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Sunday, 24 February 2013

VLM 2013 - Week 6 of 14

VLM - Week 6 of 14
Week 6 - (Mon 18/2 - Sun 24/2)

Mon: 10.0 Miles @ 8:44/mile
Tues: 6.21 Miles @ 8:32/mile
Weds: 8.0 Miles incl Dorothy Hyman 5,000m 18:36 (5:59/mile)
Thurs: 18.0 Miles @ 7:47/mile
Fri: 6.21 Miles @ 8:33/mile
Sat(am): 6.0 Miles incl. Dewsbury parkrun 18:27 (5:56, 5:50, 5:53) (2nd)
Sat(pm): 8.5 Miles incl. National XC Champs 58:13 (613th)
Sun: 15.0 Miles incl. Snake Lane 10 1:04:58 (6:30/mile)

Total Mileage: 77.9 Miles

Another week in the region of 80 miles, which I reckon is just about my sweet spot for marathon training. Any more and the following week would need to compensate, so 80 is about the most that is maintainable over a few weeks for me.

This week deliberately included a good volume of hard graft miles, 23.5 miles of tough work which is probably about double the quantity of miles that I could manage as out and out quality work.

It was very varied too comprising of flat tarmac, hilly tarmac, track racing and mud racing. Painful exfoliation was also thrown into the mix :p

So, in very rough layman's terms the VLM build up is following three phases:

a) Mileage with not much concern about anything else.
b) Mileage plus hard graft.
c) Slightly lower mileage plus speed development.

...and it is that middle stage at the moment.

Wednesday - Dorothy Hyman Winter 5,000m

The legs felt ready for the first 17:xx of the year leading into this but conditions and the way the race developed just didnt allow it.

It was a freezing night and lungs full of icy air always lead to relatively poor performances on my part. Add this to the bit of wind that was about and the fact that the race was all run in a large gap and a pretty mediocre 18:36 was the result.

Interestingly, the legs at the end didnt feel as though they had been in a race at all due to the lungs being the limiting factor.

As this was the last race in the winter series of 4 races it is appropriate to thank Gavin Felton, Dave Bennett and Keith Binney for their efforts in putting on these races, especially considering that officiating is usually done in sub zero temperatures.

Thursday Hilly 18.0 Miler

Now this was a good run :)

Probably due to the previous night's lack of speed the legs were still in good shape and therefore for roughly the same effort as the earlier comparable runs this ended up being at least 30 secs/mile quicker.

The same efforts on the same course so far in this build up have produced:

10th Jan: 18.0 Hilly Miles @ 9:28/mile, weight 74.5kg
4th Feb: 18.0 Hilly Miles @ 8:19/mile, weight 73.2kg
21st Feb: 18.0 Hilly Miles @ 7:47/mile, weight 71.6kg

Nothing wrong with that sequence :)

Saturday(am) - Dewsbury parkrun

After the 18:36 on the track on Wednesday night I was interested in seeing what the outcome would be running the same distance on a course which is accepted as being 40 secs slower.

The answer was a strong feeling 18:27, which confirmed what I was thinking about 17:xx times being back on the agenda.

A trip to Hull parkrun on 9th March has been booked in to prove the point beyond any reasonable doubt :)

I would really like to see a 16:xx time closer to VLM but one step at a time........

Saturday(pm) - National XC, Sunderland

It was quite a shock to drive from Dewsbury in dry, clear conditions and then reach the area around Durham to find a serious dumping of snow and ice.

And because the Senior Men's race at the National XC is the last race at 3pm all the snowfall had been well and truly churned into the ground to create the deepest and most extensive mud fest I have seen in one of these events.

None of the photos seem to show quite how deep the mud was but this pic of Dr Ken Fox ploughing around the course gives some idea. If you look at the runners in the background you will see how runners are completely avoiding the middle section and preferring to run a longer course instead.

 This was teammate Dave Crossley thoroughly enjoying his Saturday afternoon:

As for my own run I actually quite enjoyed it, mainly because I had no expectations at all and just came to work hard and go away with some stored up training benefit.

Even though it was difficult to get into any sort of rhythm you could find a passable route around the course that enabled you to achieve the ultimate combination of a) Staying upright and b) Moving in a forwards direction.

At least you could for MOST of the time :p

As we were just starting out on the final of three laps, I was unknowingly being closely tracked by this teammate, who was just getting ready for his attack:

Before I knew it he had shoulder barged me, causing me to go crashing down into the quagmire. As I carefully prised my winded body out of the strong suction I heard an evil laugh disappearing into the distance.

At least that is the story doing the rounds. I've no idea where the story came from.....;)

But after getting back up I was still too fast for photographer, Dawn Broom :)

And once that mud had dried on it ripped hairs out of my legs like I've never known before - I believe some people actually pay for similar experiences!!!

And this was my pacemaker from my 10 mile PB race back in 1987 trying to blag an autograph from the famous Kev Doyle:

Sunday - Snake Lane 10, Pocklington nr. York

A cold, crisp but Sunny morning for this outing involving lots of familiar faces. There wasnt even a hint of snow or mud, in complete contrast to yesterday afternoon up in the North East.

Snake Lane is undoubtedly a fast course and conditions this morning were good enough for PB chasing. But, that wasnt on my agenda, of course, after yesterday's efforts.

So I had to set my stall out for what I did want to get out of it on very tired legs.

My thinking was that if I got around at around 6:30/mile, ie roughly 2:50 marathon pace, without overly struggling, after having had a week of doing everything I could to batter the legs then that would be a satisfying outcome.

I half expected to maybe be able to run at that sort of pace for 3 or 4 miles and then have to manage a decline as the legs gave up the ghost.

It started okay with a first mile of 6:30 and a second mile of 6:30. How did that happen? But that was it in terms of checking the pace, happy in the knowledge that it was about right.

The next checking of the Garmin was at the end, which showed 1:04:58, an average of 6:30, and a halfway split of exactly 32:30!! It looked like a programmed schedule rather than actual splits but sure enough they were genuine!

So I got what I wanted out of it without straining anything but that isnt to say it was easy, in fact it was quite a grind and I was glad when it was over. But I have to be happy at just the fact that I could grind it out at the end of this week. It should produce some decent benefits in a couple of weeks.

Big performances today came from:

Jacquie Robson - Took a huge 6 minutes off her PB after sensibly avoiding the lure of the National XC yesterday while, meanwhile, hubby Alister was in the same boat as me starting on battered legs and suffered the same grinding toil as a result.

Phill Taylor - Using the same impeccable pacing skills he employed to land his 3rd place in October's Chester Marathon he delivered a negative split to take his PB down from 54:22 to around 53:19.

Rich Spooner - Another to take a hefty chunk of over a minute off his PB to clock 57:26.

John Robson (no relation to Jacqui above, or at least I dont think so!) - First time under the much sought after 60 minute barrier with a much deserved 59:45.

Which all shows that there was absolutely nothing wrong with conditions.

Next Week:

Unusually, there are no fixed elements set for this coming week, although I have a slight suspicion that there may be a parkrun at 9am on Saturday morning!

So, as a broad outline, I will be looking to get another 80ish mile in with most of the following components:

1. A 20 mile LSR
2. A 15-18 mile MLR
3. A progressive 10 Miler, finishing at around 6:00/mile or just under.
4. parkrun 5K

The order will sort itself out as the week progresses.

And in terms of VLM, it still all feels nicely on track :)

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