The wall (Brighton marathon training, week 11)


Week 11 of the ‘2016 improver plan’ that I am using as a template for my training. [Available via Virgin London Marathon plans, devised by Martin Yelling.]

I began week eleven still, understandably, feeling stiff and somewhat tired following Brighton Half at the end of the previous week. Nonetheless, I dismissed my thoughts of softening the week and committed to the hard interval session on Wednesday; comprising marathon pace (target 4:24-4:30/km), tempo running (target 4:08/km) and recovery jogs. Apart from omitting the final jog recovery, because I was so keen to stop my watch and … stop, I did pretty well.

The additional runs on Thursday, relative to my plan, were simply transport to and from a sports massage aimed at alleviating my Brighton aches and generally keeping me in condition for the three upcoming long Sunday runs.

I did the first of these on Sunday. I planned to repeat my route from home to the Cutty Sark, which I did a few weeks ago, and extend it to make up the 2 hours 40 minutes required. As I set out I contemplated including some marathon pace at the end of the run, but decided that – not least because this would be my longest run ever – I would be satisfied to run the second half faster than the first. I occupied my mind considering what combination of pace and distance would return me home in the required time. I settled on running out 16k at around 5:10/km and returning at a little under 5:00/km. I left home wearing a waterproof jacket anticipating the forecast showers, but didn’t need it and soon removed it and left it tied it above my hips for the remainder of the run. Recalling and navigating my route caused no problems and I really enjoyed my easy paced run. Meeting the Thames at the Cutty Sark I ran East along the riverfront until forced, by existing development and ongoing riverfront improvements, to lose sight of the river for a couple of kilometres. As I returned to the riverfront I realised I was likely to reach the O2, or Millenium Dome as I still tend to think of it. As it happened my 16k turnaround point occurred just as I arrived alongside the dome.

My Garmin Connect activity shows that I averaged 5:11/km on my outward run. Turning around I drank the 300ml of water I had with me and increased my pace as planned. I felt comfortable. I had eaten three ShotBloks on my outward run – at 5k, 10k and 15k -and had planned to continue this frequency, but didn’t feel actively hungry or in need of energy as I ran towards home. I remember beginning to feel tired as I approached 22k and thinking that to run both longer and significantly faster on race day was going to be very hard. Very, if not impossibly, hard. I certainly didn’t feel that, even if I chose to, I could raise my current pace to my 4:30/km goal marathon pace. Perhaps prompted by this I ate my belated fourth ShotBlok.

I was glad to return to the completely traffic free environment of Ladywell Fields at 25k; not because my run had been blighted by traffic to this point, but because this signified I was ‘nearly’ home. I maintained my sub 5:00/km pace past Catford station and on towards Lower Sydenham station. I remember crossing a busy road just after 28k and choosing to accelerate briefly rather than stop for the traffic. Just 400 metres or so later, just as I reached Lower Sydenham station, I suddenly found myself contemplating walking. And then walking. And then running, very, very slowly. And then walking. And then agreeing with myself that I would stop my watch at 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Reviewing my activity now I can see that I averaged 4:57/km from my turnaround at the Millennium Dome to the completion of 28k. Following that my final two kilometre splits before stopping my watch were 5:23 and 6:32! By the end my very, very slow running would certainy be better described as shuffling.

As soon as I stopped my watch and started walking, I suddenly had an appetite and quickly ate the 3 or 4 ShotBloks that I was still carrying. After a short, but slow, 2k walk home I felt much, much better and ate everything I could find.

week 11 – ending Sunday 5 March

day training
Tue 60 mins easy (4:59/km average)
Wed 11 mins easy (warm up)
6 x
2 mins marathon pace
2 mins tempo
2 mins jog
10 mins easy (warm down)
(4:57/km average)
over all sets:
(4:27/km average)
(4:09/km average)
(5:11/km average)
(5:05/km average)
Thu 29 mins easy, 2 separate runs (5:13/km average)
Fri 11 mins easy (warm up)
33 mins marathon pace
11 mins easy (warm down)
(4:51/km average)
(4:26/km average)
(5:02/km average)
Sun 155 mins easy (5:09/km average)
total 5 hrs 54 mins (+28 mins versus training plan)


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