Week 8 – Forty Miles

Wow!  That was the first week where I have ever run forty miles.  Even at the height of training for my last marathon I didn’t put in so many miles in a single week.

It wasn’t supposed to be that way.  This was supposed to be thirty-seven miles.  But as you will see later on, things didn’t go quite to plan.

I was on holiday on Tuesday, and so ran that four miler from home.  The highlight of that run was getting up Wallacestone Brae without having to stop.  It’s a pretty brutal hill – a short but steep climb from the canal broken at a road; a short relief downhill and then a long slog.  250ft increase in elevation in 0.7 of a mile fair takes it out of you!

Looking down Wallacestone Brae
Total distance: 6769 m
Max elevation: 152 m
Min elevation: 77 m

Wednesday was when things went wrong.  I was in Galashiels with my daughter, her pal and Marie, my wife.  While Jenni and her pal were doing their thing, Marie was going shopping and I would go for my long midweek run of seven miles.  So I dropped Marie off at the shops, went back to a car park at the southeast of town and went for my run.

The route had me going west along this long, narrow town, turning north across the river, east to the far end of town, across the river again and then south and east for the final mile.

I set off – weather conditions were by no means perfect – and made my way round to the final bridge.

Weather conditions were less than perfect

Which was closed.  As in, “no, you can’t cross here”.

I had to double back and climb back into the town before finding a road that would take me down into the town centre, and then I could carry on back to where I was planning to finish – this took the run from seven to nine miles.  All this in snow that varied from light to “where does the pavement end?”

Road Closed

When I got back, Marie had sent as text asking me to join her for lunch as soon as possible.  So, still in running gear, I went to find her.  We sat in a bar, about to have lunch, when I got a call to go and get Jenni.

I collected her, and soon after that, her pal.  Still in my running gear, we set off for home.

It was then that someone asked to go to Ikea.

Total distance: 15000 m
Max elevation: 136 m
Min elevation: 91 m

Thursday was much easier – a run round Linlithgow Loch, preceded by the loop that the 10k uses, but in reverse

Unimaginative Linlithgow watch shot
Total distance: 7808 m
Max elevation: 80 m
Min elevation: 41 m

Saturday’s long run was an out-and-back along the canal, plus a couple of miles getting to the canal and back.  It was a beautiful morning, with blue skies and even some sunshine!

Where did that blue sky come from?
Total distance: 11822 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 69 m

And then on to Sunday.  Fifteen miles.  That’s a lot of miles – well, for me anyway.

I started from Stirling Uni as usual, and took the usual route out and to the east.  Along Airthrey Road / Alloa Road to the A91 / A907 roundabout.  From there along the old road to Tullibody and up the hill of Stirling Road.

This time I didn’t turn down the Menstrie Brae, however – I kept going to Alloa.  I realised that part of this route was the final few miles of the Alloa Half Marathon, which I shall be running in a few weeks.  I even stopped in at the Leisure Bowl for a quick pee!

Low cloud blankets the Ochils above Alva

After that it was up a couple of pretty noticeable uphill stretches.  I was grateful to reach the top and head downhill towards the Collylands roundabout, which is graced with another Andy Scott sculpture – River Spirit.

Me messing up the view of River Spirit

From there it was a little bit of a slog to get to the Hillfoots Road in Alva.  A left turn there, and I just kept going.  Soon I was in Menstrie, rejoining the route I have run a couple of times previously.  From there you just keep going, and soon you come to the B998 / A91 roundabout.  Then it’s just the usual slog up to Innovation Park, and a run through the University until the miles are made up.

Total distance: 11822 m
Max elevation: 111 m
Min elevation: 69 m

So, how do I feel?  Longest ever week and all that?  In truth, tired but not bad.  I’m “aware of” my ankles this evening, but they’re not sore.  They’re tired, and maybe a little stiff, but not sore.

This coming week will be a fall-back week, and I believe I’ll be missing the Saturday run.  That will take me down to 26 miles.  After that, however, we step up to 41 and then a massive 44 miles in a week – that will be the longest week of the entire training routine.

Seventy days to go until the marathon.  That’s beginning to sound like quite a small number.

Training Plan at Week 8