March was an odd month as recounted here. I should have been ramping up the mileage but was enjoying some newly discovered speed and managed to follow my February HM PB with a marathon PB and briefly get a GFA for London. It seemed worth sacrificing a bit of endurance training to net that GFA. Then London went and moved the goalposts which resulted in my grumbling on this topic, and my most views of the site ever. Seems people like to listen to me whine. I must tell the wife.
Come April and I need to take the forthcoming Thames Path 100 mile race seriously. Unfortunately I was on holiday in Florida so for the first week of it I barely broke 6 miles in the heat and humidity. My longest run was “Earth Day 12k” race on my final morning in the States. A flat 12k loop of the local lake. I surprised myself by coming 4th, winning my age category and an average pace of 6:49min/mile. Good for ego coming straight after a parkrun PB in Florida as well, but bad for the ultra training.
Getting back left me with 4 weeks before TP100 and only 40 miles for the first week of April. Time for intense training.
T-4 weeks – 79 miles – Despite goal of big miles I couldn’t resist trying the 6:40 session with Redway and managed 6:45 average for 4 miles. After that it was run at every opportunity and keep the legs tired so they could get used to operating when achey. Managed a parkrun with the dog who went from ‘so keen to run she broke the harness’ to ‘let’s sniff every bloody tree’ and finished Sunday with a nice round 20 miler for the week.
T-3 weeks – 90 Miles – Probably my highest mileage training week ever, finished with a final long run of 22.6 miles in the heat of the early Sunday morning in Milton Keynes. This was London Marathon day and for once I was glad to be pootling around the local paths rather than racing for a time in the heat of London. Turns out it was the hottest London Marathon ever and even hardened clubmates saw their finish times anything up to 30 minutes adrift of their goal. It wasn’t just the heat, but that most UK runners had been training in sub-zero weather with countless 20 mile and HM snowed off to interrupt training further. The less seasoned runners were pitifully underprepared and twitter seemed to be awash with people laying their kit out the night before, resplendent with jackets, hats and gloves.
For me the week was about getting miles in where able. 9pm, 10pm solo runs to tire legs before longer efforts the next day and make up for lack of opportunity for longer runs. Mostly 11-14 miles with the final 22.6 to round up. Legs felt fine except when I tried to get some pace on at the MK parkrun midway through an 11 miler and they politely told me to do one and I jogged it around.
T-2 weeks – 50 miles – Start of a taper of sorts. Booked onto the Big Bear Events 6hr trail run at Salcey Forest on Tuesday. A newly set up race organiser they made a very slick job of the whole operation. I figured a solid 6hr run would be a good final shakedown of kit and food. Plan was to take as much of the 6hrs as able and run it as planned for the 100 miler, so hit marathon a little over 4hrs and then see how much further I could run, all whilst taking time to eat and drink from the aid stations. The reality was I set off too fast and lead the first lap, before reigning myself in. Headphones went flat after a couple of hours so I started to get bored. Then watch warned of low battery despite charging all night. Add in the knackered legs from a big week and these seemed like signs to call it a day earlier than planned. The course was coming up a little long so had to push on the final two laps to finish the marathon (at 27.7miles) in 3h55m. Going home with beer and medal I resolved to run the Bow Brickhill session on Wednesday morning on ‘marathon fresh’ legs to make up for the lack of miles. It wasn’t pretty. Rest of the week I kept it fairly light as start of taper and Sunday was spent undergoing my Leader in Running Fitness course so I can go shout at runners at the club and they have to do what I say!
T-1 week – Proper taper week. About 10 miles.
Three run of just over 30mins, two slow, one was a slight effort at the 6:40 session. I even for the first time since I started in two years, skipped the Bow Brickhill session.
It’s now Saturday and I’m on the train into London. In a little over 3hrs I shall be on the start line of Thames Path 100 on what is expected to be one of the hottest days of the year.