Today was a big day for me. Today was the day that I was going to run past half-marathon distance for the first time.
I found myself in difficulty running 13.1 miles last Sunday so today was test. More a mental thing than a physical thing but a test that I had to come through.
I had yesterday off so I had plenty of time to prepare properly. As you can see from the previous post, I'd done a Gym session yesterday but I made sure to minimise the amount of cardio to a basic 1km warm up and a gentle 2,000m row.
I also made sure not to run a calorie deficit yesterday. With thanks to the calorie tracking on My Fitness Pal, I think I was a little under 400 calories for the day, even after 2 big servings of my home made pasta bolognese. So I was all prepped.
Woke up this morning when the alarm went off at 6:45, do you think I could get out of bed? Ha, no chance. Didnt get out of bed til gone 7:15. Quick bowl of porridge, half a serving of High 5 4:1, half a glass of water and I was ready. One minor thing to add to the pre-run list. An Imodium tab. Under no circumstances did I want any tummy rumblings. I felt a bit dodgy so thought to be on the safe side.
Target Pace was 9:30 min/mile. Average Pace was 9:28 min/mile. Got to be bloody happy with that.
The original route I'd planned along the Thames to my parents was 16 miles but I made a few little alterations as I went and ended up stopping on 17.2 miles. I originally thought 16.2 would bring me to within 10 miles of completing marathon distance but as I was feeling good, I squeezed another mile out to get me within 9 miles. Perfect.
After a good chat with Paul at Plumstead Runners on Wednesday, we agreed that somewhere around 9:30 pace should be the quickest I should be looking at. He said I might find it a bit slow at first as all my distance running so far has been nearer 9 min/mile pace but it would see me fare much better for the longer distances. At the end of the day, its about setting realistic targets. A sub 4hr marathon was a dream. Anything around 4:30 or quicker is going to be good for me, especially first time over marathon distance.
The last couple of longer runs I've been on, my thighs have been so sore. Today they werent too bad. I wondered what it was but today I realised. Running with a higher HR than normal over recent weeks would have brought on the lactic acid in the legs. Running slower today ensured that never happened so by the end of the 17.2 miles, I was still able to walk in a great deal of comfort compared to last weeks effort over 13.1.
A couple of things to bear in mind. A 130g bag of Bassetts Jelly Babies is not going to last me a marathon. They'd gone by 13.5 miles. I ended up taking a gel around mile 15 just to be on the safe side as didnt want to end up bonking at any point. Also I need to get the hydration sorted. I usually run with a bottle belt which holds one of my 650ml cycling bottles. That filled with 4:1 is just about enough for 17 miles but I'd need more for longer distances. Today I was extra careful by taking half a serving in an empty coke bottle and I drank this over the first 3 miles and then took a swig there on in at every mile bleeped on the Garmin with a Jelly Baby.
Anyway, very pleasing effort and as at nearly 4pm this afternoon, 4 hours later, I'm feeling pretty good still.
I've finally resigned up to Strava Premium for some extra stats:
Pace Analysis > here
(interesting to see that my quickest mile was mile 16!!!)
Pace Distribution > here
HR Zones > here
So overall, I'm dead chuffed. 26.2 miles seems a long way but not that long now. To get within 9 miles is a massive mental boost.