Race day is drawing closer to the Loch Ness Marathon and I’m actually really looking forward to it! Normally I’d be starting to get a little nervous but then my preparation for this race hasn’t been what I’d call normal.
I headed out this morning to run 10 miles or so and chose a route that I haven’t done for a while – out to Aberdalgie, across to Craigend and back in on the Shore Road. What I love about this route is that its rather undulating between Aberdalgie and Craigend but also because there’s the long slow climb up Necessity Brae to negotiate first. This is pretty testing but I’m a believer that if you can get used to hills in training, most races will be easier as they are usually flat. What made it more challenging today were the strong winds and the rain. I don’t mind running in either but it was a rare occurrence today given the great summer we’ve had in Scotland.
I was delighted that I was able to maintain a steady pace which turned out be exactly the same pace I ran 15 miles last week on a much flatter course. The pace, average 8min/miles, is what I reckon I can do most of the marathon at. This would give me a finishing time of around 3hrs 30/45mins, which I would take right now. This is slower than my recent times of 3hrs 20/25mins over the last couple of years and my target pace of 7:30min/miles but given that I’ve done a fraction of the training I’d normally do for this kind of distance, my current average is pretty impressive. What’s more, with less training this year, I’ve found my pace to be pretty consistent in every training run.
When I said my preparation for this race wasn’t what I’d call normal, it is not even close to what I’d consider as acceptable. Typically, I’d set out a 12-16 week schedule with different distances for the Sunday long run and a variety of runs to do during the week and possibly one or two races to test myself. I’ve done absolutely none of that this time. There have been very few long runs – a 12 and a 15 miler before today’s run and a few short runs during the week with clients or running between client sessions/classes. I did quite a number of 10k runs in the 2 weeks prior to the Perth 10k race and a couple of 5k’s on holiday in early July but that’s about it really.
The only thing I can think of that’s helped me is teaching Metafit 5 times a week with one class directly after my long run on a Sunday. Metafit is a high-intensity, total body workout class that lasts 30mins and I compare it to the equivalent of a speed session. Some of my class members have lost weight, smashed their 5k PBs but the benefit to me seems to be the ability to hold my pace for longer. I ran pretty comfortably today despite not doing a ‘proper’ run since the 15 miler last week in which I felt great to 14 miles and my body wanted to speed up!
Time will tell if I can hold the pace for the full 26.2 miles but I’m happy to stay relaxed and see what happens on the day.