Week 13: 21st – 27th March

An eventful week, starting on cloud nine after a 10k PB and finishing-up with an Ultra through the Downs as storm Katie showed her face, via a trip to Edinburgh with a very unwelcome fire during the night.  The running all got completed even if it was on different days than planned, included more hills than I expected and racked up what is the highest mileage of this marathon campaign at 97.

Mon: 5M easy, Both hamstrings were grumbling a bit after yesterdays exertions, I was feeling tight but happy, to help them out I relaxed the pace on my tour of Basingstoke.

Tue am: 8M steady, In truth this was suppose to be easy but I was on top of the world mentally and my legs felt great creating the perfect conditions to bounce around Wokingham at 6:19 pace.

Tue pm: A favourite session with Overton Harriers of 3 x 3:30; 3 x 2:30; 4 x 90s.  I like this session as it was the first proper session back after a torn hamstring which makes it feel safe and secure.  Still by the end I was blowing and struggling to stay with the pace of Martin, especially the last 2 reps as the lactic really started to bite.  Pace for the blocks were 5:30 / 5:20 / 5:10 all within 2secs of the average.

Wed: Legs still tired from the day before it was time to make up for the lack of a long run from last week and crack out a much longer than usual mid week run.  I took off at OK pace but after 3 miles it was obvious this was going to be painful and a test of endurance.  The pace slowed to outside 3hr pace, I consoled myself in the knowledge it was hilly.  Having the fortune to be using this run to get use to wearing a backpack, the nearest there is to having a 4ft flag on your back, meant I had gels with me.  The gels coupled with a large slice of bloody mindedness got me through this 2hr 20min run, not my best by any means.

Thu am: This should of been hills reps but after a Fire at the Edinburgh hotel I was staying in  at 4:30am all I could manage was a 5k trot out to the coast and back.

Thu pm:  Once home I made up for the loss of the hill session with another gentle seven miler feeling jaded after long miles and little sleep…!

Good Friday: Hills it is then, I may of put them off yesterday but I cannot escape today, I picked the hilliest route from my house and headed out.  The plan was to attack each climb no matter how long, steep, short or gentle.  200m in this seemed like a mistake as I charged up hill number one, lungs burning, eyes bulging…this is why I procrastinate before a hill session.  The hills then come thick and fast only getting steeper and longer, the worst being the vertiginous ascent of plantation hill.  On the way home the one road climb up to Hannington is 2.5 miles long but not too steep and allows for some proper pace to be delivered, this is then followed by 2 short sharp steep climbs just to finish off a weary runner.  Still the session was complete, 8 miles, 10 hills and 2 sore legs.

Saturday: An easy trundle along the Thames Path from Canary Wharf to the Tower of London and return.  An enjoyable run with some cracking sights, partially spoilt by by all the weaving between buildings built up alongside the Thames that do not allow access along the banks of the river.

Easter Sunday:  The Daddy; In every marathon training plan I like to include one race distance run and today was the day.  After the Easter egg hunt I waited for the hail storm to pass, had lunch, waited, how long could I put this off?…Let’s go, the sky is blue and I could make it back before sunset now the clocks have gone forward.  The pace was a little too fast to start, the first half whistling by in 1:25.  The second half was more of a challenge including 8 consecutive miles into the wind as I entered the downs,  from mile 19 I started to curse the wind and wish for the turn. 2 miles later the course turned to have the wind behind, feeling much more comfortable I downed the gel I had carried with me and set off for home, even white hill just before Kingsclere felt easy with the strength of the wind behind me.  I staggered up the steps to my house after covering 28.4 miles, not my best route planning but it did afford me my first experience of an ultra! at an average pace of 6:57 just outside of a 3hr Marathon but pleasing as it was long, hilly and very very windy.

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