Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow ...




Time is an illusion, said a great sage and writer of our times. Lunchtime doubly so.  It is also, if I recall my half-listened to science lessons at school, relative to the observers movement in space. Well, when the observer is running around Battersea Park over and over again, the observer perceives three hours as lasting approximately the same amount of time as the Byzantine Empire. Acorns grew to oaks, matured, died. Glaciers tutted impatiently. I'm pretty sure a Pinus longaeva looked pointedly at its watch. Yes, it felt like a very long run.

I wish that I could find out who the girl was who was doing the same thing, in the opposite direction. Passing her twice a lap, on a LOT of laps, she started by smilling - by a few laps in we were giving each other little cheery waves. It really boosted me. You know how it is on a very long run, when you start looking forward to the smallest things? (I distinctly remember the point during one marathon when I thought "Oh hooray! I can have a gel in a mile!" like that was an actual treat. Madness.) Anyway this became a fixed anchor on my endless loops, and I missed her when she was gone. I have, before you suggest it, tried Strava fly-bys but she doesn't seem to be there.  

Anyway, at least that longest run is done. Until the next one, anyway. The advantage of doing your long run on a Saturday morning is that it doesn't hang over you for half the weekend. The disadvantage is that you get terribly confused about what day it is for the next few days. Are we really sure it's Monday morning? 

I'm leaving on a jetplane (do know when I'll be back again) for Portland, Oregon and the home of Nike later today, so forgive the short post. Over to you - how was your weekend? Still battling that constant sandblasting wind? Share your triumphs and woes below the line as usual. 

Comments

  1. I've made it to taper! Wonderful wonderful day. Picked a fairly flat, albeit, slightly boring route for the last long run yesterday; Roker to South Shields and back twice, which included the last mile of the GNR. Would have been lovely had it not been for the wind, I've started to forget what it was like to run without battling air for some part of it. Anyway, it's done, and although this first week of taper isn't exactly feet up (66K which would have been close to my longest week before training) it's still a relief.
    I was also interested to know what people think of Strava Summit? Have been thinking about giving it a go, I don't think I have any use for the Safety part of it, but I wondered how useful the other two are.

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    1. I only joined because my new watch included 2 months free and as a trial. I then thought I would continue for another year. It started as Premium at £47.99/year. Now it's Summit which is three separate packs (Training, Safety, Analysis) which are either £18.99/year each or £47.99 for all three (i.e. as the old Premium).

      Most of the features I don't need or even use. The only one I would really miss is the Pace/Race/Workout Analysis graphic, a couple of examples here:

      https://www.strava.com/activities/1425007489/pace-analysis
      https://www.strava.com/activities/2159732976/pace-analysis

      In Summit, I'm a bit confused as to why Race and Pace Analysis are in the Training Pack, whereas Workout Analysis is in the Analysis Pack - and exactly what the difference is between them and whether it matters if you classify as Run, Race or Workout.

      Live Segments is much fun for cyclists (providing you have a device that supports them!), but I can easily live without it.

      Now, there is a free browser extension that works with Strava (called Elevate) which includes lots of analysis e.g. fitness & freshness (very similar to Training Peaks), yearly progressions (distance, time, elevation, targets), custom zones & distributions for HR, pace, cadence, gradient, altitude etc. I have this installed and it works quite well. The negatives are the custom settings are stored locally on the PC rather in the "cloud" and I don't think there's a mobile version. Also, ignore the Elevate data when looking at other's activities because it will be with reference to your custom zones (e.g. HR) and hence distorted - you can leave the extension disabled in the browser for general use if you wish. But given all this provides, there is currently less of a case for Summit.

      https://thomaschampagne.github.io/elevate/#/landing

      Overall, I don't think Strava is doing enough for the price. E.g. a true training pack should be able to give me a proper training log: I should be able to filter by month or year and see how my training hours are distributed across HR zones 1 to 5, or RPE 1 to 10 whichever I want to use. Or how about PRs for the year? They could easily include that.

      Further, they've now screwed up the mix of features between the 3 packs.

      Hence, I think I'm going to cancel when mine runs out in June, or at least downgrade to just one pack (Training or Analysis if I can work out which one gives me the best pace analysis graphic).

