London Marathon Training – Week 13

Mileage for Week Thirteen
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 8.2 miles
Wed – 6.5 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 7 milesInstagram
Sat – 0 miles
Sun – 20.1 miles Instagram
Total – 41.8 miles

A better week!

The five days self imposed rest last week certainly helped. It’s clear from watching the live casts Martin Yelling has been doing on the London Maraton Facebook page, that lots of runners are worried and anxious about taking time off during this training process.

I too was a little unsure but knew that I was far enough out that I wouldn’t affect my training too much. I would normally have run three times across those five days and whilst I did miss it a bit, I was happy within myself that it was for the greater good.

The cold I was suffering from was in the last stages this weekend, if I had run whilst run-down it may have still been in full flow.

Additionally, the rest period would have helped my dodgy right calf. The calf seems better than it was but still not 100%. I certainly need to warm up before running, I’m one of those runners who considers the walk from the car to the start a warm up!

Onto this week and 41.8 miles, an increase of 28 miles over last week.

Starting the week with 8 miles was a boost, having had no calf issues at the Merthyr Half the Sunday before, I was hopeful that my calf would now be ‘fixed’.

I was trying, as I have been throughout the plan, to keep to my Marathon pace of 9:00 min /miles. Strava tells me I averaged 8:58 over the run and I was certainly up and down. My legs were heavy from Sunday and took a couple of miles to get going. I took myself out and around Llanfrynach and back into town. A good route which I’ll run again another time.

Wednesday was a run with Sarah and a solo 1.5 miles at the end. Running with Sarah is fab and has probably kept me from injuring myself over this process!

On Friday I was hoping for 6 miles and ended up with 7. The right calf, which gave me no issues on Tuesday and Wednesday became tight within a mile! it took another 3 for it to feel normal again. I slowed myself down when I needed it and speeded up when I could. I even ran up Cerrigcochion Road, a local hill that is a good test of the legs and lungs! I normally avoid it but decided to take a run at it.

Sunday arrived and my last long long run, I’ve seen this weekend described as Super Long Run Sunday on Instagram, I’ll stick with Long Long!

In the passed few weeks I said I was going to only go for a 16 mile run, having run 20 miles twice so far. Me being me, I decided to change that idea to 20 miles and a 10 out 10 back run on most of the same route I used previously.

It was a lovely sunny day, so the sunglasses and sunscreen came out! Sarah was going to a 10k in Cardiff Bay with Laurie, so I started my run just after 8am as they left. I’m usually about to come back off my long runs at that time. The day being warm was good, the sun was out and there were no clouds, as we’ve only been running in the dark, cold and wet it was a good test.

Prior to going out I had peddled a bit on our exercise bike, I was concerned that my calf would be an issue. Once running I started gently in order to warm up. The first 4 miles were over my target pace of 9:00 min /mile. It would be a further 9 miles before I went back over that pace. If I’m honest I went too quick in places, my legs were feeling good, the calf was good, it was a lovely day and I was just running.

Miles 15 to 17, which I can’t remember, were my best miles if I was looking at pacing. They were pretty much bang on where I want to be.

Between miles 7 and 13 I went too fast and I felt it in my knees. Once I got to 13 I slowed myself down for the next 5 miles and only speeded up for the last 2 miles as I wanted a pee and my ‘phone had alerted me that Sarah had just started her run in Cardiff.

The splits were:

1 – 9:42
2 – 9:20
3 – 9:31
4 – 9:10
5 – 8:49
6 – 8:51
7 – 8:37
8 – 8:29
9 – 8:18
10 – 8:17
11 – 8:24
12 – 8:51
13 – 8:32
14 – 9:26
15 – 9:00
16 – 9:01
17 – 9:06
18 – 9:36
19 – 8:34
20 – 8:52

Long run done and now the taper begins. Next Sunday I’m looking to run 10 miles, with 6 being the max the following week.

