Spring Marathon Training – Week 9

Well, could this day have gone any better? Not only did I make it to the finish line of my race but Liverpool suddenly put on a champion’s performance this evening, annihilating those devils on the other side of the M6. And to think, I’ll be running past Old Trafford in six weeks’ time! Not necessarily a route I would have picked but it’s handy to get to and I’m hoping Manchester’s streets are flatter than Oulton Park Circuit’s racing track.

Today’s race answered a big question for me. After my failure to reach my target a fortnight ago and my subsequent dodgy right leg, I did wonder if I could complete it. I had booked the 20 miler fairly soon after I’d used the same track to break the one hour barrier for my 10K time. I found it unexpectedly hilly then, and those mere two laps were tough. I have no idea why I thought it would be a good idea to try and knock out seven laps

However, as the Wrexham 20 miler seemed not to be on, this was the only local one that was at roughly the right time for my training. Ben Parkes does not have me running this distance until next week, but then I’m supposed to do three weeks on the bounce with 20 or 20+ milers, and that’s just not going to happen. To be fair, I am straddling his beginner’s and his intermediate training plans as my stamina (not so much my speed) is somewhere in between the two. And whilst I’m paying attention to his diktats, I’m not slavishly following them. I can’t really, when there are so many club runs and local races to add to the mix.

The forecast for today had been pretty poor and I had brought a full change of clothes for afterwards in case the heavens had opened as was predicted but it wasn’t necessary. There was the odd light shower as I drove up, but amazingly, almost as soon as I was half-heartedly doing the group warm-up (too scared to expend my reserves of energy), the temperature went up noticeably and the clouds, while not dispersing, did brighten, and I quickly left my gloves with the baggage storage folk.

I had a plan, to ‘chunk’ the miles. Where you psychologically chop up the distance into shorter segments. I was going to do five repetitions of 4 miles run and 1 minute walk – the walk was just my way of helping my brain chop up the distance more clearly. In the end though, after the second lap, I ditched that idea for two 30-second walks up the steepest sections of the track. That seemed to work because my pace throughout was fairly even and I didn’t do my usual nosedive to a crawl towards the end. Instead, I think the second ten miles was a bit faster than the first – a marvellous negative split! I had been waiting for the heavy fatigue in my calves that had led me to abandon my 18-miler, but although I was exceedingly tired by the end, I didn’t get that same heaviness.

I met several Pensby runners on the grounds and on the track. Emily, I saw near the beginning as she was doing ‘just’ 16 miles. I was lapped at least twice by Mark and Ben (Mark was acting as sight guide to Ben). They were doing the full marathon distance. And twice by Lisa, who pushed me up one of those steep sections on the second time. I required only one portaloo stop, which took me ages to stand up from – I think (hope) it was because the whole loo was leaning slightly backwards – and I did wonder if I should have got a lift in someone’s car given the possible final state of my legs. In the end, I managed fine – what a great thing cruise control is – after necking my obligatory chocolate milk and chomping my ready salted crisps.

I think I am going to make use of Anne’s guest passes to the Village gym tomorrow and sit in the jacuzzi while she has her Aqua Aerobics class. I’m sure it will help in my recovery, as, alongside this race, I’ve done a lot of mileage this week. To try and make sure the long run was not much more than half my week, I took myself out for a ten-miler at the beginning of the week. I didn’t push it but it felt really comfortable throughout, and not so long ago that would have been classed as a long run.

This was my full week:

DayWhat I DidWhat Ben Wanted Me To Do
Monday10.01 miles steady [16.11 km]
Avg pace: 11.20 m/m [6.96 m/km]
4 miles easy  

Strength (30 mins)
TuesdayClub run – Roy Fisher Lite
4.6 miles steady [7.4 km]
Avg pace: 11.06 m/m [6.87 m/km]
Jog back to club (every distance counts!)
0.79 miles steady [1.27 km]
Avg pace: 11.13 m/m [6.92 m/km]
Progression run – 6 miles  
WednesdayStrength and Mobility class – 1 hr 
ThursdayA massage 
SaturdayParkrun to celebrate Ian’s 75th
3.1 miles tempo [5 km] Avg pace: 9.38 m/m [5.83 m/km]
4 miles easy
Sunday19.86 miles [32 km]
Avg Pace: 11.22 m/m [6.97 m/km]
18 miles with 6 miles marathon pace – (whole average was marathon pace!)
Total Miles: 38.3m [61.64km]

5 thoughts on “Spring Marathon Training – Week 9”

  1. Bravo – for that performance I might even forgive the gloating over the football (I have no links to Manchester other than the fact that, for some reason lost in the mists of time, United have been my team for 60 years).

    1. To be fair, I’m only a Liverpool fan because they were the first scousers I’d become friends with when I came to this neck of the woods as a student many moons ago. We haven’t had much to gloat about this season, so I’ll take it!

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