Stay on target (38.3-57.0km)

Yesterday was an interesting morning for a run. I’m due to run the Farnborough half next weekend so I wanted to get a decent long run in, but not such a decent run that I blow it for next week.

Let me explain; a few years ago I was listening to a running podcast whose names alludes me, probably Marathon Talk. Anyway, there was an interesting comment from one of the interviewees where he said that the “good” run where everything seems to click a few weeks before your race is actually your race that you’ve been preparing for. The race when it arrives is almost like a recovery run and never as good as that good’un.

I’m not sure it’s as simplistic as that, a race will have other people in your way, different weather conditions and greater pressures associated with it. It still sticks in my mind as a piece of advice to follow though and I was very aware of it yesterday.

It was a gloriously crisp morning as I set out, a frost had settled and the sun shone. Every intake of breath was like a spring clean for the lungs. I love those especially cold mornings where you can feel the cold air enter your chest.

I’d decided to run part of next week’s course and as it was so nice out I thought I’d venture down to the canal. After four or five minutes I found myself wanting to get faster and that advice sprung to mind. I found I had to restrain that spring in my step and spent most of the morning trying to control my pace, not too fast and not too slow.

Luckily my watch worked after my scare last week but I had my phone as well so not only was I able to keep an eye on my pace but I was able to take a snap of my route.

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A joy to run along

So, between trying to keep my pace right and get to 11/12 miles without having to run up and down my road at the end the morning was a stressful process. I couldn’t even mange to enjoy the frozen canal and chuck a few pebbles across the ice as I took a gel.

The main thing I will take out of it is that I was “with it” enough to keep my stride length long as I got tired towards the end. I’m not sure what did it but as I entered the home straight and my legs felt like lead I noticed how short my stride length was. I’ve never really noticed that phenomenon specifically before but it’ll be something to focus on in the last few miles next week. It’ll be hard work but 13.1 miles later it should be worth it.

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