Ok I'm not jealous but there has been a lot of "race talk" today with the Great North 10km, Eccup 10, Kilburn 7 and the odd track race here and there dominating the local dispatches!
216 miles in three weeks has been the order of the day for me with a 60 mile "recovery week", a solid 75 mile week and this week an 80 mile week.
With 12 weeks to go I know I have time on my hands and am feeling pretty relaxed about the build up.
Week 4 recovery saw me just easing off the tempo a little on the intervals (8 x 800m @ half marathon pace) put a solid 16:45 in at the Coast Road 5km, a marathon pace tempo (4 miles) and finished the week with a long run of 18.5 miles at 6-55 minutes per mile.
Week 5 was "back to business" with an intended 80 mile week but I lost a couple of runs more due to other commitments rather than tiredness. I decided this week to put some long tempos in having just felt the hamstring was a bit tight after last weeks 5km. So a decent 75 mile week was ended with the obligatory long run covering just short of 21 miles with an average pace of 6-22 minutes per mile for the last 18 miles. Probably the best long run of the build up so far feeling really strong for the second half but just shy of marathon pace (although I admit that I wasn't intending to do any marathon pace).
So this week I was pretty determined to get a quality week under my belt and hit the 80 miles that has become the aim for my marathon weeks this build up.
Key sessions this week have been a solid 10 x 800m session on Tuesday averaging around 2-48 per 800m which is slightly slower than 10km pace but slightly quicker than half marathon pace. I was quite happy with the session given the short recovery (90s). Thursday's track session was a shorter 12 x 400m session where I averaged around 78 seconds per lap (5km pace). After 12 reps with 90s recovery I finished the session with a warm down at my intended marathon pace (6 min miling) and it felt reassuringly easy!
On Saturday I decided to have a run round the local Redcar parkrun. I've been after the sub 17 on that course for a while and decided to give it a go. I had company for the first lap of three but then found myself on my own and finished in 17:04 which is equal to my course pb and the fastest Redcar parkrun since 2012.
So the end of the week just needed a shade of over 20 miles today to hit the 80. I was a bit tired at the start of the run having done a few miles before meeting up with my long run partner of late Steve Hepples covering the last sixteen miles of the 20 at a pace averaging 6-33 per mile. There were certainly a few miles today towards the end of the run that I could have eased off and drifted back but having a bit of company was one of those days where it made a difference.
So thats six long runs in six weeks and I feel like its given me a great base to launch me into the last 12 weeks. Quality on the last two long runs has been good with strong finishes on both.
This week I'll be easing off the mileage pedal and racing at Sunderland 5km and then hopefully the New Marske 10km on Sunday. I've tried to put distractions aside and concentrate on the long runs which so far is working well. I know there is still a bit to do and plenty of long runs to do but its a great feeling knowing that there are six long runs already under my belt.
The tightrope seems to be in my favour at the moment!