Firstly let me apologise for the delay in posting, it’s been a busy couple of weeks which meant I just couldn’t find that spare bit of time needed to post.
But not to worry I back to recap the last three training weekends now…… Phew!
Week One :
The mileage has really begun to ramp up now with the next couple of weekends hitting the furthest distances I trained to in the build-up to Berlin!
Saturday – 18 Miles
Even though the mileage has increased this part of the training I decided that I would still be able to do the bulk of the mileage before getting to Parkrun. On this occasion that meant running the small matter of 15 miles just to get to a point where Parkrun covered the rest ha ha.
As with the last few weekends I decided to head out with the aim of getting to Wokingham and back again. Taking a route that went through Crowthorne on the way out before reaching Wokingham where I completed a quick, small loop (which wonderfully starts on an up slope lol). Then on the way back instead of following the same route back to Nine Mile ride that I would have normally taken, I decided to divert up to Finchampstead before making the turn towards home.
Once again the planning of the route wasn’t 100% perfect and by the time I reached Bracknell Parkrun I had run an extra half a mile.
But hey it’s all time on the legs right!
Mile Splits : 9:20, 8:38, 8:54, 9:06, 9:10, 9:11, 9:07, 9:16, 9:20, 9:09, 9:18, 9:21, 9:00, 9:06, 9:01, 4:39 (0.51 miles)
The first 15.5 miles done at 4hr marathon pace, once again too quick. I really am struggling to control the pace when running on my own. But to be honest the fact that throughout this training cycle so far the majority of the mile split times start with a 9 is a major accomplishment for me!
So with the bulk of the running completed there was only the easy matter of completing Bracknell Parkrun. By this point I had completed over 70 Parkruns in total so knew that no matter how tired my legs felt I would be able to do this!
But then I made a mistake!
I had planned the main bulk of the run to be completed with enough time for me to have a bit of a rest and catch up with friends before Parkrun started. This turned out like clockwork and I had a good 20 minutes to get in some recovery. Not bad I here you saying to yourself and at the time that was exactly what was saying in my head. But then things went a little sideways………
We were in the middle of a June heatwave (another reason to get the bulk of the miles completed early as it would be cooler) and I had completed the run with some water and an electrolyte drink (High5 Zero) in order to ensure that I didn’t suffer any ill effects out on the run. I had also packed a gel to take before starting the Parkrun. Upon arrival I managed to say hi to a few friends and then decided to get in the shade for a while have a brief sit down and replenish some more fluids. It was at this point that I managed to pretty much finish off both the rest of the water and electrolyte drink which at the time I though was okay. I took the gel about 10 minutes before the start.
With 5 minutes to go I got up and started to move around in order to keep my legs moving and reduce the chance them stiffening. I was walking through the crowd saying high to a few more friends when out of the blue I was hit with a sudden dizzy spell. This was not right and not something that I had ever experienced before so a little worrying. A short spell standing still and bending over a little seemed to clear it, but as the call to move to the start came I knew I still wasn’t 100% so knew I would need to be careful during the run.
Everyone gathered at the start and soon we were off. I had intentionally positioned myself further back than I would normally do so in order to force me to keep the pace down. The start was gentle and soon the bottle neck caused the pace to slow a little more which at that moment was more than welcome. Once the flow of the runners had cleared a bit I was starting to feel a bit more myself so managed to put a little bit more effort in and everything was going fine for the first couple of miles.
Then BAM! 2.5 miles in something wasn’t right. My legs were fine and so was my breathing but something didn’t feel quite right and soon I was walking. A short period of self-berating and I tried to run again, but this failed as well. Now by this point I had actually got to the point where I was about to lap the back marker a BFR member who I get on with. They saw me walking and checked to see how I was doing and if I was okay. I explained about the dizzy spell and the sudden feeling that had come over and said I would keep them company for a little while. So we walked and talked for a little while but soon we were coming to the final stretch for me (at least) and I decided to give running another try. This time thankfully everything seemed okay and I managed to finish the Parkrun running rather than walking. Granted it was one of the slowest times for a Parkrun (32:08) but the main thing is that I was able to finish and that I managed to complete my required miles.
Mile Splits : 10:11, 9:16, 11:57
Before the recovery of walking home I filled up the water bottle again to ensure that I was taking on fluids until I got home…..
Total Distance : 18.6 Miles
Total Time : 2:53:41
Avg Pace : 9:20
Sunday – 10 Miles
After the fun and events of Saturdays miles I was really looking for an easier run in terms of having no significant issues to report.
Very quickly it was another day with something to report and that was one thing. The weather! It was a scorcher of a day I started the run at 7.45 in the morning and the temperature was 21 degrees!
In terms of the run itself I decided to run the reverse of a route I ran a couple of weekends ago. With the heat I made sure that I ran with my hydration pack to ensure that I had water if and when I needed to take a sip. Out on the run it became bivouac that this would be a run that benefited from the occasional rest stops to take on some water. The point of the training is to get used to running on tired legs so the addition of a few stops is not going to harm the training whatsoever and on days like this. But do to the nature of the day and the heat I actively made sure that the drinks stops were done in the shade jut to make the most of the cooler areas on the route.
