Oakley 20–2018 (or not, as the case may be)

Oakley 20. I never remember to enter this race, and then when I do its sold out. Low and behold, this was my year. I remembered (well, I didn’t – I saw SarahCLoftus tweet that she was having issues entering), and there was I was entered. At last I’d get my hands on one those Oakley 20 hoodies that everyone raves about.

There were of course a couple of downsides. I’d just started a training plan, and the main selling point of said training plan – no 20 mile runs. Ah well. It coincided nicely with a 16 mile training run, so that’ll have to do. The other downside was I’d spoken to a couple of people who hadn’t exactly raved about it. But never mind, I was there at long last.

And, so it turns out, was the snow. I think the organisers did everything they could to host the race, but alas, at 5.30am on Sunday morning, the texts and emails arrived to say that the race couldn’t go ahead. Completely understandable. And it turns out I might get a hoodie anyway – sadly no refunds. (I’ve only ever had one other race fall victim to the weather, and that race offered a free place at the next running of the event, hence why I’m at Buntingford 10 every year).

What to do instead?

After enjoying a slightly longer lie-in than expected, thoughts turned to what to do instead. Driving my daughter to swimming in the morning I spent almost as much time assessing the state of the pavements as we drove along. Very strange in that some sections seemed completely clear, whilst other parts were still covered in snow/ice. That didn’t seem encouraging. Roads seemed fine, but again, didn’t really fancy running on roads in these conditions (a) for the sake of the drivers, and (b) for any ice.

That left another option of just not running and blaming the weather. I gave this some serious consideration until I realised how much running I’d already missed in this marathon build-up.

So that really just left hitting some local trails. And I called in a favour to run during daylight hours. It was fantastic. I went out without a care about times, and after taking 4 miles to warm-up and get over the cold, my legs starting working well.

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Indeed looking back at times, I didn’t suffer the slowness of miles once passing 12 miles as I have done in recent marathon training years. During the run I put this down to training starting to come together. With hindsight, I reckon I was because I’d carb-loaded for Oakley 20 the night before, and that coupled with my espresso gel at Mile 11. Note to self – nutrition makes a massive difference, and I’ve probably not trained enough to warrant ‘things coming together’.

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Onwards

I’m still managing a slight knee niggle (although, touch wood, that didn’t surface today). I think its from the jump in mileage having missed 10 days of training with that dodgy ankle and man-flu. As such I’m tweaking my plan to drop the mileage down slightly. I’m concerned I’m not fully following Hanson’s Marathon Method anymore, and I’m also not doing the traditional ‘long’ runs of 18 / 20 miles. But I’m going to see how things go and no doubt learn as part of the process (maybe painfully!). This week looks like:

M: 3 Mile recovery Run
T: Lunch Swim (hopefully) & 4×1.5 mile efforts (just faster than MP)
W: Rest
T: 3 Mile Recovery Run
F: 6 Mile tempo run (about MP which I’m aiming around 8:50 per mile) & Tri-Club Swim?
S: 8 Mile Run – hopefully including ParkRun #45
S: 10 Mile Run

(The Question Marks around the swims are because I’m just not finding the time. On Friday I was giving up swimming, but seeing my daughter swimming on Saturday morning made me re-think that. Lets give it another shot and see what happens!)

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