World 100km Training – Week 6 including Great South Run

Mon – 7.1 miles with Martin Yelling (7:26m/m)
Tue – AM 10 miles (6:26m/m) PM 6 miles (6:18m/m)
Wed – 33.8 miles over the Purbecks (7:16m/m)
Thu – REST
Fri – 8.4 miles with Andy Vernon (7:13m/m)
Sat – 6 miles (6:16m/m)
Sun – AM 16 miles incl GSR (26th – 51:48) PM 10 miles Progressive (6:10m/m)

Total Mileage – 97.26 miles (6:46m/m)

Well that doesn’t look right!! I think we will refer to this week as a bit of a “hiccup”….. a distinct absence of the planned 50 miler, an unplanned rest day and a serious lack of mileage. Whoops!

So Wednesday was meant to be my longest run of the build-up with a time on feet 50 miler over the Purbecks. The conditions were pretty good but unfortunately my body was not! I knew things were not going well once I started having stomach issues at 15 miles and then my legs went at 20 miles even though I was running at 7min/mile pace. After dragging my sorry arse round the 17 mile loop for the 2nd time and at one point considering thumbing a lift back I decided to bin the 3rd lap as it was going to do me no favours whatsoever.
After the tough run at Birmingham and then the failed long run I have to consider the fact that I have overdone it and crossed a line. I felt fine within myself and my resting heart rate is behaving itself but the running was far from easy. In an attempt to sort myself out before the Great South yesterday I took it very easy over the next 3 days and only did 14 easy miles before Sunday’s race.

For the second week in a row I was looked after very well by the Great Run team, tried to remain cool and causal while sharing a room with the legend that is Andy Vernon and then pretended I wasn’t out of place when I was a guest at the pre race event on Saturday night when grouped with Mike Shelley, Jo Pavey and Andy Vernon!
We even got entertained by the Royal Marine’s Corps of Drums who were pretty damn good!
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So to the race itself…. having had a few easy days and not really knowing what my body was up to I wanted to go out reasonably hard (for me!) and see how I held up. Even though I knew I wasn’t in 50min shape I tried to maintain just under 5m/m for as long as I could and then see what happened.
The field was stacked from a Brit perspective with quality runners and I found myself running with Gareth Raven (Super Vet!) and Paul Whittaker. I have to say the support I was getting was absolutely superb, it was almost embarrassing how many “Go Steve” shouts I was getting and god knows what Gareth and Paul thought of all the attention I was getting – unfortunately I was already working very hard trying to maintain my 5min miles and so found it hard to acknowledge anyone!
After around 4 miles I started to drop off the pace and had to let Paul and Gareth go and then it was all about digging in and not slowing too much. I had a few slower miles but was happy to be holding it together still at mile 8 with a 5:05. The last 2 miles into the wind were tough but not disastrous with the slowest being mile 10 at just under 5:30 pace. At around mile 9 I came along side friend Tom Payn and went past him but I was pretty certain it was going to be a bit of a lost cause staying ahead of him at the end with his shorter track speed. Tom knows me well enough to know he isn’t going to have much of a fight on his hands in a sprint finish and gave me a nice cheeky grin as he cruised past me down the finishing straight!
So 51:48 for 26th place. If I was in the shape I would have liked to be by now then I was really looking for a sub 51 and should have been fighting with Gareth for the top Vet spot but in the big scheme of things it is not a disaster.

Me post race with my “roomie” Andy Vernon.

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So the biggest concern coming out of this week was my lack of 50 miler, not the end of the world and I won’t be trying to squeeze it in anywhere now but it means the significance of this weeks tarmac flat 40 miler has increased.
The plan is to start it at 6:30 pace and finish around 100km PB pace. (6:06m/m) In an attempt to mentally get focused and in the right zone I’m going to do what I do best and run round in small circles in the form of my local village green road loop which is 0.4 miles long. A quick bit of maths will confirm it means an OCD pleasing 100 laps. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it Wednesday or Thursday yet and it will depend on how Im feeling on the day, I need this run to be successful.

Catch you next week, hopefully with good news!

