Week Twelve Of Training

Oh dear, work has rather out a dent into my training regime…

I only managed one run this week, an almost-seven miler that I ran four minutes slower than the previous time I did it.  Oh well, no help for it.

Back to my training plan this week…

23-29 Apr 2012

Number of runs One (*blush*)
Links – Wednesday – 4.27 miles (894 cal)
Total mileage this week 6.86 miles
Calories burned this week 894
Total mileage since start 3107.59 miles
Calories burned since start 35,975

Week Eleven Of Training

Week Eleven, eh?  Wow, this is getting close…

The most significant thing this week is that I am writing this journal from San Diego, California.  Which means that I have spent rather a lot of time on aeroplanes, and shall be doing the same next weekend… which in turn has had a bit of a knock-on effect on my training.

To be fair, that has gone better than I had expected.

I managed two runs at home during the week, on Tuesday and Thursday.  Nothing terribly special there.  Then Friday was spent flying.

On Saturday I went for a six mile run here in San Diego.  The weather was pretty overcast and dull – not cold exactly, but not too warm either.

On Sunday, I went for a drive and found a place called Lake Miramar, an attractive place where lots of people were running, walking, cycling or roller-blading round the lake.  I decided to try a couple of laps round the track myself (each lap being 5 miles)

I started out well in the overcast conditions.  Then suddenly the sun burned through the cloud and the temperature soared… By mile three I had to stop and walk!

Then the temperature dropped a bit, thank goodness.  It was still very warm, but not insanely so.  I managed to complete the first lap and run a second, but I was not going to try for a third.  Not in those temperatures.

Let’s hope it’s windless and quite cool when the marathon comes!

16 – 22 Apr 2012

Number of runs Four
Links – Tuesday – 4.27 miles (502 cal)
– Thursday – 5.90 miles (696 cal)
– Saturday – 6.86 miles (827 cal)
– Sunday – 10.05 miles (1302 cal)
Total mileage this week 27.08 miles
Calories burned this week 3,327
Total mileage since start 310.73 miles
Calories burned since start 35,081

Week Ten Of Training

After last week’s bad organisation and insufficient quantity of runs, this time I got things right, right?

Well… almost.  After all, last week I only managed two tuns.  This week I turned in… well… erm… two runs.


Wigwam at Strathfillan

This time, it was family holidays that got in the way of things, and since I enjoyed the holiday so much I am not going to apologise.  We spent a couple of evenings in the latter part of the week at the Strathfillan Wigwams campsite near Tyndrum, and that was once again not conducive to running.

However, at least this time I did manage my Tuesday run.  This was a slightly extended version of my normal run from my office to Aberdour and back, where I went for a detour through Dalgety Bay when I got back to the village.  It turned out that it was a little more of a detour than I had planned, too, as I managed to get lost on the way back!

West Highland Way view

And then we went away.  During our time away, we went for a wander along a part of the West Highland Way, an have decided that we want to “do” the full length of the walk.  I don’t quite know what the logistics will be, but rest assured that there is a project to come after the marathon is complete.

If I ever learn to walk again.

We arrived back from Strathfillan fairly late on Saturday.  A frantic evening of unpacking and feeding the washing machine followed, with very little thought from me about what the following day – Sunday – was to bring.

What it was to bring was of course a long, slow run (LSR).  Except – arrogant fool that I was – I thought that that wasn’t quite good enough for me.  I wanted to give myself confidence that I was going to be able to sustain a sub 9 minutes/mile pace for a marathon, and my plan was that I would do that by doing 20 miles at that pace today.  So I would run to the canal as a warm-up, then run ten miles eastwards to Winchburgh.  I would turn round and run ten miles back, then I would ask the long-suffering Mrs Ham to collect me from the canal.

Hmm… so, I was careful about what I ate last night, and drank lots to ensure I was well hydrated?

Sadly, no.

The LSR started okay, and I even put my GPS tracker on for the warm-up mile to the canal.  I ran at a sub-nine minute pace to Winchburgh, except for a mile where I stopped twice, once to remove some leaves that had gotten into my sock and once to take a photograph.

I reached the bridge at Winchburgh, and turned round.  Still I felt okay, and kept running, though the weather was becoming very warm.  I drank from the little hand-carry bottle I had, and started wondering if I should have had more to drink before leaving the house this morning (I had had very little because I didn’t want to have to stop to pee on the route!)


I was able to carry on at a decent pace for the sixteen miles.  But miles seventeen, eighteen and nineteen all came in a full minute slower than the previous sixteen.  And then things really started going bad.

Miles twenty and twenty-one were hellish.  I was knackered, I was walking as much as running and wondering why the hell I was trying to do a marathon.  At least I managed to get back to running for the final half mile or so, but I was knackered.

When I got home, I did keep wondering why my daughter was looking at me so strangely.  It was only when I got to the bathroom for a post-race bath that I realised I had acquired a “salt face”, from the sweat evaporating from my cheeks.

