As I’m now entering my final hard week of training I thought I’d get another blog posted up to let everyone know how things have gone and I’m pleased to report that so far things have gone very well. I’m not going to sit and say that I have had a perfect build up with no mishaps as I haven’t and to be fair I think I’d be more worried if I had as I’d rather get any issues over and done with before race day.
Since having to miss a few days of training with a cold at the beginning of June I’ve put together some great mileage weeks and some very good long tempos and long runs as well as a solid half marathon on what turned out to be a tough course with lots of cobbled sections.
Whilst I’ve had a few days where I have had to ease off on the pace of runs or cut run lengths down due to having tired legs I have been lucky not to have any niggles or injury issues which have forced me to take rest days. Every runner goes through tired periods and for most we can reduce our pace and plod on through but there are times when you need to listen to what your body is telling you and be sensible and take a rest day/afternoon/morning. If this does happen it is important not to try and catch up on those miles missed and remember that you missed them for a reason!
I’m really lucky to have a great group of guys from my club who are happy to help me out with training where possible. This was particularly helpful last week when I did my 15 mile tempo. As anyone who has done long tempos themselves will know, keeping to pace over that distance on a Thursday night can be hard. Luckily I had programmed (handy that I write their programmes for them) the lads to do a 5 mile tempo that night so decided to do my tempo as 3 x 5mile loops so that I could get them to run relay fashion round the full distance. It worked out really well with Steve, Steven and Michael getting me round the first lap bang on the pace I asked for. I then picked up the pace on the second lap with the help of Andy and Steve. The 3rd lap we were joined by a talented local young athlete Oliver James for a few miles. Focussing on his tanned legs was a much better sight than Andy’s milk bottles! Steve also very kindly kept on going right to the end to drag me round the last few difficult miles.
The Sunday after my 15 mile tempo I did my longest run of the programme covering the full marathon distance. I did this length training run for the first time last year before running Brighton Marathon and felt it was really beneficial not only as a great confidence booster but also for practicing drinks and race day kit. I had my dad on the bike with me to give me my drinks every 5k which is where you generally get them on race day and I managed them all really well. The route I used was quite hilly so I started off quite steady and then picked up as I went along. I was really pleased with my last 10k all being around 6min miles without really trying.
Of course it’s not been all training the last few weeks. I’ve had a lovely trip down to St Georges Park to pick up all of my kit for the Games. It’s the first time I have been to St Georges Park and the FA certainly has a brilliant facility there. The long driving day was certainly worth it for all the great kit I got. Usually with your GB kit you get a form emailed to you, you tick your size boxes, send it back and a box of kit arrives a few days later. For the Games we had to go to a kitting out day so that we could try on each individual item of kit to make sure it all fitted correctly. They had seamstresses on hand to make any alterations, which being 5 foot and size 6, I needed on most items!!
As well as collecting all of your kit the day also allowed us to go through some familiarisation about what will be happening in Glasgow. We got to see pictures of the athlete village and watched a video by Beth Tweddle telling us what to expect. This was great as it helped answer a few questions and put some nerves to rest. We also got some more information on anti-doping and went through a few more arrangements for the holding camp to be held in Manchester.
I’ve also done a few promo events. The first one was the launch of the BUPA Great North 10k at Gateshead Stadium. I did this race for the first time last year and really enjoyed it despite the hill in the last 1km! I’m doing it again this year but I’ll not be racing it flat out as it is only 2 weeks before the marathon and I plan on running through to the start as part of my long run.
The other promo event I did was the launch of the Go the Extra Mile Day as part of the Go Smarter to Work campaign. Basically this project encourages youngsters to ditch the car or bus and walk/cycle/run/scoot to school on July 9th. You can register your trip online and the school who clocks the highest miles that day wins a prize along with youngsters also getting individual prizes.
The next 10 days will be spent getting final little bits and pieces sorted before heading down to Manchester for the holding camp on 17th July. That’s when the reality of it all will really kick in and the nerves will start to build. Thankfully everyone there will be going through the same and the staff know and understand exactly how the athletes will be feeling. We will have a full medical back up team so any last minute phantom niggles can be sorted straight away and basically all we will have to worry about is training, recovering and eating. Of course when in a situation like that you have to be careful that you don’t just eat for the sake of it and over do things. That can wait until July 28th when I will be taking full advantage of the FREE 24 hour food hall – I can’t wait!!