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World 100km Training – Week 5 including Birmingham Half

Mon – AM 6 miles (6:25m/m) PM 10 miles (6:12m/m)
Tue – AM 10 miles (5:52m/m) PM 6 miles (6:22m/m)
Wed – 26.21 miles (5:58m/m)
Thu – 35 miles over the Purbecks (6:57m/m)
Fri – AM 6 miles (6:42m/m) PM 6.21 miles on Hotel Treadmill (6:14m/m)
Sat – 6.21 miles on Hotel Treadmill (6:08m/m)
Sun – AM 15.6 miles incl Birmingham 1/2 (10th – 70:19) PM 10 miles (6:27m/m)

Total Mileage – 137.4 miles (6:20m/m)

A game of two halves this week…..very happy with the back to back long runs on Wednesday and Thursday but not so pleased with the half marathon yesterday – there may be a connection there ;-)

Wednesday’s flat marathon was around 9min faster than last week with a 2:36 for what felt like a similar effort so that was pleasing. Thursday’s Purbeck run was also considerably faster as well just dipping under 7m/m pace for the whole run. The legs were just as tired this week but the conditions were considerably better with no hurricane winds so that made quite a big difference.
With these midweek improvements I was hopeful of a good run out at Birmingham at the weekend but it appears the legs had other ideas!
I spent the whole weekend In Birmingham thanks to the hospitality of the Great Run team and did my last couple of runs before the race on the hotel treadmill. Resisted the temptation to start my acclimatisation training early and stuck with shorts and vest on the treadmill but the gym was hot enough anyway to get a good sweat on.
I had great fun doing some pre-race interviews for Channel 5 and then it was time to get down to business….. unfortunately though I forgot to pack my race legs and the ones that presented themselves to me after the first downhill mile were definitely the ones that remembered Thursday’s 35 miler!
It’s difficult to know how much of my below par time was down to the strong winds and hills and how much was just my fatigued legs….. I think a bit of both.
Anyway, I found myself at the front of the pack for the leading ladies and having accepted the fact it wasn’t going to be a fast day for me I had no issues with being a useful wind break for the ladies for the first 6 miles into the wind.
Watching the Channel 5 coverage back, I made such a good job of it that I even had the commentators thinking I was officially pacing them ;-)

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Once we hit a slightly faster part of the race and turned back with a tailwind the two leading ladies knocked out a sub 5m/m and all I could manage was a 5:04 with my creaky legs so I lagged behind a bit. Fortunately some late hills and headwind put the advantage back in my court and I managed to avoid being “chicked” for the first time in a while……which was fortunate seeing as it was on live National TV ;-)
So 10th place and 70:19 was not what I was looking for and although the course and conditions played a part, I certainly didn’t feel as strong as I did at Peterborough. With current mileage and training it is to be expected to have days when the legs won’t play ball but I’m hoping that this coming week will be better as I will have an extra easy day ahead of the Great South Run, just got to get Wednesday’s 50 miler in the bag first!!

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World 100km Training – Week 4 including Great Eastern Half

Mon – 10 miles (6:06m/m)
Tue – AM 6 miles (6:23m/m) PM 10 miles (6:38m/m)
Wed – 26.21 miles (6:17m/m)
Thu – 36.13 miles over the Purbecks (7:44m/m)
Fri – AM 6 miles (6:27m/m) PM 6 miles (6:13m/m)
Sat – 6 miles (6:19m/m)
Sun – AM 17.25 miles incl Great Eastern 1/2 (7th – 68:27) PM 6.76 miles (6:06m/m)

Total Mileage – 130.41 miles (6:36m/m)

This week was my first “experiment” with the midweek long running and racing at the weekend combination. It was also the first of my back to back long runs and my legs reminded me of this fact!
Wednesday’s marathon went okay although it felt a little tougher than I’d hoped at the end and then Thursday’s 36 mile Purbeck run was a whole new world of pain ;-)
A combination of fatigued legs from Wednesday and some ridiculously windy conditions led to one of my slowest Purbeck runs, I knew things were going to be tough when the first mile into a 35mph headwind came in at 9:11 !! It took quite a bit of mental strength after lap 1 (18 miles) not to just get back into the van and bugger off home but after a quick mental slap round the face I scoffed down another ChiaCharge flapjack and headed back for some more fun and games.
While out on the trails I also had a little play with my new toy from Garmin, the VIRB Elite – so keep an eye out for some videos soon! In the meantime, heres a VIRB photo I took at Old Harry rocks mid way through lap 1……any excuse to give the legs a quick rest!

VIRB Picture

So although a little tougher than hoped I successfully bagged my first “back to back” long run in this build up. My focus was then on a couple of easy days so that I could give the Great Eastern Half a good go on Sunday.
I haven’t done this race before but can’t praise it enough, the hospitality of the race organisers to me was fantastic (thanks Tim!) and the race itself was as pleasurable as a half marathon can be ;-)
It was a nice calm day and the course is flat and although I spent the whole of the 2nd half of the race running solo, the support was good and kept me going for a time of 68:27 and 7th place (1st Vet). Over a minute faster than Bournemouth which was pleasing considering my midweek “antics”

Full results HERE and my Garmin details are below.
This next week will be almost an exact repeat with perhaps a couple more miles and hopefully a slighter faster Purbeck run! Will be looking to see another performance improvement at the Great Birmingham Half although that may not equate to a faster time as the course is a little tougher.

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