Today was my longest training run or another kind of run for that matter and the last of my uber long runs before my Kent Roadrunner Marathon in 17 days time and I had 22 miles on my Schedule. Ant my coach said that 18 miles would have been enough but I think I needed to do over 20 to give me the confidence I needed to go into my first marathon at least knowing I was able to run it at a decent pace. Of course pace is relevant to each of us, there is absolutely nothing wrong with running a 5 hour marathon but I have always wanted to run sub 3:30 to give me good for age for Boston and NYC both of which I want to run in the next year or so and at least now I know that if all goes well on the day its achievable.
Sue and I headed off to my favourite long run spot Boscombe pier nice an early hoping to arrive about 07:30 but after an accident on the motorway it was nearer 8am when we parked so after a toilet stop and a bottle of water I left Sue and headed off towards Southborne. The weather was perfect, about 12 degrees and a very light 7mph headwind coming the other way nut certainly nothing compared to last weeks 30mph winds. Ive spent the last couple of weeks trying to slow down my pace and I am getting better, well more consistent which is all important, Today my plan was to keep it “comfortable” Ant said I should be able to run and hold a steady conversation and not get short of breath.
So I headed off and running a pretty steady 7:48 and it felt awesome, I did have to keep a constant eye on my Garmin but thats ok, I knew it would take me 3 or 4 miles to find my comfortable pace and thought I would end up running about 8 minute miles but the longer it went on the 7:48 kept popping up and dare I say felt very comfortable. I chose my usual loupe which can be anything up to 7 miles but today I made the loupe 5.5 miles which would give me a perfect 22 miles after 4 laps. The first lap was brilliant and as I got back to the car I stopped to grab another bottle of water and more Clif Blocs then headed off for lap 2 which again felt wonderful. I did see a few of the same people walking up and down with kids or dogs and stopping for coffee and breakfast which was nice because they started to comment on my running and my t-shirt haha they all love the bloody shirt ! Finishing the second lap again I grabbed some more blocs and water and headed off on mile 12 feeling as fresh as when I started. The third lap was great although starting to get busy so I had to weave in and out of people, Don’t they know I am an athlete and should be given the racing line !!!!!!
after lap 3 again feeling fab I grabbed more blocs but this time with Caffeine and a water and headed back out to conquer mile 17, I was clocking up more than the 5.5 miles now probably all that weaving 🙂 Anyway the outward journey went very well and as I approached the 20 mile mark I decided to have a couple more Caffeine blocs so I had those and drank my remaining water and had a quick survey of the legs, Yep all good so I walked the 30 yards to the super cool compactor bin and popped in my bottle and headed on my way for the last 2.75 miles of my run. Shortly after my watch beeped and I looked down and noticed the pace was 8:08 ! WTF I had not slowed down that much surely, my legs felt great and mentally I was on fire, then I realised the walk to the bin and the amount of people near the Southbourne entrance PHEW…… the next 2 or so miles were fab 7:49 then 7:47 and as I reached Boscome pier I felt amazing and continued the half mile to where we had parked to a smiley Sue which brightened my morning no end, I finished with just under 22.5 miles on my garmin and very happy.
Todays main aim apart from confidence building was to test my nutrition and hydration, I had 3 Clif Blocs (99 calories) before I set off then 3 every 4.5 miles which will equate to 3 laps on race day, the last 2 lots of blocs were Caffeinated mainly to keep me mentally focused, I think next time I would hit the caffiene earlier then alternate but energy wise it was a complete success as was the hydration, we brought some small 33cl bottles with sports caps so ideal to carry with you. These 2 things are really critical for me being a diabetic and thankfully its a winner.
I have had a few people ask me why I choose to do my long runs along the Beach and Bournemouth, well why not ? its safe and comfortable, traffic free and Sue can sit on the beach in a deck chair and read her magazines and catch a few rays and it sure beats the hell out of running around the traffic filled Southampton streets.
After the run I had a great stretching session then a walk in the sea and OMG it was cold 🙂 we then had a lovely picnic lunch before heading home to work.
Really pleased that my average pace today was 7:46 Min Miles which would bring me in under my target time and I am sure the whole buzz of race day will help me shedloads.
I am so lucky being able to run like this and more important having the constant support from my amazing wife which means the work to me, Thank you Sue. I am also very grateful to my amazing coach Ant for all his help and for putting up with me and to my club mate Andy Griggs who is always giving me snippets of advice both of these guys are awesome runners and both help me loads, thanks guys.