Total Pageviews

Monday, 23 February 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 3 of 12)

Week 3 of 12 

3 weeks down, 9 to go .........

Week 3 involved working away from home down in Kent. The midweek runs were either in Victoria Park in Ashford or on the country lanes around Battle in East Sussex and as usual were all relaxed efforts in the region of 8:30/mile.

The weekend was the chance to see how much toll last Sunday's tough 30k had taken on the ageing legs. There were two efforts, a trip to a scenic Rother Valley parkrun on Saturday and then over to North Wales for a 10 mile effort at midday on Sunday.

Week 3 (Mon 16th Feb - Sun 22nd Feb)

Mon 16th Feb: 10.0 Miles @ 8:33/mile
Tues 17th Feb: 0.45 Miles 
Weds 18th Feb: 10.0 Miles @ 8:20/mile
Thurs 19th Feb: 6.21 Miles @ 8:01/mile
Thurs 19th Feb: 10.0 Miles @ 8:18/mile
Fri 20th Feb: 3.1 Miles @ 8:27/mile
Fri 20th Feb: 6.21 Miles @ 8:58/mile
Sat 21st Feb: 4.0 Miles (incl Rother Valley parkrun 18:15 (3.1 miles @ 5:52/mile)
Sat 21st Feb: 8.0 Miles @ 8:38/mile
Sun 22nd Feb: 11.0 Miles (incl. Rhyl 10 Miles 1:00:38 (13th) (10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile))
Sun 22nd Feb: 4.0 Miles @ 8:34/mile

Total Weekly Mileage: 72.97 Miles

Sat 21st Feb - Rother Valley parkrun 18:15 (5:52/mile)

As can be seen from the pics, the venue was very inviting for a 5K effort before breakfast, a bit sloppy in the second half but overall a run which felt controlled and strong considering the previous 7 days.

Sunday 22nd Feb - Rhyl 10 Miles 1:00:38 (6:04/mile)

The forecast for Sunday had been indicating conditions likely to be wet and very windy, with possibly 25mph gusts along the sea front.

In itself wind isn't really a problem (as long as you can actually stand up and move in a forwards direction) as an equivalent effort should lead to roughly the same training benefit regardless of the time outcome.

As it turned out, the really strong winds held off until mid afternoon, which was sufficient to fit the race (12pm start) in during a window of reasonable conditions although a headwind on the way back certainly slowed things down a little.

The pics below give a hint to how chilly it was on the Rhyll sea front. 

The race itself was very satisfying, mainly because it suggested that last week's 30K had been recovered from pretty swiftly. Even on fresh legs in ideal conditions something around 60 minutes would have been at the top end of expectations, so there was nothing wrong with 1:00:38 yesterday :)

Hannah had been unlikely to run this race at all due to a pretty nasty virus lurking around for the last 7-10 days and with that in mind getting to the start line was achievement enough. To then go on to win in a time of 1:02:50 was close to remarkable!

So after three weeks, what could be considered to be the 'marathon building blocks' have started as well as could be reasonably expected with :

15th Feb: 18.6 miles @ 6:16/mile
22nd Feb: 10.0 miles @ 6:04/mile

Leading into week 4, which will culminate in an attempt at a fast 5K on Saturday evening followed by another trip to North Wales for the Anglesey Half Marathon on Sunday.

So far so good on the windy (as in not straight as opposed to draughty!) road to Blackheath on April 26th.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

London Marathon 2015 (Week 2 of 12)

Week 2 of 12:

So onto week 2 and the theme of this week was the difficulty in finding windows of time to fit runs into!

As a result there was just a single run on each of the weekdays, which isn't ideal but overall it was still a decent mileage week at 73.5 miles.

Continuing along the normal theme, all midweek runs were just relaxed 8-9 mins/mile runs and then the weekend contained a couple of runs at a bit swifter pace:

Week 2 (Mon 9th Feb - Sun 15th Feb)

Mon 9th Feb: 8.0 Miles @ 8:31/mile
Tues 10th Feb: 10.0 Miles @ 8:36/mile
Weds 11th Feb: 10.0 Miles @ 8:30/mile 
Thurs 12th Feb: 6.21 Miles @ 8:33/mile
Fri 13th Feb: 8.0 Miles @ 8:25/mile
Sat 14th Feb: 4.0 Miles incl. Widnes parkrun 17:55 (3.1 miles @ 5:46/mile)
Sat 14th Feb: 6.21 Miles @ 8:24/mile
Sun 15th Feb: 19.0 Miles incl. Stamford Valentines 30K (19th) 1:57:07 (18.63 miles @ 6:16/mile)
Sun 15th Feb: 3.1 Miles @ 8:33/mile

Total Weekly Mileage: 73.52 Miles

Sat 14th Feb - Widnes parkrun (17:55)

Widnes is a gem of a course for people like me who take ages to get going again each time they lose momentum. It is a 3 and a bit lapper which flows well on smooth wide paths.

