Tuesday, 31 May 2011

May, Marathons, Mileage and Mishaps

The month started with a cycle of 50 miles and I managed to follow that up with a cycle of 35 miles on the Bank Holiday Monday. There was also one 30 mile cycle with Dad out to Paglesham, but the rest of my Cycling in May was made up of regular commuting to and from the office which I managed to do 15 times. This consistency meant that I managed a total of 345 miles for the month of May, considerably more than my previous mileage high of 210 miles which I achieved in April last year.

May was also the month of the Stratford Marathon where I managed to achieve a 13 minute PB off less than ideal training mileage and with a complete lack of long runs. Since Stratford I have managed a number of short, maintenace type runs just to keep my fitness, in the hope of building on it for the Southend Half Marathon in June and the British 10K in July.

But in the build up to yesterdays BUPA 10K in London which I ran with Amy I had been experiencing some discomfort in my left knee, particuarly after the 10K I ran on Sunday. Following this up with the 10K on Monday, has meant my left knee has a dull ache, and this then becomes quite uncomfortable after sitting down at a desk for a period and then trying to get moving. I commuted in on the bike today and will continue to do so, but my running will be shelved until the knee feels better. It's frustrating, and I have mileage targets I'd like to achieve. But at the end of the year it will be my PB's and races that will be of much more interest to me than some arbitrary mileage targets, so at the moment rest is top priority.

Having said all that my mileage for May was 89miles and that now takes me to just over 450 miles for the year. A good milestone reached in May was the time I spent exercising which was over 34 hours so more than an hour a day and this was another record high for me. Looking towards June, knee permitting I want to run Southend hard looking for sub 1 hour 40mins, cycle maybe 450 miles and just keep myself fresh for my 10K PB attempt and LEJOG in July.

Monday, 30 May 2011

2011 BUPA 10K Race Report

I really enjoyed my second visit to the BUPA 10K in London this year. I ran it last year with my arm in a plaster cast on and managed to score a big PB in a time of 43:36, not giving myself much opportunity to take in the sights of the capital on route.

This year I ran with Amy, as we had done at the Cancer Research 10K last October and we were hoping to beat the 58 minutes we ran that day. The Cancer Research run was a more relaxed charity event, and the distance wasn't offical nor the race chip timed. The 58 minutes came from my stopwatch, and so whatever the result today it would mark Amy's offical PB.

Her prep for the race hadn't been perfect suffering illness in the week leading up to the race, and with wedding and holiday distractions, running had quite rightly taken a back seat. Thus when we met in Green Park she was definately playing down her chances of beating the time she had previously set.

As we moved towards the Blue start pens, the weather was overcast and pretty perfect for running, but as we waited for our allotted start time the sun appeared from behind the clouds and stayed out for the rest of the race, leaving us on a slow cook. We were finally set off 20mins after Mo Farah and the elietes, and so we never had a chance of catching them up!

The first Km was slow, as it always is at these big city events with so many participants even with the numerous wave starts. But by the second Km Amy and I were gently moving through the field, taking over far more people than were passing us. The second Km was a little downhill and we registered our fastest Km of the race there. Km's three to the half way point were mainly run along the embankment and the crowds were big and noisey, with Amy getting a particuarly big cheer from the NSPCC cheer station as she was running for them today.

We reached halfway in good time, a little ahead of sub 60min and a bit slower than our original goal of 58mins. Amy was struggling with a stitch from about 3K and it hung around for much of the race, but she dug deep and she was feeling strong enough to put a surge on with 2K to go. But we then took it steady before a surge for the line from 400m out as we ran down the Mall. I crossed the line just behind Ames and my Garmin says 59:30 but it stopped under some of the bridges so I think the offical time will be more like 59:45 as long it's under 60mins I don't think either of us will mind!

So my BUPA 10K was a very different experience from 2010, and a very plesant one. It's always nice running with someone, and helping them achieve their goals. Unfortunately it seems to have come at a price. My left knee has been hurting for a week or so, and today's run seems to have aggrivated it. I think my low mileage going into the Marathon meant the Marathon has taken alot more out of me than I first thought. I'll see how the knee is tommorrow and take it from there.

