After five attempts of the same route I finally managed to do it in under four hours. Just under three hours, fifty minutes according to Strava.
I know under three is the magic mark for a lot of enthusiasts, but I am happy with four and that’s as fast as I ever want to do it. I somewhat blame the hills (it for sure isn’t a flat course, but it’s not mountainous either) for not being faster; And also that I struggle to pick my pace back up after drinking/eating at half way - I can’t run and drink/eat; And my shitty knees since my right knee started playing up a bit at about 27k; And finally on-call, but I only stopped briefly for that alert. The truth is though that I just can’t keep my pace up after around 35k. If I could keep my pace up then my fastest time would be a bit over three and a half hours, and being about quarter of an hour slower than my theoretical fastest is fine by me.
I somewhat cheated with my training and just did a four week taper:
- Managed to jump up my weekly distance to ~75k which included a 30k and a half-marathon.
- Then the following week dropped down to 65k with the longest run being a 25k, but also did some horrible 11x 800m sprint reps which kept my effort levels pretty much the same.
- Did 60k total, with longest run being a half-marathon and 14x 400m sprints. Effort levels dropped this week.
- Did 55k total, with longest run being a 15k and some 17x 200m sprints. Effort levels about the same as week before. Unfortunately injured my foot gardening at the end of this week! Typical!
- Ran a gentle 7.5k (not part of my plan, but it happened) and then tried to do as little as possible in the hope my foot would feel ok. Did do a lot of walking (not part of my plan) which I was worried wouldn’t help at the time, but maybe it did? I had planned on doing a fast 5k, a gentle 2k and then the marathon. Oh well. It all worked out ok in the end.
If I was more serious about this and had more control over my life (fitting 70k plus in a week is tricky for me) then I could have done with doing more weeks of sprints (ugh) and some runs up to 35k. I definitely still struggle after 30k.
But I don’t have plans or desires to run that route quicker. Instead I want to see if I can do a (slightly) longer combination of all my off-road routes at a more care-free pace. The only problem is I can’t really be arsed to train for it.