So it’s official, I am now further into a marathon training plan than I have ever managed before! Suddenly with just 3 weeks to go the whole thing is starting to feel a bit more real. My brother-in-law was running the GNR and a friend the Brighton Marathon today so it won’t be long until the big race is mine.

I am a little frustrated that we still don’t yet have starting times and starting areas confirmed yet. I’m planning on heading down on the day and it would be useful to know when and where I need to be! I am hopeful that we will find that out this week.

In terms of training, this was the week to get back in the training groove after the slightly out of place past fortnight where I had missed several sessions.

Monday started as a rest day and I was grateful as my legs were still very tight after the prior days 21 miles. At least I could get up and down the stairs now! What I hadn’t done was have a look at what was on the plan. Therfore, imagine the distress when I realised that my Tuesday session was hills!

As I have said too many times, where I live is flat so hills are relative. However, with tight thighs, any incline was going to be a challenge. Previously I have chosen a road with 8 or 9 metres climbing over 2 mins where you do about 2/3 in the 1st minute and then start to bottom out. This time I decided to what is definitely the steepest hill in town. I had ruled it out in the past as too short but decided it was worth trying as 13m of height was better than the 8 or 9, even if it does all come in the final 40s of a 2 min set. The plan called for 10 sets and I managed them all but was shattered by the end, especially as it was rapidly heating up!

Wednesday I was in the gym, cursing my PT as he had be squatting. It was as if everything was out to destroy my thighs. Then on Thursday it was a nice steady state 11km around town to stretch everything out.

Everything was looking good, I was back on plan so the fact I was almost derailed on Friday was a bit of a surprise. I woke at around 5am and when I realised it was still a bit before my alarm would go off, I decided to dose a bit longer. The next thing I knew it was pushing 6:30 and I was never going to be able to fit in my session before needing to get kids ready for school. How had I slept through two alarms when I had only been dozing? I got my answer at 7am when another alarm went off, or more precisely the alarm showed on my watch face but there was no vibration from my watch.

Fortunately I had some time at lunch time to play catch up so headed out then. However, again there was no vibration coming from my watch at all. If I was lucky and there was no traffic then I would hear the audible prompts that I was going too fast but most of the run was blind and I did end up going too fast. I had missed a massive rain storm but to be honest, with the humidity and the extra pace, you couldn’t tell.

I couldn’t really live with my watch like this so I tried turning settings on and off, I tried resetting it, all to no avail. Finally I tried a recommendation I saw in one site to bath the watch in hot water. Remarkably this worked and the vibration was back!

Saturday saw the return of football for my eldest and dance for my daughter so parkrun is off for me again for the foreseeable future. As my youngest also wanted to get his hair cut and we were spending the afternoon visiting family, it did rule out a virtual parkrun as well.

This led into Sunday and another 20 miles to face. The problem I had was that we had plans so how was I going to fit in a 3hr run (plus faff time before and after?). The solution was that I needed to be out the door at 5am. Unfortunately in order to be fuelled, the alarm had to go off at 4am. I must be crazy.

I was a little concerned with how the run would go. Being that early and it still being dark (first time I have run in the dark for some time), I needed to stick to lit paths and this meant a route that was two big loops of town followed by a smaller one. Usually I hate repeating myself so I was wary as I set out. The first few km went well but as I approached 3k, I was right on the cusp of the target pace I had set on my watch so it was buzzing almost constantly, “you’re going too fast/you’re in the zone/you’re going too fast” etc. For a watch that had already shown its fragility this week, that was it. The vibration died again and this time I had a long way still to go.

I worried this would derail me but actually I started to find it liberating. Some km I would miss my pace which was annoying but it meant I ran where I was comfy. This led to an almost perfect set of negative splits which were unplanned. I was also finding I wasn’t having problems with the route either, I even had a brief chat as I ran past a marshal at a triathlon event going on in town who I passed twice an hour or so apart. Indeed, by the end my pace was well ahead of what it needs to be in London. Yes race day will be a further 6.2 miles but this was the first long run that felt natural, I didn’t need to stop (with the sole exception of being unable to open my gel with sweaty fingers) and whats more, I felt hunan at the end. I was even able to climb the stairs this week! I do need to sort my watch though as I don’t think I’ll find it quite as liberating on race day to not know my pace.

Every week from here should in theory get easier as the taper begins so now I just wait on the start details and count down the days!

  • Monday –  Rest Day
  • Tuesday – 10x 2 mins hills – 13.64km
  • Wednesday – Gym
  • Thursday – 11.00km @ 5:13 pace
  • Friday – 9.40km @ 4:45 pace
  • Saturday – Rest Day
  • Sunday – 32.06km @ 5:19 pace
  • Total – 66.10km
  • Overall Total – 583.00km

By Mike

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