Time marches on! It seems not long ago I was relishing a two month spell easing myself back into 'proper' training - but now I still feel sluggish and unprepared for a marathon campaign having just 2 weeks of that 2 months left.
Usually I look forward to the Christmas break with an anticipation of getting lots of additional training done, longer runs, and daytime running instead of at night after work. I am still very much looking forward to all of that but in the back of my mind is the fact that I'm still very unfit and still on the 'comeback trail' following my time out. My longest run since the summer is 10 miles (although I have a few 3hr+ fellrun/walks), and I always like to start my marathon campaign with a 16 miler before the end of the year. It is my intention to run 13 miles this Saturday and as long as that goes OK I should manage 15 the following week.
I've been very disciplined of late - having ran every day since I 'missed' Thursday 9th December.
Monday I hoped to meet up with Milly. He confirmed at dinnertime that he would be out as usual at 6 oclock but I was alarmed to hear that 20miutes at 5.30 pace was his intention!!!!!!!!
Luckily he didnt make it due to work commitments - I say luckily because I couldnt possibly have kept up with that pace. Perhaps for a mile but then I would have had to ease back. Instead I ran a similar session but at my own pace. I ran 3 miles in 18.18. Not flat out by any means - just a good steady effort.
Tuesday I was warming up to do 4 miles at similar pace when I stumbled upon the Border Harriers group doing hill reps. As I have no firm schedule to stick to I decided I may as well do something different and in company, so I joined in with the session. To be honest though, these reps were, I feel, unsuitable for my current intentions to claw back fitness. They were very short, possibly less than a minute, and the hill was of no real consequence whatsoever, so they were a bit like doing 300m-400m reps on a track, which is NOT a session I ever do.
Legs were a bit tired on Wednesday even so. Perhaps not surprising as the hill reps were the first reps I'd done since the last week in July. So I just jogged round my 7 mile circuit with the Champion of Manhatten. Probably took us an hour including wee wee stoppage time.
Thursday I was keen to lengthen my pace run by a mile, to 4. I figured that I would go just a tad slower than the 6.06 pace i had achieved on Monday for 3 miles, so set myself a target time of 25 minutes (6.15 pace). Most of my half-mile time checks showed I was only just inside 6.30s though - not so great. A final time of 25.46 left me perplexed and disappointed as to why I ran 20 odd seconds per mile slower than I had on Monday for what felt like a very similar input effort.
So, keen to prove Thursday was a blip I ran exactly the same route tonight too. It would have been very easy to run at a higher intensity to achieve a faster time but I avoided doing this and kept the same steady effort as the night before. I ran almost exactly the same time as the night before (25.38), so Im no less perplexed than I was. Perhaps Im asking too much of myself yet. But then again how did I run 6.06 pace over 3 miles on Monday without flogging myself if I'm only fit enough to run 6.25 pace over 4 miles?
Next week this run will be 5 miles each time I do it. Based on what I've done so far I'd should be no slower than 32 and a half minutes. I made an earlier reference to a plan to do track intervals this week, but after the daft hills session on Tuesday I decided there was little point. Maybe I will get there (track) next week. If I do there will be no daft sub one minute reps - it'll be 4x1mile for my first session - with a target time of sub 5.50 pace off 3 minute recoveries.
So finally, to quell the urge among those in the South to leave comments about boring number based posts lacking interesting photographs I leave you with this masterpiece.
It is of course the very photogenic Ricky Lightfoot who is attempting a winter Bob Graham round this very evening. Best of luck and hopefully that smile will be evident once back at the Moot Hall tomorrow.