The run itself felt quite perky for the first two laps but then became a bit laboured on the 3rd lap, which is not at all unexpected in the middle of higher mileage weeks. It was encouraging to get back into sub 18 shape at this stage anyway.

Meanwhile, Hannah was closing relentlessly on the final lap to record an 18:08, her second fastest ever parkrun so the mileage isn't doing her too much harm either :)

Sun 15th Feb - Stamford Valentines 30k

This is a tough unforgiving race with it's constant undulations around the Lincolnshire countryside. Yes, a lot of Lincolnshire is pan flat but not in the Stamford area, someone forgot to iron this particular bit!

Having run 2:03 at this event in 2014 and having suffered due to poor pacing after assuming it was going to be flat, I was determined to use last year's memory to run a more sensible race this time around.

The race had an unusual (if not unique) lead vehicle:

At 10k I was hoping that, for the effort level put in, ie strong but controlled, a time somewhere in the 40:00-41:00 region would be about right. It was actually 39:19 and things were feeling good.

So onto the second 10k and the legs seemed to be enjoying the hills rather than struggling on them. Through the halfway point at 15k in 58:39 was a bit of a surprise since 60 minutes at 15k would be 2:48:xx marathon pace. Still feeling good so time to get stuck into the second half.

At 17k there was a bit of a heart stopper as we ran down a lane which was tree lined on both sides. With no warning a stag with an impressive set of antlers burst out of the hedges to the right not far in front of me. You might expect such things in Richmond Park but this was totally out of the blue.

20k was passed in 1:17:38, so the second 10k had taken 38:19. A bit quick?

The kilometre markers in the final 10k seemed to tick off pretty quickly, it was very pleasing to be passing points that involved lots of suffering last year whilst still feeling connected to my limbs and not blowing out of the exhaust pipe too badly :)

Through the finish in 1:57:08 which equates to 18.63 miles at just under 2:45 marathon pace. That certainly wasn't expected at the start of the day, especially on this course.

Hannah also had a cracker with 2:02:15 or about 2:51 marathon pace for 2nd place. This compares to 2:13 for this same event last year.

As a novelty element to this race, there is a 'couples' competition based on combined times. It turns out that Hannah and myself ended up 2nd. This was a nice bonus as the prize involved a box of chocolates but, more surprisingly, there was also some beer tokens handed over too to go with Hannah's booty for her 2nd place. A nice day all round :)

10 weeks to go to London now and next on the list of 'lots of races at a wide range of distances' is next Sunday's Rhyl 10 Miles.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

VMLM 2015 (Week 1 of 12)

After a few requests to start blogging again (apparently one or two people actually read it ;) ) it seemed appropriate to get stuck into the next 12 week marathon build up.

So, there is now 12 weeks (including the one just ended) to the 2015 Virgin London Marathon on Sunday 26th April.

What has happened since the last blogged marathon (Dublin Oct 2014)?

Well, there was actually another unblogged, and very unexpected, marathon a mere 6 days after Dublin. It wasn't my idea :p

It all came down to the persuasive powers of the persistent Oldroyd girl. On the Thursday (ie just 3 days after Dublin) she noticed that it was the Town Moor Marathon at Newcastle that Sunday. I, of course, responded like any rational person would and said "no f*^@**ing chance". 

Fast forward three more days and there we were lined up on the start line of the Town Moor Marathon!!!

To be fair, I had warmed to the idea simply because it was a 5 lap course, which meant that if, as expected, the legs fell off at some point it would never be too far from a convenient dropping out point. And it would also be an interesting experiment to see just how the legs could perform in their third marathon in 3 weeks, a complete journey into the unknown.

As the race got under way caution was the order of the day settling into about 12th-15th place early on. About half a lap in the legs started to feel surprisingly up for the challenge and were feeling comfortable with 6:30-6:40 miles. So much so that by the 3 mile mark I had joined the 2 leaders. It seemed to me that this was the pace that felt most efficient and if I had to call it a day after 3 laps at this sort of pace (15 miles) then that would be quite a good run.

That is pretty much what happened for the first 3 laps, a constant effort which generated a pace averaging 6:30-6:40. At this stage the legs were feeling tired and I could quite happily have sat down and enjoyed a Guinness feeling pretty satisfied. However, very unexpectedly I was actually leading with a comfortable gap to 2nd. The thought of dropping out after 3 laps had somehow now become 'might as well do another lap and see if things still look interesting'.

