SO training is complete, what with flying out to the US tomorrow, there will be no more runs. Finished with a runventure mostly off round along the side of the River Ribble, that Ive never run down before. A nice way to finish training. Normally i wouldn’t go three days without running before a marathon and in fact if circumstances allow it, id be running the day before. But this is life, I cant make the trip all about me, but marathon Monday will be all about me as have the last few months. So its a small sacrifice to pay.
I head to to Boston to put the experiment to the test…..by this i mean, i was once told that i could get faster without having to increasing my weekly mileage, if I improve both the amount of cross training I do (last time out it was core work and nothing else) and if I improve the quality of my training. So this time out, for the first time ever, i have repeated the same marathon training plan that i followed last year. The Advanced Marathoning 70-85 miles per week plan with the aim of increasing my cross training and quality work outs.
Going off the rails
Well that was the aim….but sometimes things don’t go to plan
In my case…..it was a stress fracture, the most serious injury i have ever had, which resulted in me missing ten weeks of any kind of training at the end of 2015 and completely disrupted my training plan. So much so that in December 2015, when training for Boston was supposed to being, i ran just 82 miles whereas in December 2014 i ran 271 miles as training for Manchester began.
Fitter, faster, stronger
However in someways maybe this was a blessing in disguise, as when i could return to training i compensated having to ease off running, by completing intense 30 minute cycle sessions aiming for a minimum of 90 RPM and as it was cycling (in the gym) became my cross training session of choice. So much so, i have managed to complete at least one session a week throughout 2016, with some weeks seeing me complete three cycle sessions and recently i have been taking part in one 45 minute spinning class session a week. So that side of things has really took off.
In addition to cycling i continued with the core workouts that i started doing last year, where the target was at least one session a week. This year, id say i have done at least two a week, but i haven’t kept a record of this. Although what i do know, is the number of core workouts in terms number of sit ups and the like completed per session, has tripled compared to last year.
And finally, completed my threat to join a running club, joining the famous Preston Harriers, and so far in 2016 i have only missed one session with them. So i have also consistently doing speed work and thanks to them, I have been doing better quality sessions than i was doing last year.
Running wise, despite the injuries the i have run almost the same number of miles over the past 20 weeks as i did in preparation for Manchester (1065 V 1068). There are two reasons for this, firstly in February 2015 i picked up a knee injury which caused me to miss a number of sessions that months, whereas this time i haven’t picked up one major issue during training. I have had niggles two days lost worrying i had re-fractured my leg, four days lost during taper (a worrying / ok time to miss training) after slightly twisting my ankle but apart from that thinks have gone well. On top of this, i feel fitter, than ever before and core strength is the strongest its ever been.
The proof is in the pudding as they say and i have put my training to test on three occasions during 2016. The Wrexham Village Baker half marathon, where i turned up to run my first race since the fracture with a plan to run an even 6:30 per mile and test out my marathon pace. The result an accidental PB of 1:23:06 – a new PB, down from 1:24:25.
The Trimpell 20, which is my usual training race ahead of a spring marathon and this time i stuck to my task of running average of 6:30 per mile, coming home in 2:10:41. A PB of over six minutes!
Finally and recently (April 6th) it was the Blackpool inter club 4 mile race. This was my second ever experience of such an event and this time i was a lot more prepared for how competitive it would be. I also set myself a target pace of 6 minutes per mile, which would bring home a PB and apart from mile 3, i blew that away completing the race in 23:26 despite not reaching top speed or sprinting for the line. A PB of 1:49.
Now its time to head state side and put this training to the test, months of hard work and at times frustration. Here’s hoping it pays off!!