So… lessons?

  1. I’m not smarter than the training plan.  I should just have faith in it, and not try to measure my abilities before the race itself
  2. I should be properly hydrated and properly nutrited, erm nutritioned, erm… fed before I go out
  3. This is my first marathon; I should not be aiming for a time.  Completion will be enough!
Unfortunately, now is when things go horribly wrong.  I shall be travelling for work at the end of this week, and will miss two full weekends of training.  This is going to be damned inconvenient, but all I can do is make the best of it…

09 – 15 Apr 2012

Number of runs Two
Links – Tuesday – 6.10 miles (718 cal)
– Sunday – 21.79 miles (2628 cal)
Total mileage this week 27.89 miles
Calories burned this week 3,346
Total mileage since start 283.65 miles
Calories burned since start 31,754

Week Nine Of Training

2012-03-31 (Day 091) Union Canal
Last week’s weather

Firstly I will apologise that this blog is late… a week late to be precise.   I just don’t seem to be getting my act together quite as I should.  Honestly, I’m not trying to hide the fact that my runs didn’t quite come together the way they should!

Last week, the weather was quite beautiful – the warmest March weather ever recorded in Scotland.  This week, things had changed.

By Tuesday, when I was meant to be out doing my first run of the week, the snow was falling and the wind was hammering in from the east, and it was  utterly freezing!

And last week we were eating al fresco!
This week’s weather

So, on Tuesday, I have to confess, I didn’t go for my lunchtime run.

On Wednesday, I was crazy busy at work, and then on Thursday I was at a wedding.  Now, don’t get me wrong; the wedding was lovely and I was delighted to be there, but sadly it wasn’t the kind of event where you could just change into some running kit and slip in a quick six miles without being spotted!

So, eventually I did manage to get out on the Friday. 5.22 miles, so not a huge run, but it did include Wallace Stone Brae which is never an easy run.

My next run was Sunday, where I would the distance back just a touch, as planned.  This was a 15.6 mile run, combining some road work with some canal running, ending up with a nice combination of the two.

Hopefully I’ll do a little better next week!

02 – 08 Apr 2012

Number of runs Two
Links – Friday – 5.22 miles (615 cal)
– Sunday – 15.64 miles (1887 cal)
Total mileage this week 20.86 miles
Calories burned this week 2,502
Total mileage since start 255.76 miles
Calories burned since start 28,408

Week Eight Of Training

Week Eight!  Finished!  That’s the official training programme half way through.

I’m really relcutant to admit this, but the truth is: I’m getting a little bored with this.  Honestly.  Not “I’m going to quit” bored, but just a little… bored.

Trying to run four times a week is a commitment far greater than any show I’ve ever done, and I can’t imagine that the post-run feelings are going to be anything like the adrenaline rush and sudden massive low of a show.

Maybe I’m wrong… whatever may happen, I’ve committed too much effort to this whole project to stop now.  Eight weeks tonight it will all be over… whether I finish the marathon or not, whether I make a time or not, it will all be done.  I shall (I hope) be resting at home, recovery compression gear on and enjoying a glass or two of red wine…

Union Canal at Philipstoun

Anyway, what happened this week?  We had a fairly gentle five mile run on Tuesday as a recovery run after the 17½ mile run last weekend.  We had a threshold run where I tried my best to maintain three eight-minute threshold sessions with two minutes in between.

And then we had a brainstorm on Saturday.  Driving home from a photo session, I realised that I had enough time to do the long, slow run on Saturday and leave Sunday for family stuff… and I went on a 20.3 mile run.

Was this wise?  No.  In the training plan?  No.  But it was very interesting.

From the start I ran at what I hope to be my marathon pace.  There were a couple of occasions where I had to stop for a moment: once for a photograph and once for… another reason.  Anyway, that lasted until mile 16.

Mile 16 saw the long climb out of Linlithgow.  From there, it was essentially uphill all the way home.  A gradual 85m climb over about three and a half miles.  What worries me is that even in those moments where the climb levelled off, I still wasn’t able to get back to the pace I had been at earlier in the run.

On the plus side, today (Sunday) I am actually feeling pretty well, and am sure that I shall be back in the saddle on Tuesday, and hope to be doing some more threshold work on Thursday.

Future LSR plans:

08-Apr 13 miles (not sure about doing Heaven and Hell half)
15-Apr 16 miles
22-Apr 19 miles
29-Apr 20 miles
06-May 22 miles? 20 miles? See how I feel…

26 Mar – 01 Apr 2012

Number of runs Three
Links – Tuesday – 5.25 miles (618 cal)
– Thursday – 5.15 miles (621 cal)
– Saturday – 20.31 miles (2449 cal)
Total mileage this week 30.71 miles
Calories burned this week 3,688
Total mileage since start 234.9 miles
Calories burned since start 25,906