I don't intend to review every week of training but I think last week is particularly worthy of mention. The planned mileage was 85 which was a little tricky in itself given that I'm preparing for the Blaydon Race with lots of short sharp runs. As a result, the 85 miles were spread over 14 sessions. Please bear with me, on this one, there is a lot of maths in this post. You may get a bit lost off but stick with it and I'm sure you'll see the point at the end.
The first 10 sessions in week 29 had very little impact on my body and I was always able to recover well enough to tackle the next run with few aches and pains. The final 4, however, were a different story. I could hardly move during session 11 on Friday morning. It was just a 4 mile run on the treadmill! The first mile took over 10 minutes to complete and the second wasn't that much quicker. I really had to dig deep to get a final time of 00:38:39 and give myself a chance of beating the previous best overall pace per mile of 00:09:20. That was set back in March 2009 on a week where I ran 70 miles over 10 sessions.
Session 12 on Friday lunchtime was also very tough. Going into this session I realised that I still had 22.5 miles left to do for the week. 11.2 of those were already earmarked for Saturday. That left 11.3 to complete over the final 2 sessions on Friday. Session 12 was quite slow again with 5.5 miles being done in 00:52:26 (00:09:32 per mile). Session 13 was done only 4 hours later but the difference in pace really surprised me. I had a really good stretch beforehand and set off for 5.8 miles. The first mile was done in 00:09:10 and each mile thereafter got little bit quicker. The total time taken was 00:48:40 which is an average of 00:08:23 per mile. I was very pleased with this time and it was all nicely setup for a successful week 29 with only 1 run left to do on Saturday.
Saturday's run was a repeat of the first session of the week. This 11.2 mile route starts in Shotley Bridge and tackles a few tough climbs in the Derwent Valley. As a bonus the 10th mile is a nice long downhill stretch which contributed to a maximum pace of 00:06:24 per mile. I had an out of body experience at this point! The world just seemed to whizz by and I felt in complete control of my running. I'm always one for wanting to finish the week in style and this week was no exception with miles 83, 84 and 85 of the week done in 00:09:06, 00:08:34 and 00:08:28 respectively. The final time of 01:47:33 was a PB for this course. The overall average pace for the week at 00:09:04 can also be regarded as PB.
If I could plot 2 lines on a graph over time, the first would be weekly mileage. That line is obviously going from the bottom left of the graph to the top right. The second line is average pace. That line is also going in the same direction. I'm expecting that trend to change soon. Surely I can't keep this pace up! It'll be interesting to see how things change when I do fewer longer runs.
Anyway, I said earlier that all this maths had a point. All the while, I'm calculating and analysing the figures, trying to knock seconds off here and seconds off there. I'm trying to run further and faster and the miles seem to fly by. Before I know it and as a result of getting lost in the sums, I've ran 85 miles. It's all about distraction really!
This week is not a running week so I've got a few spinning classes to get through and the small matter of a 120 mile bike ride over 2 days. That ride is from Gosforth to Bamburgh and back with Mark Fleming and a few other chaps. I hear that Mark's Aunty will be putting on a canny spread on the way back. I'm looking forward to that! The ride finishes on Saturday and then the running will start again on Sunday where 90 miles is the target for the week! Once that week is over I'll have only 2 days rest before the Blaydon Race. I'm aiming to beat last year's time of 00:51:32. If I was a betting man I reckon I'll be able to knock a minute off that time. We'll see!