Day #5 - (very) long run
Distance: 22 miles (give or take)
Time: 03:26:41 hours
Average time (per mile): 09:23 minutes
If you've trained for a marathon you'll know that banking your long run is pretty damn important. Your long run is your body's guarantee to yourself that, come race day, you can do the distance, that you won't crumple up in a sad heap around 16 miles. Because you've been there and done it already. I didn't have the best preparation for this run. My left calf has been feeling tight since I did the Silverstone half marathon a couple of weeks ago and I've missed some training because of that* and this is reflected in my pace on this run which is a bit outside my sub-4 hour target (I'll need to be running an average of 9:09 minutes per mile to make that). Still (and assuming that the calf which feels OK as of this moment doesn't stiffen up dramatically overnight) I think that's something I can work on in the final three weeks of training. The run was extremely tough. There was a nasty headwind for the first 5 or 6 miles (although this did mean a tailwind on the final 5 or 6 miles) and for the final 3 miles I was really running on empty. Still it's all good experience for race day and I know that I'll get huge additional boosts from adrenalin, the presence of the other runners, and the support along the way that you just don't get when it's just you on a rainy morning in Oxford.
ETA: I just re-measured the course and came up with 22.39 mi which would give me an average time per mile of 09:14 minutes - which is a bit better at any rate :-)
* staying up until 12:50am last night knitting and watching Amadeus on DVD may not have been the smartest move either.