Room (for) 101
This week I ran more miles than I have ever run in a week. From Monday to Sunday, 101 miles of track, road and trails passed beneath my weary and battered feet. Coupled with the fact that there were only 167 hours this week due to the clocks going forward (no more running in the dark – great news!), this total gives me my best mile per hour average of any week; about one for every hour I’ve been awake during these 7 days.
Now, the reason I felt the need to write about this is that the recording of my weekly mileage has never required a third digit before, and I have wondered for a while now what a hundred mile week would feel like. I know it isn’t a huge achievement; the proof of the pudding is always in the eating and mileage is meaningless if it doesn’t help you go faster on race day. There are people I know who regularly hit this kind of number so it isn’t a particularly impressive feat. Any man who is anti-social enough and has a forgiving enough wife (mine is wonderful) can run high mileage if he builds up to it. However, I still feel quite pleased to have pushed myself through it.
This wasn’t really a week of junk miles either. All my ‘in between’ runs – Monday, Wednesday and Friday were run at a decent pace and I hit some good sessions too. Tuesday was a 10k time trial, run solo on the track. The most boring session in our programme, it is never easy and always requires a sizeable dip into the reserves of mental strength. I ran it in 33:06, which is a personal best. I know that you should never race in training but my ‘proper’ personal best, by which I mean run in a race, is one of my weakest and doesn’t really reflect the shape I’m in now. Wednesday was a double with a tiring day at work sandwiched between the bread of a 4 mile easy and a half marathon. I had nothing in my legs for Thursday’s 300 and 600 session with the club, but put in a decent set of reps.
I tried something new on Saturday – my South African training partner’s ‘Elana Meyer’ session, a workout used by the Olympic medallist in her marathon days. It involves doing 1200m, 5000m, 1200m, 5000m and 1200m on the track with 45 second recoveries. The idea of the session is to run the 1200s hard to build up lactic acid in the muscles and try and hit the 5ks at marathon pace or quicker. The tiredness this causes in the legs is a fairly good simulation of the last few miles of a marathon when you really do need to concentrate on keeping the pace up. I managed to hit my target splits, with the exception of the last 1200. I felt like I was wading through treacle on this one and was much slower but it didn’t matter as much, as it is really only there to stop you running the second 5k too fast.
Today’s long run was a drag. I had heavy legs and didn’t really want to push the pace and fortunately my group were more than willing to go slowly too. I normally finish a week on 80 miles, not start my long run having done that many already. It was the last one before London.
The next three weeks are taper weeks, so I’ll be having some rest days and cutting a few miles off each run. It will be a strange feeling – my body has got used to running a lot – but it should mean I am fairly fresh on the 17th April.
Training’s banked. Now I’ve just got to do the business on the day. Easier said than done.