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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Chester Marathon - Week 3 of 10

Week 3 (Mon 13/08 - Sun 19/08)

Mon: 10.0 Miles Easy @ 8:25/mile
Tues: 7.0 Miles incl. Millenium Bridge 5K, York 17:19 (5:35/mile) [Comeback PB]
Weds: 7.0 Miles incl. Hyde Park Summer Mile 5:11 (5:11/mile) [Comeback PB]
Thurs: 18.0 Miles progressive @ 7:27/mile
Fri: 10K Easy @ 8:40/mile
Sat am: 6.0 Miles incl. Dewsbury parkrun 18:04 (1st) (5:48/mile)
Sun: 11.0 Miles incl. Birchwood 10K, 36:58 (5:56/mile)

Total Mileage: 65.2

A good strong week  this week that included  four races. It might seem a bit odd to be doing four races in a week during marathon training but I dont worry too much about the contents of any particular week, I'm more interested in looking holistically at blocks of, say, 4 weeks and seeing that each such block contains roughly the right constituent sessions in roughly the right proportions. Everything else is mere detail....

Millenium Bridge 5K, York
A bit of a saga surrounding this race. I have listed it above as 17:19 which represents a comeback PB and the fastest of 200+ 5Ks run since 2008. However, when I crossed the line I had it timed as 16:59 and that was the time that I was recorded as by the officials.

It was a stunning time but not quite out of the realms of believability. But, to cut a long story short, it appears that due to marshalling errors several groups of runners were misdirected and ended up running 100-110 metres short, worth about 20 secs. It wont be recorded as 17:19 because clearly the full 5K wasnt run but I'll keep that as a personal benchmark to get past as soon as possible.

Hyde Park Summer Mile, Leeds
This is a super event put on by Hyde Park Harriers consisting of 7 waves of about 20 runners. The entire event fits snugly into a one hour time slot so within that time you get to run your own race and support 6 others.

The aim for this was to run close to 5:10 if possible. This was based on 5:19 for the same event last year and 5:25 when we had a benchmark session back in May to see where Tom Williams was in his progress towards his sub 5 mile (he ran 5:31 in that test).

We were in wave 6 of 7 so ran the course in reverse a couple of times while watching earlier waves. It is not the easiest of miles with a long uphill middle stint that finds a lot of people out, so pacing is key. In the early stages I settled in about 10th with Tom just sitting in behind (and I suspect, John Robson also employing the same tactics).

You just have to be very patient in the early stages but as the incline started that was time to start working through the field, 10th at the bottom became 2nd at the top, and then there was just the flat last 500 metres or so to kick for home. This is where I expected Tom to start coming strong and putting his shorter distance training to good use, as we'd discussed before the race, but it didnt mean that I wasnt going to make it as hard as I could for him ;)

To see Tom's take on the race, see week 16:

The final scores were 5:10 and 5:11 so I think that was job done in terms of increasing confidence levels for a sub 5 on a flat track on Sept 8th. There was also a stonking 5:16 PB for John Robson after employing some excellent pacing tactics :)

This was the start of wave 6 (I'm in blue on the left):

And just over 5 minutes later, happy smiles from (left to right) Bartosz Lewandowski, John Robson, Tom Williams, Chris Corcoran, Steve Darby

18 Mile Progressive run
After the efforts of the previous two evenings I wasnt expecting too much from Thursday's 18 miler in terms of pace and wouldnt have been at all concerned if it had been sluggish because running decent distance on tired legs is a key part of marathon training. However, it went very well, the first 9 miles ticked by at 7:50/mile (compared to 7:55/mile a week earlier) but then the progressive last 9 miles were covered at an average 7:04/mile (compared to 7:33/mile a week earlier). The last few miles were solidly under sub 3 pace without feeling that I was making the legs do something they werent happy with. A good session.

Dewsbury parkrun
Dewsbury parkrun was the place for one of the big significant parkrun milestones this week as Chris Cowell returned to his town of birth to clock up his 100th different parkrun venue, the first ever parkrunner to achieve this (Chris is in the middle in black holding the finish sign):

The run itself went very well. I have completed Dewsbury twice before, 18:38 at the pre-launch test run and 18:24 at the inaugural event. So it was nice to get round a tough course like this in 18:04, which confirmed the 17:20 fitness suggested earlier in the week.

Birchwood 10K
This was entered as a last minute thing but I was looking forward to it as maybe a chance for a 3rd comeback PB in the week after how lively the legs felt at Dewsbury. The time to beat was 36:19 and it looked entirely possible as the race unfolded but a bit more twistiness and a bit more hilliness in the 2nd half meant that an increase in effort resulted in roughly even pacing. Most people seemed to be about a minute down on what they might expect on a perfect course in perfect conditions so nothing at all wrong with a 36:58 for the 4th race of the week.

Next Week........
With roughly 140 miles completed in the last two weeks it might appear that the mileage is a little on the low side for the task at hand. However, next week is likely to be the highest mileage week EVER, possibly as high as 120 miles if everything goes to plan. So holistically, as I mentioned earlier, over a 4 week period the total mileage is likely to be healthy enough..

So what will the week involve?

On Tuesday there will be a first ever attempt at 800 metres on the track at Stretford.

And then on Friday & Saturday comes the big Yorkshire 20:20 Challenge. This will be an attempt to repeat the brilliant experience of last December when all 10 Yorkshire parkruns were completed in one day. That is on Friday.......and then on Saturday we're going to do it all again :)

There are currently 18 Yorkshire parkruns so 2 will be run twice. With bits of warm up etc this will involve running something like 70 miles over the two days.

I will be looking to do maybe the last 3 on each day at sub 20 to replicate the trying to inject a bit of speed on tired legs at the end of a marathon but, amazingly, Simon Newton (the man who ran all 7 legs of The Longest parkrun in sub 20:00) is going to be attempting to run all 20 parkruns at sub 20:00. This seems almost impossible to me but I wouldnt rule it out having seen his previous exploits.

If anyone wants to join us for one or more legs, John Broom has put together the following schedules :

Friday 24th August:

05:30-06:00 Pontefract
06:45-07:30 York
07:50-08:30 Hull
09:50-10:30 Sewerby
13:00-13:40 Redcar
14:10-14:50 Middlesbrough Albert Park
15:10-15:50 Tees Barrage
16:20-17:00 Stewart Park
18:30-19:10 Harrogate
20:10-20:40 York (2)

Saturday 25th August:

06:15-06:45 Barnsley
07:15-08:00 Concord
08:30-09:30 Graves
10:00-10:45 Hallam
11:45-12:30 Huddersfield
13:00-13:45 Dewsbury
14:30-15:15 Leeds
16:00-16:45 Bradford
17:30-18:15 Roundhay
18:45-19:30 Leeds (2)

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