Greater Manchester Marathon 2016: Week 9 of 18

Week 9 of my training for Manchester, and numerically its the halfway point – though with a 3 week taper period, that means theres only 6 more weeks of serious running before winding down!

The week has consisted of some “bread and butter” recovery runs, but with the key session being the marathon pacer on Sunday,  this weeks training has been geared around trying to be vaguely fresh for that.


On Tuesday, Jodie and I went for a 6 miler. Jodie is starting to struggle with the hills, but unsurprising as shes running on behalf of two people! I felt pretty fresh by the end of it, which I was quite impressed with given Sunday’s 22 miler.

Wednesday was my least favourite run of the whole training plan… 14 miles medium long, in the middle of the week after work. Not especially motivating to get out knowing I’d not be home til gone 8, though thankfully the weather was cold but crisp and clear. I set out at the slow end of the pace zone and executed a royal flush negative split through the pace zone right up to marathon pace!


This included all the usual hills I cover, and included a good effort up Bunford – thought I PBed the segment but missed out by a couple of seconds! Still, not bad considering it was the end of a 14 miler!

On Thursday, I was meant to do 6 miles recovery, with 6 and strides planned for Saturday. But I didn’t want the strides to have a negative impact on Sunday, so I switched them up. The run was pretty tough, which I should have expected after Wednesday, but I focused on my technique and balance for the strides, and sure enough they had a good level of speed. I finished quite tired but knew I had a rest day on Friday, so no concern there.

Friday was weigh day, and I had felt that this week I’d been less strict and probably overeaten, so wasn’t expecting good results… Just the 3lbs off! Absolutely delighted, ahead of schedule and now at my interim target of the weight I was for the wedding! According to the scales it was mostly fat too, so the training is working to keep the muscles lean whilst the calorie deficit is burning fat. Happy days!


Looking at my nifty projection chart, if I keep up the 3lbs a week I’ll be at goal by the end of Feb. I think maintaining 3 per week is ambitious. The target 2lb a week is more sensible and would put me at goal for 4th March.

weightgraph5thfebSo I’m ahead of where I want to be. What I tend to do now is think to myself “I’m well ahead, I can afford to relax a bit” and that’s when I plateau, and get frustrated that I stop losing, and why I never reached that 8th stone last year.

I’m going to stay focused all the way to Manchester to lose as much as I can. If I can achieve a 2lb a week average, that’ll put me at 13st 4lbs for the race! Using a more sensible 1.5lbs then I’d be 13st 8, which I’d still be over the moon with!

But lets get to sub 14st first before I get too carried away…

I treated myself this week too. After a few years with my Garmin Forerunner 220 it was high time for an upgrade. I had a bit of loss in confidence after it froze a few times and nearly ran out of battery the other day. Given how often I use it, I checked with the wife and thought it was worth splashing out on something new. I went for the Forerunner 235. A full review will be posted later this week but its a nifty device so far!



On Saturday we chose to continue our tourism streak with a brand new parkrun for us, Salisbury. I did 6 miles at recovery pace. We met Simon in the car park before headed off for a warm up, during which the weather was overcast, but nothing like the conditions we feared. We did a couple of short laps and then went to find Jodie for our pre-run selfie.


By the time the start came around though, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. Wet and windy is the only way to describe it. This was made more pleasant though by what have to be some of the best volunteers I have come across in my parkrun tourism. So encouraging, and so many of them it was fantastic to see. Not only from a marshalling perspective but there were pacers of all levels including beginners groups, all clearly identified on their hi-vis.


It was so inclusive, and though I am not a fan of multi lap courses (Salisbury is pretty much 4 laps) the amazing volunteers and support made it an absolute pleasure, despite the weather.


The parking was close by, the toilets were onsite and the course was very well marked out. Salisbury parkrun is an absolute credit to parkrun as a movement. First class! I look forward to returning in the summer.



Sunday was a key session and it was important for my confidence and belief that the training and weight loss was working, to run it well. I had to run it in Basingstoke, which meant the first half of the marathon pace section was uphill, though it meant the second half was downhill/level.

The problem was, it didn’t go according to plan… at all.

I woke up and felt OK, had some breakfast and headed out a bit earlier than usual, and for some reason I just knew it was going to go wrong.

After the first mile ticked over I realized I’d configured my workout incorrectly, so I had to abandon it and start a manual activity. Problem 1. I then started progressing until about 5 miles. This was quite literally problem number 2 and had to find a bush and use my sweat band in a way it wasn’t designed for. Needless to say I left it in the woods. By the time I got to marathon pace I was running on slippy trail and couldn’t maintain any pace at all. Then it was uphill. This was problem number 3. I then realized my legs REALLY didn’t have the pace in them. They felt like lead weights on ANY type on incline and things just were not clicking.


So I made a call. Rather than flogging myself to death trying to hit MP, inevitably failing and then beating myself up about it, I elected to run a straightforward 20 miler as a time on my feet type run. I managed to maintain a decent speed, even though I had to stop for a breather once and also had to stop for the bathroom again but other than that I was pretty pleased.

sunday laps

I was due a bad run and after 3 weeks of running 55 miles per week it was hardly a surprise my legs are fatigued!

Luckily, this week is a recovery week – I’m going to run my easy runs very easy. I have an interval session on Wednesday to get some speed in my legs and a tune up race on Sunday – hopefully my legs have recovered enough to give it a damn good go.


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