Wales Marathon 2014 – TW6 – The Valiants Half Marathon


So mescocycle 1, comes to end. six weeks of running where my maximum weekly mileage went from 55 miles to 63 miles with an average of 58 miles covered each week. I took in two races over this period one in week 1, the Trimpell 20 and in the final week of this mesocycle the Valiants half marathon, which I will cover in more detail later.

Over the course of this mescocycle 1 only dropped two runs but with mixing things about a bit to fit in with my other life commitments, I only dropped 2 miles from the target of 347 which is pretty good going.

So how did the final week go well……………………

Tuesday 8 miles with 10*100 reps

It was all going well the sun was shining, I’d covered the 7 miles to my stride zone within the time I wanted and whilst the strides weren’t going that well I was enjoying them. Then by the end of the 8th sprint I had a pain in my stomach, which by the end of 10th had materialised into I desperately needed to get home to the bathroom!!!!!

What followed was the fastest I’ve run home after doing some speed work, actually resulting in me get back in 58:30 much quicker than I’d anticipated with my straight 8 mile training pace seeing me target one hour for the distance…….but in the words of Ian Malcom “when you’ve got to go. You’ve got to go”  . Without going into to much detail this story had a happy ending.

Not sure what happened….but hopefully it wont happen gain #PerilsOfRunning

Wednesday 12 miles

This was a good run, I’d had a good day at work , the sun was shining and there was a gentle breeze. Result a great run, which went so well that I got to the 11.5 mile point with eight minutes to spare from my target time of 1:36. So I slowed to a plod and gently returned home in 1:33:15.  Things bode well for Saturday’s race…….fingers crossed!#

Thursday 5 Mile recovery run

Despite my up coming race, I covered this recovery run in 39:09 , I think the excitement of the thing got the better of me.

Friday No Run!!

Well I had planned to run, the second of my 5 mile recovery runs today, keeping me ticking over ahead of tomorrows race. However, during the day I felt a couple of twinges in my right knee. So I made the decision, rightly so, not to run and have a rest day. Fingers crossed things will be cleared up in time for the race and that’s its nothing serious to worry about.

Saturday – The Valiants Half Marathon

So race day was upon me, my 10th half marathon attempt and I had made the decision to wear my new trainers. I figured although I have only recently purchased these I have run over 100 miles in them already, so they should be worn in enough for racing.

Arriving at the equestrian centre where the race was held, I picked up my number and made the traditional pre-run bathroom trip. My partner who had come along to spectate busied herself by visiting all the horses and giving them a good stroke and pointing out to me which ones where in desperate need of a brush and wash. They all just looked like horses to me……..

Soon It was time to go, it was clear that it would be a small turn out for the race, but it was a new race and it was being held on a Saturday competing with the free ParkRun events, so that was of no surprise. We got our final instructions which included to try not to get run over by a tractor and we were off.

Going through the first mile in 6 minutes, passing several squashed birds of pray along the way, I was a good 41 seconds ahead of schedule. This tends to be the case with races, but its better than being behind. So I slowed down a little, allowing several runners to pass me by. I reached the two mile point and found myself still ahead of schedule by around 40 seconds and this pattern would continue for most of the race. Reaching the 4 mile point, I slowed down, allowing two runners to pass me by, while I took the the first of my gels, I didn’t feel like I needed to take one but I had a plan to take one on 4 miles and another on 8 miles to see how I get on.

Once I had taken my gel, I ran past the two runners I had allowed to pass me, after which……well nobody else passed me by, which was a bit strange. When I reached the six mile point I had caught up and passed a couple more runners before finding myself running alone. In many ways this period felt like a training run, there were no crowds about and I couldn’t see or hear any runners ahead or behind me. When I reached the 9 mile point, I slowed down a little and decided to make the most of the last mile before I planned to ramp it up and use up all of what was left of my energy, reaching the 10 mile point just 20 seconds ahead of schedule despite having fought some pretty strong head winds along the way.

Then the race was one for me, I moved up to racing pace, giving everything I had left. This paid off as around the 11 mile point, I finally saw another runner ahead of me, although he was right down the other end of the lane we were on, at least I knew I finally had a target to aim for. Which makes racing so much easier than pounding out the miles with no one around you, which for me had been a little bit of a glimpse into the word of those at the front.

We entered a section of the race which featured a number of winding roads which made it very tricky to see how much, if anything, I was gaining on the runner ahead. Then we reached a bit of a straight road, from which I could see not only I had I halved the gap between us, but also I could see another two runners ahead of him. I was making fantastic progress and I pushed on even harder.

A few bends later, I turned a corner to find the runner I had been chasing down, stopped and feeling his hamstring. There was no time for pleasantries!! I was in race mode and I ran past him. I assumed he was ok as, when I went by him I heard him start running again but I soon found I could no longer hear him as I gradually put space between myself and him.

Passing the 12 mile marker I could see the next two runners where now within reach. However, there was just 1.1 miles left to close the gap, which was a good few hundred metres. I pushed on up to another gear, I was really working hard now and wasn’t sure if I could hold on much longer. However, reaching a long straight road, which from my journey to the race, I remembered lead to the finish, I could see these two runners were now just a few metres ahead of me and I was gaining on them, passing one by before catching and passing the other just a few seconds later.

