Following on from my part 1 blog I continue by providing an update on the final 6 months of my 12-month marathon training plan towards the Budapest Marathon on Sunday 10th October 2021.
Months 7- 12
I managed to continue clocking in excess of 100 miles per month – April (180), May (176), June (109), July (105), August (171) & September (125). I have just one last run planned ahead of the marathon, which will be around Lake Tata on Monday 4th October.
The drop in mileage in June was due to my going on holiday to the Lake District for a week, although this did involve a fair amount of walking. The reduced mileage in July was due to a busy year-end period at work, where I worked full-time for most of the month and this meant that my runs were reduced to Thursday evening training with Tonbridge AC and the weekends.
During the first 6 months of my training I had completed a long run in excess of 2 hours for 24 out of the 26 weeks. In the second half of my plan I have achieved a further 8 in excess of 2 hours, of which 4 have been in excess of 20 miles – most recently a 22-miler on 17th August in a little under 3 hours. It was part of my plan to reduce the endurance element of my training 4 months out from the marathon in order to focus more on marathon-paced running through shorter tempo runs (90 minutes – 2 hours) and runs above race pace (5-10km distance).
I was training alone during the first 6 months of my plan, however, a move back to Tunbridge Wells from Forest Row at the end of January 2021 led to my transfer back to Tonbridge AC and with group training sessions returning in April 2021 I was able to train with others for the first time since 2019! The master’s group which I have been training with over the Summer months have been very friendly and the sessions have definitely provided me with the opportunity to push myself.
The return of parkrun in England
The news that parkrun events in England were to return from Saturday 24th July 2021 was most welcome to many hundreds of thousands of people and I was able to complete 3 in August and 3 in September, with my best result being a 19:19 clocking for 2nd place at Bedgebury Pinetum parkrun on 11th September.
Having already conducted an interview with ITV news towards the end of the first lockdown, I was invited to provide another interview towards the end of July for a news piece relating to the return of parkrun in England.
The return of (real life) races!
Tonbridge Athletic Club open meeting, Tuesday 6th July – 18:48
In July I competed in my first track race in over 2 years (the last occasion being a 3000m race at the Southern Counties Veterans’ League Final on 1st September 2019). This was my first real life race with other people since before the Pandemic as well as my “return debut” for Tonbridge AC and my first attempt at a track 5000m race.
On reflection, I am very pleased with my result as it is the first time I have broken 19 minutes for a 5km distance since July 2018 (18:06 at Hastings parkrun). As for the race itself, it certainly was a mental challenge – if you have tried running around a running track for 12 & 1/2 laps then you will know. Whether I decide to have another crack at the distance on the track, only time will tell, but perhaps I shall stick to 1500m and 3000m.
Britain’s Ocean City half marathon, Sunday 5th September – 41st place, 86:34
This was my first mass-participation event since the Lydd 20 miler in March 2020 and my fourth outing at this challenging half marathon. I decided to enter this race in order to provide me with the experience of racing against other people and an opportunity to push myself at marathon pace. I was pleased with my result as I was running on tired legs having run a total of 13.1 miles the day before – 5 miles each way to Plymvalley parkrun and the parkrun iteslf, where I finished 3rd in 19:46.
Soar MK road relays, Sunday 26th September – 19:24
This was my final opportunity to push myself hard ahead of the marathon, which at this point was just two weeks away. It was a long day too as the club had arrange coach travel up to Milton Keynes, which left at 7am (meaning a 6am start) and the senior men’s race didn’t start until 14:15, with my leg of the relay starting closer to 3pm. Post-race I felt a little disappointed not to have broken 19 minutes, but I know that the most important time to perform at my best will be on the morning of the marathon!
Goal setting update
Coaching – I attended the online integration weekend at the end of April 2021 (which I mentioned in the first part of this blog post), which means that I am now qualified at the highest attainable level in terms of running coaching in the UK. I am now a UK Athletics Event Group Endurance running coach. This qualification provides me with the required insurance & the relevant knowledge to coach people on a running track (which the Coach in Running Fitness qualification did not qualify me to do).
Reading – After a strong start to the year I have only read a couple of books since my last blog post (Roger Bannister’s Twin Tracks and John Bryant’s The London Marathon), although the amount of time which I spend reading has reduced due to other commitments. I’m now up to 10 books for the year, so well on target to reach an average of 1 book per month!
Budapest marathon, Sunday 10th October 2021
And so, with just 12 days to go until the marathon and 12 months of training behind me I fly to Budapest on the morning of Thursday 30th September. I will be collected at the airport by my partner, Nora (who flew out 5 days prior) and will be staying at her mum’s flat in Tatabanya for the duration of our time in Hungary. I shall definitely make the most of this tapering period with a bit of sightseeing, plenty of relaxing and enjoying the tasty food which is on offer.
The marathon race starts at 9am (8am UK time) and for those who would like to track my progress, you can do so here (my bib number is 5024): http://bsi.raceinfo.hu/en_search_e.html
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this blog post and I would be very grateful if you would leave a comment in the section below.
Finally, if you are planning to enter any races in the future and would like assistance with your training then please get in touch and I will be happy to help. I already have two clients who are training for the Brighton marathon in April 2022 (one a first-timer and the other who has a goal of running 3:30), so I have capacity to take on a couple more. You can contact me by phone on 07743 073788 or e-mail email@example.com