A slight delay posting this as I had family round yesterday but here it is now:
So this is the difference between running a 5K straight from the off, and running it with ten miles behind you. It is completely obvious I know, but as I was attempting to put the hammer down in those last 3.1 miles of the Half with heavy, sluggish muscles, I remembered the ease of my breathing the day before. The light way I could lift my legs to a nice wide stride and bound with a bounce that was patently missing on Sunday. Still, I pushed forward, knowing the 2:15 pacer was somewhere behind me, and tried to make believe that all I was doing was a Parkrun.
I had not intended to throw another Half into my marathon training mix just a month after Helsby but I had accidentally booked this race last year, probably because it was on our club Road League list. What I should have been doing was a slow 17 miles or something like that, so I decided to try and compensate for the shorter distance by trying to make this a tempo run.
The Wrexham (Village Bakery) Half Marathon is a flat race, compared to Helsby. Not pancake flat, but ‘Northern’ flat as Mark Samuels said, when we caught up again after the race. He had kindly given me a lift over and had got himself a marvellous PB of 1:33:08 for his own efforts. By the time I’d finished, he’d walked back to the start area, eaten a Welsh cake or two, got changed, moved the car a bit closer and come and met me, for which I was very grateful.
It did have a few gentle undulations in the race but I would call it flat, and the weather was a perfect eight degrees. I stood at the beginning, next to the tall flag of the 2:15 pacer in the heart of Wrexham’s industrial estate, thinking that I should be able to at least equal my Helsby time. It took us a minute to cross the start line and I chatted to the pacer for the first mile while the congestion of runners cleared. I eased ahead after this, wondering if that decision would bite me in the backside later on. But, I felt good and found more people to chat with along the way, just to keep my pace on right side of comfortable.
One woman was running in memory of her mum who’d died last year, and was raising money for the hospice that had looked after her. It was her first half in a long while but she seemed to be a natural. Later I chatted to a guy called Amit, who wanted to be a great example for his young kids, and who was determined that we should hit that 6 mile marker below the hour so we sped up a little to get there. I carried on when he needed to find a spare bush. Luckily, we were now in a nice bit of Welsh countryside so there were plenty of candidates. He was kicking himself because he really wanted to get below 2:15. I was thinking, how easy it was for a bloke to pause if he’s caught short. A mile after this, I said hello to a guy who recognised me from Helsby. He was trying to keep an even pace which, for this middle section, was a little fast for me so he soon left me behind.
I took two gels during the race but for some reason the second one, at nine miles, was making me feel a bit queasy which has never happened before, and took me almost a mile to take it all in. Eventually, I could feel the sugar kick in a little and focused on catching up with the people just in front of me. I even managed to reel in and pass the guy I had met in Helsby.
I’ve had three good tempo runs in this whole week beginning with the club 7 mile handicap on Tuesday, and Parkrun on Saturday, so it was no wonder I felt so leaden-legged by the end of this Half. That last three miles felt so long and I had no idea where that finish line was until I turned the final corner and spotted it in the near distance. My legs were screaming at me by this point but I coaxed them to a hard sprint over the line. My phone buzzed two seconds later to show my official time of 2:11:37, a comeback PB (my best time since 2015). If I hadn’t been desperate for the portaloo, I would have seen Amit beat that 2:15 pacer by a couple of minutes and my other two running companions crossing not far behind me.
In the car, I downed my pre-made choccie milk and a bottle of water with a salt tablet added, while Mark munched on another Welsh cake and drove us home. The drinks managed to ward off my nausea and the beginnings of a headache. It shows that I gave it some good welly today, and I think I paced it pretty spot on. Let’s see if I can get that 17 miler in next week now.
My week in numbers:
|Day||What I Did||What Ben Parkes Wanted Me To Do (maybe in a different order)|
Club Handicap Run 7.2 miles [11.73 km] (avg: 10.11 min/mile [6.28 min/km])
3 min intervals pace
2 min walk
(too much tempo this week to try this interval)
|Wednesday||Strength and Mobility class – 1 hr |
4.02 miles easy [6.47 km]
(avg: 12.14 min/mile [7.54 min/km])
|Strength (30 mins)|
|Friday||Early morning run |
4.2 miles with 4 x strides at the end [6.7 km]
(avg: 11.10 min/mile [6.9 min/km])
|4 miles with 4 x strides|
3.12 miles [5 km]
(avg: 8.58 min/mile [5.33 min/km])
|Sunday||Half Marathon Race |
13.1 miles [21.08 km]
(avg: 10.03 min/mile [6.23 min/km])
|16 miles |
2 miles easy
2 miles marathon pace
(again, missed this, although all my 13 miles were quicker than my marathon pace)
2 thoughts on “Spring Marathon Training – Week 6”
Excellent! It is joy reading about your progress as you train for this marathon. Just know your American friend will be cheering you on the day of the marathon.
Thank you Kat – I’ll still be running by the time it’s morning there!