Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Finished my first 2015 marathon I'm really really pleased

A longer review post will follow shortly about the goings on over the weekend in in Berlin and without giving away too much of what happened I finished in 4:44.24. It was not as fast as I'd hoped but in every other respect it was awesome :-D

It should serve now as a good platform for marathon number two of 2015 in 3 weekends time... the inaugural Bristol-to-Bath marathon. If you'd like to get behind my running madness and support a wonderful charity please visit my JustGiving page at - https://www.justgiving.com/Berlin-Bristol-Bath

With the Virgin Money London Marathon ballot results due out next week I have already decided to try and extend my fundraising challenge through to that event if I get a spot (so I'm crossing my fingers even harder this year!).

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tired but happy: signs of training progress and marathon day getting closer

Monday is a rest day in the training plan that I have doing my best to follow, so yesterday was a rest and it felt great. Not great because I had a day off, no it was great because my legs felt happy and like they could do running again the day after my double runs of the Cardiff10k / 2 hour long run (back-to-back). The proof of this apparent training progress will come tonight when I try a cheeky pacy 9 km with my running buddy.

With Berlin drawing closer and closer I really do hope this new found consistency of training pays off. Speaking of which I had my email confirmation details for picking up my race pack this morning... this sh!t is getting real... I am so looking forward to the event now. The excitement is really taking hold!!

I am running two marathons in a month for DiabetesUK - the Berlin marathon and then the Britol-to-Bath marathon - please, if you can support my double marathon madness at my JustGiving charity page.

Friday, September 04, 2015

One of 'those' runs - happy legs!

Last night I experienced one of 'those' runs, one that I always hope will happen when I press 'start' on my watch. It was a good run, a run where I thought "hmm, I can run". The truth of it is that after running 4 times on holiday the journey home and return to work stopped me running again for 5 days. The result of the lay off was a 'happy legs' run - 4 km of near 5 km PB pace followed by a comfortable 6 km at just over target marathon pace, followed by a recovery where my body didn't feel like it had just been smacked about with a cricket bat.

These guys have some very happy 'happy legs'
[image found on flickr posted by slalit]

The term "happy legs" is not my own it owes its origins with my physio Leon. I think he defines it as the phenomenon of setting out for a run after a rest and finding your legs want to go fast. In the settings when he has used the term it usually leads to an athlete over doing the session (for example, over cooking the first half of a marathon after a good taper period). I have in the past fallen into the overdoing it category but happily last night I sort of saw it coming, enjoyed it for what it was, and was sure to split the run into the running free bit and the big step down in pace bit.

As it turned out my feet were not all that happy this morning, but I hope to rest them a little bit now before the 3 hour long run on Sunday (my last big one before Berlin). I know this last long run is mostly about learning to handle the fatigue of the last 10 km of the 42.2 and I am hoping it will go well. The first 10km will be done during the Cardiff 10k race (my sort of marathon mass start practice) and the following couple of hours will be spent working out just what paces to think about for marathon day.

I am running two marathons in a month for DiabetesUK - support my marathon madness at https://www.justgiving.com/Berlin-Bristol-Bath

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Holiday running

Just got back from holiday, and I am feeling good because it all went really well and everyone had a good time. I managed to run four times in ten days, and on top of that actually managed to lose bulk rather than gaining bulk from holiday eating (and I still enjoyed all of the usual holiday 'treat' foods).

We holidayed in France, as we do fairly regularly, travelling down through the country to a different destination as we do without fail. This was the second french holiday where I have done a decent amount of running, I blogged about my first attempts back in 2013 - My French adventures with training.

For me it was a high mileage week and actually felt very good. Some of the runs were before breakfast, not through any design and more due to time pressures I 'enjoyed' running in a 'fasted' state (oh, how my body complained). The reason I was trying to maintain a good number of runs was of course because I have the Berlin marathon coming up on my radar. It is now just crept under the month to go and three weeks remain, so I couldn't set aside my runs during my holiday as I have my biggest long run coming this weekend and I would have struggled with that.
Rolling farm land and blue blue skies
Rubbish picture but shows the fierce sunshine
Melting, I'm melting... and about to collapse in a sweaty heap (!)

The scenery was fabulous and the facilities where we were staying made the 'job' of getting the runs done nice and simple (washing machine, great shower,... patio to collapse on and recover for five minutes after each effort). In fact facilities were so good I got to pick and eat fresh grapes from the vine, which tasted sublime. I ran in the mornings where I could to avoid the 34 degrees Celsius peak afternoon temperatures, and managed to find a couple of routes that didn't have over keen farm-yard dogs on duty (always a bit of a risk in rural spots I have discovered).

Mentally running on holiday was very liberating and let my mind escape the 'usual' routes of home where to be fair I probably don't appreciate the scenery quite enough. From here now I can take on the rest of my training and the challenge of two marathons in a month with a bit of fresh gusto...

Some numbers for August - 
Runs - 13 (14 - if you count the calendar month instead of full weeks of the month)
Total Distance - 166.3 km
Weekly distances - 47.4 km, 51 km, 17.3 km, 50.6 km

I am aware that these aren't stellar numbers however there has only been one month in my GPS records where I have run further in a month and that was in the build up to my first Berlin marathon. I could only hope that that is a good sign for this coming Berlin attempt.

Almost forgot the other great number from August from our 10 day holiday... 2 lb lost (!) - while on holiday, while eating great french food, while eating french patisserie for breakfast... simply a great surprise to come home and discover.