For some time, week 12 has been on my horizon as the next target to get to. During the first block of training it was the last full week I achieved before Covid hit and saw Manchester and London get cancelled. Re-reading what I had written at the time, I sounded resigned to the inevitable. This time, I’m suddenly finding I need to plan for the race.

The week was however a bit of an oddball in terms of training. As mentioned last week, I was in Scarborough with my family. After running Dalby Forest parkrun on the Saturday, I had made the deliberate decision not to do the planned 20 miles while I was there to not impact as heavily on the holiday. I had however planned on running most days I was there and had some routes mapped out.

As it was, a combination of later nights, drinking in the evenings (that I am very out of practise of!) and generally being busy being on holiday, I didn’t actually get out again while we were up there. However, we couldn’t stay the full week as had been thrown by the kids starting back very early at school on the Thursday.

This had opened up a real opportunity for me as I had booked the whole week off work. Therefore, once the kids were dropped off, it was a chance to get my 20 miler done. With a combination of switching runs around and not always doing them at the right time, it had actually been some time since I had done anything over HM distance and with the exception of the two runs last weekend, I’d barely run at all for almost 2 weeks. Not great prep at this stage of training.

Nevertheless I set off ready to explore a bit further afield on some roads I hadn’t run before. The run started well enough and I was ticking along but by halfway I was bored, never a good sign. For various reasons I don’t run with music and most of the time this is perfect for me. However, there are some days I think it could help me to not fall into this boredom trap and worse, start concentrating on what isn’t going well. As I approached 10km to go I was really getting pain in the small of my back where my bumbag was rubbing. I stopped to sort this and this was the beginning of the end. Legs started to tighten up and I found myself stopping multiple times in the way home, each time making it even harder. By the time I got home I was spent and a bit down about the prospect of 26 miles in 4 wks. The thing is I hadn’t fuelled properly either and it did highlight the respect you have to show these longer runs.

Friday was a running rest day although I was in the gym. Thankfully I think my PT Kev took pity on me as what I think was meant to be a legs session moved more onto upper body to save my aching thighs. The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. With the kids in school and me still off work, my wife and I got to go for a lovely pub lunch in the sun which put everything from the previous day behind me.

Saturday was my birthday. Since I started running again I have kept up a tradition of running on my birthday. With it being Saturday and with another week until dance and football start up for the kids, it was a perfect opportunity to return to Pocket parkrun after a few tourist visits. At first I had planned/assumed I’d be running on my own but as soon as my daughter realised, she asked to run with me. I was more than happy to oblige and with still sore thighs (and another long run to come Sunday) it was probably best for my body as well. I was a little concerned when I saw her pouring herself a second large bowl of cereal at 8am and sure enough, she did get a big stitch. However, she always keeps on going and we only missed her PB by a matter of seconds.

Sunday I wanted to get back on plan so, despite 20 miles on Thursday, it was straight back on the distance with a 21 miler. This being the longest run on my entire training plan. Unlike Thursday, this time I made sure I fuelled properly with my pre-race favourites of some raw jelly and lucozade making it to my breakfast. I had also ensured I had sorted out the straps on my bags to minimise rubbing (and increased the areas I was covered in vasoline!). I did manage to forget to get the air out of my water pack so had sloshing water the whole way but this was a minor inconvenience.

Unlike Thursday this run went much more smoothly, despite the fact that the temperature was really starting to ratchet up. I used a route I had plotted months ago at the start of marathon training with today in mind and I was able to run it with a profile of almost negative splits which was a bonus. I also had the really pleasant feeling of over £100 getting added to my page while I was out after I had reshared my details on Facebook and LinkedIn. I did make a massive mistake when I got home mind. I sat down. When it came to go for a shower I physically couldn’t get up the stairs, much to my wife’s amusement! Fortunately copious amounts of deep heat helped unlock the legs again.

So there ended a strange week. I think it was possibly the highest mileage in a single week I have done, but only because of two 3hr exploits. It is also the final time I can compare to what I have done before. At the end of week 12 the last time I had run 613km. This time I am almost 100km behind. That is a lot less running. Some of this has been mindset, other bits have been that marathon training while the kids are off and we are trying to enjoy the holidays is hard. Definitely something to keep in mind if I ever choose to do another autumn marathon. Howevrr, there are still 4wks left and now focus can be almost all on toeing the line in London.

  • Monday –  Rest Day
  • Tuesday – Rest Day
  • Wednesday – Rest Day
  • Thursday – 32.10km @ 5:25 pace
  • Friday – Gym
  • Saturday – Pocket parkrun 35:14
  • Sunday – 34.05km @ 5:26 pace
  • Total – 71.15km
  • Overall Total – 516.90km

By Mike

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