My aim once again as it has been in the last few was to try and run a PB or close to PB time and to try and dip under the 22 minute barrier.
It was a beautiful summers morning but I thought it possibly too hot for a good time.
This week I had decided on a different tactic, I thought I should be more conservative and cautious and not go out so fast.
My usual tactic is to blitz the first Km in around 4 minutes and then try to maintain as fast a pace as possible for the next 2kms, hang in there for the 4th then give whatever I have left on the 5th to try and finish strong.
This week I wanted to go off slower and try to target my efforts to running faster on the parts of the course that would give most benefit namely the sections on concrete or downhill. I also wanted to run stronger through one of the middle sections from 3.5-4Km which is a mentally draining straight path along a grass field. I am usually tiring in this section and find it difficult having this long straight, flat section laid out in front of me without having the stamina to run it fast.
My race plan worked out pretty well I was more conservative and saved my energy for faster bursts on the concrete paved parts of the course. The dreaded section at 3.5Km was easier too as I managed to pass a few runners in front of me as well and worked hard at keeping in touch with another group of runners just ahead.
I finished in 22.01 which i think is my 2nd fastest time and certainly my fastest time this summer.
Looking at my splits they were quite typical as I still ran a sub 4 minute first Km and still faltered a bit in the 3rd and 4th Kms.
Perhaps running faster when trying not to is a great sign of me getting stronger and faster?!
Sundays long run
My aim was to cover around 25Km building on my last few runs of between 20&22Km, in the end I covered 26Km in 2 hours 23.
I opted this week to pound the pavements rather than head out into a country park and my route took me from Hornchurch, into Upminster, back to Hornchurch, to Emerson Park, Gidea Park, Romford, back through Gidea Park, Hornchurch, Upminster then out to Cranham and back to Upminster and Hornchurch. Quite a little journey!
Again I wanted to work on my race strategy and wanted to concentrate on a steady slower pace through the first hour and then build on this to see what speed I could bring and how strong I could run for the remainder.
Learning as I run
I am trying to use every long run as a learning experience ahead of the marathon.
For this run I wanted to think about pacing, pre run nutrition, using energy gels and of course bedding in my new trainers for their first proper long run.
Pre run nutrition
I again ate a flapjack around 1.5 hours before running, a banana 30 minutes before as well as an energy drink. This option worked well and I didn't experience any digestive issues or feel like I ran out of energy during the run.
My good energy levels through the run were also helped by the fact I had eaten a good big meal the night before in the form of my wife's massaman curry. The rice and potatoes providing a good carb source while the chicken providing protein for my leg muscles to be in great shape.
My muscles were further aided by the fact I had a protein shake before bed as well. I think I will be adding both of these factors to my usual pre race routine, that is if I can persuade my wife to cook for me on most Saturday nights!
As I said I wanted to head off at a good slower steady pace rather than push myself through the first hour. I achieved this by covering 12K in the first hour. I then wanted to try and push my pace to try to get close to 18K in hour and a half, I managed 16.5K in around 1 hour 22 before I popped back into the flat for a quick refuel and toilet stop.
After taking on some water and an energy gel I was able to push on inject some good pace as I headed towards 2 hours with the aim of covering 21K+ in 2 hours, I was pleased with hitting this pretty dead on the head as I covered 21K in 1 hour 59.
My aim then was to hang on and cover the 25K in under 2.5 hours, I was impressed with my stamina and endurance levels of then being able to cover 26K in 2 hours 23.
I continued my recovery experiments by taking another cold water bath as soon as I got which again I found incredibly beneficial. This coupled with a good stretch and a hearty breakfast to refuel with meant I was able to have the energy to crack on with a afternoon of gardening cutting back some seriously overgrown grass in my mother in laws garden.
I did however start to feel the side affects of my long run later in the afternoon as I started to tire and ache. A bit if a stretch, a quick nap and a cracking roast beef dinner soon left me feeling much better though!
So to the week ahead; I plan to run seven days straight through this week as it will be a restful weekend running wise as I will be away.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I would love to hear any thoughts and comments you have, all the best with your own training and running plans.