Mid term reportMark Fairbrother
Monday, 11 February, 2013
Hello runners – it’s been a couple of weeks now since my last blog so allow me to give a quick update on where I’m at. I will also share with you some comparisons between this journey on Project 26.2 and my training towards the Virgin London Marathon last year, as the improvement is quite dramatic, not just in terms of times but my general attack of the job in hand. I have been very fortunate in receiving tailored training plans each week from our coach Nick Anderson, I have regular contact with Nick regarding races I am entering and general well-being, it is with this feedback that Nick is able to tweak my plan accordingly. I am conscious that too many races can lead to injury, particularly as I have always approached racing in the manner, that I will give it ‘my best shot’ – this would be fine if I wasn’t training for a marathon, but seeing as I am then I need to be careful and get the balance right. I do love the challenge of a race though, not that I will ever win one, but that’s not the point, if fact, for me this is the beauty of running, as no matter how fast we are, we can enter these races with a full range of abilities across our fellow competitors and yet still get as much satisfaction from achieving a PB, be it for the course or distance. On Saturday 3rd Feb I lined myself up with 770 other keen runners, for the annual Ashford & District 10k race. The weather was mild and the course ahead was a great test, quick in parts, narrow lanes in others and a steep enough hill to annoyingly knock you off your prescribed pace per mile. The start line (like most) was quite congested and I knew the first half a mile is out into narrow lanes so no point jumping off the gun like a fairground dodgem, I pushed my way through the pack of runners at settled in the 40-45min start point, dreaming and admiring the guys ahead in the sub 40 group. ‘One day I’ll be joining them my thoughts pondered’.... I actually got off to a good start, sub 7 mins for the first 4 miles, then moved out to 7:30 for the hill before finishing off the loop course with a course PB of 42:58 (104th spot!), now comparing this to last year I had knocked off over 5 mins. Going back to the hill section, this is where I feel I have gained good ground. As you probably know from our Twitter ‘updates’ me and the guys have a tough hill session each week built into our training and this really does improve fitness and stamina when faced with these big inclines. I still glad that Brighton is relatively flat though! Last year, my training essentially consisted of 2-3 tempo runs/ week and a LSR on a Sunday, gradually increasing in distance to 22miles. Looking back at my times, and more critically the latter miles on all these sessions, my time was dropping off, less so in the tempo runs but significantly in the LSR. This was replicated in the VLM itself, hardly surprising! A big feature of my training Project 26.2 is to actually do the reverse. That is to pick up the pace, through interval blocks during the latter stages of the session. This is probably the biggest improvement in my running. Not only does it give me the psychological feeling that I can carry the distance but also the physical ability to actually maintain and push through the session with improving pace.