Hill start!

fullsizerender-16London Marathon Training
Week 3, Day 2

fullsizerender-15If it’s a midweek run that must mean hill work, mostly in preparation for the Hastings Half Marathon in March.

Ok, I’ll not be doing anything coming close to the steepness you’ll find in trails or anything daft like that but there is a section during the course that rises steadily to over 100ft so it’s clearly something I need to work on.

A quick bit of route plotting before I set out today revealed that running up the Toome Road would offer something close to that so that’s where I decided I’d start today’s run, a total 50 minutes according to my plan.

It’s actually an ideal place for replicating Hastings. A deceptively flat start, then a steady rise gradually getting steeper and, just when you’ve think you’ve conquered it, a little kick as you come onto Carolhill Park and then, as with Hastings, a steady and very welcome drop.

After that I tackled the full length of the Antrim Road, not quite as steep but longer which, again, matches part of the east Sussex course.

I found the going quite tough at the start. I know that’s because I darted up the Toome Road, I was using my arms to help propel me forward but maybe did too much too soon. I recovered on the descent but was then faced with the Antrim Road and whilst I took this slower my earlier efforts started to bite.

Looping around the Park and Ride, I then decided to follow the route of the Ballee Way before going around the playing fields and then up and back down the Wakehurst Road – all totally meaningless if you don’t know Ballymena!!!! But, as you can see from the profile graphic at the top of this page, it rises and falls in almost equal measure so provides quite a good session.

As per usual, I found myself getting stronger the longer the run went on. There’s definitely something psychological at getting those first couple of miles under your belt, regardless of the overall distance.

I’m feeling pretty good about my training so far and whilst each run seems daunting before I set off I am finding that I settle into it fairly quickly. Hopefully this bodes well for the challenges to come.

London Marathon Training (28.6 miles – 8 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 7.1 miles (2 runs; average 3.55 miles per run)


Double Whammy!

fullsizerender-13London Marathon Training
Week 3, Day 1

After setting a new best time on Sunday for 10k since I got my Garmin back in the summer, I’ve only gone and done it again, this time over 5k.

Granted, neither came near a personal best, but it’s extremely encouraging to have recorded two decent times back-to-back.

Maybe, today, it was frustration that drove me on. Frustration at deliberately going slow on Sunday morning, only to go far too slow even for my liking. Maybe I needed to prove something to myself.

Today’s time was a full four minutes quicker than that first 5k on Sunday. FOUR MINUTES!!!! That just goes to show how easy I took it.

Or maybe today’s time was down to a strategy I decided to try, namely run for a kilometre then take a short 20-30 seconds walking break but absolutely no more than that (looking at my pace graph it was more like 10-15 seconds), and repeat at the end of each subsequent kilometre. Following that strategy I beat my previous Garmin best by 35 seconds.

Yes, I can run for over 30 minutes non-stop and if I worked at it I’m pretty sure I could stretch that further but I’m also realistic to know that I’ll never maintain that for the full length of the marathon, so it was in my head to start toying with different strategies to see what works.

If this proves to be a successful strategy I’ll extend to a mile at a time. Now is the time to experiment so that when the Hastings Half Marathon comes around in March I’ll be able to put whatever strategy I decide upon to the test in an effective dress rehearsal.

So what does the rest of the week hold in store? Another run tomorrow (Wednesday) night, a short-ish one on Friday (or parkrun the following morning) and 7.5 miles on Sunday …. not massive mileage but a slow, gradual build-up week on week which I hope is sensible given my legs.

London Marathon Training (24.6 miles – 7 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)
Week 3 – 3.1 miles (1 run; average 3.1 miles per run)

Long (Slow) Sunday Run


It was a wee bit wet this morning

fullsizerender-9London Marathon Training
Week 2, Day 2

Because of the snow and, more importantly, ice we’ve experienced this week it has been extremely challenging finding the opportunity to get out for a run. On top of that I’ve been feeling weak again, having trouble shaking off this cold that just won’t shift.

I managed one run on Wednesday before the weather turned, but it wasn’t safe to chance it for the rest of the week, parkrun was cancelled as was the club training run afterwards.

Thankfully the overnight rain and mild temperatures made it possible to get out this morning so I decided to make the most of the opportunity, even if it was extremely wet and soggy. Let’s face it, I’ll get wet but I won’t melt.

Soggy trainers!

According to my plan, today was scheduled to be a 10k. I decided just to go for it anyway despite missing two runs this week. Probably not ideal preparation but it’s nothing I haven’t tackled a fair few times before.

However, mindful of the fact I hadn’t run since Wednesday, I decided to go extremely cautiously. Today wasn’t about speed, it was all about getting the miles in my legs. I am training for an endurance event, after all.

From that point of view the run was quite successful. At the halfway point I was three minutes down on my normal 5k pace. Normally that would seriously piss me off but it didn’t today. Yes, I wasn’t over the moon about it but I was pleased to be keeping a consistent pace, something I maintained for the entirety of the run.

Because I hadn’t run much over the past week I’ll admit to the latter stages of the run being difficult. It’s one thing having fresh legs but you also need to have them conditioned to doing a particular distance and I perhaps paid for my lack of running this week.

That said, despite not being totally happy with my time, I did finish a full three minutes faster than my last stand alone 10k and set a new record for my Garmin. I suppose that isn’t bad after a week of relative non activity.

The battle with my weight is going the right way, too. Since starting my formal training a couple of weeks ago I’m now down 3.2lbs. Slow and steady progress, the way it should be.

London Marathon Training (21.5 miles – 6 runs)
Week 1 – 12.2 miles (4 runs; average 3.05 miles per run)
Week 2 – 9.3 miles (2 runs; average 4.65 miles per run)