The big events on my horizon are Southend HM, another 10K in London in July and LEJOG the week after. I don't think the knee will affect my cycling at all, and at Southend I am hoping to beat last years time of 1hr 45mins without gunning for my PB of 1hr 34mins so should be able to manage the knee. I just hope it has recovered sufficently that I can have a real crack at a good 10K PB in early July. I will keep you posted on the niggle/injury front and will also be blogging tomorrow when May comes to a close for my training summary.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Stratford Marathon Training Analysis

This blog comes with a Health Warning, suitable only for those with a deep love of numbers or of me. Side effects may include slipping into a deep sleep and so is recommended for insomniacs.

I was interested to further analyse my preparation as I knew it wasn't the best and I hoped to find some inspiration for my next Marathon at Chester in October. The results of the analysis didn't tell me anything particuarly groundbreaking but were interesting to look at.

In the 13 weeks leading up to Stratford I did the following:
- 252.19 miles (an average of 19.40 miles per week)
- 46 runs (an average of 3.54 runs per week)
- 3 races (Bentley HM, Albert Parkrun 5K, Norwich HM)
- 4 long runs (Over 10miles) (10.10 miles,15.09,10.18,11.00)
- 3 Weeks of 10 miles or less.
- 5 Weeks of 10 - 20 Miles.
- 3 Weeks of 20 - 30 Miles
- 2 Weeks of 30 - 40 Miles.
- With a Highest mileage week of 37.29 miles and a lowest mileage week of 4.01 miles.

All showing that I was definately undercooked going into Stratford. What I haven't shown is all the bike training I have done in that time for LEJOG and I think that must have helped particuarly with all the undulations on the Stratford course.

Fetch has a whole world of Stats and calculators one of which shows what mileages people do for different race times. For my time of 3:37:41 the average training mileage in the 13 weeks leading up to race day is 453.92 miles with an average of 4.6 training sessions a week. Fetch also splits into different bands the mileage people undertake in the build up to the race. My mileage total for the 13 weeks was in the lowest 10% out of those analysed.

All of this gives me lots of confidence that given proper prep before Chester I can get another big PB of sub 3 hrs 30 and reach my eventual goal of a sub 3 hour Marathon given time.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Kinda Day You Dream Of!

There are some days that are just Great days! Today was one of those days. I PB'd at the Stratford Marathon, offical time of 3:37:41 and 249th position out of 1077 finishers. Man Utd did the business beating Chelsea 2-1 and moving within a point of the title, had a beautiful curry with my beautiful wife and the cherry on the top was Arsenal getting beaten 3-1 by Stoke.

The race weekend in Stratford with Lauren and Jan was fantastic start to finish. Got there Friday night, had a quick pint and some McDonald's for me and then booked in at the Premier Inn. Woke up to it chucking down with rain, but managed to get myself outside for 4 miles, ran along side the river and saw the finish for the race and got to run a little bit of the route. Made it back to the hotel looking like a drowned rat. A bit of shopping and lunch was followed by a 3 hour performance of Macbeth, which I enjoyed much more than my previous Stratford thearte expierence. Then it was off to see Rom, Danni, Hannah, Chris and Lilly all relatives of Lauren's. Had a very pleasant evening at theirs before getting back to the hotel a bit before Midnight.

Woke up fearing the worst weather wise. The ground was still wet from the weekends rain, but it held off and was very kind to us throughout the day. Had some breakie with Lauren at the hotel then headed for the start line. Jan met us there and a few snaps and hugs later I went to the start pen whilst they headed for mile two to catch a glimpse of me.

I set off what felt gently, a couple of mile loop round the town before we headed out to the country lanes around Stratford. Saw Lauren and Jan after a couple of miles just before tackling the first incline of the day. I went through the first 3 miles at 7:40 pace, much quicker than even my most ambitious target pace and I knew it wasn't sustainable. I took the foot off the gas, and the next 6 miles bar one mile all hovered close to the 8 min mile mark.

At mile 10 I lost 30 seconds as I nipped into the loo for my one stop of the day. I then saw Lauren and Jan around the 12 mile mark when the race splits with the Half Marathon runners heading for the finish, as I and my fellow Marathon runners headed out for a second lap.

The middle section of the race was taken nice and steady and I just ran on feel. 8:15 miling seemed to be what my body wanted and I felt strong. This slowed to more like 08:30 miles as I counted down to the 20 mile marker. I was waiting for the wheels to fall off, as my prep had been far from ideal, with a longest run of just 15 miles and just general low mileage particuarly for the two weeks in SA. There wasn't any good reason for this, no injuries, just good old fashioned laziness.

