14 weeks into the 18 week journey, and I have finally reaped the rewards in the form of a spanking new half-marathon PB. This week in the plan was always intended to be a big week, but I wasn’t sure how it would pan out. After last weeks marathon paced effort, I was going into it, a relative cutback week, with Reading Half Marathon waiting for me at the other end. As such, I made a decision to alter the plan a bit in order to have a mini taper for the race. It would transpire that this would be a good move.
For what it’s worth, P&D would have had me doing this.
As I’ve said before, training races of 8-15k around here on a Saturday are a rarity, but last year (And following popular opinion online) a practice half was a great confidence booster and allowed me to assess the shape I was in, wearing race gear, in order to set a sensible goal for the marathon and build confidence. So I elected to slot Reading into my plan in place of my long run, have a recovery parkrun on Saturday, and swap out the 11m MLR in favour of a shorter, recovery run with some Strides to keep me sharp. And this is what it looked like. All according to (My modified) plan!
Monday I managed to have a nice walk as usual. My legs were understandably a bit stiff but it managed to loosen them off, and I think the stretch and bath helped afterwards too.
Tuesday saw another short Interval session, 5 x 600 meter efforts as part of an 8 miler. I didn’t think I’d do much with them to be honest, but surprised myself with a 5.57m/m average on the intervals! Though it was only 3km’s worth, would be interesting to see how I’d fare doing a full set of 8. Still it was an encouraging start to a race week.
Wednesday saw a 5 miler with some strides, and Thursday saw a 4 miler with some strides. Neither run had much to report, though Thursdays strides were more consistent and faster than Wednesdays, getting close to 5m/m.
Friday had a good solid rest day, and Saturday we wanted to get a parkrun in. We had to keep it local (Well, my away from home local) as we were busy that day so took the opportunity to go back to Basingstoke again. My tenth visit there!
I treated it as a bit of a fartlek, which was quite lucky really as I ended up having to chase down a parent who had irresponsibly left his 8 year old son eating his dust, and the 8 year old fell over and got quite upset, so I sent him back to his child. Jodie, supposedly taking it easy, managed to crack in a PB! I managed to have a chat with Steve, Event Director and he seemed like a thoroughly nice chap!
And then it came to Sunday. I have extensively covered the Reading Half Marathon in this post, so I have little to add other than to Summarize that it was a brilliantly organised event which I went round in 90:08, smashing my 92 minute Jantastic target, but agonizingly close to sub-90! But I gave it everything and didn’t have anything left, so I really can’t complain at a 5+ minute PB!
Speaking of Jantastic, as I managed to beat my “Timed Goal” this week, provided I run 5 times in the next 7 days, I’ll complete the challenge with 100%, which will be splendid! The only badges I feel I’ll miss out on that were in my reach (Sort of), are the Sub Zero badge – though the temperatures never actually dropped below zero – and the Speed Demon Badge – as I am still to nail my sub-20 5k (Though I am scheduled to have a crack at it the week after Jantastic, dammit!). Still it is clear that Jantastic has been massively beneficial when working hand in hand with my training plan.
It has delivered me a 90 minute half marathon, which as delighted as I am, puts me in a difficult position going into Manchester, in a reallygood way. It means I should be able to comfortably go for sub 3.20, which, if I’d have been offered at Christmas, I’d have taken in a heartbeat. But there is the outside possibility of a 3.15. The problem is, if I go out with that in mind I may just blow to smithereens after 20 miles.
Either way, I’m going into week 15, the last week of the “Race Prep” mesocycle and the last week of “proper” training before tapering in high spirits, high in confidence, giving myself a high-5!
Manchester, bring it on!