Hello there Buzzworld! It’s great to see the miles, the anticipation and the excitement building within this great community as spring marathons, half marathons, ultras and walking or cycling challenges get closer. For me life feels pretty good right now; a combination of longer days, warm sunshine, a new job and some exciting training have combined to make me feel top of the world!
Week ten of training done and dusted, possibly my favourite week of the plan, the last cut-back week before we rack up the mileage next week with my first 20 miles of this training. After last weeks plodding 18 miles, the prospect of a nippy 15 was mouth-watering… But let’s do this in order.
There is a simplicity to the plan Jenny and I use that really appeals to me; three runs per week; speed, tempo, long, each one evolving as the weeks go, ebbs and flows of effort, distance and pace, always changing so no chance of boredom, little goals and targets all the time, and how I love a target!
SPEED this week was 8X800m, target pace 6.40. This is perhaps my least favourite speed session distance, I don’t know why it is SO much harder than 400! Anyway, it was nice to run out with Jenny even though she was not doing the speed reps, the fact that we were both out running at the same time was something I’d missed. The session got done, it was not pretty! I did the same route as my last 800m session which meant that each odd rep was up the slope and each even rep was down. On my Garmin I grouped them into 4x mile reps to see if I could average near my target pace. No chance! The up-slope reps were too slow, so although my down-slope were on target, overall, I just had to be happy with a sub 7. Still, as Jenny and I often console ourselves, as long as you put everything into the speed sessions, that’s all you can do…
TEMPO: 5 miles, target pace 7.25. In 2015, my marathon pb year, I did this session in 7.30 average. It was a sunny but cold afternoon, perfect conditions. And I loved this run, along our local cycle path, an out and back that is slightly down-hill on the out and up on the back, I much prefer this as I find it so much easier to push when you know you are nearly home! Big smiley face on the chart as I did it in average 7.20 min miles.
LONG: 15 miles, target 8.40 pace. If you have already read Jenny’s blog, you will know that conditions were perfect for this out and back run on Saturday. This was a huge day for us as for Jenny this run would determine a lot of things and there was a lot riding on it which meant we were a little tense before the off! I gave Jenny a six-minute head start then I was off with the intention of sticking to target pace. Oops, the first mile was 8.09! SLOW DOWN! But whereas last week it felt a struggle to run comfortably, this week I felt totally relaxed and happy, I did manage to get my average around 8.30. I think it is really useful practice to play ‘guess the pace’ when you are running as we really need to have a good feel for what is right rather than completely relying on the Garmin. Glad to say that my ‘comfortable’ pace is beginning to get in the right ballpark. I caught up with Jenny around 4 miles and she was doing well which was a huge relief and I moved on with a smile on my face.
I was listening to some great tunes on my ipod, this really does make a huge difference to my running, I want to give my play-list a bit of a shake-up for Manchester as I’ve had the same one for a few years now, but there are some brilliant ones on there which just make me want to sprint!
I turned at 7.5 miles and contacted Jenny, she was still going well so I set off to catch her again. We met up again around mile 9 and she was doing brilliantly. Now I put my foot down a bit for the final 6 miles and was so happy to find I could comfortably put in a few pacey miles; mile 14 was 7.40 and overall my average was 8.12. What with that and Jenny’s run, I had a smile on my face for the rest of the day!
So another week passes and confidence grows, I feel sub 3.30 is more than a possibility now, if I can just stay fit and avoid any injuries in this last 6 weeks (and IF I don't screw it up on the day!), I’ve got a really good chance of achieving my dream…
Keep up the great work everyone!
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