After a bit of a downer in week 11, things picked up again in week 12. I think my decision to abandon one of my sessions mid run was actually a contributing factor, as it meant rather than further punishing myself it gave me a bit of respite, and I hadn’t overcooked things.
It’s strange thinking that now there are just 6 weeks to go, and only 3 of those with meaningful training before tapering. It seems to have crept up on me a bit! Here’s what P&D prescribed for me this week.
I knew I’d have to stray from the plan here early on. And in fact, what i designed to do this week changed right up until a few days before the week started. In this phase every 2 weeks I should be doing a “tune up race” of 8-15k on Saturday. The problem is, races around these parts are on Sundays! I certainly wasn’t about to race Sunday instead of doing a long run, so I settled on doing a parkrun at race effort. It’s obviously only 5k, but I elected to up the mileage into my long run to make it an equally productive week.
Tuesday was as per plans, and consisted of an 8 miler with some Intervals thrown in. 5 sets of 600m to be precise at faster than 5k pace. I felt quite tired when I started but the 3 mile warm up was at a decent steady pace which loosened me up, and I maaged a good set of intervals at an average of a little over 6 minute miling, which I was pleased with. The jog back was a little slower as I had a visit from the gingerbread man, which seemed to be a common occurance this week…
On Wednesday I did a 12 mile MLR, which after recent outings I decided to keep at a sensible slowish pace. My legs actually felt really good which meant I had to be extra careful not to push it too hard. I averaged about 8.30s, which is actually a little faster than I needed to be, but it was a consistent pace rather than a progressive pace, which meant at the end I still felt quite fresh.
On Thursday I went on a 5 mile recovery run with Jodie, and did a set of strides towards the end. I really enjoyed the strides too – My stride length was very long and I actually felt quite graceful when running them. My cadence was lower than usual though and felt a bit more “Stridey” rather than just doing some sprints. What was interesting was, when I was running at recovery pace my muscles hurt more than in my strides – I must be using different muscles, or in different ways. Perhaps it makes me more efficient? An interesting finding to explore further. This run was meant to be on Friday, but had to shift it due to travel arrangements.
Friday saw me weigh in – and I am still the same. I’ve not been really actively dieting or monitoring, but had felt a little “heavy” recently, so it was good to know I’m still on track. Need to revise my pre-marathon wight ambitions though.
Saturday was scheduled for an 8-15k practice race, but as already discussed I decided a parkrun at race effort would be the only way to test my body on Saturday. It saw us visit Alice Holt parkrun, one of the best I’ve been to. I’ve documented it more in this blog post. It was definitely a race effort, and an encouraging time to boot. Worth much more on the flat, and hoping to break that sub-20 on a flat course pre-Manchester. It was a good speedwork session.
According to P&D, Sunday should have been 17 miles. With a shorter tune up race than prescribed, and because I wanted to do 5 x 20+ milers this year, and because I wanted to do a 22 as I felt it boosted my confidence last year, that’s what I opted for instead. The night before the run though, I went to a family party and had a few more drinks than I should have. So waking up, thick headed, I wasn’t keen on the run. But I got out and did it and felt fine after a mile or two. P&D say after a tune up race, to take the long runs easy, which is what I did again, rather than progressing through the gears. I rarely looked at my watch and ran mostly on feel. Unfortunately, thanks to the booze the night before, I had some excruciating stomach cramps which meant I needed to stop to use the loo 3 times, which broke things up a bit. This actually made the run harder, as the stop-start nature meant I didn’t get too much of a rhythm. Looking back though I was happy to complete thr un. The last 5 miles were tough, but on a 22 miler hey are always going to be. Writing this today my legs feel better than they did last year, so all being well I am on track.
In my Jantastic update, I’m still on 100% after 9 weeks, and I now have a brilliant 30 badges (though that’ll get updated tomorrow). I’ve decided that my timed workout will be the Reading Half, and my target is 1:32:30, which would be a 4 minute PB, and put me on track for a 3:15 marathon, according to McMillan. Not sure I have the bottle to go for the 3:15 yet but will reassess after Reading.
3 weeks of the mesocycle to go before I start tapering and things are feeling strong, and I’m building in confidence. My last big test is this weeks sunday run, 18 miles with 14 at marathon pace. I’m nervous about it, but convinced I can nail it. I’m just not sure at what “marathon pace” I’ll use!