A final jog out before the big one tomorrow, after a bit of a hike out to Mile End (we were all following Alison who thought someone would yell if she was going the wrong way, we all assumed she knew the way), a rather crowded bit of parkrun tourism. Last week they had under 200 runners, this week they had over 400. I managed to sneak in to get one of the final proper position tokens in 246 having taken it reasonably steady (the downhill’s were fun).
I’m feeling good ahead of tomorrow’s race. I have done the training and now we just have to see what happens on the day. I’ve set myself 3 times that I would be varying levels of happy with:
Bronze: 3:44:59 – this would be qualification for London next year as good for age for my age category.
Silver: 3:40:20 – this would be a new marathon pb (my previous time being 3:40:21).
Gold: 3:29:59 – I’ve been training to go sub 3:30, so anything under that pace would be great. If I feel good and have the opportunity to push on towards the end of the race then I will, but realistically you can’t make up too much time over the last 5-6 miles and I’m more likely to be working on holding to pace than be able to increase it.
It should be fun, I’m nervous obviously (a marathon is always a huge challenge), but excited more than nervous and I have done all of the preparation asked of me. What happens on the day happens (good or bad). For anyone wanting to track me, I am number 30917.
My final run in Bristol as I head off for London tomorrow morning. Just a gentle 30 minutes to keep the legs ticking over. I picked the flatest bit of Bristol I know (apart from the getting there and back), the track alongside the river Avon (not in it as the GPS suggests). Remarkably low on the duck count this morning, but high on the bluebell front. Not long now.
I spent yesterday afternoon following the Boston marathon via twitter and their app, cheering on friends who were tackling the course in some nasty high temperatures. I think that left me a little bit emotionally drained for this morning’s final threshold session as my first rep was terrible (4:47 min/km though it was uphill and the GAP was 4:25 min/km).
The second and third reps picked it up to more respectable paces 4:34 and 4:20 min/km as I revelled in the bright sunshine but cool temperatures. That would do me just fine for Sunday. Just a couple of gentle jogs left now to keep the legs turning over (and stretching, lots of stretching).
The final long run a week out from the big one and a last chance to test out all of the kit, including eating what I intend to and starting at about the same time. This was just 50 minutes of marathon pace after a quick 10 minute warm up and followed by a 10 minute cool down.
It was just enough time to squeeze in the 10k version of the Zombies, Run! spring race, which was confused by Staple Hill tunnel again, but which awarded me a time of 48:13 for the race portion of the mission. I also managed to finish off the rest of the 5k mission (the race part was already over), so I can open up my goodies now and hang my medal.
Trying not to think about next week too much now, I have put the training in but don’t want to get over anxious or over excited before I cross that start line and see what I can do. Fingers crossed the weather holds much as it has been today, not too hot.
Sleep-deprivation mounted up over the week of the BJC, but after reuniting with the kittens and unloading the car I still had a threshold interval session to do so I headed out to the good old railway path which has been much neglected while I have been away. The zombies, run! Spring virtual race was also live so I decided to start the 5k race after my warm up.
Today’s session was 6 reps of 5 minutes at threshold (heart rate zone 4) with 60 seconds recovery. The first rep was a bit ropey as my legs seemed somewhat uncoordinated, but I soon warmed up into the session and my pace improved going from 4:40 min/km to 4:30, 4:25, 4:31, 4:24 finishing with 4:20. The Zombies, run! app always gets confused when I go through the Staple Hill tunnel so I actually ran further than 5km to finish the 5km race, but was given a race time of 23:47 (though I stopped the mission at 30:12, after I was instructed to stop running). I’ll try and do the 10k race on Sunday in my final bit of marathon pace before London.
I had a day off yesterday, though this being a juggling convention I was considerably more active than I would be on a normal rest day (I even attended two workshops, which is virtually unheard of).