Mile Splits : 9:09, 8:51, 9:03, 9:08, 9:12, 9:11, 9:07, 9:24, 9:02, 9:09
Total Distance : 10.05
Total Time : 1:31:40
Avg Pace : 9:07
Week Two :
Saturday – 20 Miles
So here we are we have now reached the weekend where the Saturday long run distance reaches the point where it matches the longest run in the Berlin build up. In the weeks buildings no up to the training and during this training schedule I had been asking for advice on how best to do the long runs. Should I do them as one long run or do I split them in half and do a double run day? Friends and the running club coaches said that splitting the runs in two is probably the best bet and that the length of time between runs didn’t matter as the effect would be the same.
So ultimately the decision was made that I would split the 20 miles in to a morning run and a afternoon run. Now as has been mentioned in the blog in the past I have some interesting friends in the running club and one of them, Ula, saw a Facebook post about me questioning how to do the 20 miles and got in contact with me saying that she would happily join me for the morning run. Then of course Ula being the wonderful person she is made the suggestion of taking a trip to a local Parkrun and doing some extra miles beforehand. Well as with my training schedule so far you will notice that I have been doing a lot of my mileage before Parkrun so I said fine and the arrangements were made. We arrived and parked at the Park in question at 7.30 so we had plenty of time to complete the extra miles beforehand. I personally didn’t know the area particularly well but have friends both on Facebook and another running based website (fetcheveryone.com) who suggested running the Woodley 10k route which started and finished at the Park that hosted the Parkrun.
Before the day I took a look at the route and just rudimentarily wrote down the route in terms of which turns on to which roads on a small bit of paper that I planned to carry with me on the run. Now one of the thing that I was looking forward to was the small thing of actually running with someone else and the benefits that comes with that. Now Ula is wonderfully to run with we get on really well and always seems to find something to talk about on runs. She also active runs slower than me, now this is where the major benefit of this run lay. Finally I was able to control my pace better and kept it down to where it should be on each run. Thankfully the route, my notes and my general sense of direction allowed for a very smooth run, there was no point that I felt we were in trouble and heading to a point where we were going to get lost.
Obviously the distance of the 10k is just over 6 miles so when we got back to the park I carried on with a loop around some of the park to complete the miles.
Mile Splits : 9:40, 9:48, 9:59, 9:39, 9:41, 10:03, 8:53
It was really good to have some company on one of these training runs and I promise you I made the most of it. But the way this came about meant that there was going to be three parts to the day rather than two. Here is another issue and a poor decision on my part, I made the decision that I would give the Parkrun a bit of effort. The Woodley course is notoriously easier than Bracknell and the two other times I have run the course have both been on New Year’s Day where there is a Parkrun Double available. This meant that I have only run this course hang run some miles before hand granted not 7 miles but on all three visits I have never run it on fresh legs.
So then the Parkrun! It starts with a slight course change from the last time I ran it but now thing too complicated. Soon we get the go and I spend the first mile trying to get through the throng of people having started slightly further back than I maybe should have knowing that I wanted to give it some effort. I was soon passing people and focussing myself on keeping to a certain pace bracket it’s a 3 lap course which I have always found mentally one of the tough things on certain courses. Bushy Parkrun being a one lap is ideal as you get to focus more on you running rather than keeping track of which lap you’re on.
Anyway back to this run. The first two laps were completed with some level of comfort but beginning the third lap I was beginning to realise that the 7 miles beforehand were taking their toll. It was at this point that I I decided the overall training goal was the most important factor and so I took a small walking break at the top end of the field just to give me chance to catch a little bit of breath back. Following the short walk break a number of people passed me by but that was fine I knew that I would pass them again momentarily. Starting running again I pushed the pace again and pushed to the finish line. Crossing the finish line I stopped my watch….
Mile Splits : 7:36, 7:33, 7:53
My result a 23:24. The third time I’ve run this course and I’ve improved my time with each run. This is definitely a course that I would love to run on fresh legs and see what I can really do time wise.
Two parts of the day down and the first 10 miles completed and in a way that I wasn’t really expecting but it’s done and in the books. Now on to part two the Afternoon 10 miles.
Thankfully this was going to be the more straight forward of the 10 miles and it would be completed in one straight forward run rather than the fun of the morning. One decision I did make though was to choose a route that wasn’t even very hilly and that meant heading out on the route that takes on Nine Mile Ride and running through Crowthorne.
Having had a reasonably fully lunch I didn’t leave it too much afterwards before I went out for the afternoon. I was unused to running on a relatively full stomach as most of my runs have been done in a fasted state early in the morning. I won’t lie about this but I could definitely tell the difference the overall sensation was something that I hadn’t experienced before and I began to wonder how my running would be affected.
Thankfully early on it became clear that my pace wasn’t being affected by the new sensations I was experiencing. In total the run itself went by without too much issues but I will admit Mile 9 for whatever reason really felt hard but ultimately it was completed and the mileage for he day was done and dusted.