Not long after this, I passed the 13 mile maker. I was feeling dead, I knew I could not get up to a sprint finish and my only hope was to continue with the strong finish I was putting in and try put as much space between myself and the two runners I had just passed by so that they could not overtake me. Reaching the home straight, the crowed that had gathered gave out a bug cheer and around of applause. I was not sure if this meant I was in a race off to the finish or if it was all for me. Either way, I decided not to look back and moved up into what seemed like some sort of sprint………..which is probably wasn’t!!

I crossed the finish line in 1:25:58 I had achieved a new half marathon PB!! And I finished a good 20 seconds ahead of the next runner. It was a good hard days work and a great test of what progress I had made during the first six weeks of the 55-70 miles a week training programme.

Incidentally I was placed 22nd out of 138 finishers and got an Easter egg and bacon sandwich for my efforts.

Sunday 15 miles

Despite, all sensible advice saying to rest the day after a race. I went out and covered 15 miles in order to keep my mileage up. Surprisingly I didn’t feel too sore and I drew inspiration from the book ‘Fat man to Green man‘ where the author runs an ultra run one day and then a half marathon the next. Ok not quite the same, but still………..

I think some of the reason why I didn’t feel two sore was down to the fact I had put myself through 3-4 rolling sessions previous day in an attempt to aid my recovery from the race and it seemed to have worked.

So next up mescocycle 2 begins, sub heading Lactate Threshold + Endurance……….Sounds like hard work!!

This period of training lasts five weeks and will see my longest run move up to 22 miles, with a 21 and a 20 mile run thrown in for good measure. Also looking ahead, this period includes three sessions were I am to do doubles Which in the world of running, means running both in the morning and the afternoon of the same day! I am not sure how that is going to work out, its new ground for me, but it will be an interesting challenge.

So the first week looks like this :

Tuesday – 10 miles with 5 miles @ HM pace (Probably shouldn’t of set a new PB after all!!)

Wednesday  – Medium long run 14 miles

Thursday – 5 mile recovery run

Friday – Medium long run 11 miles

Saturday – 7 miles with 10 * 100 metre strides (Hmm park run could replace this maybe…..)

Sunday – 21 mile long run (Gulp!! I haven’t run this far, since the Dublin marathon)

Its going to be a tough week, that’s for sure……..

I think i am going to try and find another race, scheduled for around the last week of this mesocycle as another means of testing my progress and with it now being summer the number of midweek races on offer will increase. Giving me the chance to sign up a race which wont impact on my Sunday long run.

Also i ran my new PB time through the Runners World Training Pace Calculator to find that my new easy run pace, should be 7:46 per mile!!! Things really are going to get though!! #DownSideOfThePB


In other news………….

The Boston marathon, went off without incident, thankfully. The mens race was won by Meb Keflezighi in a time of 2:08, while Rita Jeptoo won the womens race in 2:18. A detailed report on the event can be found here

This link should take you to the page on the qualifying times required for Boston, but it currently isnt working……here

The next major marathon, is the Berlin marathon in September.

Chi running: can a habitual heel striker learn to land midfoot in one day?

Win a VIP entry bundle to the Chester Half and Marathon for you and a friend

Win a Run For All 10K Series Season ticket!

Steve Way’s story to becoming a 2:16:27 marathoner

Rachael Franklin secures Isle of Man festival hat-trick





7 thoughts on “Wales Marathon 2014 – TW6 – The Valiants Half Marathon

      • My running’s going really well, thanks! I’ve been training for the Delaware Marathon using the Hasons Marathon Method and it’s working out wonderfully. The race is in two weeks.

        I think you might qualify for Boston with how fast you’ve gotten.

      • Not heard of that training plan before what’s it like?

        Not sure I’ll get in Boston, not managed to replicate my half marathon time at full to date……but growing in confidence and ability it would seem. So fingers crossed, it is on my marathon wish list that’s for sure. Hopefully one day I will line up on the streets of Boston.

      • Sorry thought I’d replied to this…..or have I? Any who, that sounds great! What’s the train program like?

        Long way to go to make Boston. Need to first replicate my half ma times over the full and get faster lol still I’m making progress, which is good

      • It’s a program created by the Hansons brothers who coach the Brooks project in Michigan. Some top elites are in the program. It’s structured on some long-standing principles, one being that the long run should be no more than 25% or 30% of total weekly volume. For the sake of the average runner, they keep the long run to 16 miles (unless your mileage is really high, the long run would be higher). But they make the schedule so you’re running a lot of hard runs leading up to your long run, so by the time you do your long run, your legs are already tired. The plan has a lot of speed work and marathon pace runs every week. The standard plan peaks at 62 miles, but you can have them create a custom plan for whatever mileage your at. I had a plan created for me, but it still peaks at 62 miles. However, that’s the most miles I’ve ever run. I’ve run several weeks of 58 to 62 mile weeks and I’ve been handling it well. My marathon is in two weeks, so we’ll see how well the plan works! My PR is 3:39, and the coach is having me train for a 3:32.

        I think you’ll get to Boston in the not too far future.
        That’s the impression I get from how you’re doing! If you do, I’ll be cheering.

      • Sounds like an interesting plan. I hope you meet your target. your have to let me know how you get on.

        Would love to make Boston and im sure id make it known here if i do he he. Wales might be too tough a race to get the time, but after that who knows….

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