Week 11, day 1 – another Monday, another recovery run

Another Monday, another recovery run along the river. This time instead of doing laps I kept going onto the River Avon trail, which wasn’t too muddy for a change. My heart rate monitor threw a fit after about 12 minutes, so from then on all I got were alerts for pushing too hard, but I did a manual check and it was definitely the monitor and not my heart (I was using an older chest strap which is cracked slightly, it was still registering 175BPM when I took it off and carried it).

My legs and feet felt pretty good after yesterday, you’d hardly know they’d done a tough 16 miles, so fingers crossed that this is a sign that my body is adapting to the workload and will have no trouble with the full distance when it comes. I returned just as my copy of Womens Running magazine arrived, it was good to see how the others were doing (and what the coach assessments were).

Week 10, day 7 – things just got serious

Up until now the training sessions have all been pretty manageable. I won’t say easy or particularly comfortable, but I’ve got them done and it’s been OK. We’re now 63 days away from London and things are getting serious. My schedule has been brought forward slightly (my own fault for saying that last week’s two and a half hour run wasn’t too bad) and that meant marathon pace in a long run, after tiring my legs out a bit.

The session was 90 minutes of easy pace (which at my heart rate zones comes out to be around 6:00 min/km aka 10:00 min/mile pace), then picking it up to 45 minutes of marathon pace (4:55 min/km aka 7:55 min/mile pace), before cooling down with 15 minutes back at easy pace.

The first 90 minutes was fine, it’s still tricky running that slowly and I was getting lots of alerts of my heart rate going over the zone limit and having to slow it down again. The initial pick-up to marathon pace also went surprisingly well, actually going faster than scheduled to start with, but then the warnings started coming in that I was going too slowly and I had to keep pushing to get back on pace. From then on it was a constant battle to stay on pace. I just about managed to get on board a couple of gels and some water whilst maintaining the pace (and crossed a couple of roads), but it was tough and there was a lot of clock watching and counting down. As soon as the 45 minutes was over and I dropped the pace everything that had been hinting about hurting started to say hello. Even running slower than I had at the start, my heart rate refused to drop back into the required zone (and any slower I would have been walking). How I’m going to manage 3 hours 30 of that pace I can’t see right now, but I’m focusing on the fact that I did manage to complete the session as set. I hit the pace I wanted and managed to maintain it for the full duration, even if I was hanging on there towards the end.

Feet up for the rest of the day now (after a bath that the kittens were very curious about). The watch gave up on recording my recovery time in hours and advised me I needed 3 and a half days off, but it’s 45 minutes recovery run tomorrow, let’s hope the epsom salts do the job.

Week 10, day 6 – parkrun & core class

Another Saturday and another double header of a gentle recovery parkrun followed by a 30 minute core class. I had a lovely chat during my bimble round with Craig, and got to see Chrissie Wellington fly by in the other direction on the plateau (celebrating moving out of my age category), followed by Sarah Everitt. The weather has warmed up not quite to shorts temperatures, but definitely to capris. Given the forecast for the rest of the week I could well be in shorts by the end of it (which is nuts for February).

A pleasing repetitive time this week (will have to see how it compares to the official results).

Another gentle Ashton Court #parkrun #bigmarathonchallenge #vmlm #ukrunchat

A post shared by @fakoriginal on

Week 10, day 5 – threshold intervals

I had dined possibly a little too well the previous night (friend’s birthday) and not had enough sleep (creaky office chair), but the weather was good and the plan said I had to do threshold intervals, so out I went.

It was 6 efforts of 5 minutes each, with a minute recovery between each effort, and I was pleased with the pace I was able to maintain fairly comfortably within my ‘threshold’ heart rate zone (159-173bpm). Looking back at the data it appears that my consistency hasn’t abandoned me with the efforts being run at 4:26, 4:26, 4:26, 4:27, 4:26 and 4:18 min/km pace (which in min/mile pace is 7:08, 7:08, 7:08, 7:09, 7:08 and 6:55).

A nice recovery run and core class tomorrow, then an amended long run on Sunday (following discussion with my coach) which now has 45 minutes of marathon pace in the scheduled 2 and a half hours, eek.

Week 10, day 3 – threshold and marathon pace sandwich

It was positively balmy going out for my training session this morning, very nearly shorts weather after the recent close to and sub zero temperatures. A reminder that I should do a few long runs in my club crop top in case it turns out to be a warm day come the big race.

