Spring Marathon Training-Week 4

4 jelly babies in a pack next to their bigger original bag

Week 4 is finally complete and luckily it was a drop-back week because I managed to develop a cold last Sunday afternoon. Drop-back weeks are thrown into a long build up every three to four weeks, to help consolidate the training so far, which means you are supposed to lessen the overall mileage and the intensity of the workouts. Hoorah!

I wasn’t laid up with it – I was still well enough to hang out with a toddler on Tuesday and Friday – but to be fair I think I got the cold from him in the first place. But after a nice gentle club run on Tuesday (apart from the 4 stride efforts at the end), I decided to forgo the strength class on Wednesday (I didn’t want to be sneezing over everybody) and the Burns inspired cycle ride on Thursday (again, after a local pootle we were all going to be convening indoors at a restaurant for haggis and neeps and I did not want to give my lurgy out to the congregation).

I could have gone for an extra run to compensate but I decided that the dripping nose and the Mariella Frostrup style voice were enough signs to tell me to let my body rest. I even binned my YouTube yoga sessions with Adriene so my 30 day challenge has also gone a little south.

However, all this resting on my laurels did mean that I felt a bit more energised by Friday. We had Leo and his big brother on that day because Alf decided that he really needed to hang out with his nannies too. At nearly 4 years of age, we probably won’t be held in such high esteem for that much longer, so it was good to see him. They were dropped off by their dad at about half 8, before which I shot off for a sneaky 3+ miler as the sun began to rise.

I could have done my long run on Saturday but decided to have another go at Parkrun. My intention was not to get any records, but just to have a nice manageable tempo run. What I wanted to do was to see whether my breathing for Sunday’s long run would be as comfortable as when I did Helsby a couple of Sundays back. That had followed on from a Parkrun PB the previous day.

As it transpired, I got a new course PB by 52 seconds yesterday, and felt nervous this morning, wondering whether I had overshot it. However, my drop-back mileage plan today was a mere 12 miles. I did remember the jelly babies this time and decided to try them out instead of my gel. I had counted out 4, and after the first one, at just after 4 miles, I spread them two miles apart. I do remember pulling the first one out and considering whether to bite the head off first before launching the whole baby, feet first into my maws. They were okay, but I don’t think I could have more than a handful per race without feeling sick, and as each sweet only contains a quarter of the sugars in my gel, they would probably only be taken out at the end, when I’m trying to dig myself out of my own personal Slough of Despond, during the business end of the marathon.

It may have been the jelly babies or may have been Parkrun, but my breathing felt really comfortable so, after the first couple of miles I began to increase the pace bit by bit, pretty much  all the way to the end. I’m not quite sure why I decided to stop just before the 12 mile mark, but my head must have just decided it had had enough. Regardless, barring the first couple, all my miles were below my hoped for marathon pace of 11.15 (in order to crack the 5 hour goal) and the second half was quicker than the first so a very nice negative split was accomplished.

Next week, things start to ramp up with a 16 mile long run in the mix. I won’t even try and make that a fast one, knowing how tough last week’s run was. I am making myself stressed by comparing my current runs to January’s average pace when I was embarking on my marathon training back in 2015. Then, virtually everything below 10 miles was comfortably below 10 minute miles and the longer runs (up to 15 miles) was under 10.30 minute miles. I am somewhat slower now. But that is okay, I think, as long as I can build up the miles in my legs and I don’t get wiped out. I am eight years older so I reckon my body will take longer to adapt. Fingers crossed!

DayWhat I DidWhat Ben Wanted Me To Do
MondaySweet Nothing   
TuesdayClub run – 4.81 miles [7.74 km] including 4 x strides
(avg: 11.28 min/mile [7.01 min/km])
4 miles easy pace + 4 x strides
WednesdaySweet NothingStrength (30 mins)
ThursdaySweet Nothing 
FridayEarly doors – 3.60 miles [5.80 km]
(avg: 11.38 min/mile [7.07 min/km])
SaturdayParkrun – 3.14 miles [5.05 km]
(avg: 8.45 min/mile [5.25 min/km])
Tempo – 3 miles  
SundayLong Run – 11.92 miles [19.18 km]
(avg: 11.03 min/mile [6.85 min/km])
Long Run – 9 miles
3 miles easy
3 miles marathon pace
3 miles easy
Total miles: 23.5 miles [37.82 km]

3 thoughts on “Spring Marathon Training-Week 4”

  1. I guess I’m just finishing my week 4 as well…I’m heading to Vancouver for May 7th….the stupid cold here has arrived so my training has become a challenge as well…but today’s goal to finish off not to bad a week will be 7K at some point….at least it’s sunny

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