Monday, 24 March 2014

Thirsk 10 and Negative splitting!

I can count the number of times I have enjoyed the feeling of a negative split on one hand!  I just don't tend to do them.  I would like to but I always think that maybe I'm just not that kid of runner. 

Thirsk 10 on Sunday I had a game plan.   First three miles or so fairly steady then pick up in the middle section and finish strong.  Negative splits are so far out of my conscience I didn't even consider this. 

Thirsk 10 has been in my race diary now for four years. 

2011 - Finished in 58.01.   2nd half was two minutes and twenty five seconds slower than the first half.  A fast first half turned out to be too fast and the last five miles were a painful experience with splits of 5:41, 5:49, 6:00, 6:09 and 6:30!   Ouch!  

2012 - A much improved Thirsk 10 performance in the middle of marathon training with a 27:52 first half and a 28:04 second half  gave me a solid 56:06 which remains a Vet 40 pb.  Missed out on a negative split by 12 seconds but it was a solid run

2013 - In great shape for this but the weather defeated me (and most of the field apart from Alyson Dixon who effortlessly cut through the wind I recall!) in the second half.   1st half of 27:56 was followed by 30:13

2014 - a first half of 28:23 was followed up by a second half of 28:09 (Yes you read that right - a negative split of 14 seconds) gave me 10th place overall in a time of 56:31.    Splits were:  5:43, 5:43, 5:41, 5:39, 5:37, 5:31, 5:39, 5:42, 5:35, 5:40. 

All smiles pre race!

The business end!

The race itself was great.  The windy first few miles was just a case of tagging onto a group, realising they were slowing a bit too much and then moving onto the next group.  The final group I settled with were some way ahead at the start but I caught then at around 3 miles.  This was the last big group and the rest were individuals in the distance.  I decided that being at the front of this group and pushing the pace from the front would be better rather than running behind and having them dictate the pace.  After a couple of miles of this there was only three of us pushing each other along at a nice steady pace.  Michael Joyeux (Quakers) was on his way to a storming personal best and did his best to drop me at the turn into the "lane" but I managed to stay in touch and we both managed to drop the third runner in our "pack".   I was more than happy to put some space between us to allow me a clear run home.  The "chimp" on my shoulder was telling me to take it easy and think big picture but had MJ come alongside me in the final 200m I would have found it hard to not give it my all!

Michael Joyeux has an excellent and informative blog called Run Michael Run! its well worth a read and I get a mention #consistency #outofreach #experienced !!!  Its always great to hear about someone who clearly loves his running and is making some great progress!

It's just under 2 weeks now until the big one.  Manchester Marathon.  The work is done now and I've just got to trust in the taper gods to get me through and on the start line in one piece.  



Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Taper Time

The three weeks after the Pocklington 10 were always going to be a make or break phase of this marathon build up.  After the enforced three week easy block as a result of sciatica the marathon build up would be one of a balance between catching up on lost time and making progress towards the goal whilst balancing on the knife edge of marathon training.

I must say that the last three weeks have been the best three weeks of training for some time.  A 66 mile week which included two decent quality runs and a nice steady 22 miler was followed by a 60 mile week with the Locke Park 20 being the highlight.  This was topped off by the biggest week of my build up which was a 74 mile week that included two decent interval based sessions, a long tempo at marathon pace followed by a 20 miler.  I actually feel good after the three week block, not over tired but Ive definitely lost that feeling that I am making up for lost time.

This is my third marathon build up in recent years and all three have been different.

Marathon 1 - Sunderland - 15 week build up averaging 62 miles per week.  Max week 80 miles in week 8.  No injury issues but peaked too early, not enough consistency in my long runs and not a great focused build up.  Outcome - hit the wall at 23/24 miles and finished in 2:46.29.

Marathon 2 - Chester - 17 week build up averaging 63 miles per week.  Max week 82 miles at Week 8.  Struggled with hamstring pain weeks 13 to 15.  Decent build up and a decent run that was hampered by hamstring pain most of the second half.   Outcome - a solid run and a pb of 2:43.42.   

Marathon 3 - Manchester - 19 week build up averaging (to date) 56 miles per week.  Max week of 74 miles in Week 16.  Injury issues weeks 8 to 10 meant reduced mileage.   Feeling totally back in the game now and raring to go.  Don't feel overtired and full of confidence going into the three week taper.   Outcome - ????

The difference between the first two and the current build up is length and mileage.  I have taken longer as a build up and not done as much mileage.  The peak mileage has been considerably later and Ive been fortunate that (touching wood!) the injury issues have been earlier in the build up to allow recovery.  Time will tell if this is the right build up or not!

Race wise the big one was the Locke Park 20 mile race.  20 miles of a park with two bridge crossings per mile, two or three sharp corners and a 180 turn isn't everyones cup of tea but it was a great experience and all credit to my club New Marske Harriers for putting it on.  My time (which was enough to win the race) was 2 hours 1 minute and 22 seconds.  This worked out to be sub 2:40 marathon pace which was a real confidence booster ahead of Manchester.  It was also an overall pb (my last attempt at 20 was in 2000 where I ran 2:05.23 in Stafford - a terrible run!) and a Vet 40 Club record which has stood since 1998. 

My splits (as the race was also chip timed for the record) were:

5:54, 5-53, 5-55, 5-57, 5-59, 6-00, 5-59, 6-02, 6-01, 6-01, 6-00,6-02. 6-04, 6-03, 6-05, 6-10, 6-12, 6-18, 12 -45 (last two miles). 

Link to the full report and a rogues gallery!

Andy looking strong early on the race