Wednesdays are the days on my training plan when I get licence to take the brakes off a bit. I wasn’t quite due for a full on tempo run today, but my plan had 8 miles at race pace (10:00 – 10:15 min/miles) for me to get stuck in to.
Usually I do my tempo runs after work but rather inconveniently at the moment I seem to be having some sort of life outside running which meant the evening was already booked. So I decided to run the first 8 miles from home to work and then grab the tube somewhere between Holland Park and Marble Arch. Run commuting people, it’s the way forward!
The run went really well, and it showed up some massive changes in fitness and attitude from my pre-marathon self to now.
Firstly, I went out last night. Now as we know, I don’t drink, but I do enjoy three course meals followed by a huge bucket of popcorn at the cinema. I pigged out enormously and then because of hellish things happening on the Central Line delaying my journey home I eventually made it to bed not long before 1am.
Before marathon training, the idea of getting up early to head out of the door for a fasted 8 mile run at a 10 minute mile clip would have resulted in a lot of fretting, meticulous carb loading for dinner the night before, and being very early to bed. This morning I rolled into my kit after 5 hours sleep, chucked a gel and some oatcakes into my camelback bag and headed out the door. No muss, no fuss.
8 miles as a distance just doesn’t seem scary anymore. When the furthest distance I had done was a half marathon, 8 miles represented the business end of training. I haven’t quite got to grips with the fact that these days, that’s not really even a long run. Those of you who prefer to stick to 10k’s or halfs please understand – I’m quite clear who the weirdo in this scenario is, and it’s not you.
It seems my body is also now conditioned to expect more of itself for these ‘shorter’ distances. Every time I lost concentration my pace naturally settled somewhere between 9:30 and 9:50 min miles. There was a lot of internal ‘come on, we can run this fast for at least 10 miles! Let’s gooooo!’ from my legs, with equal measures of ‘no legs, stop being silly, we are PACING here’ from my brain. This is a really, really nice feeling. The last couple of months have been muggy as all get out here in sunny London, and at times it’s felt like I’d started to go backwards in terms of speed. But it seems not – in decent conditions, it looks like my 10k and half marathon paces are definitely much improved. I look forward to EHM and finding out whether that’s true.
So yes – run commuting was going great guns…until I stopped running. My watch beeped for the 8 miles just by Notting Hill station which was perfect, but the Tube seemed to be having some sort of total meltdown this morning with about 5 lines either suspended or delayed. Notting Hill is unfortunately where most of the affected lines meet, and I had to wait over half an hour just to get on a train!
I mean really, it would probably have been quicker to just run the whole way…!