May review

I thought it was about time I wrote a new post to catch up with what’s been happening since I crossed the finishing line at London some six weeks ago now. Besides I have time on my hands at the moment as I haven’t run for a week having been hit with a chest infection and a bad cough that has left me feeling tired and run down. Thankfully the worst of it seems to be behind me now and hopefully I can get back to some running this week at some point. At least it explains why I felt so lousy at the back end of last week’s Medway 10k when I just seemed to totally run out of energy after the halfway point. 

Harriers at the Medway 10k

May had actually started with a 10k as well. I was in Bristol for the weekend and when I found out the Great Bristol 10k was on the Sunday I decided to give it a go. I’d done nothing in the week after London other than a very gentle 2 miles on the Friday evening so was I lined up on a warm sunny morning I kind of didn’t really have any race plan, but I found myself standing near a 45 minute pacer so I spontaneously decided to try and hang onto him! I had no idea how long I could keep up but I knew it was a fairly flat course so it would at least be a steady pace. 

The course itself heads out along the River Avon under the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge before doubling back and finishing with a loop around the harbour and back to the finish near the city centre. I didn’t go with the pace group but just tried to hang back around 100m or so behind and for the first 7k it wasn’t too bad, but then we hit a very gentle incline (the sort I wouldn’t normally even notice) and my legs reminded me that I’d run a a marathon the previous week! I recovered slightly around the 8k-9k stretch but then another gentle slope found me out again and I knew that I wasn’t going to go sub-45. In the end I finished with a 45:07 which I was more than happy with, so no complaints especially as it was only 30 seconds or so slower than my time from this time last year when I was fresher and had trained more specifically for the distance.

The rest of May was initially about recovering and then starting to ease myself back into it with some hillier Sunday morning runs as I have the very hilly North Downs 30k coming up at the end of this month. I’ve also changed up my gym routine to incorporate some more general strength works involving weights and kettle bells. It was all going well until I got ill! I did wonder if I’d not recovered enough and that had led to me being ill, and whilst I felt fine I can’t be sure if that was the case or not. It’s been very busy at work which has left me tired and there have been people in the office with sickness bugs as well, so they might have been factors as well. 

Still working my way towards Parkrun #100!

 The other thing I’ve done is sort out my race plans for the remainder of the year. I’d already entered the Beachy Head Marathon at the end of October (more hills!) but I liked the idea of another marathon. I initially thought about Bournemouth again or maybe Chester which is one I’ve always liked the idea of, but the more I thought about the more I liked the idea of something different, and when I saw the New Forest Marathon mentioned online I was immediately interested and had soon entered it. It’s a trail marathon and given how much I love running off-road it seems like a natural progression to get off the roads and onto the trails.

The steep hill in the new Maidstone half-marathon route

It also ties in with my slightly longer-term aim of running an ultra-marathon next year as well, and with that in mind I’ve even bought myself a hydration vest. It’s from Decathlon, partly because it did seem to have good reviews and also because I had a £20 gift voucher from there to spend! It’ll give me the chance to practice with it and get used to it. I run with a backpack for my run commutes so I’n hoping it won’t feel too different, although of course it will be much longer distances involved eventually.

I haven’t decided which ultra to run yet, although I’m looking at something next spring over 50k to begin with. A couple have caught my eye, but I’ll keep my options open and make a final decision in the autumn so I can start training for it in good time. 

That’s all for now, hopefully when I post a new blog I’ll be running again and not feeling so rubbish! Good luck to everyone with your training and racing this month.