My Manchester Marathon build up is pretty much in full swing now. I've completed 7 long runs in the period between Chester Marathon (after a bit of downtime) and have a decent base level of fitness that's ready to spring into the main build up period of February and March where I will do a few tune up races over 10 miles at Pocklington and a 20 mile race at Redcar.
Its always useful to look back and compare this time last year and whilst I may have put some quality long runs in during late December and early January this was all cancelled out by a few weeks struggling with sciatica.
Compare my session last night on the treadmill last year (it was a bit icy to run outside although I was prepared to brave the cold the pavements were just too icy to do any quality!).
Last year - barely managed 3 miles on the treadmill before the sciatic nerve seized up and forced me to return to the mobility work.
Last night - 4 x 10 minutes effort starting at marathon pace then increasing to a nippy 10km pace. felt in control and finished the last rep covering 2.9km in the 10 minutes.
This weekend I'm hoping to run the Brass Monkey Half Marathon but I'm hedging my bets about how to run it. It will all be dependent on the weather as to how the race will be so I've decided to train as normal this week but just ease off towards the end of the week. Its never been a real target race but more of a test to see where I am. The weather is a bit unpredictable at the moment so there is always a risk that the race may not even go ahead.
I've bought myself a pair of fell shoes in the january sales and set myself a goal of at least 15% of my overall mileage off road. Two runs so far in them on the hills and I have to say its a nice break from the road miles. The main benefit and one of the reasons I have done this is the grumbles from my achilles I have been experiencing intermittently over the last six months. I'm managing to run fine and have been doing some preventative exercises but its not something you can ignore. I've noticed after the off road runs less impact and stiffness in the achilles so will persevere with this. I may even enter the odd fell race for a bit of fun
Just heard on BBC breakfast that 20 minutes of brisk walking a day can make you live longer... Its not exactly rocket science is it!