Manchester Marathon Training: Week 9 of 18

I can’t quite believe I’m halfway through the training plan. Officially over the hump and its now downhill from here. only 6 weeks real training left before things start cutting down for the taper. Its been a tough week, with 2 long runs including one at marathon pace, and I am very much looking forward to next week’s “Recovery” week.

This week I ran exactly as prescribed in the P&D schedule, shown below.

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My legs felt surprisingly good on Monday, which was encouraging given the previous day’s 20 miler. So going into Tuesday’s recovery run they felt a little fresher than usual, though were still suffering with fatigue. Thankfully, by the end of the run things had improved greatly. Love these recovery runs! Ran it with Jodie which made it all the more nice too 🙂

On Wednesday I had my longest midweek medium-long run of the whole training plan, 14 miles. Last week I struggled through the 12 miles on a relatively flat – but unfamiliar – route, so this I went into this run with some trepidation. I’d already had a long work day, and the idea of a 2 and a quarter hour run didn’t exactly thrill me! This week however on a much hillier yet much more familiar course I managed to consistently hit my negative splits, progressing right the way through my long run pace zone, and ran the last mile a little short of marathon pace. It felt great to be able to do a run of that length midweek and still feel strong at the end.

Thursday however was just awful. 6 recovery miles. I had next to no energy and as a result, next to no pace. I was in the right pace zone, and my heartrate was about right, but my legs just did not want to co-operate! Thankfully, Friday was a rest day.

Friday though was a much more positive day. I didn’t weigh myself last week, but this week continued my post christmas downward trajectory. I’m now at a NEW lowest weight ever and just 3lbs from that magical 8th stone. I’m hoping to be there for next weeks weigh in!

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I am still just about on track to make my goal weight by Manchester, though I could do with a couple of 3lb weeks really to give myself a degree of comfort. Check out my awesome spreadsheet – conditional formatting too to highlight exactly when I hope to achieve my short term goals! Great for motivation 🙂 So I am on track to hit Target B by Reading too, which would be another little milestone.

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Ultimately I’m not massively concerned if I don’t hit those numbers exactly. I know that I am already well over a stone lighter than my pre-Paris weight. If I can be 2 stone below Paris weight by Manchester I will be just as pleased. So thats my backup target (13st 5lbs) which could be more achievable. Save the big goal for a pre-wedding target!

I was Run Directing this parkrunday, 184 runners ably assisted by 24 amazing volunteers on this special Valentines run, the theme being “Fifty Shades of Red”. It was a good day and despite some minor timing and scanning issues the results were processed just fine! Jodie ran her 35th run and is now only 1 behind me as we bid to reach our 50th, together, the week before the wedding.

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I took my opportunity to run later in the day, and the weather perked right up. Even went out in a vest! Just like summer (though a tad colder…)! 6 recovery miles with 6 strides near the end, though I missed my watch beep for the 6th so had to just make one up in the middle of my last half mile. The strides were great, I concentrated on my form and felt like I was really running!

Sunday was a big one. The second of three “marathon paced” long runs in the program. All three are 18 miles, the first was with 10 miles at marathon pace, the second (this one) was 12 at marathon pace. (The last one is 14 at MP). To say I was nervous pre-run is an understatement, I was dreading it. But it all turned out fine. In fact, the last mile before the marathon pace section was only 10s off MP too, so in essence it was 13 miles. And with almost 900ft of elevation gain, to say I was chuffed to finish it so strongly (With a sub 7 mile) would also be a massive understatement! Its real evidence that training is working and gives me even more confidence that I’m on the right track.

It seems the mileage has really conditioned my legs well, as I’m sat here writing this feeling naturally fatigued, but nowhere near wiped out. I’m not going to revise my goal just yet, but after seeing Steve Way say something along the lines of “If you are comfortably running marathon paced efforts over a long distance you might want to think about your goal” I may reassess it after the last MP run.

I’ve also now broken in my new Asics Gel Kayano 21s (Blue) and retired my Orange 20s. I always like new trainers, I’m not sure how psychological it is but any niggles I’ve had always seem better and I feel faster. Getting the new model was a slight risk, but there seem to be few changes from a comfort point of view and to the lay man (me) they feel no different.

Halfway through February in Jantastic and I am still on 100%. I’m hoping next week I’ll get that 6th run in for the February “Pro” badge by doing a quick parkrun on Saturday morning, and an easy 5 in the evening as the plan calls for 8.

It’s literally downhill from here, just 6 weeks real training left until the taper and just 2 more weeks of this mesocycle before we start the real speedwork. Still loving it!

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