I haven’t blogged in a couple of months so I decided that since I have run a half marathon, 10k and the Belfast Marathon, that it was time for a brief update…
I finished the last blog with a moan about my hip. In short I recovered. I didn’t do the 10k mentioned in that blog – I really can’t remember why! I subsequently set out to a half marathon a week or two later in Omagh and there was an accident on the motorway which meant I was never going to make it in time – half marathon aborted! In between times I did my ‘favourite’ half marathon in Larne – what a disaster! It was hot and I totally bombed it. I hit a disastrous 1:48 when I was aiming for sub 1:40!
On a lighter note I did the Titanic Quarter 10k race in April and got a PB there with 44minutes. This renewed my confidence for the Belfast Marathon in May…
In spite of having real last minute doubts about doing this marathon I am glad I did. I smashed all my previous attempts with a 3hrs:35mins effort!! What went right?
- I managed to get in three runs at 20mile plus in training – one of which was 23miles.
- I did a number of what I call ‘piggy-back’ runs! I’ll discuss this later.
- I had my nutrition down to a tee – lucozade sport isotonic (for sodium replacement – I get cramp otherwise) 500ml every hour or 8 miles; High 5 isotonic energy gels – 60ml every half hour.
- I got lucky on the day. It was wet and that suits me better than the heat. My friends and family were perfectly placed to hand me a new bottle of lucozade exactly when I needed it and finally I bumped into some old friends en route at perfect times in the race.
- Finally, my body just clicked and felt good from start to finish. It was a textbook marathon with even splits throughout – halfway -1:46; 19miles – 2:35; finish – 3:35! I actually felt that I could lift the pace from mile 23!
Job done. My 6th and final marathon ever – personal best – absolutely delighted!
So what about the ‘piggy-back’ runs?
This is something I would recommend every marathon trainer do (possibly not if it is your first marathon though, because it could cause injury). The method is simple. I always got out a run the day after a long run. So if I did 23 miles on Saturday, I made sure I did 6-8miles on Sunday. I called these piggy-back runs because I was piggy backing on the previous run. In other words, the Sunday run, although short, replicated the tiredness, soreness and nutrition depletion of the Saturday run all over again – in essence I got two long run effects for the price of one! I knew it was a dangerous strategy so you have to listen to your body with this one. I did ‘bomb’ a couple of times at the end of a 60mile week, but boy did it prepare me for the marathon! At no point during Monday’s marathon did I feel any real major fatigue. Try it out – even if you only do a two mile piggy back run. It teaches you to run well on tired legs!
Until next time…
- Records set in Belfast marathon (belfasttelegraph.co.uk)