There is no denying it – this point in marathon training sucks. Huge runs at weekends, normally on tired legs due to speedwork and tough sessions during the week. The only saving grace is the longer day light hours, warmer temperatures and that the marathon is almost within touching distance. I’m currently sitting working out how many more actual ‘long’ runs I need to do.
When the going gets tough, you need to remind yourself why you’re doing it. So this time last week I was lucky enough to spend the morning with Laura at Willen Hospice to set what an amazing facility and service is being offered. Firstly in the magnificent setting by Willen Lake, but then more importantly seeing and understanding the caring and holistic approach that the Hospice have in place for both residents and non-residents alike. It really was an eye opener, and just highlighted what a great cause I’m running for.
Suddenly those long runs don’t seem quite as long any more.
The early afternoon was then spent checking out the local playground areas for ‘on the day’ support purposes – think the kids won’t mind if I run quite a slow time. (Although one ‘kid’ seems slightly bigger than the others)
So last Saturday saw my plan of doing my long run and incorporating Stevenage ParkRun into the mix continue. Motivated by the morning at Willen Hospice the day before, and the strength of the 20 mile run the week before I set out at a much faster pace, and rather than getting to ParkRun after everyone had set-off, actually got there with a few minutes to spare.
The ParkRun started and I continued at pretty much marathon pace until I spotted someone I used to run with, so I upped the pace slightly and starting chatting away to them. Pulling away from them slightly I found myself getting a little competitive, which probably wasn’t the best idea mid-way through a long run. I decided at this point to stop overtaking people, but hearing footsteps behind me in the final kilometre, still couldn’t be the more disciplined man and upped my speed to stop someone overtaking me.
Unsurprisingly the next 6 miles home were slightly slower than the opening 11.5 had been! I even stopped to take a photo of the daffodils I’d spotted, but not pictured, the previous week.
Tuesday lunchtime was scuppered by work commitments, so an evening run of 5x600m firmly reminded me why I prefer long, steady distance running. Intervals hurt. Lots. And tonight I had no zip in my legs – still I got them done even if the numbers didn’t quite stack up. And the stitch at the end of interval number 3 is still fresh in my mind.
Thursday lunchtime was meant to be a 10k time trial, but I wasn’t feeling it physically in my legs (and perhaps more so mentally). Between us we decided to have a warm-up and go for a 5k effort instead. Watching Pete disappear into the distance (hes quite a bit faster!) meant for a lonely and painful 5k run – but somehow I clocked 22:47, my 3rd fastest 5k! And on tired legs. Perhaps a second year of setting a 5k PB might be on the cards later this summer.
Now… do I really have to do a long run this weekend? Really? No idea what’ll happen this weekend – could be a 20, could be a 17, could end up being a 10. Watch this space…
Willen Hospice and MK Marathon 2017
In May 2017 I’m running MK Marathon and Stirling Marathon (and in October, Snowdonia Marathon) to raise funds and awareness for Willen Hospice, an amazing local charity. I’ll be blogging my journey from here to the finish line. If you’re in a position to make a donation, however small, it’d be greatly appreciated. My JustGiving page is here, or alternatively you can text ‘GBMK50 £3’ to 70070 to make a £3 donation.