Today’s session was a threshold and marathon pace sandwich, with 10 minutes at threshold pace followed by 15 minutes at marathon pace, then another 10 minutes at threshold pace (with a warm up and cool down bookending it all).

I felt pretty good and managed to keep my marathon pace effort at the faster end of the spectrum while it still felt fairly comfortable. If I was to maintain that pace for an entire marathon it would bring me home in just over 3 hours 20, which would be nice. I ran my first threshold effort at exactly the same pace as I did last week, but both the marathon pace and second threshold efforts were faster (even though the marathon pace effort was five minutes longer). Hopefully this is a sign that all of the training is coming together.

Week 10, day 1 – bank bimble

Maybe these running coaches do know what they are doing. The gradual increase in mileage on my long run (up to 2 and a half hours which was just over 16 miles) meant that when I headed out for my 45 minute recovery run this morning my legs actually felt fine. Not what I would have expected, but I’m not going to grumble about it.

I had a cheque to pay into the bank (some people still use them it seems), so I bimbled my way into town and back again. The perfect distance for 45 minutes easy running and I got to go along the railway path in the other direction for a change.

Week 9, day 7 – loooong run day

The distance of the long run is slowly edging up, after 2 hours 15 last week it was 2 hours 30 this week (to be repeated again next week). It was split into 70 minutes easy (z2), 70 minutes steady (z3), 10 minutes easy (z2). I judged the turnaround point better this time, though went out even further along the railway path, properly into the countryside.

I was hoping to practise in some of my marathon gear to check how it held up over the longer distance as there aren’t that many long runs left to go now, but it was far too cold for the shorts I intend to wear, so I made do with practising fuelling and reviewing my marathon playlist (which is mostly cheesy pop with some mash-up and rock thrown in). I managed to get through 4 gels (one after 40 minutes, then one every 30, which felt about right), and even took on some water (which meant the belt had to come out as I’m not running with a bottle).

Week 9, day 6 – parkrun and core

We were greeted with a light dusting of snow at parkrun this morning, which lent a festive (if chilly) air to proceedings. Turned the heart rate zones off again and just bimbled along, stopping for a hug at one point. Nice and easy did it.

After a brief pit-stop at home where I fought to keep the cats away from my loom as I threaded up a new warp, it was off to the gym in the still just about falling snow for 30 minutes of work on my core. Still not getting easier, but at least I had the virtual class to myself (apart from a few curious onlookers at the window in the door).

Bring on the long run tomorrow (though possibly not in the shorts I was planning on wearing to test them out for London).

A snowy Ashton Court #parkrun #bigmarathonchallenge #vmlm #thisgirlcan #ukrunchat

A post shared by @fakoriginal on

Week 9, day 5 – intervals

Friday is now no longer Kenyan Hills day but threshold intervals day. Today it was 4 reps of 8 minutes with 60 seconds recovery inbetween. So it was out along the railway path again (my strava heatmap is going to be lighting up the railway path this year) in the just above freezing weather to get them done.

I was pleased with my first effort and somehow managed to increase the pace on each subsequent one. It felt tough, but manageable and it was pleasing to be rewarded with a new totally made up VO2 max score of 50 (the big five-O). Looking forward to a nice chilled recovery parkrun tomorrow then two and a half hours on Sunday.

Week 9, day 3 – midweek marathon pace

It was back to CubaTone yesterday and then another attempt at threshold intervals sandwiched around marathon pace today, in a repeat of last Friday’s session.

I was a little bit worried after last week’s iffy race, and then this session feeling harder than expected on the Friday, but it went much better today. I felt stronger, even after the long run on Sunday and hard workout yesterday. The marathon pace felt easier (though imagining sustaining it for a full 3 hours 30 is still tricky at the moment) and was a smidge quicker, and the threshold intervals were faster and didn’t feel so hard.

Hopefully this is a sign that whatever caused the dip last week was temporary (maybe my body successfully fighting something off), and I even recorded a new VO2 max of 49 (which is totally made up by my Garmin, but is something to keep an eye on along with all of the other metrics). It felt good, so my accompanying photo today is my January virtual runner medal, a unicorn with rainbows (the rainbow attached to the head spins around).