Saturday, 13 February 2010

I'm finally off and running

Its been a while since my last post which was after the Ultra45 race on 23rd January. I guess from this I can ascertain that it has taken 3 weeks to fully recover which is about right. I've continued to train for the london marathon following the Ultra45 but my weekly mileage has been low. The last three weeks have been 15m, 26m, 31m so very low by london standards but this doesn't matter because I've got a high endurance base to work from so my training plan this time round is not about stacking up the miles but focusing on 3-4 quality runs per week.

And i'm keeping a lid on the length of my weekly long run too focusing on speed over distance to help increase my speed endurance. This was recommended my Liz Yelling herself who offered me advice on the Runners World forum, and it certainly appears to be working :-)

I had an absolute storming session this morning. Whereas I would normally run 20+ miles and keep ticking over, I instead run 15miles last week, this week and will do the same next week.
I was up at the crack of dawn to pound down the grand union canal. My goal to run at 8 minute miles (marathon pace) from start to finish. I tried this last week but it didn't quite happen for whatever reason. I felt laboured, and unfit and wasn't sure if I was even going to be capable of a sub 3:30 at london.

Today though was a different story. I felt stronger and ran faster and faster as the miles wore on. The garmin splits tell the whole story. 8.37; 8.01; 7.49; 7.51; 7.42; 7.51; 7.42; 7.36; 7.21; 7.27; 7.29; 7.20; 7.22; 7.23; 7.11. An avg pace of 7:38 for the 15 miles.

I haven't run that well for ages and am well chuffed with the pacing. So what can I learn from this that I can apply to other runs in the lead up to London? The fact that I only ran twice during the week (16.5 miles), plus two gym sessions has a lot to do with it. So I wasn't feeling drained and had lots of energy. And I didn't hang around either in my mid week club run. That was an 11 miler with a sub 8 m/m avg pace. The first 5 miles I was running at 8:30 - 9's and then upped the effort levels running 7's.

So unsurprisingly perhaps its about quality NOT quantity (didn't we always know this!?) Many don't. There will be 1000's of runners out there right now preparing for London with only one thing in their mind which is to run as many miles as possible perhaps running 50, 60, 70 mile weeks. Its madness really. A 30-40 mile week made up of 3 or 4 quality runs is just the ticket and will hopefully see me go sub 3:30 on 26th April. Of course there is the small matter of my 12hr ultra race 5 weeks out from London but I think that as long as I recover properly I should be fit and raring to go. Game on :-)


  1. I agree on quality for improving marathon times. No point in doing 9-10min/miles for a 3:30 attempt is my thought. Bit like the FIRST program my pref is to run close to marathon pace for the 20's, sub pace for the 10-15's, and long rep speedwork or long tempo for the speedwork. But I do reckon high reps for the speed work (e.g. over 6 x 1m), what do you have on your program?

    Having said that I've not quite found the formula for success of late, no 3:30 for me at last attempt despite being well under 8's for the 12-15's I'd do between slower 20 weeks. Having said that I had a shocking workload on pre-FLM last year and just couldn't hold the 8 pace beyond 19m, especially when I started cramping!

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  3. But I'm doing the opposite with long runs coming up to my next off-road ultra's. All slow.... but probably still faster than the pace I'll go at on the day. I'm still doing long rep speedwork sessions with club once a week to keep my eye in.

  4. Stuza - that is some complicated shizzle!! Fair play dude, keep on running buddy!!

  5. hey danny. another good run today too. 10 miles at 7:12 avg pace. this was on muddy trails and some hills so speed is there. If it wasn't for london I wouldn't be running such speeds. as you say for ultras its all about Looooong slooooow runs so what you are doing in prep for Hardmoors is spot on! got intervals tomorrow... 4 x 1m @ sub 6. they wil hurt! :-O