Thames Meander an unhealthy dose of realism.

DSC_0285Normally I wait a week before doing a post about a Marathon I have run, but the Thames Meander felt so important to me that I feel moved to write now. I had great expectations for this, although it was flat it was a trail run and all my training had led me to believe that I could get the fabled sub 4 here, and that is how I paced myself. When I first contemplated targeting this race I thought I would aim just for sub 4:15 but all the training I had done indicated I should be able to go quicker. I had practised running Yasso done the distance with the HR monitor and generally worked hard. My 5k time has plummeted so I average sub 24 mins with the occasional sub 23, in short everything was looking good. So when I set off I went out averaging 9 minute miles.

Everything looked good, I felt strong had a chat with a few people but ostensibly I was on my own. To try and increase my pace I had left my camelpak at home and was running just on the water from the aid stations.  At about mile 8 or 9 I put half an electrolyte tablet in some water as I went past, not really stopping and kept going. I passed the half mark Putney Bridge at about 1:55ish and was going strong, could have been quicker but I was pacing myself as sensibly as I could manage.  Fuelling was going well, and although I knew I needed the 14 mile gel everything still felt OK bang on 9 min mile. Just as I came up to mile 18 though my calves spasmed and I ground to a halt with cramp. I stretched and set out again, I could still feel the tenderness in the muscle and within half a mile they went again. From then on I spent 8 miles running, cramping up
and then walking and back to running. Needless to say it put paid to the sub 4, still a PB but not what I wanted, and another half hour to think about what the hell I am doing running so many marathons. Although it hit me hard and I felt to some degree bereft, unlike Halstead I had no doubt that other marathons would be run.  Everything wanted to keep going it was just my body that let me down, the head was still sound.

I worked out I have maybe 5 years left before I have peaked, if I want a good time then I really need to focus on training properly and not just churning out marathon after marathon. There is time to reach the 100 club after I have trained to a decent standard. So next year I aim for 2 marathons, I signed up for Manchester last night and then I will look at Berlin once next years entries are open. I have not really recovered from a marathon in the last year and thinking about what happened at Thames I think there were a number of factors. I should probably have stuck to my original pacing plan and not got carried away, perhaps a 9:15 – 9:30 pace would have left me enough at the end to push just past the sub 4, would have been close but I might have avoided the cramp and got the sub 4:15. I should probably have stuck to my usual routine on running distance and taken electrolyte spiked water with me instead of relying on aid stations, and really I should give myself time greatermanchestermarathondetailedrouteto have a proper cycle of recovery after marathons and then train properly for the next.

So there we go, current plan finish the last few marathons I have signed up for without taking them too seriously and then
rest up before starting some proper training for a sub 4 at Manchester. 11 marathons in a year is enough, I would have liked to have made it 12 but there is a bigger goal here and I have a very definite physical time limit before my body just can’t give me any more. Then after Manchester, 2 years of very hard work to get down to a GFA, just one before my body gives out. I know as this weekend has shown me plans don’t always work out but we all need a target and this I think at least is an outside possibility.

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