We all have our favourite snack for our long runs; there are people who swear by porridge with peanut butter before the off, then there are the ultra-junkies who live off flat coke and ready salted crisps. Chocolate covered raisins of course are a favourite for some, but for me, today there was only one thing on my mind, the best long run snack of them all, A PARKRUN SANDWICH!
Oh yes, you can’t beat it! What better way to perk up what could have been a dull slog of a 16-mile run? Liven it up with a little race in the middle, the perfect filling to keep you going when the serious miles begin to pile up.
Well I say ‘pile up’ but really, for me, with my slightly unusual training programme, the mile-count is hardly epic, I’ve managed 24 miles this week and with less than 30 days to go till London… Normally at this stage I would expect to have run at least 1 twenty-mile run, a couple of 18’s, 17’s etc. Whereas right now, today’s sixteen is the furthest I’ve run for a LONG time! I’m in my 90’s of Parkruns so I didn’t want to miss out on a parkrun stat for the sake of a long run, and anyway, the parkrun sandwich is a delicious repast, best shared with friends or loved ones, in my case, the lovely Jenny McC!
The plan was to run 9 miles first, at 9-minute miles, then run with Jenny the Parkrun at sub 9 minute miles, then see how close to 9 min miles I could do the last 4 miles home. After not a great night’s sleep (I consoled myself that waking at 4am was good practice for London as no doubt I will sleep badly that weekend too) I bolted down a bowl of porridge (with golden syrup and raisins, not peanut butter) ten minutes before I left the house, And I set off into the chilly mist of early morning. Runs like this make you really feel like you are marathon training, why else would you be doing this at 7.45 on a Saturday morning? I saw a few other runners and we exchanged knowing nods.
I really enjoyed those 9 miles! Last week’s half marathon has given me such confidence. I was bashing out 8.40-minute miles and it felt comfortable. I got to the parkrun with a few minutes to spare and met Jenny. I have to say today was one of my favourite ever parkruns. We had the target of beating last week’s 27 min 46, and I was just hoping to keep under 9 min miles. Running next to your wife is a wonderful thing, we hardly spoke, but the connection was so strong, I felt like we were joined by an invisible thread, and we were in the groove! With great satisfaction we not only beat last weeks’ time, but we knocked over a minute off it!
Then the four miles home. I admit I was feeling it a bit by now. Not helped by the fact that this 4 miles is mostly up-hill, not massively but just enough to sap your energy. The pace began to slip, my calves and quads were having a good moan (but the knee was quiet which was all that mattered to me) I made it home, 16 miles with an average pace of 8.50, very, very happy with that! I know that just a few blogs ago I was talking about sticking to 10-minute miles for everything up to and including London, then that quickly switched to 9.30, well it seems that 9 min miles is now the target. Not necessarily for London, 10 will do me fine, but right now 9 feels good. If I can keep that up over 18 miles next weekend I will be ecstatic!
Happy running everyone, and whatever you like to eat as you go, ENJOY!
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