215 miles in three weeks. Not quite up there with the 100 plus mile weeks enjoyed by some marathoners but a nice block of training as the build up to Chester starts in earnest. As I write this its 15 weeks to go and quite honestly I feel like things are moving well and truly in the right direction.
A 75 mile week after the Middlesbrough 5km which ended in an 18 mile run averaging 6:47 was the week that kick started the build up. It took a difficult track session and a few "conversations" to prompt the marathon build up switch despite being tempted to stick to some faster stuff and see what I could push in terms of 5km/10km performances.
Week 2 was a slightly lower week with 70 miles but with two quality interval sessions mixed in. An 8 x 800m session @ half marathon pace on the road was followed up the following day with a 4 x 1 mile session with the miles at 10km pace and the recovery being a 400m float. There was no real science behind the back to back sessions more convenience as I felt that the Tuesday was better spent recovering from the long run on the Sunday. I do like back to back sessions sometimes though and feel it can build up leg strength particularly in the marathon build up. I also feel that my recovery from sessions is pretty good and usually my long runs don't leave me feeling too tired. Week two long run was a hilly 19.5 miles with Steve Hepples for company. I know that putting a few hilly long runs into the mix will be a good idea seeing as Chester is not exactly a flat marathon (describing it as hilly would be a bit much though!).
This week Ive enjoyed another two interval based sessions with a slightly quicker 8 x 800m session this time at about 5km pace on Tuesday followed by a 3 x 10 minute 10km pace effort with a four minute rest recovery. Looking at the distance covered we would be slightly under 34 minute 10km pace for the duration which I was really pleased with given the miles in the legs. I had a blast round Locke parkrun yesterday (17:15) and ended the week with a 20 miler at an average pace of 6:50.
Today's run was all the more satisfying as it was on my own, ran without any gels or even water (until over 2 hours into the run) and my pace gradually increased from 7 minute plus miles to 6:40's and 6:30's in the second half. It was also a run on my own and one that from around 6 miles I felt would be a long old slog as I just didn't seem to be "feeling it". It was a case of concentrating on efficiency of running, switching off the negative thoughts and just ticking off the miles. It worked and once I was in the "long run region" I knew that the hard miles were behind me and the last few would be ones to enjoy. I almost felt a sense of "come on bring me some pain I'm supposed to be toughening myself up for 26 miles!
So a 71 mile week and now time for a bit of recovery as I look to the Coast Road 5km on Wednesday. Last year in the same race and a week earlier in the marathon build up I clocked 16.36. I hope to get close to that again this year but it will all depend on the recovery from today's long run. 20 minutes of aqua jogging tonight seems to have hit the right spot (as well as homemade curry, rice and Slimming World Onion Bhajis! which are apparently almost free food so I can eat as many as I like! Not like I need an excuse to fill my face especially in marathon training!).
I was feeling good about my three week block of mileage then I read Steve Way's highly entertaining blog. http://www.steveway.co.uk/ which made me feel a bit inadequate in terms of mileage! I do think though there is a bit of room for me to up the mileage a little from previous marathons but its a fine line. Ive coped so far with 70 mile weeks so lets see what 80 miles a week feels like after a bit of a recovery week.