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    2. By the way, if you do use Elevate, there's some useful articles on Joe Friel's blog about interpreting the Fitness Trend graph, e.g. here:

      https://www.joefrielsblog.com/2015/07/part-3-training-stress-balanceso-what.html

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  2. 22 miles on Saturday (I have switched my long run to Saturday to stop it hanging over me). Struggling with mental fatigue to get myself out of the door for the long ones but only 3 weeks to go until Manchester now.

    A bit of advice please.

    I have entered into a local 10k race on Sunday (entered months ago and forgot about it). I have 15 miles on my plan (10 at MP). Should I bin it or run it (not race it) and jog the 7 miles home. I’m worried that I won’t be able to not run quicker than I sensibly ought to. Thoughts??

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    1. Do it the other way round! Run 5 miles easy, 4 at MP - then try and time it so that you then hit the startline without too much waiting around and do the race for your final stretch at MP. If you feel good at the end I don't think it'll do you any harm to finish a bit quicker, but the miles in your legs beforehand will also sort of mean you don't get carried away, I think. It also has the advantage that you REALLY feel you earnt the medal and don't have to keep on running once you hit the finish line!

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    2. I always wanted to switch to Saturdays, but with the dark nights it always messed up my week as there's only Tuesdays I can make it to the track when the lights are on. I could probably change when the clocks go back, but I've started to get friendly with the Tuesday night guys.

      For the 10K, I'd say do it as long as your confident about your discipline, your priority should be staying injury free though.

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    3. Thanks both. Kate, I did think about that but childcare/logistics make it difficult. But yes, maybe ought to try and make that work.

      Chris, yes, switching to Saturdays messes with the whole week and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I couldn’t do it every week as I’d miss my girls swimming lessons but for the last few before taper time for me it’s been worth doing. Good luck for the taper, my maranoia is setting in!

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  3. It's been a very surreal few days for us in New Zealand. At my local parkrun we held a minute silence for Christchurch, and also to pay our respects to a fellow parkrunner who had collapsed and died at the Lower Hutt parkrun in Wellington the week before. I volunteered as the tail walker and walked most of the course with a lovely bunch of newcomers from a local church's wellness group.

    On Sunday I ran the inaugural Maraetai Half Marathon along the east coast of Auckland. We held a minute silence for Christchurch just as the sun was rising for a beautiful sunrise. Our country has been wounded, but we'll be OK.

    The course itself started out along the undulating coastal walkway and road, and after the 8km point we entered Duder Regional Park for a brutal ascent up gravel paths to the trig point at the top. But what a view! Then it was a steep descent and the return leg home. It was a stinking hot and humid day, and the toughest race I've ever entered. The support crews were amazing. My highlight was a huge Maori guy with a massive afro and a bigger smile handing out drinks at the 13km mark shouting 'electric light, anyone for electric light?' Man, that electric light tasted good!

    As I entered the park we'd started from, and I spied the finishing shute, I saw I had a welcome party. My wife and elder daughter had come out to see me finish; hot, sweaty and completely knackered :-)

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    1. Cov I thought of you - and other folk/friends/family I have in New Zealand. Just indescribably awful. x

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    2. As often seems to be the case when an act like this shows the very worst of humanity, the love and compassion from our local communities, and from around the world, has shown the best of humanity.

