4 Weeks to go…

After 5 dark wet months of winter, spring arrived today in England with a whoop and a holler.  It was a stunning day.  Unbroken sunshine and 18 degrees.

I ran the East Hull 20 mile race today.  Originally, I hadn’t planned on doing a 20 miler only four weeks out from the marathon.  I thought it might be too hard and would send the body into the red zone, thus requiring a few days of recovery which might be better spent training.

However, a few of my team-mates were running and having thought it through, I entered, but told myself this shouldn’t be approached as  a race but as a catered training run. It would also be a good way to honestly gauge whether I can realistically run the Manchester marathon in under three hours – if I couldn’t run sub 6:52 pace per mile for 20 miles then it would be pretty unlikely that I would run it over 26.2 miles.

I could also rehearse my marathon day preparation – have the same breakfast and wear the same kit etc. After ingesting my porridge with honey, blueberries and sliced banana; cinnamon and raisin bagel and a large coffee, I picked up my team-mates John, Sarah and Sean and drove over to East Hull.

John and I planned to run together with fellow Valley Strider Kevin for the first 10 miles and then to see how we felt. Our plan was to run at around 6:52 pace and for the first few miles this felt comfortable and we were chatting away as we steadily picked our way through the field.  Unfortunately John dropped off at around 8 miles and it turns out he has aggravated a hamstring injury and it looks like his marathon is not going to happen this spring.  I felt for him.

It was great running with Kevin, he’s a fellow MV45 and we paced each other well, reaching halfway in 68:24 and going through the half marathon point in 1:28:58. The route is lollipop shaped and despite running into a breeze on the way back, we managed a negative split – coming home in 67:31. I ended up running the whole distance with Kev.  The last 4 miles felt hard, but I thought this would be good practice for the last 6 miles of the marathon, digging in and maintaining the pace when it starts to feel tough.

Overall I ran 2:15:55 for an average pace of 6:48, which is great – just what I wanted from the day.  My legs felt tired at the end, but with 20 miles at marathon pace, that is no wonder – that is a hard run in anyone’s book

So mission accomplished – a 20 mile marathon pace run done without the benefit of a taper and great practice at running at target marathon pace.  The added bonus was a lovely day out with some good mates.

24 hours earlier I had gone for a really hard 5K effort at Leeds parkrun – I ran my second best ever time at Leeds – 18:05 for 7th place.  I didn’t plan to run quite that hard, but a young whippersnapper engaged me in some racing on the third lap and my testosterone kicked in. He passed me then I passed him, then he passed me and finally (so I thought) I went past him near the last corner with 300m to go.  The little scamp tried again near the finish so I unleashed my best sprint and finally saw him away.  I can run pretty quickly for an old man when I want to.

The hard training is 90% done now. I’ll aim for another 60+ mileage week, it’s my favourite club session on Tuesday night (at the track) and I’ll plan another steady long run next weekend, probably around the reservoirs again.

M – 4 Weeks /  75 miles. Longest run 20 miles. Parkrun (Leeds) 18:05 (7th). Weight after Sunday run 11 st. 2.8 lb

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One thought on “4 Weeks to go…

  1. Hi there, Very familiar with Grace and the street child work. I am establishing a charity to build low cost homes in Sierra leone called “Home leone”. I Have a friend, Dave Hall, running form John o groats to lands end in 40 days starting 18 August fr our charity. If you are interested in doing a bit of running with him then have a look at http://www.maninashack.com. Best regards Nigel Hyde

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