A Royal Weekend

Last week didn’t get off to the best of starts. Following the Thanet 20m I took the Monday as a rest day as my legs were still feeling it, but by Tuesday they were definitely recovering, so I took myself off for a very easy 30 minute recovery run, which went fine. However by 9pm that evening I felt absolutely drained and was struggling to stay awake, and the following morning I still felt very tired and generally under the weather. As we had a weekend away in Windsor coming up I had always pencilled this week in for lower mileage, so I didn’t feel too bad about resting up and taking it easy, which did the trick as by the Friday I felt fine again, so whatever it was I had didn’t develop into anything too serious.

Windsor Castle – not the best weather for a nice view.

Naturally the first thing I did after booking the hotel was to check on the location of the nearest Parkrun, and I was pleased to discover one just under 3 miles away, perfect to run there and back distance. I was staying in central Windsor and the run was in the outskirts of Slough, so I sent off at just gone 8am to give myself some time in case I got lost. As it turned out I did go off route a couple of times, as the route ran through the grounds of Eton College, and it wasn’t clear if they were public rights of way or not. It turned out they were, and thanks to the wonders of GPS and Google Maps I found myself at the venue by 8:45am.

This was my first experience of Parkrun tourism, having only previously run in my two local ones. This one was based in Upton Court Park, alongside the M4 motorway a mile or so south east of Slough town centre. The route itself was one lap of just under 3k and one of just over 2k, mainly on grass with a couple of sections on footpaths. The first 300 metres or so were gently uphill, and underfoot conditions were fine, just a few isolated patches that were a little softer, and I would imagine when dry it’s quite fast course. Not that speed was on my agenda anyway, having enjoyed a few ‘refreshments’ in Windsor the evening before I was happy enough to have a nice steady run to bring me home just inside 24 minutes. If you’re in the area it’s worth a visit, it’s a well organised event, and as ever the volunteers were excellent, plus you get a great view of Windsor Castle on the route, although not so great this weekend due to the grey murky weather. (Find them on Twitter @uptoncrtparkrun)

There’s a statue in the distance – honest.

At least it was dry on Saturday. The following morning I awoke to the promised rain, which was still falling steadily as I set out for another run. The plan this time was to run to Windsor Great Park, up and down the Long Walk then back down to the Thames for a couple more miles. For those of you unfamiliar with the park the Long Walk is a gently undulating 2 mile long dead straight path that runs from the gates of Windsor Castle to an impressive statue of King George III on a horse at the far end, not that it was visible through the rain and mist as I entered the park!

And there it is!

 

Despite the conditions there were still quite a few runners and walkers out, and eventually the statue did come into view, although it still seemed to take a long time to reach it. Running dead straight was good practice for a section of the Brighton Marathon I struggled with in 2015. Just after half way you come away from the sea front in Hove and run for a couple of miles down a straight road before turning around and running back exactly the same way. I was starting to struggle by this point in the marathon, and running up and down a seemingly never ending road was really tough, so Sunday morning seemed like good preparation to get myself mentally ready for that challenge which is now less than four weeks away.

Of course Monday morning dawned warm, bright and sunny, and I immediately wished I’d brought a third set of kit with me as I could have enjoyed another run, but it was still a fun weekend, not the best in terms of diet, but there’s no point in going away and not enjoying yourself, and having weighed myself this morning I’d only put on a pound, so the running and the walking around the sights clearly helped.

This week it’s back to some proper training, with the plan being a 22 miler on Sunday morning, which will probably be my last long run before I begin my taper. I’m still considering a 2 week taper, but I’ll see how I feel after Sunday before making that decision. I’m kind of experimenting a bit with the training for this one, particularly around using gels or not (I’ll see how far I can get without them on Sunday) and I’ve not set myself any goals other than wanting to run all the way around, having had to walk/run from 21 miles in 2015. That would probably bring me in around 4hrs 15 – 4hrs 30, which would be just fine by me.

Hope everyone has a great week, catch up soon!