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  4. I’m not sure what was the toughest thing in the last week, that my training schedule had the longest run and ride to be completed, or that the unrelenting gale force wind, with accompanying rain, hail and other stuff made it all feel horrible in the build up and in the execution of every outdoor activity.
    I had to try and work out the days to do a 2 hour run and a 4.5 hour bike ride due to the weather, and to a lesser extent, how my body was feeling. As a result, I opted to do the long run on Friday, the day after I’d done a Brick session (1 hour bike/40 minute run) and on legs that were pretty tired. I knew that the gale force winds were still an issue, so decided that instead of doing a circular route. I ‘d do an out run and be picked up by Mrs B 2 hours later. Whilst a significant amount of the run gave me a tail/side wind, the not insignificant times I had a headwind told me that my plan was probably the best option! I wasn’t sure what to expect given my legs didn’t feel so good, but after a nice slow warm-up I hit a comfortable pace that had me running about 8.50 per mile. If I can be anywhere near that pace for the HM at the end of the triathlon I will be delighted, so when I got to 9/10 miles I deliberately slowed down, and just tried to imagine what it might feel like on race day to be running on exhausted legs. 13.4 miles and it felt good that it had been done and that I had a rest day ahead.
    Then yesterday I had a 4.5 hour bike ride to complete, and just keeping it steady I would have expected to do at least 70 miles. Again, because of the wind, I contemplated just riding with the wind, or as much as I could, but that would have meant Mrs B having to drive a considerable distance to meet me and then sitting in the car all the way back. So it was a circular ride with lots and lots of headwind. I’m going to limit my comments to the fact that it was absolutely horrible and my legs felt like crap for most of the ride. That said, when I was close to home and realising that I’d get there having ridden for the required amount but fallen short of the distance I’d expected, I planned a detour to pick up the additional mileage to get to the magic 70. After all my legs weren’t going to hurt any more than they were.
    A slightly reduced week this week and it feels great to have come out the other side!

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    1. Enjoy your slightly reduced week Pete - definitely deserved!

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    2. You have come out the other side - congrats! It's nice when a beast is behind you, at least for a little while.

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  5. Some nice race results on Strava this weekend.
    I had the best week of running for ages. Not best because of any exceptional runs, but best because I got to do every run as I'd planned and on the day and time of day I wanted. Makes such a difference.
    A big week done, just over 55 miles and a 3h15 long run yesterday. All good.
    A mini taper week now and a half marathon race on Sunday. No idea how that will go. I had the race of my life at the same event last year. So not expecting to PB given it's not been the main target. But will be interesting to see where the legs are at.

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    1. Garioch half on Sunday, McWhirr? I'm entered too and all set - training done and in the bag - but very sadly a dear friend died last week after a long battle with ovarian cancer, and her family and friends are gathering on Mull on Saturday afternoon to say farewell. I wouldn't miss it for the world, but I won't get back east to make it to the start line in time. There will be plenty more races. Maybe I'll try a Mull half marathon on my own instead. Plenty hills to test me out and slow me down.

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  6. Having completed C25K Mrs GJ has now got the running bug. This weekend, I was invited to run a 5k with her and heard the following: "Laura Muir had better watch out, I'm coming after her" as well as: "I could definitely take Kath in a sprint finish"; and " I would have broken 30 minutes if I hadn't inhaled a leaf". To put that into context, Kath is a good friend of ours who used to run for Wales and Mrs GJ probably would have broken 30 minutes if it wasn't for a choking fit when the wind blew half a silver birch into her face.

    It's inspiring to see the enthusiasm of a "new" runner as they start achieving their goals and its nice to run together, but as our daughter commented: "you've released a monster". Laura Muir, you have been warned. Happy running, everyone.

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    1. Well done GJ. But if it all goes wrong, it's your fault!

      Hope Mrs GJ gives Laura a run for her money!

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    2. Love it, GJ! As another one new(ish) to running, I know what your daughter means!

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  7. I did a 15k race. It took me 11 minutes (or 20%) longer than last year.

    It was the first time my kids had ever seen me run past and not be in one of the leading groups (or indeed anywhere near). Positively pedestrian but they didn’t care and their happy little faces got me to the finish in more-or-less target time (I thought I could run 4.07pkm but I was a bit over 4.10).

    I could maybe have had a better time if I hadn’t done my first km in 3.40...almost 30s quicker than my target. Basically the equivalent of me running a 3.00 pre-injury. It took me from km2 to km7 to recover from that effort. Not too smart!

    To compound matters, I’d woken up the previous Friday with a ‘cricked’ neck (well, it started in my neck and went all the way to my mid-back). I’d had two sleepless nights and Sunday morning was considering not running but my physio, who was going to tape my ankle, said she’d have a go at loosening it up so I jogged slowly to see her. 25 painful minutes later I could at least ‘look both ways for traffic’ so she gave me the all clear to run (but still said I was a fool for trying). No time to tape my ankle though and taking a full deep breath was very uncomfortable. Not ideal.

