Sunday, 7 June 2009

Week 31 - 90 miles done!

After last week's 120 mile bike ride to Bamburgh and back, I decided to rest on the first day of week 31 of training. At the time, I wasn't sure if this was the correct course of action to take. By taking a rest day, I would have to run 90 miles in 6 days. That's 15 miles a day! Tough by anyone's standards. 

The first run of the week was therefore on Monday with Patrick, Colin and Austin. That run passed incident free but I could really feel the bike ride in my legs. In fact, I had the same heavy legged kind of feeling until the last run on Tuesday. I think it showed in my running too with an average pace of 00:09:07 per mile for the first 4 sessions of the week. Never mind though, I was still managing the required 15 miles a day.

Wednesday saw 3 shorter session of 5 miles each. I thought that this would give me the chance to get the total average pace down to below 9 minutes per mile but it was not to be. I was stuck on 00:09:07 at the half way point of the week. It was going to be a big ask to beat week 29's average pace of 00:09:04. With 45 miles done and 45 left I suppose all I was really concerned about was getting all of the miles done and running further in training than I had ever run before. Rubbish! I wanted to beat that previous best pace!

On Thursday I had a great little run to the north of Gosforth. I didn't really plan on where I was going to run beforehand and just set off north with the intention of exploring Wideopen and Wheetslade Country Park. I remember Jimmy Bell setting off on this type of run and now I've got a decent range it really does help get over the boredom to just get out there and run where the mood takes you. I managed 9.5 miles that lunchtime. I would have been out for much longer if I didn't have to return to the office. That long run only left 5.5 miles to be done on the evening session. That session wasn't without incident though as I set off full of confidence at a blistering pace on the treadmill. 1.5 miles in and I found that I had no energy at all. In running terms I "treaded water" for the next 3 miles. This was doing my average pace no good at all and I somehow managed the last mile in 00:07:30. I was shattered at the end of this session but pleased to have salvaged a decent time of 00:49:40 for 5.5 miles (00:09:01 per mile).

12 hours later at 7 am and I was back on the treadmill for a 4 mile run. This one was really slow and left the average pace for the week at 00:09:08 per mile, some 5 seconds away from where I needed to be. At this point I realised it would take something extra special to beat 00:09:04 per mile. So step up Colin Moore and Patrick Aynsley-Smythe to set a decent pace around the so called "Mark Allison Memorial 6 miles" route. So called, as it's my favourite route and takes in my birthplace; Princess Mary's Hospital. The lads did a brilliant job to get me round in 00:49:29. This was only the second time I've recorded a sub 50 minute time for this route. The last mile was done in 00:07:26 which wasn't bad considering it was mile 70 of the week! This run got the average pace down to 00:09:04 for the week which equalled the previous best set in week 29 for 85 miles. 

The final session on Friday was very much like the previous day's final session where I ran out of energy. Fortunately, it didn't happen until 3 miles in and the final time of 00:44:44 was enough to get the average weekly pace down to 00:09:03 per mile. Brilliant, after 75 miles I had beaten the previous best pace. It's a pity there were 15 miles left to run the following day!

I left the final run of the week until tea time on Saturday. The 15 mile route took me out of Shotley Bridge, down the Derwent Walk, through Rowlands Gill and back to Shotley Bridge along the A694. Energy levels were pretty good but my legs, once again, were quite heavy. The final time of 02:38:15 gave me a final total average pace of 00:09:18 for the week. Someway short of the previous best, but nevermind

What will stay in my mind for a long time to come will be the relative ease in which I ran the final few miles of the week. From about mile 84 - 90. It wasn't a fast pace but it was really comfortable and it gave me some time to reflect on what I've achieved so far. This week alone, I've managed to run 90 miles on the back of a tough 120 mile bike ride. The total mileage for this campaign has now broken the 900 mile barrier. In 2 weeks time I'll pass through the 1000 mile barrier! All of this is new ground for me. This blows the training plan I had for John O'Groats to Lands End right out of the water. In a way I'm looking forward to reaching 110 miles per week where I can start to compare like for like weeks and focus on running better each week over similar distances. Mind you, 110 miles a week will mean running nearly 16 miles a day. That could be 18 hours of running a week! 

Phew! After all of that I've got 2 rest days before I attempt to beat my PB for the Blaydon Race on Tuesday. I have another rest day after that and then 2 personal training sessions with Mark Fleming on Thursday and Friday. I'll be attending Beach Bootcamp on Saturday before doing a bit of exploring on the Chevy Chase route on Sunday at the start of the 95 mile week that is week 33. It's relentless to say the least. But as ever, I'm well up for the challenge!