There comes a point in every marathon training plan where, and I don’t think it matters how much you run, you come to the business end. If you are anything like me it sort of hangs over you for a couple of days and sits in your mind. You know something is about to happen and you kind of want it to, and you kind of don’t want it to.
The 20 mile run.
There is something mentally tough about getting out and going running for 20 miles on your own. For one thing, it’s a bloody long way. For another, it’s hard to keep drinking enough and eating when all you’re carrying is a warm bottle of lucozade. I HATE carrying stuff with me when I run. I don’t like fuel belts or bags or arm bands. I end up just elastic banding a couple of gels to my drink and call it good. Last weekend it was a flipping windy day and my route was pretty much straight out into the wind for 10 miles then a run back with it behind me. The route out was hard (duh) the route back was ace. I think the training must be working out ok because I got it done in a personal best time of 2:38. It also didn’t absolutely wipe me out like previous 20 mile runs have and I even managed to get through the afternoon without that post-long-run-pass-out-sleep. Progress!
This week was a little tougher. I was away for a couple of days down in London village and training when you are away is always tough. Tied together with some pretty long working days, constant grazing (if there is a way to go to a conference without constantly eating I have yet to find it) and whisper it, maybe a little too much alcohol and too many late nights and you have a recipe for a bad week. Co-incidentally this was also the week my speed work started. From now on every Tuesday I add in increasing amounts of intervals (I started this week on 8 x 400 meters) and Thursday I add in increasing amounts of time at my marathon pace. Both start hard and get harder!
Anyway back to the trip. It went really well from a work point of view thanks for asking, I only got into bed at 3am once and completed the Thursday speed stuff without issue. I say without issue, it was a weird sort of run. I was running around Hyde park which is really a lovely place to run and I enjoyed it a lot. At 55 minutes I started the faster stuff and enjoyed that too. It’s running each mile at 7:20 and for the first three miles I loved it. It’s tough don’t get me wrong but achievable at the same time. The last mile and a bit was a little uphill and a little against the wind and I felt like I was running through treacle. Not fun. I was clinging on at the end. I finished thinking that there is no way I can hold that pace for another 22 miles but then I remembered that you I don’t have to. Yet. There’s another 8 weeks of pushing myself to get through and then I’ll be all set.
I did skip Fridays run due to the late night, but given what I did the day before I didn’t feel overly bad about that. I postponed my long run till today due to the bad weather and had a pretty nice 16 mile run today. I feel tired but I’m ready to have a good week. It’s only 5 weeks till I start tapering which is a sobering thought.
In case you are interested, these are my run distances so far. I’m expecting this week will be one of the longest I do, and should probably be around 55 miles at a guess. It’s pretty clear to me that the more I do, the faster I get. Not rocket science I guess!
[table]Week,Distance(miles),Average Pace,Total Time
There are now only 8 weeks till London. I’m very excited. I’m fairly nervous. This is about right. I’m nervous enough to make me keep training and I’m excited enough that it’s still fun. Perfect. In other news Pilla and I are doing the Silverstone Half in two weeks. There will be lots of twitter-folk there and I’m VERY excited about it.
Finally, I have a Virgin Money site here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/NeilWilkinson. I’m raising money for the MS Society and I’ll love you forever if you consider donating. Oh and extra finally, I added this thing on the blog that let’s you sign up for email updates if I add a post. If you want to you can sign up below. Thanks for reading!