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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.

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