Paris Marathon Training – Week 10 – OMG!!

Ok, I’m rubbish at counting and thought it was 4 weeks to race day last week only to discover I had an extra week. Bonus!

A few weeks back, I questioned my own training plan and talked about evaluating your training to make sure it’s working for you and producing the results you want from it. I’m so glad I did and went with what my instincts were telling me. I like to look at it as the early morning runs were good discipline at the time and I needed to do them in order to learn that the volume wasn’t working for me and discover what I needed to do instead.

What a difference though!

Monday – Rest

Tuesday – 8 miles-ish with Perth Road Runners

Wednesday – Cycling

Thursday – Cycling am, 3.18 miles pm

Friday – Rest

Saturday – 3 miles with PT client, Parkrun

Sunday – Inverness Half Marathon

Legs were a bit weary on Monday after Sunday’s 20 miles so I did some mobility work on my hips. I had an early finish on Tuesday so I went for a training run with Perth Road Runners. I arrived as everyone was heading off and so I followed one group not knowing how far or how fast they would be going but I knew it would be around 8 miles anyway. I realised after we started that I still had the bloody Garmin on km and so I didn’t know the actual distance or pace but then that wasn’t overly important, just having the chat with the other guys was good. What did feel good though was that while the pace was a little bit slower than last week, it felt great to know that I could speed up at any minute and did so in the last mile and a bit. To me, it’s always good to finish a training run knowing that you could keep going or go faster.

It was dry for a change on Wednesday and so I got my bike out and cycled down to the coffee shop. I had a quiet morning so I cycled there to do some admin and then cycled home again afterwards. It was less than 2 miles each way but I tried to stay in as high a gear as possible and go for pace so that was fine.

On Thursday, I took the long route to work so it ended up being 4.5 miles and then just short of 4 miles home at lunchtime. I had intended to do some run intervals near to my studio but the legs didn’t feel up to it after the bike so I just canned the session. I know I will have to do the disciplines back to back in the Half Ironman in a few months time but I was looking for a quality speed session and it wasn’t to be. I did take my Run Faster guys out to do hill reps on Thursday evening and so I joined in. I didn’t go for it but kept pace with them and so it was still good to do.

Friday was another rest day with a good mobility session thrown in and I wanted to feel good for Saturday. I had a PT client session where we ended up going for a run. We did this a couple of weeks ago and wasn’t so hot going round Parkrun so we did an easier route this time but I think the most important thing was we finished on time so I had more of a break before the start of Parkrun. This ultimately paid off as I had time to do some mobility exercises and have a drink before heading to the start.

My new Adidas Boston Boosts

The course was different this week, all on tarmac, to give the grass section  a rest and so I seized the opportunity to try out my new Adidas Boston Boosts. One word, wow! They felt so light and springy. First mile went by in 6mins, no problem I thought but was also aware that in previous runs where I’ve done that, I’ve crashed massively in the rest of the run. Imagine my surprise then when I went through mile 2 in 5:59! I was more focused on my performance and just felt like I was cruising round. I went through mile 3 in 6:02, didn’t do my usual sprint to the line but still finished in 18:57. My Parkrun PB is 18:57 but this course was measured slightly longer but Strava estimated my 5k time was 18:34, 23secs off my 5k PB! Awesome!

I was a little bit sceptical about my prospects for the Inverness Half Marathon yesterday and whether I would struggle after my Parkrun performance. Turns out nothing could be further from the truth! I set out with the aim of feeling in control of my pace and feeling like I could speed up at any time, especially later on in the race. I did this in last year’s race, was pleased with how well it worked and wanted to repeat it.

A nervous selfie with Allison and what looks like my antlers before the start!

The first mile was a bit quick, as it usually tends to be, and without a target pace in mind, I thought maybe aim for 7 min/miles and see how long I can hold that pace for and if I slowed to 7:10 then that would be fine. The next 2 miles went by in 6:57, 6:58 then 7:02 and I was happy with that but then after a 6:54, I hit a 6:41, 6:39 and another 6:41. This was amazing! At every mile, I started trying to work out my finish time based on 7 min/mile but I was still running quicker than that! I knew a PB was possible but refused to get carried away until I went through mile 11 in 6:37 and knew it would take something major NOT to get it so I just kept on doing what I was doing. Mile 12 passed by roughly where it gets a bit confusing as it’s close to where the finish line of the marathon is but this isn’t the marathon and this race finishes at the Sports Centre across the other side of the playing fields.

I just kept things ticking over, not keen to do anything daft. I learned years ago not to pass people unless I know I can stay ahead of them and so I followed a couple of guys in front of me round to where we cut onto the athletics track as I knew I would pass them then. As it happened, a couple of other runners passed me as soon as we got onto the track and I bided my time until we cam round the top bend and sprinted to the finish, going past the couple who had just passed me. I looked at my watch, it said 1:29:05, I thought that must be a PB and for a split second I was sad not to get under 1:29. It didn’t matter though as I got the text confirming my time as 1:29:06 and when I was able to sync my watch with Garmin, it bleeped to tell me this was a PB. I searched back to see what my previous was and it turns out I had just beaten it by 44 seconds! I immediately started wearing a big smile across my face, which is still there as I type this!

The medal shot at the finish

To hit that level of performance in this race was totally unexpected, I thought that if I could match what I did last year (1:34) then I would be happy but to get a PB not only in this race but also over 5k the day before is a massive boost ahead of Paris. The signs are positive ahead of Paris but I’m not allowing myself to get carried away here and it will be back to work this week to maintain what I’ve been doing and keep working on my form.

Post-race selfie with Allison who also got a PB!

How’s your training going? Have you had any pleasant surprises with what you’ve been doing?

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