    So let’s reevaluate...4.10per km, minus a couple of seconds for the high winds, 3 for the sleepless nights, say...2 for the lack of strapping and at least 1 for neck discomfort and another the breathing difficulty. And lets say another 2 for the terrible pacing...

    A revised figure of 3.59 per km! Suddenly everything seems much rosier!

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    1. My kids are FAR more impressed with the fact that I'm running London as a panda than they have ever been about times in races ;) They do tend do sort your prioirties out, them small people.
      Love the Asta maths though. On that basis I'm pretty sure I had a cracking run on Saturday. Not the crappy one my watch tells me ;)

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    2. Glad that you're getting there Asta, in a round about fashion!

      You're in good company as my neck is somewhat painful at the moment, cycling injury!

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    3. Love this positive arithmetic, I must try that reverse engineering to work out my actual pace on the challenging runs! Well done Asta, you're battling against unfavourable conditions and having personal wins.

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    4. I like the Asta maths too, but wouldn't the 15km of last year make it pre-injury? I'm sure I remember you saying you'd re-set your PBs, and stop comparing post-injury with pre-injury paces...

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    5. Very true Brussels...looking at it a different way, on Jan 5th I ran 15k@4.35pkm (plus over ten minutes of recovery breaks)...hard not to be pleased with a (minimum) 25s per km improvement in 10 weeks.

      If I can do something similar over the next 12 months I will be very happy.

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  8. A slow parkrun on account of some knee and hip pain......

    I bought some trail running shoes because to date I have been using old approach shoes that are comfortably worn in, but a bit heavy for running in. Despite not really being designed for running, they have worked well, as they are grippy and waterproof. The sole is not the most flexible, but is thick enough to soften rocky ground. The new shoes fitted well and were so much lighter. On Friday, I went for a 12.5K loop that I often walk to try them out. At about 8K, I started to get left knee and right hip pain, not enough to stop me and it eventually went away. Halfway around parkrun on Saturday it happened again. I don't run particularly fast, and have not really noticed any effect from shoes before - other than when they leak! I am left wondering if the shoes have changed my gait enough to have an effect, or whether it was really just a trail run thing, as I have not run off smooth surfaces since August last year. It could just be the effects of adjusting to uneven terrain.

    Even if it is a shoe issue, it is not a total loss, as I tried them for my MTB ride on Sunday. I ride flat pedals on all my bikes and the 'running' shoes made quite good 'cycling' shoes. Nice and light, grippy and waterproof!

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  9. I was looking forward to my long run on Sunday, drawing on the strength I had in the Big Half the week before, I thought it would be an enjoyable romp along the Thames and I pictured myself cantering along at MP (which let’s face it is comfortably slower than HMP) for up to 18 miles. I’d had 2 days off since a big run day on Thursday, so felt good to go. The reality was quite different. On paper it looked like a solid run, but I know it took far more effort than it should have, and didn’t end particularly well. I have several things I can point to which probably caused it, but it really knocked the wind out of my sails so I’m making a conscious effort to forget about it and move on.

    Next Sunday is the longest one, which will undoubtedly feel as long as the gestation period of a hamster, but I’m trying to look forward to it and erase yesterday’s shite one!

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  10. This weekend was on the gentle side of things as I came down with a cold in the middle of my recovery week after three weeks of stepping up training quite a lot (in retrospect, probably too much too soon). So a gentle flat 2 miles on saturday morning with the wind in my face to blow away cobwebs, and a technique session in London Fields Lido on Sunday morning with a swim coach to try to make the most of training without actually knackering myself. Still feeling ropey today but I'm hoping to be back on track with training by the end of the week. Moral of the story is, listen to Breezehillpete when he tells you to calm it down on the intensity if you're new and knackered. We live and learn, 8 weeks to triathlon, starting to get nervous.

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  11. Ahem. Anyone seen the PB klaxon? I didn't have any great expectations before the Bath Half marathon yesterday. I felt I was in reasonable nick and had run ok at Wokingham a few weeks back without bothering my PB but I've been carrying a weird cold for the past few days and coughing up green gubbins at various times. The aim was to go off conservatively, somewhere around 5:05/km pace, and see how things evolved.

