Week 5 started big, the plan had me to do 10 miles but prior to signing up for Race to the Kings challenge I had already paid for Manchester Marathon and I didn’t want to give up. I had a bad race last year at the event, it actually caused me to lose my running mojo and after it I didn’t really get back into running until October time.
The problem was I had been using this training plan (kind of) and the furthest I had ran was 13.1 miles and here I was about to attempt to run 26.2. Anyone who has done a marathon will tell you, the halfway point of a marathon in 20 mile mark not 13.1 so I really wasn’t looking forward to the experience. I knew my legs would be screaming at me, but I knew the bigger picture. I was running this for DSA and that helped.
Plan: 10 miles
I have a plan for the ultra, which is to run 25 minutes and walk for 5m run 25 walk 5 etc. So the key today was run at least 10 miles (that’s what the plan said) and make sure I stick to the 25/5 plan.
It was weird, 3 miles into the marathon and walking. The people around me probably had no idea what I was doing and thought I must be really unfit and that I had done no training, the last bit was true. But I walked for the 5 minutes then started running again. Something rather strange happened the people that past me while I was walking I had caught up to them within the next mile of running, the mile after that I left them and then the group I would pass in the 3rd mile would overtake me again during my walking phases but the groups of people that I overtook in mile 1 and 2 never caught up to me.
Then when I started running again I would catch all those that caught me in the first mile and then two new group of people in miles 2 and 3. The circles kept repeating itself.
While I keep saying I was running 3 miles in 25 minutes – that’s the plan I had, well it didn’t work out I was running about 3.5 miles in 25 minutes so a bit faster than planned.
If today has been a half marathon I would of set a new PB crossing the halfway point in just over 2.04 (if it was a half I wouldnt have walked the last 5 minutes), but it wasn’t and I knew I had to run another 13.1 miles and I knew these would be difficult I was running in virgin ground, It had been a year since I covered anywhere near this distance.
I kept going with the 25/5 plan until 20-mile0 mile mark, the pace didn’t keep up but was still able to run 3 miles in the 25 minutes so was happy. I got a huge boost around mile 19.5 when I saw an ex work colleague of mine and we chatted (as much as you can when you have just ran 20 miles), however my plan had me stop just after 20 miles and this is where a lot improvisation came in. While I had the 5 minute walk in the next 25 minutes I also walked for 3 minutes as well and took on water and gels. It was a very hot day. I kept going as well as I could and kept catching my friend but never really got along side him again.
My friend who had been with me on the Saturday was at about miles 25.5 and I could see the finishing straight and my colleague, but I didn’t have the legs for a sprint finish, maybe had I done so more training I would of caught him, but never really had the legs left.
What surprised me most of all was even with no real training and a very hot day, I got a PB and not a small one, I knocked over 13 minutes off my time and cross the line in roughly 4 hours 22 minutes.
To say I was happy is an understatement, I was buzzing.
Plan: Rest Day
Actual: Rest – I didn’t feel like running at all, but wasn’t in to much pain. Legs we’re a little stiff but they have been worse.
Plan: 5 miles
I know, if anything I should of have just listened to the plan, but my legs we’re fine and so I had a lovely run with the club. I took it steady even though the majority of the club was racing.
Plan: 5 miles
Yeah this is where my legs felt the pain on Sunday. On my own and trying to run I had no energy, so I took the correct decision to rest, plus I knew I would be running with the club on Thursday so could make up the 3 miles.
I was listening to my body, which is something I have never really done before – its needed a break so got one.
Plan: 5 Miles
The legs still a little sore was no real issue. It was nice to be back with the club and going for a longer run. The plan had me done to do 15 miles over the three days and I did over 16 so while Wednesday might have been short I was happy with what I had done.
Plan – 30 minutes Cross train
Actual – zero
I didn’t go the gym or swimming. I just didn’t have the energy or desire so took it as another rest day.
Plan: 6 miles
Actual: 3 miles
I did Parkrun with my 4 year old and managed to knock about 50 seconds off his PB, he doesn’t quite understand PB yet and just runs for the fun of it. Wish I had that feeling and then that afternoon took it easy. Enjoy the day with the family and warm sunshine. I think I did enough miles the previous Sunday for making up not doing the additional 3.
So overall this was one great week for me. Getting a PB in Manchester was never part of the plan. The plan has always been for me to run Race to the Kings Ultra marathon and nothing more.