With just two months until the London marathon, this week’s big marathon challenge training was all about focusing on running a bit faster.
The Bramley 20 mile race last weekend made me realise I’m now ready to start picking up the pace, so each of the training runs set for the week by my trainer Ben gave me the opportunity to see how I felt when I pushed up my speed.
Training started on Tuesday with an easy run, but I gradually increased to a steady pace because there was no tiredness overhang from Sunday’s race. I was actually surprised how smoothly I slipped into a very comfortable pace, too.
Gradually, I increased the pace every three miles or so with the final three miles averaging a pace of 7:30min/mil. By the time I had completed the 10 miles, I realised I had just finished a progression run without really knowing.
The following day I was due to do complete a quick swim, but decided to do a recovery run of six miles as I was away from home. I could quite easily have slept in, but the opportunity to run along the London Embankment in the early hours was too tempting.
Once again, I finished the session feeling really good and very spritely for the busy day ahead. My travel arrangements back from London meant that my training for the Thursday would have to take place in the early evening.
The training involved running at threshold for six minutes, followed by five minutes, then four and so on – down to one minute but with a 60 second recovery in between each stint. This came to 26 minutes of activity in total.
However, after one session the task was to repeat again which meant a total time of running at threshold for 42 minutes. I was apprehensive as to what threshold pace I could maintain and whether I could keep this constant throughout the whole session!
Much to my delight, I was able to maintain a steady pace of about 6:46min/mil for each of the individual stints. And yes, my legs did feel fairly ‘heavy’ at certain stages but by concentrating hard on my running technique my pace remained consistent.
I enjoyed my first break from running in four days on the Friday, and I went for a really nice swim of about 45 minutes. It seemed to take away some of the achiness from my legs, and this meant I was ready to brave the Saturday morning run in storm Doris.
This was a kind of interval session that involved running one, two and then three minutes at 90% effort. In other words, close to a 5K pace with each stint to be followed by a 60-second recovery jog. This really was tough.
The final run of the week was then the long easy session on Sunday morning. I decided to build in seven intervals of one mile at near marathon pace of 7min/mil, while doing the rest of the running at around 9min/mil pace.
I really surprised myself by hitting a pace of 6:48min/mil for each of the seven repeats from the first interval at mile 6 and the final one at mile 18. Once gain, as with the threshold running on Thursday, my legs were feeling really heavy at some stages but somehow I managed to keep the pace steady!
I completed the 22 miles in exactly three hours, with the second half of the run being two minutes faster than the first half. This early Sunday morning run in pouring rain and blustery conditions was a great way to finish off the week’s training.
The test now will be whether this all helps with the races in the next couple of weeks, starting off with the Edinburgh Meadows half marathon next Sunday.
But before that I have some meeting commitments in Dubai, which will mean some very different warm whether training in the Middle East. Bring it on!