By Andy Teale

Week 5- Learning Curves and Long Distance Running

There’s less than a month now until the Uganda marathon, and approximately three weeks until I step foot in Africa for the first time! I’m so excited! I can’t wait to land in Uganda and explore Masaka!

But before that, there’s some marathon training to round off. The last two weeks have proved another big challenge as I’ve take on the milestone of 30K, and also revealed some last minute preparations I’ll need to work on over these final weeks.

The Next Milestone: Conquering the 30K

I was extremely pleased to reach the half marathon distance (13.1 miles) on 12th May, and even more thrilled to have completed it in 01:36:48.

However with the weeks quickly ticking by, this was no time to dwell on the success for too long. There was still a way to go in my preparations for running 26.2 miles in Uganda.

Therefore I decided my next aim should be an approximate three-quarter marathon: 30K…

Attempt #1: Sunday 19th April

A week after running 13.1 miles and scoring a PB, I was feeling prepared, hyped, confident and motivated all at the same time. I set off like I could take on the world…

…and then 4 miles later… I had to stop! I couldn’t run another step. What had gone so wrong? I’d run further than this many times before. By studying my app I soon discovered what had gone wrong, as it told me I had broken two records:

1. I had run my fastest mile at 06:43

2. I had my fastest kilometre at 04:08

While it always nice to beat a personal record, this wasn’t really the time to be beating those records when I was setting out on such a long distance run. In all my enthusiasm (and somewhat overconfidence) I’d set off way too quick and failed to pace myself for to the distance I was running. Oppss!!!

Attempt #2: Tuesday 21st April

Okay, so no big deal- I made on my previous attempt, but I’d learn from it and would correct it this time. I was keen to get back out there, so 48 hours later, feeling determined and planning to pace myself, I set off on my second attempt straight from work…

…and again I only managed to run a few miles.

I was little bit disappointed to have the same thing happen again. But as I reflected on the day, it wasn’t my pacing that let me down this time, but my preparation. I’d failed to drink hardly any water during my busy day at work and I hadn’t set out in the best frame of mind- being a week day I was very conscious of time and all the things I needed to do that evening too, and probably a little tired from a hectic day too.

Attempt #3: Saturday 25th April

I gave myself a few extra days to recover this time, and hydrated myself throughout the morning. I cleared my schedule too, so my only priority was my run. Ready to make my third attempt, I hoped it would be a case of ‘third time lucky’!

Thumbs up

Thumbs up-I was feeling as optimistic as ever and hoping this time I’d make it!

And I’m relieved to say on my third try:

I made it!!

As well as making more effort to prepare myself, this time I made a conscious effort to pace myself. I didn’t concern myself with time either and just tried to enjoy the run and go steady.

Splits

How the different splits of my 30K felt

As you can see, I’m glad to say I was fairly comfortable with the run, at least up until the 25K mark. At this point my legs felt like jelly and I had to make a conscious effort to keep pushing them forward, and I felt like I was going at a snails pace!

When I did reach that 30th kilometre, it was a mixture of satisfaction, relief and exhaustion. With my chest breathing heavily, I’m not sorry to admit I had to briefly lay down for a few minutes in the field I finished my run in, as I waited for my energy to return. But that main thing was I’d made it!

Another milestone completed in my training for the Uganda marathon. And some valuable lessons learnt too.

Training: The Rest of Week 9 & 10

My original plan in April was to get the weekly mile count up as high as possible. However I’ve been forced to listen to my body over the last fortnight, especially as I’ve been chasing those bigger distances. Therefore it’s just been a few 5Ks and 10Ks here and there, but a few more extra rest days than I originally expected.

Week 9 & 10

Week 9 & 10- How it went

Next Week’s Training: Pacing & My First Half Marathon!

The Plan for Week 11 (and a day!)

The Plan for Week 11 (and a day!)

I’m going to see how things go this week as I want to give myself enough recovery time post my 30K run, butt also give myself some time off too as I’ve got a race booked in for bank holiday Monday- the Milton Keynes Half Marathon.

This will be my second ever long-distance race and first half marathon, so I’m pretty excited at the prospect. It’s fallen at a great time too- as my intense training draws to a close and I start to think about tapering, it’s going to be a nice way to round off my training. It’s feels almost like the semi-final, prior to the cup final on 24th May!

Taking the recent lessons learned into account too, I’m going to start working on my pacing over the next few weeks too. Even on my shorter runs, I’m going to try to start running at my intended marathon pace to get used to it. Hopefully that way, I’ll be able to go the distance in Uganda!

I’m going to need a game plan too, so I’m going to try and talk to some more experienced runners over these final few weeks. I’ll be sure to share what I find out, so maybe I can help you too with your preparations (especially if you’re a newbie like me!). But if you have got advice about pacing, lasting a marathon etc, please feel free to leave a comment on the link 🙂

So there we have it- some more experience under the belt and another step closer to success (fingers crossed) in Masaka on May 24th.

Until next time…and for these last few weeks: Keep going, keep training, and keep running! Make these final weeks count 🙂

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