Glorious mud?

Posted on: 06 Feb 2017

Normal service is almost resumed in that I’ve shaken off the worst of the winter germs and am pretty much done coughing and spluttering, for now at least – let’s hope it stays that way.

It didn’t stop me putting in the mileage and I’ve stuck to my programme really well, not skipping a single run or core session since kicking things off back in December.  My spreadsheet is an impressive sea of green and not a red mark for ‘missed’ in sight.

My coughing episode did spark some debate with a fellow runner friend on Facebook who, based on the old adage of ‘if it’s below the neck then don’t go out’, questioned my decision to carry on training.  When I tried to justify it by saying a cough is “in the neck and not below it” she did the online equivalent of rolling her eyes and left me to it.

Another running chat this past week was with a workmate who managed to drag himself into the office on Monday morning despite being battered and bruised from a race the day before.  He’d taken part in the last ever Tough Guy obstacle run in Wolverhampton and pretty much hated every minute of it. 

This is a chap who can run a marathon in a fraction over three hours, so no stranger to fitness and competition.  He’d signed up in the hope it would have been more like a challenging cross country run instead of an out and out obstacle course and mud-fest. 

But looking at the footage on his phone taken by his girlfriend, who incidentally deserves a medal herself for standing out in the freezing rain for hours on end, I’d say that was a vain hope.  It was just a procession of very miserable looking people waiting for their turn to wade through a murky pond. 

I have total admiration for anyone who can take on a challenge like this.  I know lots of people who do them, Tough Mudder and all such variants, but I’ve never had any wish to do one myself.  Honestly, I’d rather run three times the distance instead of squaring up to the various obstacles and swamps and tunnels and electrified fences and whatever other delights the organisers care to throw at you!

Are any Buzzers into this?  Are they really as grizzly as they look, or am I missing out by not embracing my inner warrior?

With Manchester training in full swing, now would probably not be the time to take on any more events.  I’ve just completed week eight and my last two weekend long runs have been 13 and 14 miles respectively.  I’m averaging around 8:20 minute miles on these, so well up on marathon pace but not too far to be wearing myself out prematurely.

Another interesting running conversation, again with my mud-hating colleague, was around the final long run on my programme.  I’d planned a 20ish miler, possibly up to 22 before backing off to taper.  His suggestion was to make it three and a half to four hours out on my feet and not get hung up on how many miles that equates to.  After all, it’s four or so hours that I’m going to have to endure on race day. 

It sounds like a good suggestion.  For both my previous marathons I ran a 20 miler as my longest run, but did it at pace and was therefore back home in under three hours.  Was it the wrong sort of prep?  I know I’m a little so-and-so when it comes to going off too fast, so perhaps forcing myself to slow right down is the way to go.

I’d appreciate your thoughts and recommendations!  


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