This morning I managed to have a lie-in, and when I did emerge in my running gear I attracted the attention of my tent neighbour, friend and fellow runner Paul. Since I was only going out for a recovery run he decided to join me and it was lovely to have some company for a change. We had a lovely bimble round a little nature reserve, comparing innacurate wrist heart rate readings.
Marathon training stops for nothing. Even though I am away at a festival, which means I am eating too much crap whilst not getting enough sleep or drinking enough water, I still had a marathon paced effort to do. The weather was not my friend. I have a highly efficient cooling system (aka I sweat a lot) so hot and sunny weather is pretty much my worst nightmare and why I spent the last three miles of my first marathon feeling like I was going to throw up every step I took.
I usually make sure I take on water every 10 minutes on my long run, but today under a cloudless blue sky I drank every time my brain thought ‘water’ which was closer to every 5 minutes. Having plotted my route on google maps there were a couple of wrong turns as I made my way to and then round Wollaton Park, but I managed to maintain my marathon pace for the full 90 minutes and was grateful for the many trees along the route offering shade. I can only hope it’s not as hot in London.
A spot of parkrun tourism at the BJC, though we very nearly didn’t make it as the gate that was supposed to allow 24-hour access was locked and we luckily found an alternate route out to make it just in the nick of time. If there was any important information in the briefing we didn’t hear it, not because we were late, but because the megaphone was feeble. A lovely little two lap course that went around a series of football pitches then up into a wooded area. I spent the time chatting to Polly with a little sprint at the end.
Back on site I squirelled myself away in a squash court with my yoga mat to get some core work done. At one point the staff came in to make the court bigger, but they didn’t seem to mind me so I just let them get on with it without interrupting my workout. Long run tomorrow, I think I have my route planned out.
I was woken early by the kittens who wanted to play fetch, but as I intended to use the railway path for my Thursday threshold intervals I bimbled around a bit at home before heading out so that most of the commuters will already have moved through. This meant I had time to read my coach’s email reassuring me that I shouldn’t worry about missing my marathon pace towards the end of my long run on Sunday as I ‘hit it for the most part on a hilly route and on a warm day off the back of some hard training weeks’. It amuses me that he thinks the route I have been using for my long runs is hilly as it’s the flattest bit of Bristol I could find without doing lots of little loops (I found a message in my Garmin Connect notifications this morning suggesting I find a flatter route after the previous week’s long run, but honestly, that’s the flattest one I can find, the elevation gain was only 132m which is nothing in Bristol).
Anyway, back to the railway path for some threshold intervals under glorious blue skies. It was almost the same session as last week, except the recovery was 60s rather than 90s. Last week my 4 reps of 8 minutes at threshold pace (aka heart rate zone 4) came out at 4:44, 4:44, 4:46 and 4:41 min/km. This week, off a shorter recovery (but not having raced a 5k two days previously), they were 4:36, 4:29, 4:29 and 4:19 min/km. Much better and I am much happier with the difference between that and my marathon pace (4:55 min/km). It gives me much more confidence with 17 days to go.
Today was the final long long run before starting the taper for London, and was another 2 hours 45 split into 65 minutes easy (heart rate zone 2), 90 minutes at marathon pace (7:55 min/mile or 4:55 min/km), with a 10 minute cool down at the end.
I started fine, and the first hour or so of the marathon pace felt good, but the final 30 minutes was a struggle to keep anywhere close to that marathon pace (though I didn’t slip out far enough to get the dreaded ‘slow’ warnings). I even walked the majority of my cooldown as my body just didn’t see the point of battering itself with a slow jog. Hopefully the session was designed to replicate the final 90 minutes of the marathon rather than the first 90 minutes, otherwise I’m in trouble. With a good taper (which starts now) and the crowd on my side I should be OK, I certainly feel in much better shape (those final 30 minute notwithstanding) than I did when I ran my first marathon 18 months ago (though not right now, right now I feel pretty much like I did when I finished that first marathon).