Double figures! Suddenly moving into week 10 starts to make it all seem quite close. Yet at the same time I am still trying to not get too excited yet. I reread the blog I wrote for week 10 of training last year and it was all about the weather and finally sorting logistics for Manchester. The impending cancellation obviously wasn’t really on my radar at that time so I know how quickly things can change in the current climate.

After my less than successful half marathon run on the Sunday before, it was nice to start the week with a rest day and ease myself back into work again after my week off.

Tuesday’s run was then designed to be three lots of 1.5 miles fast with some short recoveries. My sister-in-law was staying with us with her two boys. I had planned this as a morning session but, when her boys are sharing a room with my youngest, they were up far too early. Therefore I pushed the run back to my lunch break. This was great but it really pushed me as it was so much warmer and humid. Good training to push through this and I was able to get some good pace which was reassuring after the hard run I’d had the previous Sunday. I did look like I had stepped into a shower mind.

Wednesday’s are usually PT days but the last few weeks have been bitty what with various Covid isolations, me going on holiday and then this week he was away. Therefore I decided to use the time to run before work. It was a relatively easy run just to shake out the legs. Then, in the evening I ended up joining in at my sons football (albeit in jeans and no inhaler) for a bonus bit of exercise.

I had considered trying to catch up a session from last week but in the end decided against this so Thursday was another rest day before I hit Friday’s session. I think that this is the longest non-Sunday session on the entire training plan. 9 miles slow paced. For the first time I therefore had set and even earlier alarm so that I would be out of the door around 5:30am, knowing the session would take about 1h20 and I wanted to be back in time to help with breakfast etc. It was strange waking at 5am as it was still dark outside. In training block one the days were getting lighter by this point, not darker, and we never got this far in block 2. I was soon up and out though. Sometimes I can find the slow sessions a little dull but this morning I got into a good rhythm and in the end I was home without it feeling like I’d been out that long.

Saturday then saw me miss parkrun for the first time since it restarted in England. We were taking the kids to a high ropes course at Irchester Park. I was tempted to head over early and let my wife bring the kids in the other car to do some tourism at the Irchester parkrun but in the end decided against this and trying to squeeze in Pocket before leaving was a bit of a push as well.

By chance, because of how I had adjusted my plan, Sunday then called for a repeat of the half marathon attempt that had gone so badly wrong last week. I was determined that this week I would get it better. I woke up nice and early so I could be out before the heat and humidity got too high. It had been raining heavily but this ended as I started off. Rather than put the pressure on to get close to my PB, today’s target was a solid sub 1:45 run. The first 5k I was looking really good, with very little variance from a 5min pace despite not checking my watch at any other point than the km markers. The next 5km is where I blew up last week but this time, despite my times swinging a bit more as I hot the hills, I was able to push through halfway still feeling strong and bang on target. I took on a gel (why is always so hard to open them with sweaty hands?) and approached the hill that has often blown up my plans on this course. This time I was able to breeze over it, things were looking good. It was getting warmer and was fascinating to see how much one particularly deep puddle I had to run through had dried up in less than an hour as I looped back round. The advantage of this route is that the final 5-6km are flat or downhill so I started to pick up the pace to see what I could achieve. My calf was starting to tighten a bit but everything felt good otherwise then bam! A wasp flew straight into me, stinging my bottom lip. Fortunately I don’t react too badly to stings but I could feel my lip starting to grow and knew I’d need an antihistamine as soon as I got home. I thought being in nature was meant to be good for you! The final stretch I was able to really speed up and I crossed the “line” in a time of 1:43:30. This is the faster half I have run since running this same route at the 2019 St Neots Half Marathon. I know I can go faster but it was good to see that a well planned run can help get me towards my target rather than the continual cycle of pushing too hard and then blowing up.

The week ended with another 50km+ on the board and saw me cross through the 1000km marker for the year. Every week closer to the race is another week closer to believing it will go ahead so still keeping everything crossed!

  • Monday –  Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 11.13km @ 4:40 pace
  • Wednesday – 7.69km @ 4:58 pace
  • Thursday – Rest Day
  • Friday – 14.30km @ 5:33 km
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – HM with Warm up and Cool Down – 23.08km
  • Total – 56.20km
  • Overall Total – 427.43km

By Mike

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