This week’s running – 12th to 18th of September 2016


Fingers crossed I can get this marathon taper right…

Week 19 of the 22 week schedule, featuring the final long run.

5x 1k at 10k-ish pace

A little part of me died when I saw the weather forecast for the week and the return of warm and humid conditions. I’ve put up with my end of the bargain of slogging through the summer training – weather, it’s now time to deliver on your promise of a sharp entry to Autumnal conditions and temperatures!

The sudden ramp up in warmth brought in some crazy rain to accompany me on my run from the office, with 5x 1k at 10k pace incorporated. I got reasonably close to 10k pace, though canal towpath closures meant a flat and stable surface to run on wasn’t available for a couple of the reps, requiring I detoured on to pavement instead.

During my warm-down jog for home, a chap came sprinting out of Kings Heath Park to run alongside me. “You’re Andy Wu, aren’t you? I see you go dashing past at Parkrun most weeks.” After correcting him on my name, we got chatting about Parkrun and his recent Gloucester Marathon, which he took on with only a few hours’ notice due to a friend dropping out. Fame/infamy at last!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 miles recovery

Wow. The warmth and humidity on Wednesday was a shock to the system! After a few weeks of gradually reducing temperatures, it was like being hit by a steam train, even at an easy pace.

Running from New Street Station, I found myself tailing a woman running in those Vibram 5 Fingers – are those still a thing? I’ve occasionally seen blokes wearing them over the years, but never before had I seen a member of the fairer sex sporting the unusual looking footwear.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

10 miles from work

A return to the medium-long mid-week run in the heat… Whilst I had 12 miles down on the schedule, I chopped the distance down to 10, with a view to recovering in time for Sunday’s 22 miles as the priority.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

The plan was to cover Parkrun in a calm and chilled manner to leave me in decent shape for Sunday’s long run. An arbitrary goal of sneaking under 20 minutes was thrown into the mix to prevent the morning from becoming aimless.

From the line, I found myself running with blog-reader Steve (hello!), though we both missed the sub-20 target by just a few seconds due to taking things a little too easy in the opening splits…

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

22 miles – to Edgbaston Reservoir and back

A note to self: dim sum for lunch and pizza for dinner the day before a long run do not make for good nutrition! Nor does over-doing it on caffeine…

I plotted a route that would take me from Kings Heath to Smethwick, mostly via the canal network, with a lap of Edgbaston Reservoir on the return. Not so ideal were the towpath closures around the university, which required that I hit the streets along with a few climbs and descents that would have otherwise been absent. Stepping outside, I was relieved to finally be able to cover a long run in cool and breezy conditions – I even wore a t-shirt to celebrate the occasion!

The first half of the route, as one would expect, felt perfectly reasonable in the mild conditions. Running the route in reverse helped to introduce some mental stimulation and stop me drifting off. My detour through Birmingham University also coincided with all the freshers being dropped off by their parents suffering from separation anxiety.

From about mile 10 onwards, I began to feel peckish and promised myself that I’d tuck into my one and only gel at 13 miles, which coincided with my visit to Edgbaston Reservoir. It’d been at least 6 months since I was last at my former stomping ground; bathed in autumnal sunshine, the place looked glorious for a sudden rush of nostalgia.

Venturing through Brindley Place once more on the return, the effort of the run began to ratchet upwards. I could have done with another gel or two, and I’d had a bit too much of the caffeinated grapefruit flavoured electrolyte drink I was carrying – I was tired, yet wired and fully aware of how dreadful I was feeling!

Leaving the canal at Bournville Station, I was so tempted to jack it all in with less than 3 miles remaining. Iain and Elsa only live around the corner and it took an incredible amount of willpower to stop myself from calling it quits. Soldiering on did mean I had the climb on Cartland Road to contend with after 20 miles…

Once finished, I was pretty exhausted, but thoroughly pleased that I kept at it. Recovery was simple and had me feeling pretty damn good the following day with no aches or soreness – I felt considerably worse after my botched Kenilworth Half Marathon from several weeks ago!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

The road to the Yorkshire Marathon

Looking back, my longest continuous runs this schedule have been the following:

  • 22 miles
  • 22 miles
  • 20 miles
  • 19 miles
  • 17 miles

My goal was to have all five runs total 100 miles, so mission accomplished.

The tapering has begun with a gradual reduction in mileage over the next 3 weeks, though some semblance of intensity will remain. I’m also watching everybody like a hawk for any signs of coughing or snivelling, along with liberally dousing my hands in antibacterial gel. Welcome to maranoia!


2 thoughts on “This week’s running – 12th to 18th of September 2016

  1. Well done on your last long run! I don’t envy your maranoia, especially during autumn flu season. I never fail to get a cold around now, I think I’ll have to make my marathon a spring one if I ever do one!!

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