Marathon training in August can I guess be a bit hit and miss with holidays and hot weather. MY August has brought a few such challenges and a few niggles thrown in for good measure. In terms of the marathon the month of August has felt like a mid race bad patch that challenges you physically and mentally. Thankfully I seem to have come through it and am now running well again and firing on all cylinders with the start line just four weeks away tomorrow.
The total mileage of 290 miles in August included three runs over twenty miles (20.7, 21.7 and a 23.4). Whilst the intention was to include some specific marathon pace running within that I only managed that once when I threw in 7 miles at marathon pace on my 21.7 mile run. I did these at random sections of the run and in bursts of three, two and 2 x 1 miles just to mix things up a bit. A week on a Greek Island which was ridiculously hot meant runs were limited to no more than 3 or 4 dusty miles or along a beach to take advantage of the sea breeze. This meant the latter part of August was a case of jumping straight back onto mileage work before easing up a few days before Wetherby 10km which was always in my plan as a "tune up race".
So perhaps the day after coming back from holiday doing a 10 mile tempo at quicker than marathon pace (10 miles @ 5-56 pace) followed the next morning with a 16 miler at a steady 6.25 pace may have taken a bit more out of the legs than had appreciated. A tight adductor decided to make a gentle appearance on the later stage of my easy recovery jog on the Friday and then completely burst onto the scene 24 hours later as I pulled up in the middle of a steady parkrun effort.
After a bit of easy jogging and plenty of stretching I decided to set off for Wetherby regardless and see how it went. In the end it went ok after a cautious start I finished 9th in 35.23. I cant complain at that and although I would have loved to go faster my mind wasn't focused so much on this being a race but more of a test to see if I could get round in one piece.
A massage on Monday and a few steady runs has meant no lasting damage to the adductor and this week has seen me come through the bad patch and put some decent sessions in the bag.
Wednesday - a solid run at the Coast Road 5km finishing 6th in 17.07. This is the same race that last year I ran 16.36 but then spent the next two weeks with hamstring issues - not the ideal preparation in the later stages of a marathon.
Thursday - A track session. 25 laps alternating marathon pace (90 seconds) with 5km pace (80 seconds) was the intended session. It almost worked out that way but I did struggle to hit the 5km pace and settled for the majority of the "fast laps" being more like 10km pace (83/84 seconds). What I felt was the most important was hitting the recoveries at marathon pace and maintaining that difference between the fast laps and the slower recovery laps. Its one of those sessions that seems easy to begin with then the toughness creeps up on you and hits you in the latter stages. Sounds familiar?
After an easy Friday todays run was a 12 mile effort at my intended marathon pace (5.59/6.00) per mile. With this comfortably in the bag I can almost certainly say I've come through the bad patch. It will be another 20 miler tomorrow then I'll settle down in front of the telly and see if Mo can go one place better in the GNR. Happy Days!