The good, the bad and the ugly

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London Marathon Training
Week 13, Day 3

FullSizeRender 62Well, that’s all the hard work done. Today I completed my longest long run of my London Marathon training, and it was arguably also the toughest.

Then again, perhaps thats the point, it needed to hard and it needed to be tough because what I did today will hopefully pay dividends on the big day itself, and hopefully get me through the hard times when they inevitably hit.

After missing my long run last Sunday I wasn’t really sure what distance aim for. My last long one was 16 miles, last week was scheduled to be 17 and today either 18 or 19. I decided to make my mind up whilst I was out, ultimately settling for 18 because I was worried that anything more would be too big a jump after last week’s non-event.

I told myself to start off deliberately slow, or at least I tried to. Setting off doing laps of the Park’n’Ride, mainly because I hadn’t a clue about a route, the thought of planning one scared me!

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I completed five flat miles there before making a detour for home to get a drink (always in my plans) and to answer a call of nature (not in my plans!).

After that I resumed in the direction of the town centre via the Larne Road Link before zig-zagging towards the Ecos Centre, with the plan to do a few segments of the local parkrun course. By the time I got there I had worked my distance up to ten miles, and all felt good.

At this point a former WBO Welterweight boxing champion came running past and jokingly challenged me to a sprint. Ermmm, thanks for the offer but not today Eamonn!

It then struck me that I was on target to set another PB for half-marathon distance. Me being me, and loving my stats, I decided to go for it. So much for taking it easy, eh?

I’m pleased to say I took another two minutes off my time which, I think, is my fourth PB in five weeks over 13.1 miles. Not bad considering I wasn’t really trying for anything like that today.

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On reflection, however, perhaps I shouldn’t have bothered. After that the run became a real slog. Perhaps it was the earlier effort, perhaps it was the sun beating down on me, maybe it was the road I was on by that time – an incline of several hundred metres – but whatever it was I felt my energy beginning to drain.

Yet I still had a few miles to go. Oh crap! This wasn’t going to be pretty. I knew I was going to have to dig deep, very deep.

It was around this point I decided to aim for 18 miles and call it a day. I reckoned that pushing on for 19 or even 20 wasn’t going to tell me anything I didn’t already know about myself or my ability.

Somewhat worrying, at around 16 miles, I felt a few cramp twinges in my calves, the first time I’d felt that since last years marathon. Thankfully they disappeared again after a few hundred yards, hopefully they’re just as a result of last week’s inactivity and perhaps vindicated my decision to do ‘just’ the 18 today.

I could also feel a blister or two starting to develop. Nooooooo!!!!! They only came on in the last couple of miles so, with a bit of luck, they’ll not get any worse. Time for some TLC methinks.

The last mile-and-a-half I just did around the playing fields beside my house. It was soft underfoot, straight and flat – just what my weary old legs needed!

It wasn’t a bad run. Parts of it were really good, although other parts could have been better. But it’s all about learning, developing and progressng – and I know it’ll have served exactly that purpose.

So what now? Back to the club tomorrow night (probably just for a 30-minute recovery), then a couple of easy 5ks during the week before the Titanic Quarter 10k next Sunday in Belfast.

Let the tapering begin!

If you’ve enjoyed following my progress so far could I be so bold as to ask you if you’d consider making a donation to my chosen London Marathon charity this year – Asthma UK? No amount is too small, and all donations are received with such heartfelt thanks. My fundraising page can be found here. Thank-you so much.

London Marathon Training (232 miles – 44 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 3 – 17.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.4 miles per run)
Week 4 – 18.8 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 5 – 14.9 miles (4 runs; average 3.7 miles per run)
Week 6 – 18.7 miles (4 runs; average 4.7 miles per run)
Week 7 – 20.3 miles (4 runs; average 5.1 miles per run)
Week 8 – 23.7 miles (4 runs; average 5.9 miles per run)
Week 9 – 18 miles (3 runs; average 6 miles per run)
Week 10 – 21.9 miles (3 runs; average 7.3 miles per run)
Week 11 – 24.6 miles (4 runs; average 6.2 miles per run)
Week 12 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)
Week 13 – 28.2 miles (3 runs; average 9.4 miles per run)

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