Mile Splits : 9:01, 9:04, 9:08, 9:08, 9:00, 9:10, 9:19, 9:19, 9:33, 9:10
Total Distance : 20.10 Miles
Total Time : 2:57:41
Avg Pace : 8:50
Sunday – 10 Miles
So today’s run really went sideways. But upon reflection I have an idea of why it did. Not the 20 miles completed yesterday I made a decision during the week that came back to haunt me today. I normally run on Thursday Mornings but due to the heat I decided to delay it 24 hrs and went out Friday Morning instead. The run wasn’t anything I don’t normally do, it was a 10k and at a comfortable pace for the session, but it took its toll. The pace may have been a touch to quick considering the mileage I had to do over the weekend. But ultimately the deed was done and if you add in the effort at Parkrun as well I only have myself to blame.
As the plan says I was due to run 10 miles, but it ended up being 10k instead. The decision to stick to a well tread route, the familiar is best when knowing that you may struggle with the run. Early on I could tell that something wasn’t completely right. Yeah the legs were feeling the effects but that is the point of this training so I was expecting nothing less.
But then after the first couple of miles there was the first signs that my knee was starting to grumble a little. Over the next mile or so it started to feel more and more as if something wasn’t 100%. So this was the moment I made the decision to cut the run short and head home. Now even a year ago I would have pushed on and completed the 10 miles just out of stubbornness. But the more I run the more I have learnt that it’s best to listen to your body. The last thing I wanted was an injury that would jeopardise the race. So heading home was the decision and that lead to a 10k distance.
I was meant to do 30 Miles over the weekend but with the 10k on Friday and the mileage completed over the weekend it meant that I had run 32 miles in total over 3 days. Miles in the legs and the same body reactions so mission accomplished.
Mile Splits : 9:21, 9:07, 9:02, 9:07, 9:07, 9:09, 2:02 (0.23 miles)
Total Distance : 6.23 Miles
Total Time : 56:54
Avg Pace : 9:08
Week Three :
Saturday – 10 Miles
I have reached the first of two ‘recovery’ weekends in the plan, where the mileage drops to 10 miles for both days. Again I planned to carry out the bulk of the miles before Parkrun. This time choosing to run a route that would incorporate the beginning of Bracknell Half route and part of the new route I have been running during the week recently.
Now because I’m me and I don’t like to make decisions that would most people would call beneficial to the long goal cause I decided to run the first part of the run (7.4 miles) without caring too much about pace.
So this meant that the struggles to keep pace down were forgotten for the run and as you’ll see there isn’t a mile time that starts with a 9 in this first part of the run.
Mile Splits : 8:39, 8:15, 8:24, 8:19, 8:26, 8:16, 8:40, 3:27 (0.38 miles)
Finishing this at the usual place and in time to rest before Parkrun started. Once again I decided that I wouldn’t be chasing any sort of fast time and would take it reasonably easy for the run. I made a bit of a early mistake by starting a little further back than I normally would do and this just meant that I got caught up in the bottleneck at the start of the first lap.
Now normally this would have been something that would have got to me but knowing the long term goal it just meant that I was forced to take it a little easier that I wanted to, but maybe that’s a good thing????
The slow start allowed me to do one other thing that can be quite rare. It allowed me to make it a progressive run with each mile being faster than the previous.
Mile Splits : 9:41, 8:52, 8:28
Another Saturday completed only 5 more to go to race day.
Total Distance : 10:48 Miles
Total Time : 1:30:13
Avg Pace : 8:36
Sunday – 10 Miles
The 10 mile run that finished being 11 miles…….
The weather was clear and warm again and during the previous day I made the decision to take a route towards Ascot. Now there is no issues with getting to Ascot as it is a straight forward thing to do. I started as I would on a normal weekday 10k run, turning towards Ascot where I would normally start to head home.
The route to Ascot takes in a couple of small inclines, including one that until I actually ran it, thought it would be a lot harder than in reality it was. Now once into Ascot I took advantage of the public access to the racecourse, specifically the section in the middle which had a tarmac route around it. This is not something that I had done before but I knew that a lot of members of BFR incorporated it into some of their runs so I thought why not?
Initinally it took a wrong turn to find the right entrance but once inside the grounds the tarmac was nice and flat which no runner will ever complain about lol. A quick run along the majority of the loop was completed before exiting the course on the far side and the start of the journey home started.
I’ve been lucky enough to have run a couple of times around this area with other club mates and it was one of the routes I ran with another Alex that I decided to take home (keeping my fingers crossed that I remembered the route lol). Before long I began to realise that the journey home would take me convincingly past the required 10 miles. Keeping an eye on the mileage I decided that I would run an extra mile just to get me that little be closer to home and would use the rest of the way as a walking warm down.
Soon enough 11 miles ticked over on my Garmin and I duly stopped it relishing the knowledge that I had a good 20 minutes walk home to warm down from the run.
The recovery weeend was over and now the mileage ramped up a notch again in the build up to race day…….
Mile Splits : 9:27, 9:03, 9:15;, 9:20, 9:13, 9:40, 9:12, 9:09, 9:05, 8:59, 9:10
Total Distance : 11 Miles
Total Time : 1:41:34
Avg Pace : 9:14