Thursday, 28 May 2009

Day 32 - blistering pace

Type - steady run

Distance - 8 miles

Time - 1 hour 7 minutes 59 seconds

Two firsts today with the mileage increasing to eight miles and the first run sustained for over an hour, as I went for another long run with Jarlath. The intention was to do a steady run, to focus on pacing and to ensure that I finished the eight miles within my comfort zone and with the feeling that more was possible. The route was simple (map) - the same as the riverside run that chalked up 6.5 miles, but extended to the Albert Bridge opposite the far end of Battersea Park, and then back. Another slight kink was to head up Northumberland Avenue to Whitehall and through Horse Guards Parade to avoid the crowds at Parliament. Other than that it was simple - four miles there, and four miles back.

I had stretched inbetween the difficult tempo run on Tuesday and today, targetting tightened calves and this paid off instantly. We set off at a warm up pace, and there was not the same tension and tautness in the muscles, ensuring the first few miles were not uncomfortable and we easily slipped into a steady pace. We were perhaps a little too quick at the outset, and this contributed to a slower overall first four miles when we slowed down to compensate. Jarlath was keen to ensure that the running was well within a comfort zone, that my breathing was even and conversation possible. It felt more relaxed not to be too obsessed with the timing, and the first half went well. By the time we had turned back and got to Chelsea Bridge it was clear that I had a lot more energy than at the same point half way through the 6.5 mile run a couple of weeks earlier.

The pace shifted noticeably upwards in the next four miles, but for miles 5 and 6 it did not seem too difficult. Only as a passed into the last two miles did things get a little more taxing. The last mile was run with an increasingly painful and jarring blister developing on my foot. It also felt as though my energy levels were failing, with the dead legged feeling that you have little else to give. That, and the usual last climb up Arundel Street to the Strand, meant we didn't finish with quite the same gusto as had been anticipated by the steady plan. But it was a strong finish, and came in exactly at 8.5 minutes per mile. We had run the first half in about 36 minutes, and slashed this to 32 minutes for the last half - an impressive four miles, and a good example of negative splits in action (more on this later). I noticed that the lack of energy was the only niggle, and I didn't have any issue with breathing or developing a stitch.

I now have a blister the size of my thumb spreading across the arch of my right foot. This is the spot I have developed blisters in the past, and obviously I will need to try and target this area. Blister pads, surgical spirits or savalon - I will pop in to the pharmacy tomorrow and see what they have to say about the effective treatment and prevention of these annoying pain sacks.

Other than that it feels pretty good, and I just need to focus on stretching out the miles and thinking about nutrition, hydration and stamina.

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