Saturday, 8 September 2012

18.5 km in 2hrs

Following on from yesterday's success, that is running without stiffness, I decided to attempt a longer run today in the hills. Some very technical scrabbling sections and actually the slowness, combined with the length of time on my feet, may have actually re-triggered the stiffness in this knee. I feel less concerned though somehow. 

In terms of technique, I continued focussing on not letting my arm movement go lateral and keeping the legs moving at a good cadence even when I had to slow down my pace. But yet another aspect is creeping into my focus, and really I should work out a way of drawing this, to do with where my feet are in relation to my body LATERALLY when they strike the ground (I am therefore not talking about avoiding foot striking ahead of me). For reasons totally unknown, I have in the past set myself, somewhat unconsciously, the challenge of running along a single line (eg a painted road marking), telling myself I was totally centred if I did this and in perfect balance. But I think it's since watching the end of the ladies marathon at the olympics this year, where I watched one of the later finishers (from an eastern European nation I think) with a noticeable wide gait, if that's the right way to describe it. Bearing in mind Julian Goater's advice about the arms swinging in line with the direction of travel, surely feet that are driving inwards, effectively at a slight diagonal, in order to be on some central point, could this not be putting extra strain on my somewhat fragile knees while also being less efficient?

Trainingwise, was really very good to listen in to Episode 139 of MarathonTalk for some reminders on the long run. Tom Williams recommends something like a 22 mile, 16 mile and 10 mile distance for the three weeks preceding the marathon race day. I've only just got time to do this! Martin Yelling reminds listeners as well about the art (and encouragement) of starting a bit slower and speeding up at least to marathon pace, while, Tom adds, not overdoing it so much that the whole week is taken out by something that is getting just a bit too close to race exertion itself. I'm sure Ryan Hall would describe this more in terms of "not getting too close to the well". MT's suggestion is (that I will try next week) 2 x 3 miles in the second half of the long run at marathon pace. I think my marathon pace is 4:23/ km ("A goal") while I would really love to ensure an average an average 4:30/ km ("B goal"), which would get me just under the London marathon good for age time for the first time. To get these two 3-mile stretches right in the long run next week, one of the fields on my Garmin needs to be: "lap pace" (which actually means average lap pace).

The duo's key points for the long run

  • do some sections of the second half at race pace
  • do it by yourself
  • no music
  • practice race routine. There should be a link to mine on the right.
  • Don't worry if feels hard. 
I'm not so sure about this last one, although I'll have to report back next week as it is specified as being in the second half. When everything comes together, like it did in the first half of last year's Provence Marathon (see here for the full report), it's easy to find the pace easy for quite a long time.

Here's a few pics of this morning's run, including a sunrise over Marseille.

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