Marathon plan week 3: Flexibility is the key

My son Alex is currently living with his wife Lucie in New York, This was the inspiration for entering the New York Marathon. Lucie is coming back to the UK to resume her teaching career from the new term in September, while Alex continues with his job in New York for another six months. So when I fly out for the marathon I will go and stay with him for a few days either side of the race. But this week he is back visiting and working in the UK, so time for us to catch up as a family.

Monday evening was actually down as a rest day on my marathon plan, although I usually run with a Straggglers group. Instead took the day off and went down to the boat moored on Trowlock Island. Stella and I then motored up to Kingston and tied up on the wharf at the back of the John Lewis Building. It was very pleasant sitting on the river in bright evening sunshine waiting for Alex whose train had been delayed. When he arrived we went up river to Hampton Court. On the way we passed various Stragglers on Barge Walk. I shouted some words of encouragement. Not sure how much they were appreciated.

On Tuesday we were scheduled to have a family dinner with my daughters coming to join us, so that also ruled out training with the Thames Ditton group, but heres where a flexible approach came in. Rain was forecast all day from around 9am, so I got up early and cycled down to the boat to get the covers on. We had left the top off the night before as it was dark by the time we got back to the Island. Leaving the folding bike locked on board I then set off for a run back home. I followed an impromtu route linking various roads and pathways to get in the distance as i wanted 5 to 6 miles. First up Broom Road to Teddington Lock, then over the Lock bridge to Ham and through a couple of alleyways leading up to Ham Common. By this time the rain had come in, but it was warm enough and not unpleasant. Continuing on to the long straight road leading to Richmond Park’s Ham Gate I took a diversion through the woodland on a super path that has been created to run in a parallel crescent to the road. Then into the park , up the steep path to Ham Cross and then on a footpath across the grass to the Isobel Plantation. I looped around the enclosed park and then headed up to the Ladderstyle Gate. From here it is about half a mile to my house following Kingston Hill, but I wanted some eextra distance to crossed over and headed down Warren Road into the Coombe Estate. Turning right onto George Road brought me back onto Kingston Hill and I had done 9k on my watch when I reached the front gate. Feeling strong at this point so continued on up the hill for half a k then back to make a total distance of 10k, done in a bit under 10mm average. Great run!

To follow up on Wednesday (usually a rest day for me) I did the Arethusa mile in Bushy Park. I wanted another 5-6 miles to stay on the weekly schedule, so I ran down through Kingston and into Bushy Park at the St John’s gate. It was just under 3 miles to the start of the mile, a few hundred yards up Chestnut Avenue from the Diana fountain. Averaged around 10 minute pace. Waited with the group for the gates to be closed to traffic then set off on the mile. Recorded a time of 7.52 which was my quickest mile this year but considerably slower than most. Came 29 out of 36 runners. Then the 3 miles back home, includding the last half mile up Kingston Hill. A bit slower coming back, closer to 11 minutes but a good overall session and 7 miles covered.

So despite a change in schedule, with a flexible approach we are still on plan. Tonight is a short relay at the Stragglers. Will probably run there are back to keep up the mileage. So far so good but the early days in the schedule are the relatively easy ones!


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