2016 London Marathon Training – Week Two (11-17 January)

The week began waking in Camberley, tired, but thankfully without a hangover after a night out watching the World Darts final. As the world tried to cope with the news that David Bowie had died, I set out on a run revisiting old haunts. For the final year or so while at University I stayed with my Grandmother who lived in Sandhurst. It is just a couple of miles from Camberley to the famous army town, I set out on a run to try and reminisce on runs I must have done (but only vaguely remember). Sure enough some of the roads brought memories flooding back, the park was literally flooded and impossible to run in its entirety though. In conclusion I reckoned that my runs were very short (I seem to recall the longest run would be only around an hour or so) and that the most common run was one to Crowthorne, which I didn’t attempt.

A loop of Camberley town centre and it was another ten miles in the bag. I drove home later that morning, rested up in the afternoon before heading to the leisure center for the first spinning session of 2016. I warmed up for 20 minutes or so then operated at near full capacity for the session, pleased to average 258 watts, or 3.9 w/kg. A half hour warm down on the gym elliptical trainer and it was time for GRC’s committee meeting.

Tuesday was an emotional day of sorts as it was the last time the Kettler elliptical trainer was to be used. It had the usual hour session, alternating on 5 minute intervals between L5 and L7. The thing remained strong to the end despite being on the brink of falling apart. When it came to dismantling it the thing was far harder to break down than I had anticipated, the thing just didn’t want to go. It had to though, and as soon as the session was over I was helping the wife assemble the new one. My help consisted of taking the thing out of the box. The diagrams and instructions far beyond my comprehension. Thankfully she loves this sort of challenge and in a few hours the thing was up and ready to go. I had a quick spin – she was as steady as a rock and rode beautifully. She will be a great addition to the training family.

I was unsure what run to do in the evening. At the last moment I opted for the club intervals session as it was likely to be easier than running three miles at marathon pace, or so i figured. I wasn’t intending to push too hard. The initial 20 second sprints with 10 second recovery x 18 I treated as warm up strides. Next up was a relay hill session of sorts – around ten minutes of constant running up and down a shallow hill. I kept the effort at around marathon heart rate. To end the session was two one mile reps with three minutes recovery. The first was around 5:50, the last one 5:29 as I relaxed and pushed on a touch. Session over, I jogged home. Another ten miles in the bag.

Wednesday morning was an hour first on the new elliptical trainer, which was thankfully uneventful in the sense that everything felt sturdy and as it should with no dramas. Shortly after it was an easy ten mile run. I’d planned to stick the three miles at marathon pace in, but felt a little stiff after Tuesday’s intervals, so postponed those until Saturday. Otherwise everything felt good.

Thursday saw another hour on the elliptical trainer in the morning; then in the evening I was taking a new GRC evening session. To help prepare some of our runners for spring marathons I’m planning on taking a group on an eight mile town circuit, where a number of the miles are run at marathon pace, which I’ve set at 7:30 per mile. Runners are free to stick with it, or drift ahead or behind depending on feel. The first week we were to have three miles at marathon pace (MP), it will be increased by a mile each week until we are running eight miles at MP on a ten mile course, then after a brief cut back, working towards one or two sessions where there are ten miles at MP on a 12 mile circuit.

The first week saw an encouraging number turn up. After two miles of easy running we set off. Keeping pace wasn’t easy, especially as there was an icy cold wind blowing into our faces at times, then becoming a strong tail wind. Despite that and some hills to disrupt the pace, I managed to clock 7:30; 7:30 and 7:26. Mission accomplished. We jogged back to base then did some easy miles home with a runner who wanted to make it his long run for the week. I stuck at 12 miles.

Friday was again the rest day which had an hour on the elliptical trainer and some strength and conditioning beforehand. Saturday I had a long run of 16 miles planned which had Belton House parkrun bunged in somewhere in the middle. It was a crisp cold morning, well below freezing and with a fair amount of ice. That said, once warmed up, it was ideal for running, and I was able to put in 8 steady miles before the start of parkrun. I’d planned to do parkrun at marathon HR, when I found myself in the lead three minutes in with club mate Chris on my shoulder, that plan went a little out of the window, averaging instead something closer to half marathon HR.

We shared the lead for the first lap and a bit before Chris eased ahead and I let him pull away. 18:14 was just six seconds outside my course PB and I was pleased, although the left groin tightened a touch with the sub six minute miles. I jogged a few miles back into town with Chris before concluding with a quicker couple of miles. Sixteen and a half miles at 6:44 pace was pleasing.

Sunday did not go quite as well. I’d hoped to take part in the Witham Wheelers Reliability Ride, but that was cancelled first thing as snow had fallen overnight leaving some roads treacherous with ice. I opted to go instead for a run. After a stiff first mile things felt fine as I headed to the canal path. At around eight miles and out of the blue I felt my right calf tighten, in a manner almost identical to how it tightened in mid November last year at parkrun. Like that morning I was able to carry on with a moderate amount of discomfort, but shortly after finishing the 14 mile run the calf felt very sore and tight. Thankfully by the evening it had eased off  somewhat, the next morning I was able to cross train fine, but the calf feels although running might be off the agenda for a short while. I left it two weeks last November, hopefully I will be able to come back a little sooner, but time will tell.

A disappointing conclusion to what had been a very good week of training, more so as I was sure the calf problem had been fixed and that it struck again without warning. Hopefully it will be easy to treat (Massage and stretching fixed it last time) and I won’t be gone too long.