Harry's Blog 4

The training has continued on in similar vein to previous blogs which doesn’t necessarily make for an interesting blog, but it will do me fine. One ankle is a bit stiff in the mornings, but otherwise in reasonable shape.

I’d left you last time doing a long run around Ealing’s canals, waiting for children to be well enough to make it down to Brighton for a half term break. We did finally get down on Friday, and I squeezed in an early morning run along the seafront in much better weather than the Brighton half marathon would endure the following week. I bumped into a crowd of runners on the Hover Promenade, and realised I stumbled on a Parkrun. Fortunately I always carry my barcode along with an oyster card and cash when I ran, so I incorporated a fast 5k into the middle of the run. Such are the benefits of having a flexible approach to the training plan. I love the way you feel at home and welcome in any Parkrun. The run director had run the Ealing Half Marathon, but found it a bit hillly. I stretched out a quick Sunday club run to a half marathon the next day, followed on Monday while my daughter swam by a hills session up Studland, Ealing’s steepest street – give it a try if you haven’t already.

I then tried extending a run in to work to 20k, but felt that slightly out of sorts all day – I think I need a decent meal after a long run. I then tapered with a quick short run and day off to the club championships Parkrun. I was spurred on by chasing 3 eagles just ahead, and managed to match my track time fromtwo and half weeks earlier, though this time finishing just behind Santry. Still, a Gunnersbury PB by a massive 21 seconds, a place in the Gunnersbury fastest 500, and time I never thought I would ever achieve.

Buoyed up by this success and inspired by Chris’s blog to stretch out the long run to 23 miles, partly because I was nervous of what would happen in the marathon in those last 6 miles. I took the opportunity to run down through Bushy Park to Hampton Court Palace and back up along the river – always get the trickier navigation out of the way on the way out. I deliberately went off at a cautious pace, but by half way it was feeling like hard work, and I wasn’t able to up the pace as much as I’d hoped while keeping my breathing relaxed. I was glad to see some Eagles coming the other way on the Sunday club run – I had started very early – and I managed to up the pace a bit for the last 3k. At least I hadn’t hit a wall. I caught the bus up from Kew bridge which meant I was a bit cold and stiff by the time I got to Ealing Green, and I decided I had to be anti-social and refuel properly rather than join the other just finishing the club run in café. It was only when I got under a hot shower that I found out from the sharp pain that the weight of a couple of gels had caused my shorts to rub my skin raw on my lower back.

For some reason I don’t understand myself I felt deflated rather than elated after the run. Perhaps subconsciously I’d hoped I would find it easier to keep up a faster pace, or I expected too much on the day following such a hard 5k run, or it was unrelated non-running stresses, a chemical imbalance in the brain or just mid plan blues (is that a thing?).

After a rest day a couple of quick runs showed I still had pace, and then a couple of slower runs to taper for the Cambridge Half this Sunday, which hopefully will give a better feel for what time I should be aiming at for the marathon, and post a time that has a chance to getting me on to the Welsh Castles open team.

Spring is beginning to poke its head cautiously out from under the duvet, and I finally took some time out of the schedule to check on my allotment. Unfortunately Doris had uprooted my poly greenhouse, including heavy wooden base, and tumbled it over the blackberries and mangled it against an apple tree. It’s hard enough keeping on top of an allotment without marathon training. So I brought some seed potatoes – it will be low maintenance crops this spring. I’m travelling with work next week. I’ll take my running kit, but it might be low mileage. It’s not easy fitting life around marathon training, but so far I think I’m ahead slightly, so I will just have to squeeze it what I can. All in all, I’m running faster and further than ever, and I’m still injury free, so it’s all good.