The hard work is done, now I must keep up the frequency of runs but keep the pace down. Giving my legs time to rest and recover is my goal between now and 10am on Sunday 23rd April.

London Marathon Training – Week Nine

Mileage for Week Nine
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 5.4 miles
Wed – 4.1 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 0 miles
Sat – 22 miles Instagram
Sun – 0 miles
Total – 31.5 miles

My second three run week in the past three weeks. The first was because we were going away to Chester, this was due to tiredness and my body telling me it needed a break.

I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Which gave me two days rest before the longest run of this process so far.

The weather on Tuesday was a mixed bag. I had the gusty wind behind me for three miles but turning around for the run home of two miles was into the wind. On top of that the gusts got harder and it rained! It wasn’t all bad though as I kept roughly to pace.

It went a bit wrong on Wednesday. The planned run was six miles but I had to cut the run short and managed four. My left knee was aching after about three miles and I didn’t see any point in pushing the run further than I needed too. Not with a long run to come on the weekend.

At this point in the week I was still due to run three miles on Friday but was edging towards skipping it to rest me knee, which I did.

Those two days rest helped and once again I moved my long run from Sunday to Saturday, this has been very helpful in giving me more time to rest and recuperate.

I got up at 3am to have food and as I had the time, watched the first episode of SS-GB; pretty good but I’m not entirely taken with it. I was out running at 5 am. It was dark of course and stayed that way until just after 6am.

I had planned to run from Glangrwyney to Brecon but shelved that idea for another day. Instead I ran an out and back route along the back roads to Llangynidr. Previously I have run from Talybont-on-Usk to Brecon so that bit was familiar but once I was passed there I was mostly on unfamiliar roads.

The last time I had been on that road beyond Talybont was when I used to get the bus to Brecon college, so that’s over 20 years ago.

That unfamiliarity is fun as running where you don’t know what is coming keeps you on your toes. If you constantly run in familiar surroundings it’s easy to get complacent. When you go to races it is usually an unfamiliar place.

As I left Talybont and looked forward to the next four miles to my turn around point, I hit a hill! Which was quickly followed by another! To say the route was undulating is an understatement, no longer had I gone down an incline than another one to run up seemed to appear. It was fun.

I got to Llangynidr and the 11 mile halfway point in 1:42 or so. I had stopped to take a quick Snapchat photo in Talybont and swapped my water bottles in Llangynidr. I tried to take a second Snapchat but only managed to get the picture, that’s all my phone would let me do, my cold fingers wouldn’t operate the screen!

I set off again and got back into my stride, I looked at my watch as I went through 13.1 miles and I was just over 2 hours, a decent time considering the two stops and the undulating route.

The final five miles were the hardest, I can’t say it hit ‘the wall’ but I certainly had an energy dip and felt like I was just shuffling along. My watch told another story as you can see in the splits.

My aim on the day is to run the first half at my goal pace to bring me in around 2 hours at 13 miles, then once we’ve turned right over Tower Bridge start to pick up the pace and keep that pace picking up once I’m back on the Embankment.

The splits told that story and I’m happy overall with my time and pacing, even with the energy issues towards the end. As I’ve said before London will be a lot flatter than the Brecon Beacons.

Splits:

1 – 9:37
2 – 9:17
3 – 9:33
4 – 9:05
5 – 8:49
6 – 9:17
7 – 9:19
8 – 9:08
9 – 9:05
10 – 8:33
11 – 8:48
12 – 8:42
13 – 8:33
14 – 8:33
15 – 8:30
16 – 8:37
17 – 8:43
18 – 9:11
19 – 8:34
20 – 8:29
21 – 8:54
22 – 9:01

As you can see from mile 10 I was certainly able to manage a faster pace even with the undulating route. This bodes well for the big day. The average pace for the run was 8:55 per mile, which would bring me in around 3:54 on the day.

The aching knee that curtailed my run on Wednesday didn’t resurface until once I had finished running and then it gave me lots of trouble over the weekend. I’ve rested it and iced it and it seems okay so far. I’m running again on Tuesday so that will be the test.

