This week’s running – 19th to 25th of September 2016


You know what they say about people with big feet… Big shoes. Photo by Lis Yu

Week 20 of the 22 week marathon schedule. Less than 2 weeks remain by the time you read this!

4x 800m at 5k pace

So, I made it to the taper phase of my training where the P & D schedule shifts focus to some VO2max workouts to return some speed and higher gear efficiency to the mix.

In total, the evening called for around 8 miles and with the towpath closures still in place, door to door from the office comes up as 10 or so miles, so I elected to commute to my former home of the Jewellery Quarter to begin my run. I do miss the good old JQ, where I had the benefits of city centre living without actually living in the city centre.

Cruising through the university, the place was crawling with new and returning students for a real contrast of how quiet it’d been all summer. Gradually diminishing light levels reminded me to dig out my headtorch to prep and charge up for impending use in the next few weeks.

After an opening uphill rep on pavement, I chopped the total down to just 4x in a bid to keep a little back to accommodate Sunday’s Robin Hood Half Marathon.

An additional minor annoyance was of my own doing. I recently upgraded to the iPhone 7 Plus, which is ginormous and just about fits in my Flipbelt, anchored down with safety pins. Thankfully, it managed to stay mostly out of the way, though its increased size and heft were definitely noticeable compared to my previous iPhone 6.

Splits came out about where I wanted them to be:

  1. 3:19 (uphill)
  2. 3:01
  3. 2:58
  4. 2:58

An added bonus was my Garmin deeming me worthy enough to return to a VO2max level of 60 after weeks of hovering around 57 due to illness.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 miles recovery

It was joyous to be able to run at an easy recovery effort in cool conditions, not feeling like I would have to slow to a walk to keep my heart rate low. I’m sure many others I witnessed in their final weeks of Autumn training agreed!

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 miles with strides

One of the benefits of following a training schedule is I’ve been able to defer responsibility to it, which has meant that some days I don’t know exactly what I will be covering until maybe hours prior. This was just one example, where I had somehow got into my mind that I’d be covering another medium-long run of between 10 and 12 miles, but was pleasantly surprised to see just a short run with some strides thrown in for good measure.

Whilst exiting Cannon Hill Park, I did bump into Dave Burton, though embarrassingly recognised the Aldridge 10k t-shirt he wore before recognising him…

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

Whilst I didn’t plan to race the Robin Hood Half Marathon, I was still conscious of the effort required to still run 10 of its 13.1 miles at marathon pace. I debated that I’d gain little from running at Cannon Hill Parkrun and opted to volunteer as a marshal instead. Whilst I said several weeks or months ago that I wouldn’t go out of my way to rack up the 25 occasions for the volunteer t-shirt, it would appear I’m going to get there much sooner than expected!

Robin Hood Half Marathon

For the full report on how the race that wasn’t a race went, click here.

The road to the Yorkshire Marathon

Yesterday’s Robin Hood Half Marathon did just the trick to give me a much needed confidence boost. After my shaky Kenilworth Half Marathon several weeks ago, I wavered and questioned what pace I should approach the Yorkshire Marathon with; playing it slightly safe would almost guarantee an enjoyable race with a near-certain PB,  but I’d forever look back and  think, “What if…”

Speaking with several peers last week, they all agreed that I was so close to my target on paper that I would only regret it later if I didn’t take the opportunity to see what all this training could produce. If I fail, then it just means I’m not there yet. So, it’s without further ado that I lay out my marathon targets:

  • A goal: sub-3:00
  • B goal: sub-3:05 (current London Good For Age for 18 to 40 year old blokes)
  • C goal: sub-3:10

Well, the A goal had to be this, right? It’s the Holy Grail that many recreational runners strive towards and has been the basis of my marathon paced runs of the last 5 months.

The B goal is realistically where I’m at. I’m almost certain London Marathon will lower the Good For Age criteria to sub-3:00 after 2017’s race, such is the ever improving standard of runners out there. This worries me not, because I’ve no intention or desire to run London again.

The C goal is a catch all should I come a cropper in the quest for the A and B goals.

So, there you have it folks. Less than two weeks to go!


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