I’ve been training hard. I’ve run two 90 mile weeks back to back and yesterday was my first rest day in 19 days. It is tiring but the experiment with higher volume seems to be working for me. The main benefit I am starting to feel is that I recover from runs so much more quickly. Often in the past it was difficult to get any quality in until late in the week because of the lingering effects of the Sunday long run. Now I feel I am running my Tuesday and Thursday track sessions at a higher intensity than I was before.
Mentally, everything seems to be falling into place for London, which is now only 54 days away. I ran a hilly 21 mile loop with my club mate Martin on Sunday and we covered the distance in 2:06, faster than my previous marathon pace and only slightly slower than my target pace. What pleased me more than my capacity to run at that pace, which I didn’t doubt given the right conditions, was my ability to push myself and stay focused for longer. Last month I blogged about the merits of doing long runs in groups compared to solo efforts, and the group long run every Sunday is really starting to pay dividends. The first of these was Sunday’s 2:06, a time that led Martin, as well as some of my American fellow runners on the Letsrun Marathon training forum, to revise his prediction downwards from 2:35 to 2:30. This does seem like a big step, given that I only broke 1:15 for the half recently. I am racing in a half marathon next weekend and then testing out my pace in a 20 mile race the following weekend. These should be good indicators of the shape I’m in.
If I can run 1:12 I will know I need to be targeting about 2:32 and will set my pace (5:48 per mile) accordingly, but if the time is closer to 1:15 then I will stick with my 2:35 pace of 5:55 per mile.
Of course everything depends on how I run on the day. I could set off too fast, I could be tripped, I could get ill or injured the week before. You can do all the training in the world and still have a bad day. I just like to think of hard training as something that reduces the probability of that happening. As the famous golfing expression goes: ‘The more I practise, the luckier I get.’