I’ve been advised by much more experienced marathoners to not increase the distance I’m running. I had planned to run two more 20+ milers but have shelved those. I read on a website this weekend when researching if I should run the full distance before the day, that for amateur runners, running over 3 hours or 20 miles poses more problems that positives.

Apparently the body starts to break down at a faster rate at these points. How accurate that is I have no idea but I realise that I can run 22 miles, not with ease that’s way to blasé but I can run it and I will be able to run 26.2 miles on the 23rd April. To that end I am not going to test myself further at 20+ miles. Yes it’s a long way to the big day but I want to be in a position to run free of niggles.

My long runs for the next seven weeks look like this:

12/03/2017 Sun Silverstone half 13.1
19/03/2017 Sun Brecon 10 route plus Llanfaes loops 13.1
26/03/2017 Sun Merthry Half 13.1
02/04/2017 Sun Llanfaes loops x 2 & Llanfrynach 5 mile route 13.1
09/04/2017 Sun Llanfrynach 5 mile route 10
16/04/2017 Sun Lock and back 6
23/04/2017 Sun Marathon 26.2

As I won’t be running 20+ miles I want to keep the legs moving and tested somewhat, so I have decided to push out a few other runs at the half distance. This should hopefully keep my body aware that it still has to run!I have two organised half marathons Silverstone and Merthyr, the former will be a PB (1:55:51) attempt and the latter will be run with my Brother-in-law for his first ever half.

No pictures please!

The lack of pictures on my newest posts isn’t a new minimalist decision for artistic reasons.

If you read back you will see that I like pictures and put many on my posts.

That however was when I had much more disposable income! The years of ‘Premium’ WordPress that I purchased have lapsed, and I’m back on the free plan, which means no upload space for new photos.

I can’t justify the approximate £80 it will cost which will allow me to upload more photos for one year only.

However there is a way around this. The link below will take you dear reader, to my Instagram account, where you will find a heady mixture of running photos, films we’re watching (DVD Lucky Dip is fun!), books I’m reading and so on.

Click this to see my Instagram’s
As I post here about running or anything else that piques my interest, and that I have a photo for, I shall include a link in that particular post.

What’s been happening?

Prior to reviving my blog, the last post was in early 2015. Since then I’ve drafted many posts but never got around to putting them online.

So what’s happened since then?

The big news is that I proposed to Sarah in June 2015 on the Summer Solstice and we were married in late February 2016.

I’ve read a lot of books, roughly about 90 to 100.

I ran two Half Marathons, getting a PB at the Severn Bridge Half (01:56:50) which stood until this years Cardiff Half where I knocked some time off it to finish in 01:55:51. I also got a 10k PB at just under 48 minutes. I’ll attempt to better that on Sunday at the MoRun.

I could go on but I should have posted it as it happened, so I won’t!

Revival (again)

My blog has had more revivals than many a pop stars career but here I go again.

This time I have a purpose in mind.

Last month I was one of the many thousands of people who were successful in the London Marathon 2017 ballot.

I will start my training in January and will be posting updates in order to track my progress.

Before the year is out, I have three more events:

  • MoRun 10k Cardiff (13 Nov)
  • Santa Run 5k Cardiff (4 Dec)
  • Nos Galan 5k (31 Dec)

I’m aiming for a Personal Best (PB) at MoRun and the other two will just be a gentle plod around the courses.

Aspirations for 2015

Following on from my look back at my aspirations for 2014, I thought I’d post a few for 2015.

Read more – Once again reading is on the list and once again I’ve set myself a target of 20 books.

Enjoy running again – Towards the end of 2014, I lost interest in running and the whole process of training for events. From the Cardiff Half in October to the end of the year I think I only went out a handful of times. In 2015 I would like to run two half marathons, so I will be training from next week but hopefully not to the point where running becomes a chore again.

