Marathon Training Week 3 & Mad Dog 10K Race

Another week of training is now in the book. I think now I have accepted that I have a challenging goal in place it is really helping to focus me and get the most out of every workout. I am still following the 80/20 running plan for my marathon training and touch wood, it is continuing to pay dividends. This last week saw me clock up just over 36 miles (another record week for me) but at no point did this feel horrendous.

The week consisted of mainly Foundation Run 5’s, which is 5 minutes in HR zone 1, followed by a 30 minute run in HR zone 2 and a 5 minute zone 1 cool down. As you can see the low HR zones mean that the bulk of the training is done at a relaxed or easy pace to build endurance, and this is really helping my recovery and meaning I am able to run every day. This is something I would never have thought possible.

I had to move a few runs around this week in order to accommodate a gym session with my PT Stuart, and that I was racing the Mad Dog 10K in Southport on Sunday, which would normally be my long run day. The long run was 9 miles last week, again all is the low HR zones so this felt fairly comfortable. I was really pleased with this as I ran this on a Wednesday, so only a couple of days recovery from the 8 mile long run on Sunday. A punishing gym session on Friday rounded off the week.

The main reason for moving my long run was that I was running the Mad Dog 10K in Southport on Sunday. This race was my first of last year and the first race I blogged about last year, so I was eager to see what progress I had made in the last 12 months and what time I could achieve. The race sold out in 48 hours in October and has been voted the best 10K in England (I think) for the last 3 years. I think a lot of this is down to the atmosphere, organisation and the goody bag if I am honest, as I am not particularly inspired by the route. However it is a good event and it raises a lot of money for local charities too, so what’s not to like?

Last year I managed the course in 52 minutes ish, and this was in terrible weather conditions with a really ferocious headwind for the first 3 miles and an equally scary tailwind for the final 3. Conditions this time round couldn’t have been more different. The air was still and the weather sunny but crisp and cold. Couldn’t have been better. The conditions, coupled with the fact that I had averaged 7:50 minute miles at my club 5 miler a couple of weeks ago gave me the confidence that I would have a good run. I tried however to temper this with the knowledge that this was only apart of a longer marathon training plan, and that if it wasn’t a PB then that was ok and to just stick to the plan – run just under 8:00 minute miles for the first couple of miles and see how I was feeling.

I think when I applied to enter the race, I may have been a little overly optimistic with my finish time. The organisers, like most races, held a wave start with each wave having a canine name and picture associated with it – It was Mad Dog after all. After making my way to the start line I found that for the first time ever, I was in the first wave and was officially a “greyhound”. Oh dear………


I’m afraid the inevitable happened after the start and I was carried along with the quicker runners for the first mile and ran 7min 30 seconds. I was a little concerned about this but went with the flow as it felt comfortable. I slowed it slightly in mile 2 and ran 7:38 and then 7:37 in mile 3. I thought that if I slowed somewhat in the second half of the race then that was ok and I had built a cushion to still come home around my 7:50 minute mile pace.

One of the pleasing things about the second half of the race was that the endurance training from the 80/20 training plan did seem to kick in and my worries about losing what little top end speed I had from training slow evaporated. Miles 4, 5 and 6 flew by in 7:32, 7:31 and 7:28 respectively. So despite feeling the pain and effort in the final miles I actually ran them marginally quicker which was fantastic. I crossed the line in 47:05 and an average of 7:32 minute miles. Way beyond my expectations for sure, and a job well done. A huge 90 seconds taken off my PB.

So, how do you follow that up? Well I go back to my training plan, secure in the knowledge that it seems to be working for me and is getting me the results I want. I keep working hard in the gym and resist the temptation to go fast on my training runs (aside from the sprint intervals of course)……..and what’s on the plan for today……..REST DAY 🙂


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