Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Marathon Family (training weeks 5-8)

A lot has happened in the running community since my last blog update. The tragic scenes at the Boston marathon of course will be etched on everyone’s minds, but the coming together of runners and supporters alike has been amazing. I’ve felt inspired these last few weeks, watching my fellow ‘crazy’ friends take part in various marathons, with many raising money for important causes. There has been Stuart Lee running 3 marathons in 3 days along the Jurassic Coast, raising money and awareness for the Brain Foundation. Then Chris Hitchman ran sub-3 hours at Boston, who fortunately was through the finish line and safe before the devastating scenes later on. Caroline Whitehouse, not content with running Paris marathon in a fantastic time, went on to run the Brighton marathon the following weekend, putting in another sub 4-hour time! Respect! There were loads of Spa Striders at the Brighton marathon – we tracked them eagerly watching each one finish – such an achievement.  Then of course the London marathon last Sunday, which we went down to watch, and enjoyed seeing all the Striders, CAACers and other friends taking part! And there was Hamburg marathon on Sunday too, where Gareth Green made his marathon debut and went sub 3 hours! The charity close to my heart, Pancreatic Cancer UK raised an incredible amount of money at the London marathon – well done to all the PCUK runners!!

Part of me is excited having seen all the amazing marathon performances taking place, part of me is thinking of all the training left ahead of me as I enter the second half of my 16-week plan for San Francisco. I guess I am lucky, that while everyone so far has trained in some tough conditions – cold, dark nights and long runs in the snow, I’ve got spring and dare I say it, summer conditions to train in!
So the last 4 weeks have been good. I’ve been following my plan, and still keeping injuries at bay, thanks to massages, foam rollers and evil core conditioning routines instilled by Ben Parkinson! I did my first 20 miler a couple of weekends ago. I had a particular pace in mind and was determined to stick to it, which I did! But I think it took slightly more out of me than I had expected and the rest of the week I felt quite fatigued, and while I still managed to cross off all of my training sessions, they were on tired legs. It’s been really great having Dan do part of my longer runs with me as he trains hard for his half marathon and half ironman.
Coventry Parkrun

Last Saturday Dan and I decided to have a go at Coventry parkrun as a tester to see how our training was going. There are currently resurfacing works going on in the War Memorial park so the route was slightly different to usual (and about 160m over 5km according to Garmin!), but it was nice to have a different course. My legs were still feeling fatigued in the warm up and I wondered how fast/slow I might be. I wanted to run sub-20 minutes as haven’t run such a time since last year. I set off at the correct pace – first kilometre in 3:50, second in 3:55. Then the legs started to protest and the later kilometres slowed. According to the Garmin I went through 5km in 19:57, though my official parkrun time was 20:29. After slight disappointment I concentrated on the fact that my training is going well and that the speed will come later…

More importantly, Dan ran a massive PB, taking his official parkrun time down to 21:25, and his Garmin at 5km telling him he’d run 20:49! Amazing! The improvements are coming so fast – I’ll be watching my back on the next one for sure!

So I’m now entering week 8 of the marathon plan, and the excitement is building!! Next tester is the Lichfield Half Marathon on 5th May, which will really tell me how training is going.

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