The bad news is that I almost certainly got a bit overexcited and ran a bit too hard on what should have been easy days, and of course running into very strong headwinds isn't entirely compatible with easy effort anyway. So, as I kept my easy days not quite easy enough, my supposed hard day wasn't quite as hard in return.
The hard day did cause me a few headaches before it even started. The training plan had this pencilled in for last Thursday but I really did not feel up to it, still feeling the combined effects of Ballycotton, Tralee and that 5k, so I pushed it out to Sunday. The weather was going to be foul again on Sunday and there is just no point trying to run marathon pace into a strong headwind, it's just not working and I can never find the proper effort level. Luckily this was the Easter weekend, so I just postponed it by a day as Monday was a bank holiday and I wouldn't have to worry about having to get up at 5 am to have time for 18 miles.
However, the plan said 5-4-3-2-1 miles at marathon pace with short recoveries. That's 15 miles at marathon pace. I'm pretty sure I've never run 15 miles at marathon pace outside an actual marathon; you need to be in very good shape to recover from a workout like that and there is a pretty good chance it could mess up your goal race. It's risky enough with 17 days until the goal race but since I had postponed it twice already I only had 13 days left, so I decided to tone it down: 10 miles at marathon pace, no more (and even there I'm taking quite a risk of not being able to fully recover).
It was a beautiful sunny cool morning with hardly any wind, pretty much ideal conditions. I did 7 miles at a reasonably easy effort, still feeling as good at 7:30-ish pace as I had done the previous 2 days, and then accelerated a bit. Unfortunately the watch didn't display average lap-pace, which is what I would have used to pace me (my fault entirely of course), so I was left to gauge the effort more or less by myself. I didn't get it quite right and was more at 7-mile pace than 6:50 but as the legs got more and more tired I think any faster wouldn't have been sustainable anyway and it may have been a tad faster than true marathon effort as it was. I got through it but if I can do the same again for the full 26 miles is a bit doubtful right now. Then again, I'll have 2 additional weeks of recovery, lighter shoes and race day adrenaline to get me through, and I won't be running on empty in Manchester either, so that all may help.
Obviously I'd have preferred the last real workout before Manchester to go more to plan. Runners are a fickle lot with too much self-doubt.
- 25 Mar
- 9 miles, 39:19, 7:51 pace, HR 139
- 26 Mar
- 8 miles, 1:00:41, 7:35 pace, HR 146
- 27 Mar
- 8 miles, 1:01:11, 7:38 pace, HR 146
- 28 Mar
- 18 miles, 2:11:34, 7:18 pace, HR 149
- incl 10 miles at 7:01 pace