Sunday, September 07, 2008

What's Marathon Pace?

After a back-to-back workout on Thursday and Friday, a very easy 8-mile run was all I had in mind for Saturday. A lie-in would have been nice, but with 4 children sleep can be a lottery, and this weekend I’ve drawn a blank. Ah well. I’m sure I’ll sleep again someday.

I passed lots and lots of blackberry bushes on yesterday's run, and on the return leg I could no longer resist temptation. I stopped for 5 or 10 minutes and just shoved as many of them into my mouth as I could manage. If that included the odd worm, so be it (it’s the only way for my to get animal protein anyway). Yummy. Eventually I managed to wean myself off nature’s buffet and continued with my run.

Talking about blackberries, another advantage of cycling to work became apparent a week ago. I had spotted a massive array of bushes with gazillions of juicy berries, and the next day I made sure I brought along a container, which I filled to the brim on my way home. In a car I would not have noticed them. I did the same the following day, and again once or twice this week. Add to that the berries we picked in our garden and some more I picked from another spot beside the Lake over the last two weekends and you can imagine the masses of berries we have managed to bring home. So far we’ve had blackberry crumble, blackberry brioche, cinnamon-and-blackberry cake, blackberry muffins and just plain blackberries, as well as about 10 pots of blackberry jam, some of them for giving away, and the season is still going on. My usual diet is taking a bit of a hit at the moment with all the added sugar, but that’s a sacrifice I’m more than willing to pay.

Because I didn’t quite manage to get down to marathon pace on Friday I decided to give it another go, but this time without running 15 miles in advance. It went really well. After 2 miles of warming up I hit 7:00 pace pretty much instantly, and held it fairly comfortably over the next 8 miles. The heart rate surprised me, apart from a few climbs it stayed below 160 all the time rather than going into the low 160s as I would have expected. On days like that I still dare to hope that 6:52 pace on race day is not completely out of the question yet. With 7 weeks to go there are still a few weeks of full training left, and with plenty of miles at MP and HMP, maybe I’ll manage to squeeze out a few extra seconds. Plus with lighter shoes and possibly a few pounds less on my frame I might still be in with a chance this time round. As I’ve said, on days like this I still dare to hope.
6 Sep
8 miles, 1:05:51, 8:13 pace, HR 135
7 Sep
12+ miles, 1:27:35, 7:14 pace, HR 155
incl. 8 miles @ 6:57 pace

Weekly mileage: 80+


  1. My Mother used to make up to 120 lbs of jam from the blackberries we picked as kids - lasted us for a full year.

    I'm also struggling to decide what my marathon pace is. 80+ miles - you're certainly cranking up the training. Good going.

  2. If you're hitting your target pace for 8 miles in the middle of high-volume training weeks with 7 weeks still remaining, I'd say you have a LOT of reason for hope.

  3. Hi Thomas,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog about the hydration. I guess i have to figure something out.

    80+ miles...woah..i guess there is a lot of more i can get my body into running shape. Two weeks ago i did 50 miles and i thought that was plenty :)

  4. Maybe you could convert those blackberries into some kind of a PowerGel or something like that. I'm sure that would beat some of the other gross flavours they have come up with!

  5. That's a great workout and confidence booster too. I'd say to go with 7's as long as you can hold back and then finish strong from there. Take care not to overdo it now.