This week has been great (apart from the never ending cold and light flue). Being on holiday meant I could go running whenever I wanted and not in the dark. I wanted to put some kms in my legs before the tapering week before the marathon (on the 10th Jan) and I ended up running a total of 103km in 5 runs, which is my weekly record.
Monday I did 20km going around Bushy Park and then to Kingston via Hampton Court. Beautiful frozen sunny morning. The park was at its best. White grass, a little fog, the yellow sun coming up behind the trees and lots of deer. Very poetic. I did the first 15km at an easy 4:20/4:30 pace and then did the last 5k at around 4:00. Very nice. The heart rate monitor did not work. I spent an hour trying old ones and different straps with no luck. I need to get a replacement.
On Tuesday I did another easy run. This time 15km long. Again in freezing conditions, around zero degrees. When I entered Bushy Park it felt more like -5, running through a wall of freezing fog.
On Thursday, being the last day of the year, I decided to go for a long run and maybe aim for the marathon distance. I did not manage to. I did 40km, but I could not do more. I have to respect the distance a bit more and start running slower at the beginning. It was a good lesson for next week. I ran with an average pace of 4:53 min/km which I think is a fine pace to aim for, but I should not do the first part at 4:30 and then end up doing the last kms at 5:30. Anyway it was a good run. I went through all the nearby parks, Bushy, Richmond and for the first time in ages Wimbledon Common. This last one is a lot of fun, I randomly took paths to see where they took me. There is quite a lot of up and downs there, it is a good training ground, I should go there more often.
I used this run as a test for next week and went out with the Ultimate Direction AK race vest carrying one bottle of water, 3 gels and all the required kit for the next marathon (jacket, first aid kit, thermal blanket etc). I had no problem at all. Apart from the socks which ended up with a hole in them I am now 100% sure of what I am going to wear next week, including which pants!
Thursday I rested and then on Friday did a slow recovery run (17km at 4:40 min/km). After the long run earlier in the week this one felt too short and when I got to 12km and was supposed to turn for home I decided to run a bit more to the Teddington Lock.
On Friday even if it was raining and cold and I was still a bit ill I had to go out and run. I was too close to the 100km week not to go. So I went out for an easy 11km run but then I decided to push a bit on the last kms. As I have not done any speed work for the last 2 weeks I decided to run a bit faster and did the last 4 kms the way I like it (4:02, 4:00, 3:46, 3:39). I felt good. Actually I have never been in such a good shape, even doing warm ups and stretching I feel strangely athletic, different. I could not be more ready for next week’s trail marathon!
So this ends my week, but also marks the end of the year. I wanted to do a post to close 2014 with some goals for 2015, but I was too lazy, so here is just a quick recap of last year:
To sum it up, it has been the best running year ever. I started with the plan to run more during the week (from 3 to 4 times a week) and to run more half marathons. I ended up running 6 times a week and preparing for an ultra. I wanted to do PBs on 5k, 10k and 21.1 km and did them multiple times and I wanted to aim for a marathon. In 6 days I will have achieved that too, hopefully.
I have run a total of 2765 km in 2014 and ran the following races:
- Hampton Court Half Marathon
- Bracknell Half Marathon
- Richmond Half Marathon
- Wimbledon Common Half Marathon
- Burnham Beeches Half Marathon
- The Dirt Half Challenge
- Whole Foods Market Breakfast Run (16 miles)
- Harry Hawkes (10 miles)
- Garmin Kingston Run Challenge (16 miles)
And 3 Bushy Park Runs.
But the best part is the new found love for trail running and setting crazy new goals like doing 3 marathons in the next 3 months and my first 50 miles ultra in May. This has basically changed my life and I cannot wait to see where this leads me. I still have to decide what to do the rest of the year after the NDW50.
For all the fun and “successes” of 2014 I have to thank the support of my family that has not got bored of hearing me talking about running every second (yet) and my running friends Marco R., Davide G. and Manu. I am looking forward to running with you guys in 2015.
Have a wonderful 2015 and I hope you can all reach your goals, whatever they are.