    The first couple of kms were a bit overcrowded - the narrowest part of the course combined with, I suspect, a number of runners who were a little over optimistic with their finish time predictions. I was struggling to get any rhythm and was wondering if this was just going to be a faster training run. However, the first hill sorted a few people out and, with the course widening, things got easier and I found myself comfortable at sub 5min/km pace. The headwind was a bit sharp at times and there were a couple of longer hills but I was still feeling ok so I thought I'd go with it. It's a two lap course and it was a real relief as we turned out of the wind and started on a long flat stretch back towards the start. My watch buzzed for 10kms and I was still on a 5min average pace but the 10km marker was some way in the distance - about 300m difference between the two. Bugger, my watch was out. Ah well, I wasn't going to start chasing it at that point. Just keep up the pace and see what happens.

    On the second lap the wind and the hills were a bit more noticeable but the pace stayed consistent for the most part. Then at 15kms I was suddenly back on target - was the 10km marker out? We're still in the game here. Just keep this pace up. Stay comfortable and focused.

    10 miles for pacing, 5k for racing. 16kms - don't go mad, I don't know how much I've got left in the tank. Just start to push a little and nick a few seconds on each km.

    Then the dodgy maths took over. 18kms - I could get close to a PB here, or can I? Can't do the sums so just try to keep pushing. 19kms - all bets are off, there's too much to do. 20kms - it's on again (amazing how much easier the maths is when you don't have to do any division). 5 minutes and change to spare and still feeling strong enough. A 500m climb to come and then the denouement of the watch vs course mystery. How long will the stub be? The climb wasn't as steep as I'd been fearing, I barely lost any pace. There's the 13 mile marker. How many metres is 0.1 of a mile?

    Turning the corner with about 100m to the finish I had about 30 seconds in hand so it was all out. I felt like an unsightly mass of flailing limbs but managed to cross the line in 1:44:12 - 11 secs inside my previous best. Not bad for an old duffer.

    Looking good for the Paris Marathon in four weeks time. Just my final 32km run to come at the weekend and a 10K race the week after. Bring it on.


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  12. I am a marathoner! I made my debut at Shamrock marathon in Virginia Beach, about an 8hr drive from home. What an amazing experience. I am so proud of my achievement. I did something I didn't know I could do! I'm particularly proud of my pacing. Between miles 16-22, I had a bit of a tough time and my pace slowed. But I pulled myself back, and got close to back on pace for a final push. My mantra was, "don't listen to the brain. Let the legs do the work. Training says yes." I even made a sprint finish along the boardwalk by the ocean, past the Neptune statue. Another woman had appeared at my shoulder and we egged each other on, surging to overtake the other until we crossed the finish line almost simultaneously.

    I rang the PR bell, got my vegan cup of "Irish stew" and a beer, and now I have a 3:39:41 marathon time to beat.

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    1. It was a brilliant run, Brussels! I raised a glass in your honour last night.

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    2. Thank you so much, RRR and Mark!

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    3. An unforgettable experience and moment, huge congrats and an excellent debut time!

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    4. Congratulations Brussels! That must feel amazing!

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    5. Many congratulations Brussels, you did fantastically well! To sustain that pace for so long was mightily impressive and to be massively under 4 hours at your first attempt is just brilliant. Just think what you can now go on to achieve from this!

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    6. Amazing! I'm aiming for my first marathon this year and whilst I'll never do anything like that time, I'm much inspired by your achievement!

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    7. Congratulations. That's a great effort and now a real target to shoot at. Good luck for the next one.

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    8. Brilliant. Congratulations.

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    9. Thanks so much, everyone! I'm still riding my runner's high, two days later. RunnersAndRiders, I'm honoured. I look forward to hearing about your training and racing! My aim on Sunday was actually to do 3:30. I wanted to set a high bar for myself, even though I didn't know if I would even be able to finish. That's the time I need to be reasonably confident of a race entry to the Boston marathon. (The qualifying time for my age group is 3:35.) I'm still stoked with my result, of course! I do feel amazing, violent_runs. I am brimming with newfound confidence!

