After pushing myself during the Tour Of MK and a half decent 20 miler I’m starting to think a respectable time at Bournemouth marathon may be possible. Realistically beating my 3h13 PB is a step too far but reckon I could be in shaped for sub 3h20 with some luck. Maybe.
Key to a decent marathon is the long runs. Which I don’t really enjoy. In over 100 marathons I’ve typically ignored these. Why run 20 miles for no reason? Why not run 26.2 and get a medal?
Sensible head says having bagged one 20 I needed some more, but due to awesome planning I’m down for two 10 mile races on the following two weekends.
Week 1 – An uninspiring Redway 6m40s paced session where my recent speed appears to have left me and I’m back to bringing up the rear. Pah. Wednesday through Friday are pretty unimpressive as well and lots of plodding and waddling. Great. I found some speed and used it all for the tour.
Sunday and the plan is a steady 10 mile warmup before the race. I run with Maff who has other ideas and we clock 8:00 pace before he leaves me in a sweaty mess to collect my race bib for the Redway Runners Old Money 10 Mile race. I manage to hold with the leaders for the first few miles at far too quick a pace before being dropped and dragging myself in with heavy legs and a complete lack of energy. Solely due to the overly fast first miles I manage a respectable third place and 7:26 pace but it’s no way to run your best and I’m wiped out for the rest of the day. A bowl of Frosties is not enough to sustain my bulk for 20 miles.
Week 2 – usual assortment of runs, but due to diary clash I miss the Redway 6m40s session and instead lead the Lakeside hill repeats sessions. Go big or go home is my thinking so I turn up early with cones, deliver a pre-run briefing and safety issues just like the Leader In Running Fitness course taught me. Club mates are disconcerted I’m not arriving late and still eating my pizza dinner. Session is a long but gentle hill section so we alternate running up to cone 1, 2, 3 then jogging back down, with running down from the cones and jogging back up. A proper hard session where your dinner threatens to come back up.
Wednesday I manage 10 miles on the 5am session, then follow up with 6 miles in evening as away with work. Decent days running at respectable pace.
Thursday hangover leads to a very short run where I try not to throw up and all steps feel hard work. Does Mo Farah ever train like this?
Friday is a generic 10k dog jog over to Caldecotte to watch the marathon runners do some laps. More steady miles ahead of the big weekend.
Saturday is a key session. Plan is steady 8min/miles for 15 miles, then straight into parkrun. Some enthusiastic pacing by clubmates sees a variety of mile splits ahead of hitting the start line bang on 15 miles but sadly well behind the tail runner. 5k of progressive splits follows as I chase the field down and finish a solid 18 miles at 7:54 pace.
Sunday is the second 10 mile race, this time at Leighton Buzzard. It used to be called the Leighton Tough 10 but since dropped the ‘tough’ (much like me). Learning from the previous week I run the 10 mile warmup at a more sedate 8:50 pace, pick up the bib and then start the race. Quick check of the watch shows my gentle warmup was mostly at 160bpm HR, far above what it should be though.
Target for race is 7:30pace or as close as the undulating course will allow. I concentrate on running hard enough to keep warm in the downpour but slowing my breathing and HR down. What follows is one of those confidence boosting races where you settle into your rhythm, hold back at the start and then gradually turn up the pace and pick off the runners in front. Even on the hills. Yes I seem to have re-discovered how to run up hills. It’s disconcerting at first but eventually I’m relishing every incline as a chance to gain on the runner in front. Finished at overall 7:23 pace for a hilly course. It’s not a huge improvement on the previous 10 mile race but was far more relaxed and in control. Also get a pretty awesome top. The overall pace is 3h13 marathon pace, so looking good for Bournemouth.