Great North Run Training Diary #1

Running the Great North Run for the first time seems like a big deal. I haven’t ran a race like the GNR before. The closest I have probably got to a race of this size is The Blaydon Race but I think this will blow that away.

Going into next week there are about 10 weeks to go.

My dream goal for my half marathon debut is something around 1hr 17m, preferably under. This isn’t just a number I plucked out of thin air. Having ran my 16m 44s 5k PB in May I feel with the right training 1h 17m is achievable.

One of the key challenges will be getting the right amount of training at the right intensity. Running is like walking on a knife blade. It is so easy to do too much too soon and come down with illness and injury, especially when you are trying to balance training with having a life.

I have now completed 3 weeks of training. Weeks 1 and 2 were nothing to write home about as I was just trying to get back to some proper running after picking up a niggle.

As I mentioned last week, I don’t usually train with purpose at this time of year. I tend to struggle with hay fever and running outdoors in the summer months is a challenge. This year has been no exception.

I don’t usually find it too much of an issue when I am actually out running. But as soon as I get back in the house I have sneezing fits and often my head is banging and my nose pouring. Its not ideal.

Its one of the reasons I wasn’t whinging this week about the constant rain. Although getting soaked to the bone three nights in a row isn’t joyous its preferable to the hay fever attacks.

So as a brief update, week commencing 12th June I completed only just shy of 3hrs running and about 20 miles. Week commencing 19th June the training was upped to a total of just shy of 4hrs and 33 miles. This week just gone, week commencing 26th June I have completed 4h 39m of running and 39 miles. I wouldn’t recommend these types of increases week on week for new runners but my body is used to around 5hrs per week under normal circumstances and, now that the injury is sorted, I know I can achieve 5hrs next week.

The key runs done this week were a solid 13.4 miles on Monday in 1hr 36, 4x 5mins at Half Marathon pace (5.50 per mile) with 1 minute rest on Thursday and on Saturday I did a total of 8 and a half miles with the middle 5 at predicted full marathon pace (~6.11 per mile).

All in all the week was ok. I will say that I need to get my long run >15 miles at least within a sensible time of the race itself. I also found the 5 minute thresholds challenging, not least because of the windy and rainy conditions. And unfortunately on Saturday nothing felt right. I’m not sure what it is but I never feel good on a Saturday. I suspect it is the result of tiredness from a tough working week. Added to that was the Hay Fever and I had to cut my warm down short as I couldn’t stop sneezing. I then felt terrible all day for the rest of the day.

Writing this on Sunday 2nd July I do feel better.

And I now turn my attention to a fourth week of training in which I will seek to almost replicate week 4. No need for anything special. I will plan a similar long run on Monday. I am deliberately avoiding the traditional Sunday long run for no other reason than the fact I am adopting a “6 days of work, 1 day of rest” approach. Note I am only running 5 days out of 7 (Mon, Tues, Weds, Thurs, Sat) and then doing a strength and conditioning session on a Friday. I take a full days rest now on Sundays which works well for me both physically and mentally.

This week I really want to aim to feel strong on the long run and also further lock down my target half mara threshold pace of 5.50 per mile. That will get me the 1.17 target and I just want to feel nice and relaxed at that pace. At the moment it feels a bit stretching but I know I can lock it down and even make it feel a little comfy. That will be critical and to achieve that I will be increasing the number of reps. Last week it was 4x 5mins and this coming week I will increase to 5. I am not looking too far ahead in terms of how many reps I will advance to.

I will be also looking to increase the medium long run and extend to 6 miles at 6.11/mile, and, critically, I will be looking to getting my hay fever under control with anti histamines and nasal spray.

So overall I will be looking for 5hrs of training and perhaps just over 40 miles.

Onwards and upwards as they say!

Thanks for reading.

P.S. If interested you can follow all my training on Kevin Richardson STRAVA

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