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  13. I've not posted for a while as life has got in the way. I've also only been doing fairly short, pathetic runs. But last week, for some unknown reason, I decided to make a last-minute decision to do the Coventry half marathon - which is this coming Sunday! I've not run more than 10km in the last few months so on Friday, with the fear of complete failure in mind, I set out to prove I could run further. I planned my pace, but inadvertently did my fastest ever 10km, then hit a wall (figuratively, thankfully!) and had to slow down. My overall pace on what turned out to be a 16km run was 6:02/km, including walking a couple of hills at the 13 and 14km points. That pace is about what I am aiming for with the HM, so now just to focus on not starting too quickly and not needing to walk any of it. I should probably just aim to finish it with my lack of training, but that's not quite how my mind works...
    That said, my main training is not drinking alcohol, in the hope that 10 days off will mean I am well rested. I can at least look at the health benefits for my liver if the race itself goes belly up!

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    1. I hope you're not suggesting that 10k is 'short and pathetic'! It's my version of 'marathon'....

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    2. No, 10km was the furthest I'd been for ages and remains a long run in my book. I did a measly 3km in the mega wind last week and just gave up! And other runs were longer but I was pathetic at them ;)

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    3. I just looked up the Coventry HM, it looks like a very pretty run through the countryside and finishing at the Cathedral. If you've managed to run 16km at around 6.00/km pace then you should be fine on the big day. Good luck!

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    4. Thanks, Cov Kid. I think, and hope I'm not too wrong, that it's also fairly flat... Though an anthill will feel like a mountain by the end, I'm sure.

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  14. So the Shrewsbury 10k for me this weekend. The Severn wasn't behaving itself so they changed the route. Don't know if that meant more hills but there were few and since I didn't manage to run up all of them, my time was a bit rubbish. I consoled myself with a giant bakewell tart - with cherry on top. However, two things: I was well impressed by the number of women over 60 - and 70 - who were running and nippy they were too. One of them ran it in 48 minutes. Not so impressed by the race t-shirt. Usually 10ks are too short to earn one it seems so this was my first. I got a small. It's enormous! It comes down to my knees and is plainly cut for a man. Is it really too much trouble to take women's sizes and shapes into account when manufacturing these? The finishers' medal made by Mercedes Benz weighed an absolute ton! I'm never going to find a magnet strong enough to keep it on the fridge.
    Very pretty town though and a nice way to see it.

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    1. Well done for getting through it even if it was a bit hillier than expected! Hills are my nemesis too!
      I like the idea of adding a magnet to medals for the fridge! If only i had a magnetic fridge (it's one of those with a cupboard door attached so magnets don't work on it!)...

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  15. One more thing: can anyone tell me how to set up my Mac so I can respond to this blog on my laptop? It just won't play and I don't know what to do. It will only let me post if I use my non-Mac tablet. I've asked a few people but they haven't figured it out and I hate writing this as if I'm texting - it's tiring!

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  16. Well hello all! I had a good week of training culminating in a 18k run on Saturday and the Bath Half on Sunday. Saturday’s run was good “out” but tough back as the intended faster 9k home was thwarted by a very gusty headwind.

    Sunday I was to run Bath at MP - this a week after last week’s Big Half at MP in 1:26. I set out feeling a little underdressed but the weather turned out to be ideal - some brisk wind in parts but a lovely warm sun poking through the clouds and typically enthusiastic Bath support.

    I ran based on effort rather than pace and was pleasantly surprised to run 5k splits of 20.40, 20.04, 19.40 and 20.04 before seeing some rare support from the family (who never normally come to watch me!) bring me home in 1:24:54. A touch too fast to sustain for 26 miles in Manchester shortly but a confidence boost as it felt very effortless. Need to plot Manchester pacing but am hopeful that a PB is within reach.

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  17. Ha, I had a similar experience a couple of summers ago, when I went around Regents Park again and again and again for an early evening training run. It's good recognising when someone else is doing a relatively long run in the opposite direction and you can encourage each other a bit.

