Moving into week 14 I was acutely aware that training was going all in all, pretty well. Previously I feel I have gotten to this stage in training and cruised a bit. This week I wanted to push on – there were still 2 weeks to get as much training benefit as I could before tapering and that could be the difference between 3.04.59 and 3.05.00.
The first run of the week was on Tuesday for 8 miles with 5 x 600m Intervals. This has historically been a good session for me. In the past my intervals on a known slight downhill loop have been pretty decent, averaging sub 5.20 pace for the same session last year. This year wasn’t quite so good, but still encouraging – last year it was 9 days after a hard 5k, this year it was 8 days after a hard half. Different build ups so not much to be concerned with. I’m still classing the session as “good”, the paces were faster than McMillan says they needed to be.
Using GAP (each interval was alternated except the last, which was out and back, and 2 were into the wind!), the splits were 5.40, 5.36, 5.43, 5.33, 5.34 for an average of 5.37 per mile.
On Wednesday it was another (penultimate!) midweek MLR, this time 11 miles. This session fell on a bad day last year (grandfathers funeral) and I ran on a gut full of buffet food and a couple of pints. I was conscious going into this run I wanted to keep the intensity up – certainly higher than my previous MLRs, mainly because as training has gone on I have clearly (As is evidenced by recent race times) gotten fitter, therefore I need to increase the training stimulus. And I have to say, I totally nailed it. My legs were weary, but in a way I expected given the last few days training. They weren’t suffering from that “empty” feeling, they just felt a bit tired. As such I was able to keep a good pace and even motored on up and over Micheldever hill, a bit of a nemesis of mine, in sub-8 pace – which, in the middle of a run with a few miles still to go I was really pleased with. Heart rate was where it should have been too. The average pace was 7.36 (GAP 7.29). I was pretty pleased with that!
After a rest day Thursday, I had a short 4 mile recovery run with some strides. It was a solid run serving no purpose other than to get some pace into my legs ahead of Saturday’s tune up race. I kept the route nice and flat and tried to keep the pace slow, but the strides as fast as I could muster.
So Saturday I was due another tune-up race. Although parkrun isn’t a race, I use them as a race effort (I rarely run a hard parkrun) and as such when I am using one as a tune up I try as much as possible to treat it like a race. That means wearing club kit, wearing the compression guards, a proper warm up etc. It helps get me in the right head space for a tough effort. We went to Blandford, which we have been to a couple of times before. It is a pretty fast course (though an out-and-back) though I personally feel it may be a touch short, though that’s totally unsubstantiated. An additional benefit was that it was pacer week and they had a 19 minute pacer, which was around my target – PB going into the run was 18.54 and I was hoping I’d come away with a brand new one.
We didn’t get there quite early enough for a full warm up but managed a bit. I was stood basically right at the front next to the pacer and before long we were off at what felt like a blistering pace.
There were 2 lads who were off a bit faster and a group of 3 with the 29 minute pacer. The lady dropped off after the first mile, and another guy went ahead just before halfway. We rounded the turn (its and out-and-back course) in 9.08 which basic maths told me was 18.16 pace! Too fast! The pacer was about 10 meters ahead and I was starting to struggle. I passed Jodie and she took and amazing pic of me! My favourite running photo of me I’ve ever had.
Coming back was into the wind and I really didn’t think i’d be able to maintain. We came back in under the underpass and up the steep slope and I was now in touching distance of the pacer. He had slowed I think he knew he’d gone to fast. With 400m to go I just gave it all I had left and passed him in a sprint finish. I crossed the line in 18.39 by my watch (later confirmed in the official results) which is a spanking new PB!
Looking at how the race panned out, and given the slightly undulating nature of the course (compared with Poole – Blandford is definitely flat but not as flat as Poole) and with the wind taken into account, I think that 18.30 target I set out back in my masterplan is still on for 2 weeks time. I’ll certainly be giving it a damn good shot!
On Sunday was the biggest race of the year for the club, the Yeovil Half Marathon. As a club we had over 50 members running – not bad considering the club is only a year old! Kerry hosted us pre-race at The Beach Cafe Bar where we all congregated pre-race, and she kindly offered for us to leave our kit there. There was a terrific vibe and Shane got this fantastic pre-race photo of us all.
As we headed to the start the atmosphere grew and everyone really was buzzing. Before long we were off. The support was fantastic, and the organisation was great too. The route was the same as in 2016 aside from a slightly moved start and finish – both of which were good improvements.
I was running as part of a 16 mile medium-long run, and I was trying to pace a few members to sub 1.50. Unfortunately my group gradually drifted off though iw as able to catch David and spur him on to finish ahead of me (His target was 1.45-1.50). The mile markers were a bit out and I think I got my maths wrong as I was a 1 minute faster than I should have been.
The atmosphere throughout the course was fantastic, I saw so many running friends and club mates and the town center finish was superb. This year we even got a tee shirt! It was great value and a great day out. Afterwards, anyone who was left went back to the beach for food. It was a really cracking day and can’t wait for next year already!
This is the week I was FINALLY able to break the plateau! I’m not even sure what I did to do it – I’ve had a stubborn cold for the last 2 months, so maybe that’s related? Now I’m finally kicking it (great timing!) then my body is letting it go? Or maybe its a continued build up of volume and intensity and my body has shaken itself into action. Either way, the loss was 2lbs, taking me down to 13st 10lbs.
All the other stats pointed in the right way too. Fat % down, Muscle % up.
I hit the “midway” goal in reaching this weight and I have a theoretical 5lbs more to lose to try to reach that 17.9% body fat target but it will get me pretty close. With 4 weeks til race day I’m not convinced I’ll lose all 5 lbs but I’m going to try my hardest. Either way, I’ll be considerably more trim compared to Manchester!
Another great week in the bag. A good interval session, a good midweek MLR, a tasty new 5k PB, and a terrific club day at the Yeovil Half Marathon. The legs are feeling decent and with only one week left of the really hard training until the taper, I’m feeling confident!
Interestingly, looking at my Fitness Trend, despite the hard 5k and the 16 miler, I’m hovering in the Neutral zone. This week wasn’t officially a recovery week, though looking at the pattern and structure of the programme this is where one would naturally fall, this has seemingly recovered me a bit. Next week is the last tough week and I expect to push myself well into overload by the time I finish my 22 miler on Saturday!
||7m Recovery (6 x 100m Strides)
||7m Recovery (6 x 100m Strides)
||10m (4 x 1200m Intervals)
||10m (4 x 1200m Intervals)
||Moved to Thursday as I don;t want to do 11 on Friday as I have to run 22 on Saturday!
||Have to run on Saturday as Jodie is running Manchester ont he Sunday! This will be a time on feet long run 22 miles that will take 3.05
||See above. Adding an extra mile to make it a joint highest mileage week.