But it didn't seem to be affecting my performance, as I went through the 20 mile mark and onto the Greenway feeling great, my last gel had kicked in and the surface was nice offroad gravel like the bridle track which I love. The splits of 8:18,8;22 and 8:33 don't really do that part of the race justice as I felt great and was moving through the field nicely at this stage.

It was at 24 miles with just 2.2 miles to go that the pain set, I was shattered and had nothing left, I was just trying to keep moving. It was at this stage that I felt beating Lara's PB was out of reach, and 3hrs 30 was long gone and so motivation was low. I knew I was going to PB it was just a matter of by how much. I was starting to lose a place or two on the run in, but just kept putting one foot in front of the other. There was now only 1/2 mile to go and it was the stretch I had ran on Saturday so I knew I was nearly there. I saw Lauren & Jan on the run in and managed one last smile for the camera before crossing the line in just under 3:38 on the gun time. The chip time came in at 3:37:41 a PB of nearly 13 minutes. I was really pleased with this result, and my Garmin tells me there were 999m of ascent (in hindsight this looks bigtime wrong) which sounds pretty hilly to me. I'm exhausted and ready for bed, I think the cycle in to work tommorow is probably off the cards!

Below are my splits for the race and my training for Stratford and for previous Marathon PB at Rutland.

The race splits looked liked this

Miles 0-6 - 46:56 (7:49 per Mile)
Miles 7-12 - 49:32 (8:15 per Mile)
Miles 13-18 - 49:34 (8:16 per Mile)
Miles 19-24 - 51:10 (8:32 per Mile)
Miles 25-26.2 - 20:29 (9:18 per Mile)

Training Breakdown

Mileage in 90 days leading up to Stratford - 233 miles (longest run of 15 miles)
Mileage in 90 days leading up to Rutland - 252 miles (longest run of 20 miles)

Monday, 2 May 2011

Training & My On Going Bike Maintenance Sagas

I put my four day weekend to good use,121 miles cycling and 11 miles running is a weekend well spent in my books. Other's might look at me rather oddly and tell me it's a waste of four beautiful days of sun. But I enjoyed it, and still found time for some beers and a trip to the pub.

On Thursday evening Dad and I had a mainteance malfunction. The Joe Blow bike pump was with Luke in Norfolk, so that left us with an old school hand pump, not designed for high pressure fancy bike tyres. We gave it a shot, and only succeeded in breaking the valve for the tyre.

I was now bikeless, this gave me the perfect opportunity to go for an 11 mile long run on Friday as a test for the Stratford Marathon next weekend. I'd give myself 5/10 pace was good, a little fast, but I had to work much harder than I should of. But theres no ducking out of the Marathon now, the hotel has been booked and the support crew is expanding with each day. So I'd better suck it up and get myself round, preferably with a PB or I'll be unbearable on the trip home.

Lauren and I got up early Saturday to go to Halfords to get a new pump that would allow me to fit the new tyre. I grabbed the last pump for the princely sum of 32quid! Lauren dropped me and my gear off at the parents and left me to mend the tyre, simple you would think given the amount of practise I have had lately! But alas 40mins and a whole lot of frustration later the pump wouldn't work and I was defeated, ready to call Lauren to come and pick me up. But as I locked up my rusty, sorry looking bike I saw my Dad's shiny new white racer and I just had to take it for a spin. So out I went on the slick new wheels and managed just under 37 miles on 4 loops of the Rayleigh, Rochford, Hockley circuit at an average of just under 16mph.

Followed that up with 48 miles on Sunday, 5 more loops of the circuit, slightly slower than Saturday, and definately slowed in the final third. Managed 35 more miles on Monday, the pace was again down on the previous two days but still well above 15mph.

I Got the flying white pace machine back to my Dad on Monday evening, and we got to work on my back tyre. It turns out I'm not quite as stupid as 40mins trying to pump up a tyre would suggest. Halfords had sold me the pump missing a few vital parts. So we used a working pump and got the tyre fixed in 10mins. I then cycled the 3 downhill miles home, and realised that my bike was in desperate need of some TLC!