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Working Out


from Diary of a “Rubbish Marathon Runner” When I asked for opinions at the end of my last post I should have known that I would get a rather wide array of answers. Thank you to everyone who took the time to write a comment; it just didn’t help me to make up my mind about that 10k. As Grellan pointed out there is actually a race in Beaufort next week, just about 10 miles from here, but I don’t have the brass neck to just turn up and run when I’m not eligible. As for what I would like to get out of one more race, the answer is one final fitness boost before the marathon. Races are excellent workouts, and I can always feel an effect afterwards, be it lower HR or faster subsequent training times.

My legs felt surprisingly fresh on Friday morning as I set off for my 18 mile run. I started out at measured pace, laboured up the big hill, and then just stared feeling better and better. I gradually improved the pace without even noticing, and was pleasantly surprised by my 10-mile split. I put some extra effort into the next few miles that ended up at 7:21 pace, and then ran the last 3 miles at a strong effort coming up with 6:51 pace. For once an effort like that actually yielded faster than marathon goal pace, if only by the smallest of margins. I seemed to get into really good shape at the start of February, but the illness I contracted just then set me back by a significant amount. I think I am finally getting back into that shape, which would be just in time. If things keep improving I’ll probably be at my peak fitness just in time for the marathon. Anyway, I was quite happy with that run, but my quads were very sore for the rest of the day.

Because that soreness was still there on Saturday I started wondering if I had overdone things after the race. I know I didn’t do any real recovery workouts, but I have never done those, and I have always recovered in reasonable time. My run on Saturday was very slow and short, but didn’t alleviate the feeling in the legs. However, I must have a really short memory, because when I felt better on Sunday morning I went ahead with the next 60/60 session as if nothing had been wrong. It was a beautiful morning, and while the temperature of 8C/46F wasn’t exactly balmy I decided to wear a singlet for the first time this year. The wind was still a factor, but nowhere near as strong as it had been in the past week. I had felt slightly apprehensive before the run, but felt surprisingly good at the start of the first interval. The first half of the run was into the wind but with a net downhill, the second half saw be battling uphill but with the wind at my back, and those two elements seemed to cancel each other out. Of course I got tired, and I could have sworn the 10th repeat was way too slow, but when I checked the Garmin I as still doing 5:3x pace. I had never done more than 13, but since I was still on pace I kept going on. Unfortunately I ran out of road after the 15th, because that’s where a big hill awaits. Only afterwards did I realise that I could have turned around and done at least one more repeat going the other way, but at the time my oxygen-starved brain wasn’t capable of producing bright ideas like that, so I stopped after 15 repeats. I was really happy with that workout, I had done more repeats than ever before at a faster pace than ever before, and I still felt like I could have done some more. Maybe the sickness in February prevented me from peaking early. At the moment I feel better every week, and while I’m pretty sure I would not be able to run a 2:59 marathon right now I am hopeful that the next 5 weeks will bring sufficient improvements to do exactly that.

13 Mar
18 miles, 2:18:04, 7:40 pace, HR 150
4 miles @ 7:21 pace, last 3 @ 6:51
14 Mar
6 miles, 49:41, 8:16 pace, HR 138
15 Mar
8.5 miles, 1:03:01, 7:25 pace, HR 158
incl 15×60/60 (5:37 avg)

Weekly mileage: 73.5