Double figures! I saw the below meme this week and it summed up in a way how this week felt on the training cycle. Hitting double figures makes it seem that I’m almost there, despite only just being over halfway. That said, it was another week closer to the races with a couple of good motivators this week.

This week was half term for the kids and I had managed to get the time off from work. Despite the fact I hadn’t run last Sunday because of Storm Dennis, I still took my rest day on Monday we had a great day exploring York with the kids. York has really seen the impact of the recent storms down by the very flooded river but the rest of the town was still thriving.

This did mean that come Tuesday, my legs had had a good rest. I was a bit concerned that after two days of eating out I might feel a bit heavy. It was time for 3x 1.5mi intervals, an identical session to one I’d done 2 days before Christmas way back in week 2. It was wetter and windier but I was very pleased to be able to knock out all three sets much faster than before, hopefully showing extra strength.

Tuesday did also see me finally get round to sorting out Manchester logistics. I’ve had a hotel for London booked for a couple of months (in part due to heading down with a much more organised friend). I had been playing with the idea of heading to Manchester on race day morning, however, with rates in the nearby Premier Inn not too extortionate then removing Northern Trains stress is a plus!

Wednesday we were travelling back home. Rather than try to squeeze a session in, I allowed myself another rest day and a chance to spend some more time with the family. This was opened up somewhat by the fact that my PT was away this week so I didn’t have a strength and conditioning session on Thursday.

Instead I headed out for a shorter 5 mile stint with 3 miles at a faster pace. Yes it was a short distance but it did feel good to open up the taps a bit. We then got to Friday where I had planned to get up early and do my 9 miles. However, the call of a last day on annual leave in bed was too strong and I started to make plans to head out once the kids were in bed. To be honest, I think it would have been quite easy to have found an excuse not to get out, but motivation came in the post. I will be running both marathons for The UK Sepsis Trust in memory of my good friend Pete. Today, my vest came and helped with another burst of motivation, especially as I saw fundraising efforts break through the £500 mark.

The run also saw me get to wear my race shoes for the first time. Unlike it seems everyone else, I haven’t invested in a pair of Nike Vaporflys. Ignoring the fact that I don’t have that kind of money spare at the moment, I question why someone like me would buy them. I have no doubts that there will be people around me in the marathons wearing the shoes. And I have no doubt they will reap the benefits. However, at the moment the only person I am really racing is myself. If I were pushing for a good for age time and most others were wearing them I could see the benefits. But I’m not. That would require a out a 20% improvement which is much more than these shoes give.

Instead I was very lucky to be with my brother in law who had an unused 50% discount when I found an identical pair of Brooks Ravenna 10s to my current pair discounted. I’d been battling with when to break in a new pair but with the total price being just £37.50, it was rude to say no!

I did play with the idea of making it to parkrun on Saturday morning as my son didn’t have a football match. However, with training still on, an afternoon out with friends planned and a million and one household jobs to do, the day became a non-running one.

The week ended with a half marathon at a pace somewhere between HM and Marathon targets. Rather than plot out a new route, I decided to take full advantage of having the course for St Neots Half Marathon pretty much on my doorstep. I’ve run the race 3 times so I knew exactly what to expect. Now, you can tell you are a runner when you utter the words, “it’s only xxxxx”. With the other distances I have been running and a 1:41:04 PB in last years race, heading out to do a 1:45 HM did seem “easy”!

After a short warm up I was off, although it did feel strange being on the paths rather than road, and there being no supporters. One issue with this route is it is quite exposed, and it’s still been quite blustery here. On the way out the wind was mainly at my back so was less an issue. However, as the miles ticked over and I got to the turn, it was suddenly head on. This wasn’t an ideal place as the last two years this was where I really started to struggle in the race but fortunately I was able to power on through.

I was also starting to practise my race nutrition strategy so it probably helped that at this time I was also able to take on a gel. This seemed to get me through the worst part for the wind. In fact I was getting stronger despite the wind feeling like it was stopping me in my tracks. St Neots Half is famed for the last 3km being downhill and for once I wasn’t too tired to take advantage so finished the set in 1:44:40. Given even two years ago a sub 1:50 seemed a dream, to be able to knock this out, on a training run, in the wind gives me great confidence.

The run also meant that for the 2nd consecutive month I’ve achieved the Strava 200km badge. This time with a week to spare showing how the distance has been increasing. It’s been a nice week for both training and time with the family but tomorrow I’m back at work and back in to the early hour runs.

  • Monday – Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 3x 1.5miles 11.92km
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – 7.69km @ 4:51 pace
  • Friday – 14.09km @ 5:37 pace
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – 23.12km @ 5:02 pace
  • Total – 56.82km
  • Overall Total – 491.74km

By Mike

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