Love Run 10k + marathon training update

Damien Clarkson after the Love Run 10k  (picture by Ivo Gormley)

Damien Clarkson after the Love Run 10k (picture by Ivo Gormley)

Whisper it quietly but I think the pissing wind that has plagued runners for months might have disappeared. Bring on the Spring! Or at the very least some cold and dry weather.

In just 13 weeks and 2 days I will have completed my first marathon. Currently I feel the Edinburgh marathon is looming above my head like a giant zeppelin about to drop a bombardment of ruined feet, shattered hamstrings and chaffed legs.

You would think that following a 16 week plan would leave me brimming with confidence. But boy would you be wrong. I have realised marathon training is hardcore, the sheer amount of miles, the tight muscles, the lack of sleep and destruction of your social life. These are all key elements of marathon training. And I have just taken a work contract at Government Digital Services. And although this is a superbly flexible forward thinking workplace, I am going to be spending more of my time tied to a desk not able to just drop my work and go running when the mood takes me. Scary!

So you would be right in thinking that I am struggling to hit my target miles at the moment. Last week I completed just 16 miles but this did include recording a new PB in the Finsbury Park Love Run 10k. Powered by a 8 banana smoothie, I kept my record of recording a PB in every race since I started writing this blog back in September. I recorded a chip time of 46:13 coming in 53rd out of 293 runners.

Damien Clarkson running the Love Run 10k  (picture by Ivo Gormley)

If you went out running last Saturday you will know how crazy the wind was. Everyone who took part in that race last Saturday or just went for a run anywhere deserves huge credit. It was literally insane, so much so that I got blown to a literal stop running for the finish line.

I was running with team GoodGym last Saturday. Everyone of us put in a wholehearted performance and super speedy Shaun Dixon won the race at a canter. GoodGym Founder, Ivo Gormley took some wonderful pictures I have shamefully borrowed for the site (thanks Ivo) and in other exciting news GoodGym is now an affiliated UK athletics running club. As if you needed another reason to come along and take a look if you live in London. I am already dreaming of the wicking t-shirt I am going to be able to buy with my cumulative £2 pound race entry savings.

I also made a video of the race below. Please give it a watch and perhaps give it a like and subscribe.


What else happened in the last 2 weeks. Well my Garmin 210 decided to stop working, meaning I lost 3 very average miles on Strava. Luckily I was able to exchange it for a new watch today, hopefully this Garmin lasts more than 4 months.

I am also just about the enter the Hackney Half Marathon at the end of June. I am so excited about running the streets of the area I have lived in for the past 4 years. I would love it if you came and ran this race with me.

Screenshot 2014-02-21 19.20.25

If you are training for a marathon how is it going? How do you squeeze the miles in? Also does anyone have an April half marathon they would recommend?

Tomorrow I will be running for 1:20 hr taking my weekly mileage up to around 18 miles. 13 weeks to go, I am nervous but still just about optimistic.

Damien

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Running like a dog for 10.68 miles

This was the sunset as we were running around Hackney Marsh

This was the sunset as we were running around Hackney Marsh

After the brutal hills of my 10k race on Sunday, my glutes felt a bit trashed. So in the sprit of listening to my body I took it easy for the early part of this week, instead getting my exercise on a number of bike rides into central London.

But with my half marathon quickly approaching, I recognised regardless of soreness I needed to get out there and put in some quality miles. Luckily I have a new running buddy in the shape of Clare who I met through our mutual friend Helen. With a marathon time of 3:30 behind her running with Clare is great for my training, we have loads in common and the minutes fly by.

Excitingly yesterday she brought along her beautiful 9 month Collie, Watson to join us on the run. Early on Watson was definitely setting the pace. We ran up to our Walthamstow and Hackney marshes. Watching Watson boundless energy was inspiring, he was in and out of the river, puddles, grabbing sticks, playing with other dogs. Basically he was having a brilliant time.

Watson

All whilst I was being a little bit of a moaner for the first few miles; I had cycled about 8 miles already yesterday and had been to a great social enterprise event at lunchtime. However at the event there was no vegan food apart from the obligatory plate of fruit. Now I had a choice and did the polite English thing and grabbed a selection of fruit. Basically I needed double what I took to get sufficient carbs in but I didn’t want to be a fruit hog. So after my cycle home I felt a little under carbed and had to eat a piece of bread and low fat hummus 30 mins before the run. Not ideal but after a bit of a food and water I felt near where I needed to be. 

Once we got into Hackney Marsh the sun started to set the sky was a beautiful orange and pink. We both couldn’t stop admiring the beautiful views. These are the moments I have come to cherish as a runner. On every run I see something beautiful or something of interest, I learn more about the area in which I live in. If I was inside I was miss all of the interesting stuff happening around me.

By the time I was into the 4th mile I was starting to feel strong, we decided to run back on ourselves across the endless football pitches. I felt I got found out for my lack of soft surface training at the Bushy Park 10K a few weeks ago. I always find my pace drops on soft surfaces but I am finding it increasingly important to mix up. We then decided to head off down Regents Canal towards Victoria Park, my initial plan was to run with Clare for a bit then turn back and run home. But as I said to Clare I felt I was getting a second wind. This had the makings of a long run in it. So I decided to just keep running I left Clare and Watson at Victoria Park and made my way home.

Whilst running through the park I had a teenager throw a few stones. Which I felt was particularly brave of him only being in his hoody and standing behind steel fence. He must have felt particularly proud when despite me not evening saying anything to him he started screaming and swearing at me. Honestly you just have to smile, what a pathetic existence he is leading if that is how he gets his kicks.

I reached the end of the park and realised it was closed which was a bit of a lesson really, probably not the best idea to run around Victoria Park in the dark. This led to me having to rather gingerly jump the park fence before continuing home.

By this point my splits were again in the 8 minute mile territory again, I wasn’t flying but by no means was I struggling. I arrived home after completing 10:68 miles in 1:33.45. This has filled me with confidence for my half marathon on the 1st December a 1:45 time definitely feels within my reach now.

My 10 mile route

My 10 mile route

I really think having Watson running with us yesterday helped lift my mood and enabled me to get the enthusiasm to make what was meant to be a 8 mile run something much longer.

Have you ever ran with a dog? If so how do you find it?

Until the next time.

Damien x