Marathon Training Wks 5 – 7: Almost (halfway) there

The Brighton Half Marathon almost perfectly coincided with the halfway point in my Marathon training, so it seemed like a good race to enter to test how well I’m doing. After my success in puncturing my thigh and ongoing pain along the bottom of my foot I was not overly confident that I’d reach the Half Marathon in particularly good shape, but had tried to keep a mix of speed, tempo and long slow runs inthese training weeks to give me the best shot of reaching the all important 8 mins a mile pace I’ll need if I’m to reach the magic 3 hours 30 minutes mark in the big one!

Week 5: Over the cold that coincided with my thigh injury, I was back to 4 runs this week, some good speed work across the hills of Forest Hill, and through Peckham Rye Park, Burgess Park and Dulwich Park led me to a long 10 mile run. The 9 mile run the pevious weekend had felt fine, but this one was sluggish and tough from mile six onward. Pains in my foot and a tight calf were worrying.

Week 6: Five runs and biggest mile count this so far: 35 across the week. Another good mix of different runs and the miracle stretch for the sole of my foot working its magic: much more confortable, much less limping! To finish it off the week before the Half Marathon a 13 mile run. Started off steady and comfortable and ready to reduce the pace when the fatigue hit later in the run. Instead I continued to feel comfortable and my pace increased over the last 5 miles of the run. Only drawback being the chill wind on the South side of Crystal Palace park blasting my knuckes and fingers. My sweat bands became ad-hoc fist warmers! 1 hour 44 for the 13 miles. Very happy.

Week 7: Reduced the number of runs to three in the run up to race day (27 miles in comparison to 35 the week before). Seemed to do the trick. Feeling much less than up-for-it, a bladder slowly becoming uncomfortable in the minutes leading up to the start, I was not looking forward to the run and expecting the success and workrate of the week before catching up with me. Instead I found myself picking off runners from the moment of crossing the start to crossing the finish line at the end. A chilly, foggy start to the day had given way to beautiful clear skies the sea front and it was a joy to run along with the sunlight glinting off of the sea. A comfortable pace increased through the second half of the race from Hove Lagoon past the Palace Pier to finish on Madeira Drive, crossing the line in 1 hour 34 minutes 23 seconds. Very happy, and a good enough time to suggest I might have a shot at under 3 hours 30 minutes for the Marathon.

Next five weeks will see an increase of 9 miles as I increase from 13 miles to 22 miles.

Current stats:

Distance: 157.92miles

Average Pace: 8:22 per mile

Calories burnt: 15701

Ascent/Descent: 4697ft/5396ft