March races and marathon training

It has been a very busy month and very full on with training for the MK marathon. The start of the miles ramping up into unknown territory. I’ve enjoyed it.

So far it has all gone rather smoothly. It’s the first time I’ve properly followed a plan all the way through. Usually I’d avoid the speed work and run less days than needed. Which if you need to do this from time to time is fine but prioritise the long runs and speed work! It’s not just about going faster. It has so many benefits.

It has been a particularly cold March with lots of snow and freezing winds and has made it very interesting. I’ve not let the snow stop me but laced up my trail shoes and got on with it. The ice is far harder to run on than the snow anyway.

The first race of the month the Cambridge half was a little touch and go if it would go ahead or not. The organisers decided to not cancel and despite lots of anxiety I had about it I was pleased they made the decision. Although it caused quite a stir the 7000+ runners that turned up were very grateful.

It ended up being a brilliant race that I really enjoyed. The snow had cleared and it was actually a pretty warm day in comparison to the day befores snow run. There was lots of atmosphere and spectators out to cheer us on. The route took us through the city, it was flat most of the way and I’d been told a fast course if your after a PB. This seemed like a challenge to me as there were so many people to dodge but as I was not out for a PB I guess there was little effort from me to try.

I ran with a friend from my running club and the only pressure I had was to enjoy it and to help Sophia get herself a PB which we did with flying colours. I had every confidence she would and wonder what we could have achieved had she not had a sore ankle.

The following 2 weekends it was a 16 and 18 mile run on the plan. Time for me to practicing some fueling and some new things to try to supplement my tailwind. The 16 miles didn’t overly phase me. It doesn’t seem quite so much of a jump from 13.1 after all it’s less that a parkrun!! And we split it into 2 parts as we circled our estate for the first 4 miles before picking up a friend for the last 12 miles.

It’s a bit daunting how ever planning to set off for such a long time but once out there the time whizzes by. It has been helped by the fact I was not running alone. The company really helps to pass the time.

Our 18 mile run was an interesting one. It was snowing but ever so slightly. However the wind was something else. Running along stretches of open fields proved to be very difficult. It was difficult to breath and we were constantly running in to it feeling as though we were being pulled back. However when we finished the run it filled us with so much confidence that if we could run that far under those conditions we would be more than capable of running beyond the 18 miles.

The following week it was time for me to go it alone and run the Bedford20. I was feeling quite nervous in the week leading up to it. I was supposed to be running it with Chris but he was still injured so was unable to run it. On the day before the race I was more nervous about Niamh getting to her dance exam on time than going it alone to the race start. I’ve always had them as company but as the run was going to be over 3hrs it at least meant they did not need to hang around quite so long.

Overall it went well. I managed a decent time and pace and finished but I learnt a lot of lessons.

It was far warmer than I was prepared for and I was over dressed with layers that I was unable to take off. My hydration pack managed to get air back in which meant I had the annoying sound of sloshing water in my ear.

I had a pacing plan to try starting with 10minute miles for the first 10 and then I planned to speed up to 9.30min/miles for the next 5 and then 9.00min/miles for the last 5 minutes. I couldn’t manage the last 5 miles any quicker and my first 10 miles were quicker than I planned so over all it was a decent time. I ended up running nearly an extra half a mile with all the weaving around pedestrians. The event was not as well managed as it could have been. There were so few Marshall’s along the route that it was not very obvious to the people walking about on their Sunday walks that we were actually taking part in an event. None of them were kind enough to move to one side so it was constant people dodging.

Energy wise I did start to struggle from 18miles but I can’t be sure if this was due to fuel or heat. The next 20 miles I do I will wear less layers!

I have been paying much better attention to my pre race and post race nutrition also which I plan to write a more detailed blog about as there is far too much to cover here. I can feel the difference and I do believe it’s helping the long runs.

I made a rookie error of treating my last long run for the month as though it was a training run. On a slight rest week I needed to run 12 miles and went into it completely unprepared. I had wanted to go very early and get back for a weekend away so I didn’t make time for my porridge. Instead I had a Nakd bar. I only took water with me instead of my tailwind as I planned to try out a sis gel. I left this till really late though as I was worrying about how my body would react to it. I’m pleased to say it seemed to be fine so I will be trying these on my next 20 mile run instead of the shot blocs I had been using.

I am feeling tired and I have been spending a lot of time on my feet. There isn’t many days where I do not run something.

My left hip is showing the most signs of fatigue. Although not hurting during my run it is tender after. I have a sports massage booked but it’s still a few weeks away so I hope in the mean time it does not get any worse.

I have ran a whopping 157 miles this month! April will likely bring just as many as I embark on my last 4weeks of marathon training.

Jaimee x

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