I took the opportunity (more of a last minutes decision really) this weekend to test my endurance by doing 20 milers back to back, which seems to have benefitted others in the past. I had intended to do my long run (20+ miles) on Sunday with my neighbour, Pat, who is also training for the Cork Marathon and so decided that I would do a medium long run on Saturday morning (16 miles or so). However as I set out on my saturday run I had it in the back of my mind to stretch it to 20 miles just in case Sundays run was cut short (Pat had run one 16 miler from a short base). To cut a short story shorter I completed 20 miles and felt reasonably good coming in just under 8 minute pace. I didn't know how Sundays run would go but knew that I could ease back the pace to suit.
Come Sunday morning I got a text from Pat stating that he would have to give the run a miss as he had developed a bad sore throat which had been lingering for some time and so I headed out on my own bringing a carb drink (water only yesterday) with me to make sure I had every advantage. My legs felt none of the usual tiredness and aches that follow a long run as I covered the first 5 miles marginally faster than yesterday. While this gave me some confidence I knew that there was a strong possibility that I would not maintain this pace for the remaining 15 miles. By mile 10 I was about 1.5 minutes ahead of yesterday and still feeling comfortable. However the last 10 miles are hilly compared to the first 10 flat miles (nothing like the hills that Thomas runs though) and I was heading into unknown territory. As the miles went by my pace remained comfortable and my legs, while experiencing some aches felt surprisingly strong. By Mile 15 I was still running comfortably and felt confident of finishing strongly. I was still about 1.5 minutes ahead of yesterdays pace. Over the last few miles I kept a steady pace as my HR pushed into the 140's - I timed the last mile @ 07:26 as I pushed to get under 02:37 for the 20 miles. I could certainly do with some more of this endurance type training before Cork in June. I know I strayed well away from my marathon programme this weekend but it was worth it.
Tomorrow is a rest day as I head into a recovery week before a programmed 5k race/time trail next Sunday. Unfortunately there is no 5k race next weekend (maybe the weekend after) and I don't fancy time trials so I have opted for the next best thing - The Ballycotton 10 mile road race with over 3,000 entries on a course consisting of narrow rural twisting roads (I understand the last mile is a long uphill drag - should be good fun). Thomas has kindly offered me a lift as he will be passing my door en route from Kerry (at last a chance to meet........ and compete?).
Fri 29th Feb
a.m. 8.7 Miles in 01:15:43 (08:42 pace @ 127 HR) - Recovery
p.m. 2.5 Miles in 00:19:44 (07:54 pace @ 134 HR) - Treadmill
Marriage Proposals - 0
Sat 1st Mar
20 Miles in 02:38:56 (07:57 pace @ 134 HR)
Sun 2nd Mar
20Miles in 02:36:36 (07:50 pace @ 131 HR) - Lower HR and all
Week 11/24 - 75.3 Miles