Last year after receiving an email that I didn’t get a ballot place at the 2015 Berlin marathon I decided to book a place at the Mablethorpe Marathon in October, it was low key, flat and very good pb potential.
Fast forward to June 2015 and I’d had an up and down season so far two top 5 ultra positions and a disaster at Milton Keynes Marathon. We were going to be moving house in a few weeks and the birth of our first child was getting close, so running was put on the back burner for a while. I just ran for fun and didn’t follow a training plan.
Moving House & Becoming a Dad
The move went well and 5 weeks later our son, Austin was born on the 4th of August, life was great but also very tiring and a couple of weeks passed and I had to decide, do I run Mablethorpe or just call it a lost cause and cancel my entry?
In my usual bull headed style, I decided I’d give it a go and try to complete it with only 5 weeks training, followed by a 2 week taper, risky but possible. Here’s how it went.
Starting the Long Runs
My first hurdle was could I still do a long run, I decided to try to run to Peak Forest and then lead the TRC social run over to Mam Torr and back followed by running home. 20 miles in total, I was very tired but I did it and that was the start of the journey to Mablethorpe.
The next three weeks I ran just over 30 miles a week, I had a really bad long run where I ran 16 miles before meeting up with the TRC social run, and we ran The Barrel Fell Race route. (The last 3 miles were tough, very tough!).
The fourth week I ran 42 miles and cycled over 20 miles, including getting up at 4:15 for a long run. The fifth week was to be my longest, all slow miles. A 22 mile early morning run, with the Stanage Struggle Fell Race being my last run of the week, making a grand total of 63 miles and a lot of fatigue.
So the taper began with reduced miles, a trip to Berlin and aiming to be fresh for the race and ready to give it my best shot. I hoped to complete it in a time that I felt was reasonable.
We arrived the day before, just for a wander round the seaside with Austin. It was a sunny but cool weekend. The area was flatter than I had imagined and I was relaxed. On Sunday we arrived at the venue to find a well organised, local race and I was starting to feel nervous.
Working Within Your Limits Pay off
Soon it was ready for the off, and I felt great, I got into my stride and ran from miles 2-20 with Jinx (Jim). There was a lot of banter as he was telling me about his prep for the Marathon des Sables.
As I got to 20 miles my hip started to niggle, so I had two options, push on and hope f or the best, or take some walk breaks and finish well. I took the sensible option for a change, and I was right… still managing to finish in 3:21:01, a new pb by 3 mins 13 seconds (huge surprise).
So, what did I take from this? You can always find time, if you want something bad enough, being relaxed on race day is huge benefit and you really need more than 5 weeks of training before you taper for a marathon.