Testing Times.

It’s all getting very real now. I’ve got just under 7 weeks until my race. I did a quick blog last week moaning that I didn’t think I could do it. As I was writing it, the solution occurred to me: up the pace. It sounds obvious, but I was doing Camille’s plan after Garmin fooled me into thinking I was a lot faster than I actually am. That left me behind on my training. Then I panicked and went back to Advanced Marathoning plan but that says “do the long runs at marathon pace +10- 20%”. Which works, but I’ve no longer got the time to gradually build up my fitness. I remembered, as I was doing the blog, that when I started the plan it was after 2 months of no running. All the different run times (medium, fast, easy) were all the same to me because that was all I had. I set aspirational times and worked towards them, even though it nearly killed me. Within 8 weeks I had set an new half marathon PB. So what I’ve done is bump up all my run times. My long, fast run used to be 7.30 – 8.12, it’s now 6.50 – 7.15.

my new watch finally arrived. I was waiting and going insane, checking my email and the order status several times a day. They said I had to wait 3 -5 weeks for stock to come in. After 4 weeks I noticed they had a chat button on the site so I asked how long for my order. Apparently, even though I’d rung them to change my card details 3 weeks before, and rang back the next day to confirm it, they hadn’t updated my card and hadn’t told me. They told me to ring again. While I was on hold I checked the website, watches in stock, so I put the ‘phone down, cancelled my order and ordered it again with my new card. It arrived 2 days later.

In with calm. Deep breaths.

4 weeks!

Anyway, it’s arrived and it actually is a great watch. Brilliant tracking and great pace tracking. Which is exactly what I need. And big, clear display, visible even if I’m not wearing glasses. Fantastic.

The not so good is it’s packed with other data and features, one of which is a race predictor. It said (after I’d ran in it 3 times) that it estimated my marathon time to be 3.10. That’s only a snapshot guess, and it will get more accurate the more I use it (2 more runs and it’s already revised it down to 3.08) but it was enough to make me panic a bit more.

Today was a 20 mile run on my plan, so I decided to see where I am. I wanted to run the first 10 miles at 6.50 (sub 3 pace), the second at 7.10.

I failed, but not by much. I was only 2 seconds too slow in total over the first 10 miles, but then I suffered badly on the second 10 miles and lost 27 seconds. I averaged at 7.02 over the 20 miles. The sections into the wind, on the second 10 miles, I was already at my limit and I had nothing left to up the effort.

The good news, sort of, is that I have nearly 7 more weeks. If I can get 12 seconds a mile faster, and hold it for another 6 miles, I’m home and dry. As someone on twitter said, come race day I’ll have been tapering and resting up, so I will have fresh legs. Also I won’t have to wear a running vest with two water bottles on the day. I’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it might just be possible.

The other cool things about my watch and it’s crazy, pointless stats, are quite good. It’s said I have a “fitness age” of 47, I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I like it. Also my VO2 max (amount of oxygen I can suck up, a good marker for fitness) is 59 which is apparently in the top 1% for my age and gender, and my resting heart beat (the lower, the better/ fitter) is between 41 and 43 bpm. So that’s all fun. Now I just need it to translate into fast running.

I suppose I should also say the plantar is proving very manageable. It’s still there, and that’s less than ideal, but it’s not slowing me down.

Wendy has been told to take her outstanding holidays so I’ve booked a week off with her this week. And the plan, after today’s beasting, is relatively low impact this week so I should be able to rest up a bit.

Right a bit of twitter then I’m going to lie down again. Rest day tomorrow, thankfully. I gave it 100% today.

Royal Mail were on strike again.

Bozo finally got booted. Leaving with a bizarre suggestion to spend £20 on a kettle and save £10 a year on your electric bill. The bills are predicted to rise to £6,000 next year. Thanks Bozo.

Of course, things can always get worse. The woman who’s said she wants to have a bonfire of regulations, everything from the right to strike to human rights, has defended the £6.9 billion profits of the energy companies, and said it’s absolutely right to give a tax cut, which only helps the rich, to help with the fuel bills, is now PM.

But random twitter helped lighten the mood.