Today was the real start of my training for the Snowdonia marathon at the end of October. With just 8 weeks of training ahead but a good endurance base from my recent exploits my focus will be to improve my base speed over the shorter distance.
Snowdonia is also a hilly marathon as if I had to point that out so I will also be looking at getting in some solid hill sessions in the weeks ahead too. Today though was about speed endurance which I think is my weakness element of my running. It seems I have reasonable speed at shorter distances up to 10k (37min pb in Feb), and I have endurance over the ultra events but there's definitely something missing inbetween which stops me from carrying the speed into mid/longer distance events. With that being the case I set about tackling the Leighton Tough 10 course which is hosted by our club and takes place on 2nd October.
It's all on road and takes in 6 considerable climbs along the way. That said it isn't a slow course and today was about finding out how fast I could go. I rarely race 10 miles or train at this specific distance so a PB was on the cards! My plan was to go out at 7 minute mile pace and hold this for as long as I could and if I could just nip under 1:10 that would be great.
I cycled down to the start at a local school and set off on my way. Checking my avg pace at 1/2 mile it read 6:42. Ok quite quick but I didn't intentionally slow down as a result and kept at it. I felt good and was eating up the hills with relative ease. Sipping some water every now and then, and weather was perfect for this kind of running.
Time went really quickly as i'm obviously use to being on my feet for longer on my weekend long runs. Before I knew it I was cresting the final sharp climb and bombing down the other side before a long flat stretch to the finish. My final mile was 6:00 minutes flat, and my total time 1:06.56. A 6:41 avg pace for the whole course. I was well pleased with this. Weird that my total avg was the same as it was just 1/2 mile into the run too!
I plan to do plenty more of these types of sessions in the next 8 weeks and build up the distance to 20 miles whilst keeping the speed up. Then who knows I might (just might) be capable of getting a marathon PB at snowdonia! It's a real shot as the course probably adds 15-20 mins on to a flat road marathon such as London where I posted 3:30.06 in 2010. But hey if you don't aim high you'll never know what you might be capable of.
And to sign off can I just say hats off to Kilian Jornet who absolutely nailed UTMB2011 in around 20hr40m. That's 104 miles with over 30,000 ft of climb!!! Amazing!! And to my friend Nick Ham who as I write this doing amazing well and is in the top half of the field and about 25hrs in!!! GO Nick hang in there my friend!!! :-)