It's funny how the legs can perk up when leading! The 4th lap seemed to pass in no time. It was now getting really hard but, on the other hand, the lead had grown to probably 3-4 minutes, so holding on for the final 5 mile lap seemed well worth the effort. 

It is only a small marathon but nonetheless 48 year olds don't often get these experiences :)

Hannah also felt that it was something of a struggle being her 3rd marathon in 3 weeks but nevertheless gritted it out for 1st place :)

Recent Marathon Record

2009 April - Blackpool Marathon 3:24:17 (Age 42)
2009 September - Fleetwood Marathon DNF (Age 43)
2010 October - Amsterdam Marathon 3:04:27 (Age 44)
2010 November - Milton Keynes Track Marathon DNF (Age 44)
2011 April - London Marathon 3:18:30 (Age 44)
2012 April - London Marathon 2:57:04 (Age 45)
2012 October - Chester 2:55:36 (Age 46)
2013 April - London Marathon 3:11:29 (Age 46)
2013 June - Cork Marathon 3:06:19 (Age 47)
2013 October - Budapest Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 47)
2013 December - Lancaster Marathon 2:54:17 (Age 47) (1st)
2013 December - Pisa Marathon 2:54:09 (Age 47)
2014 April - Manchester Marathon 2:51:52 (Age 47)
2014 April - London Marathon 2:57:52 (Age 47)
2014 June - Rhyl Marathon 2:58:24 (Age 48)
2014 October - Yorkshire Marathon 2:47:34 (Age 48)
2014 October - Dublin Marathon 2:58:53 (Age 48)
2014 November - Town Moor Marathon 2:54:56 (Age 48) (1st)

2015 April - London Marathon ??:??:?? (Age 48)

London Marathon Target

As always, the approach will be to get to the start line in good shape and then run the race to feel. Whatever comes out of the other end will be the sum total of a whole host of constituent factors, many of which are controlled by mysterious forces!

However, having said that, it would feel like a big achievement if one of the 2015 marathons (there will probably be 4-6 throughout the year) beats the 2:47:34 of last October's Yorkshire Marathon and it would be even more satisfying if one dipped under 2:45:00. We shall see .........

Regardless of the actual time, the target, as always, is to have a cracking afternoon in The Red Lion on Whitehall listening to everyone's stories of their days. Last year we were still there at 10pm :)

This was mid afternoon last year with fellow VLMers

Tony Hazell. Simon Brass, Jonny and Nicki Cartwright, Hannah Oldroyd, Helen Barber

The Plan

As with previous build ups the plan is to keep things simple and relaxed. This means a good volume of slow mileage with no particular interest in what the actual pace is, just that it is relaxed. In practice this usually means that the bulk of mileage will be somewhere in the range 8:00-9:00/mile.

The other main ingredient is to race regularly with the emphasis on varying the distances from 5k - Marathon. So, even though this is a 12 week build up to London there will be another marathon, and possibly two, in the meantime along with races at 20 miles, 30k, 2 x HMs, 2 x 10 miles and plenty shorter races/parkruns.

The basic principle of 'run plenty miles and run a few of them a bit quicker' is complicated enough for me and has provided some brilliantly enjoyable experiences over the last couple of years.

Some people may think that this is very unscientific and probably sub optimal. They may well be correct but it really doesn't matter, what does matter is that it is a thoroughly enjoyable way to get a lot of varied and memorable experiences from this running lark :)

So here we go with week 1:

Week 1 of 12 (Mon 2/2 - Sun 8/2)

Mon 2/2 - 10.0 miles @ 9:04/mile
Tues 3/2 - 4.0 miles @ 8:26/mile
Tues 3/2 - 6.21 miles @ 8:43/mile
Weds 4/2 - 10.0 miles @ 8:48/mile
Thurs 5/2 - 6.0 miles @ 8:06/mile 
Thurs 5/2 - 4.0 miles @ 9:11/mile
Fri 6/2 - 10.0 miles @ 8:30/mile
Sat 7/2 - 4.0 miles incl Temple Newsam parkrun (3.1 miles @ 5:56/mile)
Sat 7/2 - 8.0 miles @ 8:26/mile
Sun 8/2 - 3.1 miles @ 9:31/mile
Sun 8/2 - 12.3 miles @ 8:37/mile.      Total 77.61 Miles

Sunday's runs were sandwiched around a spot of volunteering at Temple Newsam Junior parkrun in the company of the legends that are Ronnie Bray and Dave Williamson:

The 2nd run of the day involved Hannah getting a little distracted by a couple of furry friends:

Next Week

It should look fairly similar next week but will culminate in a 30k race at Stamford on Sunday. It will probably also be a carb depletion week.