This week’s running – 27th of June to 3rd of July 2016


Both my saviour and nemesis!

Week 8 of the 22 week marathon schedule saw me firmly elbow deep in marathon paced specifics.

9 miles with 5 at marathon pace

In an ideal world, there would have been one additional rest day between last Sunday’s 10k race and this run. Moving the day of this run wouldn’t have helped, especially as the weekend required 15 miles with 9 at marathon pace…

To save on time and factoring in the total distance, I opted to cover this run from the office as a commute for home.

I did find myself running into headwind for much of the 9 miles, and such is the disadvantage of point to point routes. Pace-wise, I pretty much nailed the target 6:47 per mile with my splits looking like this:

  1. 6:45
  2. 6:48
  3. 6:48
  4. 6:48
  5. 6:46

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 miles recovery from city centre

The pace was incredibly easy for this recovery run to give my body a wee break. No humidity or chaffing to contend with either!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

10 miles from work

I was feeling incredibly weary by the time I hit this run. I’d not been sleeping all that well and the effects of lingering race and session fatigue were catching up to me. The easy pace was most welcome and gave me a chance to focus on my form, with particular attention spent on keeping my shoulders and arm swing loose, whilst bringing my feet back further with each stride.

Unfortunately, my Fenix 3 decided to lose its way through Brindley Place, resulting in an incorrectly reported fast fourth mile and total distance.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

I felt completely out of sorts by Friday night, so much so that I ended up retiring to bed at 9pm! The following morning felt no better – not bad enough to sack off Parkrun entirely, but not great enough to throw caution to the wind.

Numbers were down with the Birmingham Black Country Half Marathon and the launch of Hanbury Hall Parkrun taking place.

My sights were set on just sneaking under 20 minutes for some time at half marathon pace, but once I was actually out on the course, I couldn’t shift into the higher gears to make it happen. I covered a good portion of the run with Steve Dunsby who was also taking it easy, and joked it was the closest I’d ever get to him during a race or Parkrun.

Approaching the triangle, I dropped back a touch to stay with Paul Harris. I managed to propel him on to a massive one second PB and in less blowy conditions, such a performance would have got him much closer to 20 minutes.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

15 miles with 9 at marathon pace

This was it – the meatiest run so far of the Pfitzinger & Douglas Advanced Marathoning schedule I’ve been following, and my longest string of marathon paced miles, outside of a race, by some 4 miles!

I thanked my lucky stars that I felt like my normal self once more and the off-key feeling was just a momentary blip.

It was pretty warm outside, with only the odd patch of cloud to hide from the sun; were it a dull and cool day, I’d have chanced the run without any water and simply carried an Isogel for some minor halfway liquid refreshment. Instead, I donned my Salomon ultra vest and loaded it up with 2x 300ml bottles of electrolyted water and applied liberal amounts of Bodyglide and Vaseline to prevent any potential chaffage.

I utilised my route to Solihull’s Brueton Park and back as the basis for the 15 miles, with the first and remaining 3 miles posing as a warm-up and warm-down. On previous jaunts at typical long run pace, I’d not noticed how undulating the route is and simply absorbed the rises and dips in my stride. With a pace target on the agenda, every undulation grew much more apparent and at times became quite challenging to hit the 6:47 per mile required. A swirling vortex of headwind also followed me, no matter which direction I faced. The flat canal as a backdrop would have been much more conducive to hitting target pace, though I really didn’t fancy contending with the likely hoards of fair-weather towpath users, given today was the first decent Sunday we’ve had in ages.

Marathon paced splits came out as follows:

  1. 7:10 (eurgh…)
  2. 6:56
  3. 6:47
  4. 6:49
  5. 6:46
  6. 6:41
  7. 6:50
  8. 6:47
  9. 6:45

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

The road to the Yorkshire Marathon

Today’s 15 miles was no walk in the park, but despite being pretty knackered as I type out these words, I’m feeling quietly confident that the training is indeed working and transforming me into a more efficient marathon runner.

In terms of marathon paced running, the schedule I’m following tops out at 18 miles with 14 of those at pace for what will be a pretty eye-watering experience. Those of you good at maths will have correctly calculated that I will be aiming to run a sub-90 minute half marathon within the 18 miles!


4 thoughts on “This week’s running – 27th of June to 3rd of July 2016

  1. Andy

    I may have missed it, but have you talked about how you decided on your target time for the marathon? I’d be really interested to read about it – the target is a massive PB, but clearly in line with your times at shorter distances.

    Well done with the training so far

    • You didn’t miss it, Peter – I’ve not formally posted a target time for my upcoming marathon!

      A number of reasons, but primarily because the marathon is still largely uncharted territory for me and after the disappointment of missing my targets in 2013 and 2014, I want to keep the end-goal fluid and moving in line with my training and life stresses etc. A cop out for sure, but I’m doing what I can to protect my fragile mind!

      I do have a rough A and B target in the back of my head, which you’ve correctly spotted is in-line with my other PBs (all of which are a bit soft for various reasons) and largely derived from via the McMillan Calculator.

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