London Marathon Training – Week 15

Mileage for Week Fifteen
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 3.7 miles
Wed – 0 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 4.2 + 4.6 miles
Sat – 3.1 miles
Sun – 1.9 miles (at the track, mostly walking)
Total – 17.5 miles

The taper week in full flow, for the most part.

I skipped one run, Wednesday, as I got home a little later than expected and my enthusiasm for running quickly vanished.

That aside this was a good week, the mileage dropped easily and the legs are responding to the rest. Yes, the calf issue is still there but it is manageable.

I began the week running at marathon pace over the run. My legs were tiring towards the end and I put that down to sitting all day at work and then running.

Friday was Good Friday and the beginning of a long weekend off from work. I woke around the normal time, had some food and then got myself out of the house. Once again I managed to average my marathon pace of 9:00 min /mile across the run. It seems like I’ve finally got my legs to understand where I want them 🙂

I got back from the run and Sarah was preparing to go for her run, after a brief rest, I put my shoes back on and went out for another run, making 8.8 miles for the day.

Saturday was parkrun day! My 20th parkrun too. I started right at the back, this was intended to be a gentle run. I plodded around the first mile in 9:23 min /mile and was comfortable. I was just running and the next time my watch beeped I had run the second mile in 8:33. I didn’t consciously speed up nor did I feel like I had sped up. The third mile was quicker again! 08:12 min /mile. There was a sprint at the end which I shouldn’t have done but a chap ran passed me on the final corner and I wasn’t having that, so put my foot down and sped passed him for a final time of 27:12

We went into Sunday, expecting not to run that much at all. Sarah and I took her brother and his son aged 8 up to the local running track.

Leo hadn’t been to the track before and certainly hasn’t done much consistent running. We started by running a lap of the 400m track. Leo did really well and managed to run/walk the lap. We played some games and ran around. Leo must have done three laps in total, his best was 2:40 which we all think is brilliant. As I remarked, it was great to see him out of breath and breathing heavily!

We will get him and his Dad up to the track lots more as the weather improves and keep an eye on his times but with no pressure on him at all. I have a hope that we can get him to a junior parkrun in the future.

I’m typing this with six days to go to the marathon and I’m looking forward to getting there now. Three more days in work and we’re off to London 🙂

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.


Running update Christmas and New Year

I’d hoped to increase my running through December in preparation for running four times a week to follow the marathon plan.
Unfortunately a combination of lethargy and illness just prior to the festive season put paid to that.

The plan was to run parkrun’s on Christmas Eve & Christmas Day but I was hit with the Norovirus aka Winter Vomiting Bug on the 22nd so I didn’t manage to run until the 27th; running a 5k with Mrs B.

I followed that up with a 5.4 mile run at my Marathon pace of around 9:30 /mile on the 29th.

A few months ago, I forget exactly when, Mark D suggested to run four 5Ks in 26 hours over New Years Eve and Day.

I put this suggestion to Andrew, my regular race day partner, who agreed. Fast-forwarding briefly to New Years Day in the car between Cardiff & Barry, I asked Andrew why we were doing this and he politely reminded me that it was my idea! I’d completely forgotten. Mostly due to Andrew usually coming up with races for us to run.

Sarah and I had already signed up to run Nos Galan on New Years Eve. The race has been going since 1958 and is a 5K which takes place in Mountain Ash.

So that was one 5K, the other three would be parkruns, which would enable Andrew and I to tick off some other Welsh parkruns. Wisely Sarah decided to run Nos Galan and leave the other three to us.

Our schedule looked like this:

Sat 31st – 9:00am – Pontypridd parkrun

Sat 31st – 7:30pm – Nos Galan

Sun 1st – 9:00am – Cardiff parkrun

Sun 1st – 9:30am – Barry parkrun

I was running Nos Galan with Sarah and decided to stick with Andrew for the parkrun’s, well that was the plan until we got to Pontypridd. Once there, my legs felt good and I decided to have a go and see if I could maintain a decent pace. I finished in 23:36 with an average pace of 7:41 /mile which I was very happy with, considering there is a slight ‘bump’ which is navigated three times during the run.

Nos Galan was an experience like no other. We were lucky with the parking but had we arrived ten minutes later it would have been a challenge. That said the park and ride service provided free of charge was smooth, it just may break under the strain of its own popularity soon.

What I found difficult was the waiting around once in the town. We knew we would have to get there early because of the parking but then knew that would mean at least 90 minutes waiting in the cold before our race would begin, thankfully it was not raining! 

Sarah ran one of her best 5K times and we both enjoyed the run. We wouldn’t rush back but I may be persuaded to run in 2018 and the 60th Anniversary.

Two down, two to go! But that meant getting up rather early in order to get down to Cardiff for the 9am start.

Andrew and I have both run at Bute Park before but not from where we started this run. A total of 493 runners lined up to take on the damp course and we plodded around with slightly tired legs in respectable times: 28:09 for me and 28:15 for Andrew.

Then it was off to Barry for a later than normal start at 10:30am. This is a parkrun New Years Day only tradition of doubling up.

A course record 303 runners, including many like us who had run at Cardiff, ran the route. It was a bit wetter than at Cardiff and a lot colder too! The hilly route is technically the hardest parkrun I’ve done but due to the setting right on the coast, was my favourite so far. I’ll definitely go back but I’ll wait until it’s a bit warmer!

On even more tired legs we went around in similar times to Cardiff: 28:16 for me and 28:23 for Andrew.

After a tour of Barry trying to get back to the M4 we were done! Even though it’s only 3.1 miles x 4 over 26 hours it was tiring. I think it was the driving distances involved, as living in Brecon means you need to drive at least 30 minutes to get to events, Cardiff was nearly an hour.

The New Year is off to a good start, one day in and I’d already run 6.2 miles / 10K!