Type - steady run
Distance - 19 miles
Time - 2 hours 39 minutes 21 seconds
Once again back to the long runs, and the first of a series of five long runs which will see me peak my training (the next weekends will see this 19, followed by 21, 22, 24 and 21). I read that one marathon trainer thinks preparation is perfect if the longest 5 runs add up to over 100 miles. This quintet will add up to 107, so that seems pretty good (but not, at the same time, overdoing it).
It is getting harder to plot a route as you add on the miles. Today's endeavour would take me from home, a long way round to work, down to the river and along to Chelsea. And back. Never forget the 'and back' bit (map).
I had everything prepped, and had a few gels and a couple of sticks of Shot Bloks. These jelly cubes seem to be more palatable for me than the gels, so I thought I would see how they did on the longer run, and then integrate them into my longer run energy plans.
I set off at a very measured pace, ensuring that the first few miles were slightly over the 8.5 minute per mile pace that I wanted to end up with. Despite having been to the toilet before setting off I was struck with the need to go again, and struggled with the lack of viable locations to pee. It probably just takes a bit more creativity to secrete yourself away, and I did find somewhere in Canonbury. I didn't need to go again for the rest of the run, and felt considerably better for it, so that was perhaps a lesson learnt.
The run stretched out, and after notching up three miles or so there was still a ridiculous distance to cover. This is one of the worst aspects of the long runs - a gnawing doubt and dread of what is to come. This can't be 100% countered, but it can be lessened by sticking to a proper pace and ensuring that you are properly fed and watered and have therefore limited the chance of smashing into the wall.
I finished the first half almost smack on 8.5 minute miles (in just under 81 minutes). The next half would take me up the mild but noticeable ascent to Angel, and then home. This part of the run went really well. I had no biomechanical issues, no pains in the upper quads or Achilles Heel. I didn't suffer from the lack of energy that had bedevilled my last long run of 17 miles.
By the time I rounded Queen's Drive onto Green Lanes I had reached the finish, but felt I could easily have gone on. For the first time the prospect of adding the necessary 7.2 miles to get to a marathon distance did not seem impossible. It was a lesson in measured, paced and prepared running, and one that I need to repeat and learn in time for the marathon.