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100-mile challenge: Week 4

November 20, 2011

I’d originally planned that this would be an easy week at around 50 miles to allow my body to recover, but even that proved too far really with what turned out to be a very busy week. What follows will read like a miscellany of excuses, but managing a large training volume and work and family commitments presents certain challenges.

Having ended last week with two 17-plus-mile days, I wanted to start the week with a rest day to allow my legs time to recover. In theory, there would be plenty of time for running this week since I had taken Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off as holiday. Naturally, though, there was plenty to sort out on Tuesday before I could leave the office, so my after-work run was shortened to avoid getting home too late.

The following morning was spent waiting in for a plumber to come round. It seemed fairly important to find the cause of water dripping from the kitchen ceiling. Mastic around the bath was, apparently, the cause of the problem. A problem that was quickly solved, but the shower was out of action for at least 12 hours while the new seal dried. The originally planned run was consequently abandoned.

I ran as planned on Thursday, and at around 7:30 in the evening we set off for Bournemouth to visit my mum a few days ahead of her birthday. Friday was spent on the south coast seeing some sights, and then we headed off back to London a tiny bit after 4pm. I’d wondered about squeezing in a run when we got home, but the return journey was a good three and a half hours, after which we just about mustered the energy to go to a local restaurant to save cooking.

Due to some phenomenally bad planning, I got up early on Saturday to head up to Manchester. The Victoria line was down (it’s running every weekend I don’t need it), so I had to cycle to Euston with a laptop and eight folders of printouts for the meeting. Perhaps good resistance training, but when I got back to Euston around 6pm, weary from travel and a productive meeting, the cycle home felt hard going and any ideas of a late run were quickly out the window.

Sunday, waking better rested to a particularly misty day with a bite in the air, I shortened my planned run in order to fit in all the other stuff I’d not been able to do over the past couple of days.

So, when I was running, I ran:

  • 8.3 miles along Embankment on Tuesday, turning back just before Battersea Park. I kept a good pace, but the run was shorter than I would have wanted given that I didn’t set out until 6:50pm and was trying to get home by 8:30ish.

    Battersea Power Station

    The view from Embankment, only in daylight. Image via Wikipedia

  • 17.5 miles down the Lee Valley, looping at Limehouse Basin and back up through Victoria Park. I’m getting faster at this run, having first run it in 2:05:32 on 6 November, I’ve now pulled the time back to 2:00:02. Despite the symmetry of the time, this needs to get faster (since the trip through Tottenham Hale at the beginning and end of the run routinely results in two bookend 8-minute miles, my focus is on tightening up the last five or six miles where my splits start to lose consistency).
  • 10.2 miles along the Lee Valley and looping back round Hackney Marsh. Despite the cold tightening my chest, this was all pretty fast and comfortable, and I decided to push the last mile of the off-road section to produce a 6:15 split for the ninth mile.

This volume-building challenge, despite being all about distance with no real pace targets, seems to be helping me develop consistent sub-7 splits over some relatively long distances. This all bodes well for the 2012 marathon campaign, but consistency in training is even more important. After 35.8 miles this week, I should be knocking out a clean 60 miles next week.

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