Ok, strictly speaking this was still week -1, but it was a long run and opportunity to practice something I have struggled with a bit in previous marathon training, namely running slowly. A core component of most training plans is pacing your longer runs 1-2 minutes slower than your target race pace, so for me that’s going to be something in the 10-11 minutes per miles range. Whilst it sounds easy it does feel unnaturally slow and what has tended to happen is that I lose concentration and speed up without realising it, so I need to be more disciplined this time around.
I deliberately chose a hilly route for this one which involved some decent climbs to get to the top of the North Downs, and a steady climb to finish. I ended up averaging 9:50 per mile, so not bad, but maybe still a touch too fast. Something to work on, and it was a very enjoyable run, a little warm but comfortable enough conditions.
The official start of marathon training…and a rest day! Which is still an important element of the plan of course.
Great track session, 400m reps which is one of my favourites, a chance to push the pace a little harder than I’m used to. I cut down on the recovery times from when I’ve done this one previously, and I still kept a good pace, which was pleasing. I will eventually do some more marathon specific track sessions as we get further along in the schedule.
A lunchtime core session down the gym, followed by a fabulous run by the river in the evening. This would normally be club run night, but the route they picked just didn’t do it for me, running round town on a warm sunny evening seemed wrong so I headed out along the Medway footpath and did an out and back nearly 8 miles route to Teston bridge. It was just perfect conditions, and I enjoyed every second of it, with some wildlife encounters along the way, two herds of cows (both completely disinterested in me, they just carried on munching the grass) and a rabbit that didn’t seem at all phased by my presence!
The legs were a bit tired after track and my river run, so it was just an easy 5k run around Mote Park at lunchtime with some work colleagues.
Another rest day, I moved my planned core session at the gym to tomorrow. Instead I had a day off work after a busy few weeks and just relaxed.
I did my gym session in the afternoon, but with a race tomorrow I decided to volunteer at Maidstone Parkrun in the morning. I was originally down as a marshal, but I ended up being Funnel Manager for the first time. With a big 400+ field it was a little hectic, but with some good teamwork it all went off without any problems, and it was a fun morning as well as we joined in with the NHS at 70 celebrations which required me to wear a sling for some of the time!
A new race for me, the Orpington High Elms 10k. In summary – very scenic, but very hilly! It was almost entirely off road, so a good workout all round. I ended up finishing just inside 51 minutes, somewhat slower than my last 2 races, but then they were a little flatter and on tarmac. I really enjoyed this one though, I don’t mind hills, and the course took in some glorious countryside with some great views, and it’s definitely a race I’d do again.
Total miles for the week – 20. A good solid start to the training. I’ll be looking to start pushing up the mileage over the next couple of weeks.