Setbacks are bound to happen in a 16 week training programme. Luckily this one only cost me a couple of days training - could have been much worse.
Back to last Wednesday I finished work earlyish an was up at Talkin Village by 1645.
This route which I call the Talkin Hilly, is a superb, tarmac, very hilly, very (traffic) quiet, 6.5mile circuit on the edge of the Pennines. It's only about 10 miles from my house but even so it can take 30mins to get out there and so I can't really make much use of it until the lighter nights we are enjoying now. In 2004 when I had my best year (in terms of PBs), I did all of my long runs around this circuit pre marathon. I firmly believe that the inevitable increased heartrate on the long steep uphills coupled with the almost ridiculous leg speed boost on the downs gives the ideal mix of training to make the most out of myself. In fact, with the hills being so long and steep, doing long runs around this circuit goes some way to completing the stamina run AS WELL as the interval run for the week - freeing up another day to do short sharp interval work. If I decide to have a proper crack at this marathon lark (rather than simply join Milly on his schedule), then I would plan to run most of my long runs around Talkin, as well as midweek double lappers. If, (and this is a big if) I run under 2:45 at London then I may decide to aim higher in an Autumn race - possibly 2:40.
Handily, a time of 45mins is a benchmark for this circuit, which makes the maths easy. If you can run 4 laps inside 3hrs then you have already completed a sub 3hr marathon. In 2004 I ran 4 laps in 2:52, and went on to run 16 minutes faster in London. I am hoping to run 4 laps in 3hrs next weekend as this might mean a 2:44 London. Back to Wednesday though. Lap 1 I took very easy indeed and recorded 45:05. Lap 2 I ran fairly hard and recorded 43:55. I was reasonably happy with these times. I hadn't been on the route for many months and the hills take a little getting used to again. I decided to run this route rather than attempt the scheduled 15mile marathon-pace effort because I had done so much mileage at or near that pace in the preceding 10 days or so.
The setback came later on Wednesday. I felt ropey in my guts by bedtime and by 3am Thursday was throwing up. Thursday I spent in bed. I'd stopped throwing up by about noon but didn't feel a lot better by Friday morning either so just hung around the house all day, trying to nibble on light meals and rehydrate myself having lost several pounds in weight. By Friday night I felt about normal but still wasn't eating properly. I realised by Saturday morning that to do the Trimpell 20 mile race on Sunday would be foolish as there would be no way I could have recovered fully and refuelled sufficiently to do anything more than jog round. On Saturday I was back at Talkin walking the dogs up the fell, after which I set off to run a lap. By the second hill (only about 10minutes in) I felt dreadful though, and opted to cut short the lap and go home. This also worried me about my plan to run 3 full laps on Sunday.
Sunday came. I drove out to Talkin. Lap 1 took me 46:30. It was windy, which, on this very exposed circuit can affect lap times quite drastically (due the headwind on the high exposed fell road not really helping in tailwind form earlier on during the lap along lower and sheltered-by-hedges country lanes) Wind or not though I was disappointed to be this slow. I know why. It was because I was still affected by the sickness bug and I felt pretty dreadful whilst running. By the middle of lap 2 I felt a bit better and so increased the effort, recording 44:30. I didn't bother to try a third lap, thinking it better to spend the rest of the day feeling I could have done more rather than feeling wrecked from doing too much too soon.
I think it's best to forget about doing 4 laps next week. Better to try 3 and a short lap, then try 4 on the 28th March when Milly is away doing Wilmslow Half. I just hope that I have fully recovered by this Tuesday when we will be back to the grind with a marathon pace effort.