Last Long Run

It’s starting to bug me a little now, but I had another start to the week lacking some motivation to go out. Probably not helped by being home alone for the week and having to come home and sort all household type things out before heading out, so on Tuesday I didn’t bother. In all honesty I think I looked at my training plan which actually just seemed to be a little bit bizarre and would have meant something in the region of 8+miles, which I couldn’t be bothered with and rather than think of something else to do I decided to just stay indoors.

So on Wednesday I headed out for a nice 6 mile run which I completed at about 9:30 pace, and really just enjoyed. It was nice to be out in the evening sunlight as I ran through Priory Park in Reigate, around the pond and the sunken gardens. During the run though I was passing play areas looking for monkey bars to get a little upper body work in preparation for the StrongmanRun. Apparently though health and safety dictates that monkey bars can’t exist any more, so there weren’t any :-(

I was aiming for a little more pace on Thursday night so headed out for 4 and a bit miles at about 10km pace. I felt pretty good, legs felt strong, but just towards the end I cramped up in my stomach a little and had to knock the pace down a touch for a couple of hundred metres.

Owing to the schedule mix up that a bank holiday inevitably brings I went for my long run on Saturday morning as I was out for Easter lunch with the family today. After the last couple of tough hilly long runs that I have done I was really looking for something a little flatter. I know hills build mental fortitude and stronger legs, but I don’t want that – I just wanted to actually run and enjoy some good distance on my legs.

In the end I actually drove the car out to just the other side of Reigate and used that as my base for two 11mile loops. The weather report seemed to be fluctuating constantly, and knowing what to wear was difficult. I went for a light long sleeve top, a tshirt on top and shorts. It looked as though the rain would hold off at least for the first lap so off I headed. The first half of the loop was generally quite nice – quiet country lanes and pretty open countryside (and some nice big houses to admire). The second half though went through the top of Horley and onto the main road back to Redhill.

Just a mile from the car, slight spots of rain started falling and I was left pondering whether to shed any layers and swap for jacket or gilet. It never seemed to rain particularly hard, but the wind had picked up a little and the sky looked pretty dark. Getting back to the car, I sat down to refil my bottle and grap the remaining gels and as the rain seemed to have eased off I decided to stay exactly as I was. This was ultimately the best decision I could have made as the rain stopped almost as soon as it had started and I was dry for the whole remainder of the run.

The second loop started off going pretty well, though I was certainly tiring by the time I got to Horley. The crazy postman who was shouting at me to pick my knees up was quite amusing and gave me a little smile, but I also wanted to kick him for shouting at me 18miles into my run :-)

In the final few miles my knee really started to bug me, and it was actually sore to the touch. My pace slowed a little and I did have to walk for about 150meters whilst squeezing a gel into my gob and trying to ease my leg.

Long Run splits, doing pretty well until those last couple of miles
Nice and flat

I would almost go far enough as to say that it was probably about the furthest I have ever run. I figure that even at London Marathon last year I probably walked over 4 miles of it, making this 22mile (minus 150meters) training run the longest ever. I felt great, and I was so pleased to have finished pretty strongly too. I did not enjoy waiting in the queue at the corner shop buying bananas as my legs seized up a little.

With stretching and an ice bath my knee feels absolutely fine now, but the pain whilst running, and the pain when touching it soon after finishing is a little concerning – I will have to keep monitoring it now as I start to taper. And I really must make constant use of the foam roller over the next couple of weeks.

I think I need to reassess my training plan, as the mileage I currently have noted doesn’t seem to drop very much. The most recent advice that I have heard is to drop to 50% of max mileage in the first week. The following week you actually pick that back up to about 75% before finally doing about 25% in the final week. My longest week has been about 37 miles, but I am thinking that actually to make the maths a little easier I will round that to 40 – so in the next 3 weeks I will aim for about 20, 30 and then 10 miles in each week. I also heard that the number of runs shouldn’t necessarily change, so where I have averaged about 4-5 runs a week that is what I’ll aim for still.

I was pleased to hear recently that Milton Keynes marathon are having pacing groups – and a good number of them too. So I am setting my plan to head off in the first half of the race with the 4:15 pacing group. That is about 9:40 pacing, and should keep my legs nice and fresh for an attempt to push on from halfway. They have a sub-4 hour group, but I’d rather aim for the negative split and a comfortable run than push it too hard and start going backwards at the end. It’s not so much about a hard race effort, but rather the knowledge that a marathon doesn’t have to be as awful as last years VLM.

MK Marathon Pacing Groups

Training by numbers:
33.15 miles this week
402.13 miles this year
63.27 total hours of running
275 donuts burned
1365.1km remaining in 2012

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