So after a week off, bar the handover run on Tuesday, it was time to get back on the bike, so to speak yesterday.
The Athens Marathon is approaching at the end of October, as is the Royal Parks half marathon in the middle of the month and it’s been a while since I’ve done a really long run.
One of the things about not doing the challenge any more is that I am able to take rest days and I hope this is going to improve my performance and so I set off yesterday morning at 7am with a spring in my step, despite the cold and drizzle.
My plan was to run the seven miles from home to Green Park, meet up with my pal Dave and a couple of other lads who are also training for the Royal Parks, do eight miles with them and then run as far home as I could.
According to my training program, yesterday should have been a 20 miler but with no real long for a few weeks, I’d decided to settle for 18.
Getting into town was relatively easy, I wasn’t bombing it, but neither was I taking it easy, the few days rest were obviously doing their job.
I hooked up with David and the boys at around eight, luckily, one of them was doing his first half marathon, had not done much training for a few weeks and wanted to take it easy, so we let him set the pace for the eight miles we had to cover.
We ended up doing a huge figure of eight around Hyde Park before rounding Buckingham Palace through Green Park, down the Mall to Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall, past Downing Street to Westminster Tube. It was all at a rather leisurely pace of around 10.5mins a mile.
We split up here and I headed back over Westminster Bridge to South London, we were at around the 15mile mark and I knew that every mile I could add on from now on was in the bank as training for Athens.
I decided to pick up the pace again for a mile or two but coming into where Oval starts to meet Brixton, I was getting less and less hopeful of being able to do any more than 18: my glutes and calves were on fire, though I was glad to feel mentally really strong.
In Brixton, just by the bus stop where busses come back to Streatham, I’d had enough. I’d slowed right down by now and decided to call it a day, jumping straight onto a bus – bugger it, I’ll stretch at home I thought. Bad idea.
By the time I was back in Streatham, I’d totally seized up and it was much too late to stretch out, so it was a hot bath for an hour and lots of neurofen through the day.
I’m aching like heck this morning and just glad to think I don’t have to do three miles – though poor Andy is probably about half way through his run at the moment!