    This weekend I wimped out of running an 18 mile with last 12 miles at MP session (again). In the last couple of marathon training cycles I've shifted to occasionally running long runs with 2 mile blocks at MP in the second half of the run. Yesterday I went for something different. I think the inspiration is from Charlie Spedding's autobiography. So on Sunday I did a long run with surges. I programmed my watch for a 50 minute warm-up, then two sets of decreasing intervals of 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes with equal recoveries, with a 5 minute recovery between sets - 2 hours in total, with 30 minutes of faster running. I hoped that I could hold the recoveries below 6:30m/m pace but I didn't quite manage that. Apart from 5 minutes' of intervals running up a hill, I managed to drop (uncomfortably) below 5:50m/m pace in the intervals. It was quite a good way to break up the long run, I could count down the number of tough minutes left and no interval longer than 5 minutes made it manageable. I still carried a pretty fast pace for the whole run, covering 19.3 miles in 2:01. I may have set a weekly mileage PB at 107 miles. I'm beginning to take the recovery runs seriously ;-)

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    1. I like the sound of that long run workout but I'm running out of Sundays for it, perhaps 2 weeks before race day - or is that too close? This Sunday I'll be doing endurance only.

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    2. The Spedding workout is an absolute beast and probably my favourite sharpener (it loses a little when reduced to suit a 10k race but still excellent for HM). I wouldn't advise doing it 2 weeks beforehand unless you really tone it down - Spedding himself did it more than a month out before his goal race (you can read about it here, July 8: http://bobhodge.us/running-logs/charlie-spedding/). When you consider 1) what his steady pace would have been and 2) his week before the work out, it is absolutely eye-watering.

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    3. Very interesting HD. I like his note: "This is not a session to get you fit, you have to be fit to contemplate it. It is the session, which I believe, changed me from a marathon runner to a marathon racer."

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    4. It's a great book, honest and gritty.

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    5. Paul - I can well believe that. When I do it I usually (what's usually, it's only been a few times I've felt capable/willing to attempt it) aim for total distance of around two-thirds to three-quarters of the race length and do surges of 200m, 400m, 600m at various pace increases with the 'recovery' a shade slower than target race pace. I would stress, though, that adapting it to your own ability is crucial - don't be a hero. Purely scaling down what Spedding did or DavID4238703 can do would more likely leave me on the sofa than starting line come race day.

      KYD - it's a superb book, in terms of a being enjoyable read as an (auto)biography while having worthwhile coaching advice I think it's the best I've come across.

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    6. Something weird happened, I tried to reply to kyd yesterday, but it didn't publish! Anyway - kyd, as HD says 2 weeks out from the marathon is too close, that's well and truly into the taper zone. (For me, that Sunday is a 17 mile run at off-MP - the idea is to run comfortably quickly, the pace isn't that important, being relaxed/comfortable is).

      Spedding's book is great, I think I dip back into it during every marathon taper. He makes you think about how you approach things. The other book I've been re-reading in my tapers has been the Magness/Stulberg book Peak Performance. In my view both books can really help set you up to execute well on the day.

      Adapting the session to your own paces is important. I think he mentions that his cruising pace in the session was 6m/m, clearly not something for the rest of us. It's fair to say I'm still recovering from Sunday's run. A couple of quotes that I have highlighted in the book where he discusses the session: This session was very demanding, and left me feeling tired for the next couple of days. It made me feel slightly nervous beforehand, but I always enjoyed doing it.... Racing a marathon successfully is a balancing act between discipline and freedom of expression.

      I will do this session again in future marathon cycles, but probably need to focus on putting in some endurance long runs now.

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    7. Thanks DavID,and HD, I shall look forward to incorporating it into my next one.

      'Racing a marathon successfully is a balancing act between discipline and freedom of expression.'

      What a wonderful way of putting it!

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  18. As in Cov Kid's comment above, despite the atrocity in Christchurch, most of us in NZ, saddened and shocked, continue with our lives as before.

    On Sunday, I did the monthly Honest Ten 10 km race on the Wellington waterfront. My aim for this race is always get in under 60 minutes, which I can do on about half my attempts. This time I was helped to achieve this (by 41 seconds) by a pacer. Race organisers often don't provide pacers for slower runners, and it's only recently I've realised how to make use of their service. Without a pacer, it's too easy to lose concentration and slow down.

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    Replies
    1. Good to hear from you Frances, I've been thinking about you actually. Well done on your 10km. I like using pacers when they're available. All you have to do is run and keep up!

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