So after last week’s mini wobble, this week called for me to really get back on the training horse and try where I could to stick to my plan.

Usually Mondays would be a rest day but I was eager to make up my missed session from before. This was a session I’d been looking forward to and dreading in equal measures since I had seen it on the plan. It called for a race pace 10km, aiming for a time sub 46mins. Now the thing is, my “official” 10km PB (excluding anything I achieved when I was a teen and before my running hiatus) is sat at 46:49. This session was going to call for a PB.

I knew that, based on race pace calculators, this time is slower than predicted by my bests over both 5km and HM distances. On top, I have beaten the time during a training run. However, if I could break 46mins was an open question. Albeit one I wanted to answer to prove to myself I’m on the right track.

After only a glass of squash and four wine gums, I headed out for a short warm up and then into the exercise. 1km in and I was outside the pace required. I was already accepting excuses in my mind that I wasn’t prepared mentally or physically for this type of exertion and I just needed to push as hard as I could. Fortunately though, it was just taking that long for my legs to start firing. By 2km I was back on track.

I’d planned out a nice, smooth and flat course to run 3 laps. As I headed into the last km I could tell I was going to make it. That said, I still didn’t expect the 45:29 PB that I hit. It just gets me thinking now, what could I do in a proper race with proper preparation. Maybe one to test later this year.

Tuesday’s session was Fartlek training. Now I knew the basic premise of a Fartlek session but have to admit I’d never done one. A lot of people love them for their spontaneity. The problem is I’m not particularly spontaneous. The night before I’d spent time seeing if I could program my watch in a way that would mix it all up. It looked like this would be far too much like an intervals session so I decided to try and go with the flow.

On the run I tried a few of the techniques I’d read about the night before. I did some lampost sprints. I pushed to beat a PB on a particular Strava segment. Finally I tried varying my speed each time a car passed me. I think this last approach was better as you never knew quite how long you’d be doing a set speed, unlike lampposts that tend to be a similar distance apart. Instead you are wholly dependent on other peoples days and lives. The only real issue was the early hour of the day meant there weren’t a huge volume of cars. This did lead to to some long sectors. I think next time I do Fartlek, I’ll try to run with someone to help mix it up a bit more.

Wednesday last week is where my training had a wobble. This week it came close to derailing me again. At least this time I didn’t sleep through my alarm but I struggled so much to get out of bed. Eventually, running late, I made the call to switch the planned run with the slightly shorter and faster paced 5mi planned for Friday.

The sleep issues continued through to Thursday and I have to be so grateful to Kev my personal trainer. I should have been with him at 5:30. I was slightly shocked when I glanced at my watch to see it was already 5:35. However, he was still able to see me and get some strength work in.

When I get to the start line in Manchester (and then London) in April, the 6 miles I knocked out on Friday morning probably won’t have made much physical difference. However, for mental fortitude runs like this will count.

It was another morning where I struggled to get out of bed. Even when I did, I was grasping around for an excuse not to get out. I managed to get over this only to step out the door and it start raining. Nature not making it easy for me! Even though this rain had passed I was still playing with the idea of cutting the run short until I reached a literal crossroads. Turn right would have finished run at 4 miles; straight would have been 5 miles; and a left turn would be the planned 6 miles. I know when it comes to marathons there will be times I’ll want to stop and have to fight these demons. On this occasion I won and turned left.

While I was congratulating myself for getting over this hurdle, nature decided to ask “Are you sure?” The rain started again and was soon sheeting down. I was soaked to the bone, but now I was determined to prove myself to myself. Granted when I turned into the wind and each rain drop felt like an icy dagger I started questioning my sanity again. I got home, the rain stopped (typical!) and the miles were in the book. Time for a warm shower!

Saturday ended up being a rest day. I had to be in Leeds to try out suits for my brother in laws wedding. When it was first organised I had planned on driving up on my own in the morning and had already started checking out the pros/cons of parkruns on the course. Plans then evolved and unfortunately (for me) the parkrun tourism plan went from completely off the beaten track, to rerunning one local to my inlaws to no run at all. I took the opportunity to get a little longer in bed as my body was definitely screaming for it.

The big advantage of being at the inlaws was, that come Sunday I was able to not only have a lie in, but bang out my 12 mile long run guilt free as the kids love being at their grandparents. Rather than plot out a nice wide loop, I settled for a 6 mile out, 6 mile back route. I knew this had footpath all the way as some roads around the area can be deceptive and a big more dangerous to run along. This did mean I was accompanied the whole way by the background noise of cars. This was really emphasised when I had a window of about 30s of clear road and quiet with about 5km left to go.

The other advantage of running at the inlaws is it gives me a bit of a hill workout. This run didn’t really aim for the hills. It still had almost 250m of climbing though which is good to build up the strength. The downhill sections meant I was a little faster than I should have been. With clear skies it was a pleasant run to round off 58km for the week.

  • Monday – 10km (45:29) with warm up/cool down – 11.41km
  • Tuesday – Fartlek 9.75km
  • Wednesday – 7.65km @ 5:16 pace
  • Thursday – Strength and Conditioning session
  • Friday – 10.04km @ 5:41 pace
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – 19.31km @ 5:43 pace
  • Total – 58.16km
  • Overall Total – 218.79km

One of the motivations for me during all my training is that I will be raising money for The UK Sepsis Trust in memory of my good friend Pete. This week it was reported that worldwide 1 in 5 deaths can be attributed to this condition. This was very much a timely reminder that all the money I raise will definitely be going to support a great cause.

By Mike