Road to Berlin Blog 3 - Week starting 16 July 2018 (9 weeks to go)

Over the next few weeks I'll be explaining how a normal guy with two daughters, a wife and a full time job can try and realise his dream of running a sub 2.30 marathon in Berlin on September 16.  


I’m convinced that I was fit enough at London, but I was just unable to perform in the conditions.  Going from training in freezing conditions to racing in 23 degree heat was not part of the plan; anyone who raced well deserves serious praise. 


I’ve decided to train using the same plan, just with minor tweaks.  This comes with the advantage that I already know what I’m letting myself in for and also that I can compare sessions from 4 months ago!  I know that this plan got Jason his PB of 2.21 as well as similar plans getting a lot of quality results for other runners. 


Most weeks for the next 6 weeks will focus around 2 key sessions.  A speed session on Tuesdays where I’ll be mostly doing longer reps aiming for under marathon pace and then a long run including some decent steady/tempo pace on a Friday or Saturday.  The rest of my running will be recovery/easy pace (6.30 to 7.30 per mile) and maybe some steady running at the weekend depending on how I’m feeling. 


This was my last week of paternity leave so I still had a bit of flexibility with grandparents coming to help out  I managed to get out on Monday morning for a lovely 9 miles cross country down to a local village.  It was great to be out and the hour and a bit flew by. 


Tuesday was where the action started; my in-laws were still at our house so I left around 7.30 and drove to near Willen Lake.  Willen is probably the closest thing we have to flat, smooth, traffic free paths in Milton Keynes (when you drive around town at 60mph you don’t appreciate how undulating it is!).  The session was to be 2 x 20 mins with 3 mins recovery.  I decided I wanted to test myself a little more so threw in a 5 min rep in the middle for good measure.  After a 2 mile warm up I set off and it went well.  Marathon pace will hopefully be 5.40 per mile or just under and I managed 5.38 average for first 20 mins, then 5.21 pace for 5 mins and then finished off with 5.37.  Not the perfect session, but it was very warm and my first decent workout for some time. 


Wednesday and Thursday were nice easy doubles taking Lexi to and from nursery.  It’s around 2 miles downhill from our house pushing the Out ‘n’ About Nipper buggy. I then have a quick drop off, fold up the buggy and leave it there and then run home.  Lexi actually gave us a treat by sleeping in until around 7.30; amazing.  Unfortunately on pick up it’s not a lot of fun in reverse when it’s warmer and I’m going up hill!   


My parents were with us from Friday to Sunday; we are so lucky to have such great support from both sets of grandparents.  I was feeling pretty tired having been up changing a lot of nappies over night, but hopped on the Nomad Treadmill just after 9am and tried to zone out for an hour.  My father in law kindly fitted an old tv to the wall and I hooked it upto Netflix to watch Breaking Bad.  I’ve seen it before, but Sarah is watching for the first time during maternity; it’s a great show.  The treadmill is such a help when trying to manage family life, I’m able to be just a few seconds away if needed and for running it allows me to take my legs off the tarmac for a bit but still get the miles in. I generally click on to 14kph (the machine has a handy skip to 12kmph button) and have incline at 1.  


Saturday was long run day, a chance to see what fitness I really had.  I’m delighted to say I’m in pretty good shape.  I left home at 7am and jogged the 6 miles down from my house back to Willen Lake (where I did my session on Tuesday) and met my mate Paul.  The plan then was to run 9 miles steady (as close to 6.00 as possible) and then finish off with parkrun (which started at 9am).  It’s so nice to be able to run with someone else and just chat and relax.  We clicked along nicely 6.19, 6.05, 6.12, 6.15, 6.06, 6.13, 6.20, 6.15, 6.06; it was brilliant.  I looked at my watch and realised we still had 20 mins before parkrun started so we clicked off a 6.07.  Paul started his warm down and I chatted with a few mates at the start line.  The plan here was to try and run as fast as I could on tired legs and try and recreate the feeling at the end of a marathon.  We set off and it felt hard!  There was a young lad running with me, but he dropped off after the first mile (5.34).  I hit the infamous zigzags and realised my friend Ben was hot on my heels.  He caught me by the top and we trotted down the other side together.  He mentioned he was taking it easy, I stupidly told him I’d already done 17 miles!  He didn’t fancy finishing behind me so flew off!  I dug in and finished with 5.45 and then 5.40 clocking a time of 17.38; pretty much bang on marathon pace!  My dad had driven Sarah and the girls down to meet me afterwards; it was wonderful walking back to the car with them.  Job done. 


Unsurprisingly on Sunday my legs were tired!  I joined Jamie and Paul for a lovely 11 miles round local Bucks villages on an undulating route; I love being out on country roads when there’s next to no traffic.  81 miles done for the week and a real step in the right direction.  Next week I’m back to work and the challenge goes up a notch! 

Week Summary

Mon AM 9 miles (7.15 average)

Tues AM 12 (6.09 including 20 mins, 5 mins, 20 mins)

Weds AM 5.5 (7.03) PM 5.8 (7.01)

Thurs AM 5.2 (7.05) PM 5.2 (6.55)

Fri AM 8.3 TM (7.18)

Sat AM 19 (6.18)

Sun AM 11 (6.58)

Total: 81