it up into several shorter runs.  This proved to be far more eventful than I had anticipated, as H’s bike chain came off within about 50 metres of our house, he then almost pole-axed himself by cycling into a lamppost and we finished off with R falling over (whilst stationary) into a hedge.  There literally is never a dull moment with those two and I’m pretty sure that my heart rate was far higher than it should have been through the sheer stress of it all!

These various shenanigans meant that when I did I get a to have a solo run, it was all the sweeter, and the 12 and a bit miles I managed on Saturday morning in the sunshine along the towpath was actually a real treat.  Which means I must actually be losing my mind as since when was almost running a half marathon a “real treat”?

Right, I’m off to tidy away some football cards and catch up on the mountain of laundry.  Hoping for some slightly more straightforward miles this week!

Check out what I get up to this week and keep up with my marathon progress over on Instagram.