Going Bananas - 65 miles

Well the title describes my week, though has nothing to do with the fruit!

After the poor mileage last week along with my desire to give a sub 3hr marathon my best shot I have decided to really push myself this week. I felt that I was really fannying about with my training so have decided to up the mileage and the intensity for the next couple of weeks before I begin to taper.

On Monday I ran the 11.75 miles to work which took 1.28.30 which was as fast as I've ever done it but still within comfort levels. Following this on Tuesday (New Years Day) I did my 9 mile loop but as fast as I could. I had my doubts early on as my legs were clearly quite tired from the day before. In the end I settled down at as fast a pace I could comfortably live with but still held a small amount in reserve. In the end I finished in 58.15 which is 6.26 min miles and frankly is bananas, but taught me a lot in the process. It was the quickest I have done that loop by about 4 minutes.

Before I did this run I thought I had lost a lot of my speed and assumed I was well off my 10k and half mara best. Clearly this run suggests otherwise as I was only 8 secconds a mile slower than my half marathon best in non race conditions on a far hillier course with a long run in my legs from the day before. Extrapolating this time in race conditions it suggests that my marathon pace could be as quick as 2.50. I don't think for a minute that I'll run a time that quickly and frankly would be stupid to attempt to do so at my first marathon. However, it suggests that I'm in far better shape than I realised unless my course measurement is a bit out! As a result I'm thinking that my marathon pace is somewhere in the region of 2.55-3.05 at the moment assuming I don't bonk during the race itself. I still have many questions that need to be answered but generally feel a lot more positive than a couple of weeks ago.

On Wednesday I again ran to work with a fairly heavy rucksack and did the same 11.75 miles in 1.29. Although my legs felt quite tired just before I set out I was pleasantly surprised to feel reasonably ok for the majority of the run, so much so that I was more or less able to run at normal speed. I did tire in the last 15 minutes or so which is mainly uphill, but that was no real surprise. Over the first three days of the week I did 33 miles which is certainly the longest back to back runs I've done, let alone for the midweek.

On Thursday I did a gentle 6 miles at nothing more than a jog so felt pretty good all the way round and Friday I took as a rest day.

On Saturday I went for another one of my 20 milers. To be honest I had been slightly dreading it as I find it difficult at the best of times, let alone with 39 miles already under my belt for the week. I started in dry and sunny conditions but it was a bit windy in places. The only downside was that some of the country roads had quite a lot of standing water but it could have been worse. The first couple of miles I struggled with a bit and hoped that it was because my muscles needed to get going. Shortly after I began to to feel ok and just aimed to go at a steady 7.30 min mile pace all of the way round. After about 10 miles I felt ok and wasn't breathing heavily at all. At the 15 mile mark my legs started to feel like they were on a downward curve and had to put proportionately more effort in to keep going at the same pace. What wasn't helping was that the last few miles were uphill as usual but the biting wind was also in my face for 2-3 miles. After 16 miles I was still feeling reasonable, and in a far better state than when I've previously done this loop. I decided to open my legs a bit at the start of the main hill to see how they responded and was surprised to maintain the improved pace without not too much difficulty, although I was breathing a bit more heavily by now. In the last couple of miles I decided to increase my pace a bit more and was pleased to see that my legs were able to cope. Ok, I was only averaging 7.20 odd pace in the last 5 miles which is only about 10 seconds per mile faster than normal, but what was pleasing was that a) I was able to increase my pace at all and b) the last 5 miles contain 50% of the hills so I should have slowed down if anything.

Over the 20 miles I averaged about 7.22 min miles which isn't quite the quickest I've done, but I felt far better at the end when compared to my other long runs. Or to put it another way I still felt bad, but not quite as bad as on previous occasions! It makes me realise that perhaps a 3hr marathon is a big ask and would involve a substantially faster pace which I have no idea whether I would be able to maintain. On another note what is really beginning to annoy me is that when ever I go out I seem to suffer from a runny nose. I can normally cope with that, but after 15 miles having to constantly wipe my nose started to become tedious. Any ideas why this happens? Answers on a postcard please.

I rounded off the week today with a gentle 6 miles around one of my usual loops. I was going to do 9 miles but my knees were quite sore and as this was just a recovery run I didn't see the need to go any further. Having said that I still went round averaging 7.25 min miles, but no matter how hard I tried I just couldn't seem to go any slower!

Overall for the week I did 65 miles which is by and far the longest week I have had by some margin, and also the most intense. I felt it was best to do it now rather than leave in much later to ensure my legs have a good recovery time for the marathon in mid Feb but also so I can begin to realise the benefit. I intend to have a similar week next week, but perhaps only around 60 miles. After that I'll probably aim for around 55 miles the week after before beginning my gradual taper over the remaining four weeks.


  1. That's a really impressive training week, your fitness has really improved! I am impressed.

    The runny nose thing- I think it's just one of those things for this time of year. My brother-in-law's top tip for this is to hold each nostril shut in turn and snort hard through the open one- probably not an option in crowded races though!

    Good luck for your plans next week

  2. Your doing the same mileage as me and I'm off to Morocco in a couple of months!

    I get a runny nose every single time I run, anytime of year, no exception. I just gave up and run around like a snotty 3 year old now.

    Sounds like you are well on course for your 3 hour marathon. Sounds well within your capabilities. I think you'll be able to maintain your speed over these long distances, and since you are natural hill climber you should be able to keep the pace up on the MDS. I read somewhere, in the last few days, that if you can maintain a 5mph average you will finish in the top 100. I think you may well be one those given your natural athletic ability.

    Good luck!

  3. Awesome week Lloyd. I've got my first marathon in April, so am building up to that now too, although not quite at the 65 mile a week stage yet! Morelike 40-45 for me :)

    Keep up the good work though, and feel free to link to my blog too:

    www.marathondessables2009.blogspot.com :)




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