Training Going Well, Blog Less So by Andy Mahony

It’s been more than a few weeks since my last blog. Sorry about that. The delay in delivering this latest round of running related ramblings is down to one simple but unavoidable fact – I’ve been too knackered to write it.

Whilst marathon training does not ordinarily lead to writer’s fatigue, changing jobs halfway through marathon training most certainly does.  And so fellow Eagles this week’s training advice is simple: avoid changing jobs halfway through marathon training, especially if the new job delivers you a longer commute than you previously had.

Anyway, since my last blog there’s been lots of running in lots of places, nearly all of which has gone according to plan.

A few weeks back there was the Hillingdon Half, which I incorporated into a longer run by running the seven miles to the start.  It all went without a hitch. Well, apart from the obvious hitch of a lead bike error and a short course.  However, at the end of my overall run my Garmin said 20 miles, which was what my plan said it should say.  So whilst obviously frustrating for others, I was fine.

Perhaps the most important run for me so far was the Cambridge Half on the 4 March.  It was immediately after last year’s Cambridge Half that I decided to defer my London Marathon place.  Last year at Cambridge I’d been plagued by an assortment of injuries in the lead up to the race, and just to be consistent; I finished in a lot of pain too.

Not this year though.  There were no injuries to report before, during or after the race. And whilst I didn’t get a new half PB (it still stands at 1:43:59) I did manage a respectful 1:45:20.  

In fact the only hitch was starting in the wrong pen.  I’m fairly sure I put down 1:45 as my predicted time (a spot-on prediction as it turns out).  However, I ended up in the pen behind the 1:45 pacers, meaning I faced a bottle-neck when I did finally set off.   In fact I didn’t see a pacer the whole course.  I’m not sure how much this affected my time and to be honest I’m not too bothered.  The race went well in all other respects and was head and shoulders above last year’s effort.   And unlike last year I didn’t have to stop off at the pharmacist for some Ibuprofen on the way to Weatherspoons. That’s always a bonus.

The Richmond Half was to be my next event, again used as part of a longer training run – 21 miles this time. As many of you will know this race, and many others, was cancelled due the return of hysteria from Cyberia.  

Alas marathon plans don’t give a hoot about inclement weather and so I set off early on Sunday morning for a seven mile run to Richmond Park followed by two seven-mile laps of the park itself.

It was bitterly cold and the wind on the west side of the park cut through me like a knife.  However, I did have one advantage over the other runners in the park.  The wonderful Rachel was camped out in the café near Roehampton Gate and came out with water each time I passed by. Of course, to time this correctly I did have to stick to my training pace, but despite the ice-cold headwind I managed to do so.

I also bumped into fellow Eagle Hannah Copeland and it was nice to see a friendly face in these rather grim conditions.  I finished my 21 miles near Roehampton Gate and headed into the café to be met by Rachel and Hannah.  After I glugged back plenty of water, Hannah bought me a most welcome cup of tea. (Thanks Hannah!)

After being sat down for a few moments I started to develop a burning sensation in both my legs.  It gradually increased and became quite uncomfortable, reaching from my hips to my feet. Just my luck I thought; I get this far through marathon training with barely a hitch, only to spontaneously combust in Richmond Park.

I’m not sure what caused it (no, I hadn’t spilt my tea) , but suspect putting my muscles through well over three hours of running in very cold temperatures and then coming into the warmth of the cafe, may have had something to do with it.  Whatever the cause it soon wore off and within about 20 minutes I was back to normal.

My longest mid-week run was 11 miles last Wednesday. As I now work near Waterloo I decided to make this run my commute home.  This is the closest that I get to multi-tasking, but I’m pleased to say it all went according plan.

And ‘went according to plan’ pretty much describes every training run I’ve had so far.  Whilst this is great news for me I appreciate it doesn’t make for the most exciting blog.  And whilst I’m not a suspicious man I will not tempt fate by going on about it.  Except to say that I hope my good fortune continues for the remaining four weeks’ training.

Just four weeks?  Blimey – it’s not long now.  With a bit of luck nothing ‘exciting’ will happen between now and then, and my next blog will bore you all to sleep.

Now if you don’t mind, I have a rest day to get on with…

Andy in Richmond Park.JPG