Marathon Training – Week 9

After hitting half way last week, it’s now into the home straight. However, I know from the past, this can start to be the hardest section. The energy levels start to drop and there is still a long way to go. After a slightly disappointing training week, it was time to really knuckle down this week.

The first run of the week was some hill repeats on Tuesday. Having only run once in five days, and that hadn’t gone great, I was a little apprehensive. Had I pushed my body too far? I headed to the nearby “hill” that I had last used for training in week 6. Storm Ciara may have passed but the winds were still something else. They were blowing down the slope which somewhat made up for the lack of gradient. This time I needed to do 10 reps and despite the extra work and the conditions, each and every one saw me complete a extra 20m or so vs last time in the 2min rep which was a great boost. It is funny though things you see when you run. The same guy I referenced in week 6 was there at the bus stop again and it got me thinking as I went past the 3rd or 4th time. Is the bus always late on the days I run? Or is he just over cautious and doesn’t mind standing in the cold?

Wednesday saw a nice gentle 8 miles around town and after a strength and conditioning session on Thursday, Friday was a slightly faster 9 miles. These two runs at around 75mins are at the limit I can manage before the day starts. However, I cant get over that I can manage them at this stage of my training. The other great thing of Friday was seeing one of the most gorgeous sunrises at the end of the run.

For the weekend we were going to be back up in Yorkshire. I’d originally thought I’d try and do some parkrun tourism on Saturday before a LSR on Sunday. But, with Storm Dennis bearing down, I made the call to get my 18 miles out on Saturday morning before he hit too hard.

The run started out well with no wind and only a very fine drizzle in the air. It was strange in many ways heading out, knowing the weather would only get worse and just praying it would hold off. The rain stayed away for all of 4km! Before I knew it I was soaked through, at least skin is waterproof! The wind was still holding off though and the rain did follow suit.

The distance was ticking away and at 10km in, I tried something new. I’ve always steered clear of gels. My pre-race routine has always been some lucozade and a pack of raw Rowntree’s Jelly. This is followed about half an hour before the race by a mars bar, a tip I got told by Olumpic swimmer Nick Gillingham when I was a kid and I still stick too. This has always seemed to work up to half marathon distance. However, I knew that with longer runs I would need some in race nutrition. I had been trialling Jelly Babies but these had to go in my water bladder and I was having to stop to get them out. I therefore decided to go with the flow and try gels. As Manchester Marathon have announced they will have SIS gels on course, it made sense to try these. I know some people have issues with gels but to be honest, with the exception of struggling to open as my fingers were so wet, the orange flavour went down well.

I continued along and started to think that the road I was running seemed a little more windy and undulating than I had expected. I did start to wonder if I’d gone wrong. When all of a sudden I came down a hill to see the expanse of Newmillerdam in front of me, I knew this to be true! After a quick map check, and a replot to offset the extra distance I had covered, I was off again.

I had been pushing on a bit harder on the run, probably mindful of the upcoming storm. However, I felt strong as I headed through the half marathon point. I’d just had my second gel (blackcurrant this time and I wasn’t as big a fan) and was starting to look to the finish. Then the wind and started up. At this stage I had a couple of miles of uphill running and unfortunately the strengthening wind was pointing right down it. Add into this, the rain returned again. In no time my legs had switched to lead and I ended up with having to walk a couple of stretches. The final 5km back to the house were just hard! That said, as I finished just shy of 30km, I could tick off another longest run and whilst Manchester is likely to be wet (it is Manchester!), I severely doubt it will be as windy. What’s more it is marketed as one of the flattest marathons so I won’t have to worry about that!

All in all for the week it was a new longest. Overall I broke the 70km barrier which, with all the wind going around was no mean feat! One thing that I have enjoyed watching throughout training has been my fitness trend on the Elevate plugin for chrome. I won’t pretend to understand the maths, but seeing the purple fitness line grow alongside how I feel has been really reassuring. I dont really use the plugin on Strava itself, but I do recommend checking out to check your trend.

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 10x 2min hill repeats 13.30km
  • Wednesday – 12.86km @ 5:36 pace
  • Thursday – Strength and Conditioning session
  • Friday – 14.25km @ 5:02 pace
  • Saturday – 29.67km @ 5:36 pace
  • Sunday – Rest Day
  • Total – 70.08km
  • Overall Total – 434.92km
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