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Manning up

February 13, 2012

By the time I’d finished writing up my seventh week of marathon training I realised that I was basically writing a note of capitulation. It was a big white flag of apathy waved into the triumphant face of an obstacle.

Sure, I could break up a long run on Monday, but I’d be carrying a rucksack through crowded central London during rush hour. And although nearly 50 miles in five days of running was okay, few runs had really been at the pace they should have been. Even my Friday tempo effort had only flirted with the speed I’d wanted.

I could either suck it up and mope around on a cold Sunday evening, or I could man up and get out there. Spurred on by a pot of coffee and keen to use some of the pent up energy in my legs, I set out for a run.

With no real plan of how far I was going to run, or how hard, I fell into a comfortable fast pace and set off down The High towards the City. The streets were quiet, there was the slightest spitting of rain, and I was breathing easy with no signs of the lingering cough. I quickly became aware that my Garmin was having a bit of a moment, since it registered a sub-4 minute mile. I was running fast, but not that fast!

I kept on going, keeping an even pace (with the exception of the odd break for crossing roads or navigating through traffic works), turned right and passed the Bank of England, found myself on Embankment, wound out past Westminster and having passed through the lit paths of Battersea Park, I crossed over to Chelsea Embankment and headed back home.

Passing the 15th lap on Garmin (normally that would be 15 miles, but since the readings were a bit out I suspected it was around 13) in 1:28 I consciously slowed the pace to around 7:10 minute miles to save my legs. With the absence of hot water, it made sense to try to run into work and make the most of the showers there.

I arrived home quite late, around 9pm, uncertain of how far I’d really run. I’d always felt in control of the pace, never feeling fully drained, and fully glad that I’d decided to take my long run. A bit of time with Map My Run, comparing notes with Garmin, revealed that I’d run 21.5 miles at just a smidge over 7:00 minute miles (including several minutes spent at traffic lights), putting me pretty much bang on my training target. Pacing and random split points can be found here.

So, Week 7 was actually 71 miles. And with a substantial portion of my longest run clipping along at 6:30, I’m intrigued to see what happens in a couple of weeks time when my long paced run reaches 24 miles along the traffic-free canal paths of North London.

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