Catch up with the IMDb Top 250 – The top 250 is one of the most famous, but not necessarily best, lists in film fandom. It is made up of votes from the normal everyday film fan. As the list stands today’s have seen 189 of 250. For years I have meant to try and get the list watched, so I’ll try and achieve that this year and introduce Sarah to a few films along the way.

Listen to more albums – I listen to music nearly everyday, however I rarely listen to albums from end to end these days. Once December comes around and end of year lists start to appear, I try and listen to those named the best of the year. Instead of cramming it all in, in a few weeks, I’ll listen to a few albums each week, broadening my music horizons in the process and maybe even spawning a few blog posts!

Save! – I spend too much money, it’s a simple as that.

Travel – Yes I said I would save but Sarah and I also have plans to do some travelling, if only for weekends away. One place I would like to visit with Sarah this year is Paris, and maybe up north to visit our relatives.

Nothing earth shattering there but a few things to aspire to as we travel along to road that is 2015. I hope my blog comes with me and I’ll try to keep it a bit more up to date this year.

A look back at my aspirations for 2014

This year I have been very lax in updating my blog. Life got in the way and my updating of social media started to wane somewhat.

As the new year approaches, I thought I would look back a year to my aspirations for 2014 and see how I got on.

Aspiration #1 – Get a job – Succeeded
When I wrote my first aspiration I had been unemployed for 18 months and wanted to find something other than office work. However that didn’t pan out straight away and in April I found myself behind a desk working for the NHS in Bronllys. I still wasn’t keen on office work so looked for a new job and at the beginning of December I returned to Dering Lines and the Civil Service, this time as a labourer and a much different role to the one I left. This isn’t a bad thing though, I think I had a smile on my face from the minute I walked back in to the minute I left to go on Christmas leave; I’m happy in the job and I look forward to the new challenges it brings.

Aspiration #2 – Watch fewer films – Succeeded
As I type I have watched 122 films, which is just over 2 a week. Last year I had watched 460, so it’s a dramatic reduction. Being with Sarah has obviously made an impact in my free time, an impact I am thoroughly and magnificently happy to have in my life.

Aspiration #3 – Read more – Not succeeded
I’d hoped to read about 20 books by the year end, I have read just 4. I thought that once I was back in work, I’d be able to read at lunchtimes but that just wasn’t possible. In my new role, there is scope for reading at break times, therefore I’m hoping to reach my target of 20 books in 2015.

Aspiration #4 – Go out more – Succeeded
In our early dating days and weeks, Sarah and I would go out to The Wellington for chips and some alone time as we were both still living with parents. Since we have been living together, our going out is together and usually involves trips and shopping! So I’m going to say I succeeded but hope to go out more socially with our friends in 2015.

Aspiration #5 – Run in an organised Half Marathon – Succeeded
A month prior to putting together last years list, I had run 13 miles and was confident (ish) that I could complete a Half. By the end of 2014 I had completed 3 organised Half Marathons; 1 of those with Sarah. In 2015 I am scheduled to complete 2 more.

Aspiration #6 – Improve my general fitness – Not succeeded
I stopped Spinning early in the year to concentrate on running which was a mistake as my fitness suffered; I’ll be going back in 2015. As for general body fitness which I’d hoped to improve, well I’ve done nothing towards that! Once again I’ll try and improve in 2015.

Aspiration #7 – Volunteer more – Not succeeded
I was undertaking a degree when I had this aspiration but I wasn’t enjoying the learning so ditched it. Therefore I continue to volunteer once a week at the Youth Club as I have done for the past 8 years.

Aspiration #8 – Get a mountain bike – Not succeeded
The purchase of a mountain bike will happen eventually, just not yet!

Aspiration #9 – Try to relax, enjoy life & not over think every situation – Succeeded mostly!
I think I have relaxed more now that Sarah is in my life but I still over think and find negatives in many situations I’m getting better though and will continue to improve I’m sure.

2014 was a very good year for me, one of the best I think, I hope to make 2015 even better!