London Marathon – Week Seven

Mileage for Week Seven
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 6.5 miles with Kevin
Wed – 16 miles + 0.7 miles Instagram 1 Instragram 2
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 0 miles
Sat – 3.1 miles Instagram
Sun – 0 miles
Total – 26.3 miles

A truncated running week. Sarah and I were in Chester this passed weekend to celebrate our first wedding Anniversary.

To accommodate the weekend and not have to do a long run in Chester, I brought it forward to Wednesday.

I took the afternoon off work and got to it. The 0.7 miles is me running through town to the starting point I had chosen.

Not too far away will be the longest of the long training runs and I need to find a route or routes to cover the distance, which will be at least 20 miles, maybe more as I want to push myself and if I can get the 26.2 covered before the big day on a hilly route, at least I’ll know what to expect and have the nice knowledge that London is almost flat.

Anyway back to the run. I put together three routes I have run before several times. Ideally on the long run day, I want to have our car parked somewhere that I can run passed without going out of my way. That way I can get extra water and sustenance should it be required. Thankfully in town there is a carpark that is in a great location, and I can run passed it at the end of the routes.

So I have combined the allotments loop that is just over a mile long. The Cradoc loop which is roughly 5 miles and the Groesffordd/Maggie’s Lane/Struet loop which comes in close to 6.7 miles.

Today I completed two allotment loops and a loop each of the other two. This got me to just over 14 miles. I wanted to get over 15 miles as that was my long standing distance record which I achieved in February 2014.

The run started off feeling really good and I was on target pace or thereabouts for the first 4 miles. Then the climb up to Cradoc began and I don’t know why this happens but I usually get quicker here. It’s not an easy hill to run up but I get myself into a rhythm and the pace comes with it. Once at the top I had a little breather before the nice run down the hill which is around a mile or so before the road becomes undulating again.

Of course at this point I’m only on the first loop and I have a longer one to come. The pace is feeling good and although I’m telling myself that I’m likely to pay for this soon, I keep the pace going and going and going.

At 11 miles I hit the wall, which coincided with a hill! I managed to keep pushing and actually increased the pace. As I hit 13.1 miles and a PB time for the distance, I felt great, it helped that the last few hundred metres were downhill, however once on the flat my legs went and at 14 miles I could have quite easily stopped but I didn’t.

I added a bit onto the route at the end to make sure I got to 16 miles, I went back around the allotment loop as far as home and then passed our usual stopping point to reach the magical 16.

It was at this point that I knew I couldn’t keep that pace going for another 10 miles. However I was elated that I had been able to run so far at that pace.

There are many more runs and miles to do but I believe that if I run the first half of the marathon at my 9 minute mile pace, then the second can be faster and at this pace, which will hopefully bring me home under 4 hours.

Split Times

1 – 9:34
2 – 9:12
3 – 9:20
4 – 9:13
5 – 8:45
6 – 8:11
7 – 7:51
8 – 8:59
9 – 8:13
10 – 8:28
11 – 8:30
12 – 8:26
13 – 8:00
14 – 7:57
15 – 8:32
16 – 9:15

As we were going to Chester, Sarah mentioned going to parkrun. I was up for it, its nice to run in other places. It was a chilly morning on Saturday. We walked from our hotel to the Countess of Chester Country Park which is the location for the most challenging parkrun we have done so far.

It has tight turns, a couple of short sharp inclines and a two loop section which includes running over grass for about half a loop. We very rarely run on grass, so that was new to both of us as adults! It was fun though.

I’d said to Sarah as we waited that I might try and go a bit faster than normal but wasn’t sure how I would do. So as the start of the run got closer we split up and I went to join the speedy runners at the front. I kept with them for a bit, looking at my watch it told me I was running at 6:30 min per mile pace, which is too fast for me but I tried to hold on! They left me behind and I settled into my good pace of 7:00 min per mile.

Amazingly I held onto this pace, despite not challenging myself like this for some time. The two loops, including the grass, were really fun. The grass field was undulating and leg sapping but I managed to go quicker over the second loop.

Then it was the final push to the finish, I was running alongside one chap but he put a spurt on and left me, I then caught up with a younger chap and expected him to do the same but I went passed him with ease (I was surprised!) and even managed a sprint finish.

My final time was 22:17. Which is 7 seconds off my Personal Best at Bryn Bach. I was 3rd in my age category too!

The splits from my watch were:

1 – 7:02
2 – 7:19
3 – 6:57
0.1 – 6:16

It was really nice having time off running this week. Running the long run on Wednesday meant that my legs were given more time off than usual. Excluding the 22 minutes at parkrun, I’ve had five days off as I type this on Tuesday morning. However Week 8 could be a heavy mileage week as I try and push Kevin to more miles in prep for the Merthyr Half.