As time passes by the training continues. At the time of writing this there are 104 days to go until the Milton Keynes Marathon takes place. Sounds like a lot of time. This is over three months or fourteen weeks to go. It is, however, surprising how quickly time seems to pass. I have several events to take part in during this period and I am looking forward to each of them. Everyone will be an adventure.

Meanwhile reflecting on the past week I can say it has been interesting and ended in excitement.

Monday – Rest Day. The first day of the week is planned to be a rest day. Having just ran a long distance on the Sunday I firmly believe that both the body and the mind need time to recover and relax. Therefore the plan is to put your feet up, sit back, and relax. REST = NO RUNNING. This is an excellent opportunity to sit at the computer and do “homework”, e.g. write the blog and chill out. This week it did not entirely go according to plan. Not sure what happened but did not write my blog. Did some “unofficial (top secret – shush, don’t tell anyone) work” from home along with other things.

Tuesday – Easy Run. First day of the week to put on the trainers and run. Target on the plan is for an easy three miles run. It was a nice day, cold but not raining and with sunny spells. I went up and around the boundary of a local golf course (the Windmill Hill Golf Course) and got a bit carried away. I ended up doing 4 miles and a bit too speedy. It felt good but a lesson I keep learning is that I have got to be more disciplned with my running. Distance = 4.2 miles. Pace = 8:32 mins/mile.

Wednesday – Active Rest Day. Every Wednesday evening I attend a core training session led by Clean Coach Katie. I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoy these. They are good exercise focusing on the core and we tend to have a good laugh whilst working out. This week, however, there was no core session for me due to a run meeting that evening (Redway Runners Move on up to Half Marathon). Along with other runners from the club I am co leading a planned course to help and assist runners to move up to a half marathon. The target event is the Milton keynes Half Marathon that occurs on the same date as the marathon. Other activity for the day involved some stretching (whilst doing the ironing), some weight training, and working up a sweat cleaning the oven (and replacing the oven light). Surprising how hot you get with your head in an oven.

Thursday – Intervals. This week was hill repeats. Intervals are my least favourite type of run. I cannot explain why but they just seem like a chore and take the enjoyment out of running. Perhaps it is because they are a disciplined run (a set time, pace, distance, etc). Or is it because they are hard work? Anyway the day was a nice sunny day although a cold temperature (approximately 3°C). I went out late in the morning and started with a short warm up. Then the hard work started. It was four repeats up and down Wincanton Hill (a local road on the estate I live on with a ½ mile distance with a climb of 80 feet). Admittedly it was a struggle at first but got into it and (dare I say it) I enjoyed the run. Followed by a short cool down run. Distance = 4.2 miles. Pace =  9:05mins/mile.

In the afternoon there was a little extra run. I arranged to meet Sue (my wife) in central Bletchley. I initially thought about getting a bus into the centre of town but decided against it. It was still a nice sunny day. Therefore I ran into Bletchley centre to meet Sue. Again I enjoyed the run and got some starnge looks from people who were walking around the high street when they saw me running in shorts on a cold sunny winters day. I wondered if people from Bletchley had ever seen someone running before? Distance = 2.4 miles. Pace = 8:51mins/mile.

Physical Training – My wonderful wife had gifted me for my birthday last year a course of physical training with Clean Coach Katie – – I had attended one session at the end of August 2018. Then there was a nasty cycling accident at the beginning of September which resulted with me receiving a fractured skull (another story for the blog). This was to be my first PT session following the accident. My nerves were kicking in – I was feeling apprehensive and was concerned how the session would progress and how would I cope. I need not have worried. Katie was very understanding and the session was good. A couple of times I struggled with my balance due to the nature of the exercise at the time but overall I felt good and there were no adverse effects. So I can safely say that I am looking forward to the next workout. Katie also provided some advice regarding my training plan. Did you know that recovery runs should take place within twenty four hours of a long run? I was not aware. All mine were two days after. My plan has been amended. Recovery runs have now become “easy runs”.

Friday – Rest Day. Easy does it. Rest up and get ready for running at the weekend.

Saturday – Easy Run. As always we ran the local parkrun in Milton Keynes. This was an easy going parkrun with Sue. I was saving the legs for the following day (Sunday) as there was a 10 miles distance to run. The parkrun took us 36 minutes to finish. Nice and gentle without any pressure. Distance = 3.1 miles. Pace = 11:25mins/mile. The parkrun was followed by the Beginners Group, which I am co-leading with Annette. We appear to have recruited a great bunch of enthusiastic runners. It has been noticed that they are very lively and good humoured. This week was about running for a minute with a minutes rest for six repeats. Not a moan or a grumble was received. We started with the compulsory warm up and ended with the cool down. The last interval was for one and a half minutes and eveyone did it. This was all about just starting to run – easy going, no pressure for speed or distance. Distance =  0.7 miles. Pace = 9:08mins/mile.

Sunday – Fred Hughes 10 miles run in St Albans. This as my first event for this year and also my first event following the nasty cycling accident. It was a cold day, 1°C, a sunny frosty morning with very little wind.

I was feeling nervous, and excited. I had run nine miles last weekend but for some reason when it is an event my nerves still start playing up. I have been running for over three years and have taken part in many events but it is always the same. Then there is the excitement. Any event I take part in excitement kicks in. I see it as my body and mind getting ready for the run. The course is a tough and hilly route around the country lanes around St Albans.

Fortunately there were several of us from the running club taking part so there was plenty of support and encouragement. We made our way to the start line, a good ten mnute walk. It was a very congested start to the race. There was a narrow path to follow with many runners jostling for space. It took a good mile before runners started to space out and it took a while for me to get into the run. My head was a bit out of focus for a while but after a few minutes it settled and I got into the run and enjoyed it. It was hard work to keep running up hills but felt good coming down hill. Running up hill my thoughts were “take it easy, don’t push too hard, maintain and even cadence, shorten the stride”. Down hill was “lengthen the stride, use gravity to assist, keep my arms low and wide to help with balance, don’t get carried away”.  The unexpected bonus for me was that I attained a new personal best for 10 miles = 01:30:09 (three minutes quicker than my last PB). This was not my intention as I had viewed this purely as a training run but I am delighted. I was worn out at the end and took a little time to focus and recover but gladly and proudly received my new T Shirt for the Fred Hughes 10 Miles 2019.

Distance = 10 miles. Average pace = 8:55 mins/mile. Very pleased with the result.

I now wonder – what if it was a relatively flat course? Could I have gone quicker? I paused for thirty seconds at the water stations to take on hydration. If I kept running what time would I have achieved?

Questions pop ino your head when you analyse a run. Again, this is a problem I have. I am my own worst critic……

Target distance for the week was 19 miles. Actual distance for the week was 24 miles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s