I can assure you, dear reader, that you will have been grateful to have been there reading this from afar, than having been within my close proximity over the last week or so. Reason being? I went into Great North Run training programme meltdown. Seriously.
A few months back I had decided, most definitely, to follow Jeff Galloway’s Improver Half Marathon plan. Excellent. I updated my calendar with all the run data, preparing myself for my fate, and settled back to “enjoy” the plan.
And then, just a few days ago, I started to panic.
Jeff’s improver plan asked me to run up to 17 miles and do loads of things I hadn’t done before. In all honesty the Great North Run is not going to be the race I am going to get a personal best; I’m one of 54,000 runners and, out of them, will probably be starting and finishing in around 53,000th place! All I want to do is to get round the course!
So I looked again. I looked at Hal Higden’s plans, Runner’s World plans, Women’s Running plans, plans that the charities had put together for their fundraising runners and plans that some Tom, Dick or Harry had knocked together. I asked for advice from running friends, who invariably suggested Hal’s plans, but the trouble with Hal’s plan is that he never asks you to run further than 12 miles. So what if I get to 12 and that’s it, nothing left? Last time I ran Jeff’s beginner plan and he asked for 14 miles towards the end. I gave it and then ran full of confidence in my first half. I knew that I could run 13.1 miles because I had run 14 a week or so before. It was a certainty.
And this is why I am now following Jeff Galloway’s beginner plan again. I aim to start and finish the biggest half marathon in the world. If I achieve a faster time than last time (2:34:34), great. If not, well I’ll have run the Great North Run.
It took me a while to alter my calendar for my change of plan. Then I discovered that I was already into week 3, but, as weeks 1 and 2 were 3 and 4 mile runs, I didn’t mind. On Monday I started officially training with a 5 mile run. I was fairly pleased with my 10:34 pace and completed it in 53:07. The route I used is quite hilly and I’ve never been able to run it fast as a result. It’s a workout route and I’d rather use that than a flat route when training. It gives me short sharp hills and long drawn out climbs, all within 5 miles.
Tonight I went out for a trail run with my dog Murphy. I set off intending to do 3 miles, just a there and back route, but changed my mind at the end of mile 1. I’d run it in 10 minutes flat, which for me is pretty fast off road, and decided that I need more of a challenge.
I changed direction and ran under a canopy of trees which had stopped the sun drying the path as much as the other, leaving me slipping and sliding in mud! It certainly did the trick and slowed me right down, with me constantly looking for balance on the slippery terrain. Mile 2 was a full minute slower!
Once I was clear of the trees I was on tarmac for the last half a mile. Here I could pick up the pace. I averaged 8:54 mile pace, bringing my overall average down to 10:17. Jeff asked for a 30 minute run. What he got was a 25 minute trail run in the muddiest conditions I could find! I think that was a good trade off!!