Hello and Happy Christmas to all you lovely buzzers!
As we are training for the Manchester Marathon in early April Jenny McC and I started our 16-week training plan last week.
Over the last year I have dabbled with Ultras, having run one in June and another in November, combine that with a rather dull succession of annoying injuries and the result has been a dip in marathon form. I look back to the heady days of 2015 and 2016 when I last did myself proud over 26.2 miles. I did have the aim of breaking the 3.30 mark at Manchester last year but fell short. This year I have developed the ability to ‘plod’, useful when going above 50 miles but not great for a marathon.
When I was last running decent times, Jenny and I were both training on the same plan, we called it the ‘Angus’ plan because Angus introduced us to it. It was a simple but challenging plan based on your 10K best time, consisting of a Speed session, a tempo and a long slow run each week. When we first used it we got great results. We followed it for two years and it served us well, but then we decided to develop it, in short, we began to tinker; adding runs here, changing distances there. We decided that we knew better… The predictable results, looking back on it now, were a drop in form! So, this year we have decided to go back to basics, back to the original plan. 3 runs a week and 2 cross training sessions (we are going to be stricter with ourselves about stretching, core work and strengthening, as well as diet, once the festive period is over of course!).
So last weekend we ran a 10k time trial. I’ll let Jenny tell you how she got on, let’s just say that we know we are not in great shape for various reasons. Before we began I said I would be happy getting under 50 minutes so when I ended up with 48.17 I was quite surprised. That gave me a pace of 7.47 min/miles which we then based all my targets for my training on.
I know that I am going to have to work VERY hard to have a chance of getting my dream sub 3,30 and perhaps Manchester in April will be too soon, but I like to have a challenge and Manchester is FAST. I’m not entering it for any other reason than to PB, it’s not a beautiful course and I’ve run it before, this is all about the PB.
To give ourselves an incentive to work hard we have come up with targets for stretching, weights, yoga, foam rolling and core work each week; we have set ourselves an imaginary ‘finish time,’ mine being 3.38. For every week that we succeed in doing all our extra targets we knock 30 seconds off our ‘finish time’ so, can you can see where this is going? 16 weeks of training, a possible 8 minutes of deductions that will take me to my dream sub 3.30.
If only it was that simple in reality!! Well, we will see…
In brief, week one has gone well. Speed sessions and tempo run are what I’ve been missing for a good year and so this is where I have most room for improvement. Week one speed session was 8x 400m, target 6.52, I happily came in on average at 6.17 so that was a huge confidence booster despite a bit of a pain in my right thigh. The tempo session in the first week was only 3miles so we did it as a parkrun which was my fastest since March. The long slow run was 10 miles and although I was not breaking any records I was very happy with week one of the plan.
Here’s to week two! I have to say it is so good to be training to a plan again; it has brought a whole new enthusiasm to my running. Jenny and I are never more happy than when we can run together and doing the same plan together means we can have endless conversations about pace and tactics, it brings us closer together and keeps things interesting. Long may it last!
Happy running everyone!
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