I seem to have a recurring theme in naming my blogs after horrendous weather. This weekend has been no exception. The hail on Saturday morning was actually painful and the roads were a cm deep in slush afterwards - not fun.
Last week I hinted that this weekend was going to be a heavy one. And I was right. I will try and explain.
Everyone you listen to will tell you their story about their way to train for the parish walk. I have listened a lot. I struggle to distil any particular formula; it seems to be very personal - almost every aspect of it from mileage, pace, nutrition, recovery etc.
As a noobie, non finisher, I am worried about "hitting the wall" and walking on empty. For me, training for the Parish has to be about mitigating or avoiding this for as long as possible.
So this weekend was designed for that purpose. It is impossible to emulate the last 1/3 of the Parish walk, but you can do things to push your body hard and feel fatigued. This was the goal.
I had a relatively high mileage week so I would go into the weekend with heavy legs.
The goal was to totally empty the tank on Saturday and go into Sunday with really heavy legs and energy fatigue. On Sunday, I wanted to be forced to refuel on the move and experiment with soups and bananas etc to see how my body copes.
The formula Saturday was 2 hours hard fast walking. Then Sunday to walk 30km (19miles).
I felt anxious about Saturday as 2 hours hard hurts, I find it hard to keep driving with a big effort for that long. I got into a steady rhythm and after 10km felt great. I did the second 10km quicker than the first and went through 20km in 1:51:10, Half Marathon in 1:57 and ended up doing 21550 metres (13.5 miles). That is 5:34/km or 8:56/mile.
I was wrecked at the end. I had some lunch and fell asleep for an hour! I spent the rest of the day eating, trying to recover for Sunday.
I was more relaxed about Sunday (today) as the goal was not to go hard, but just to get round the 30km. I was worried I would hit the wall at about 10km though.
I set off at a slow steady pace and did the first 10km in 63mins. At 10km I joined Adam, Michelle and Marie on the road. They wanted to do 20k. The company was good and buoyed me up significantly. Someone had stolen my flask of soup I left behind a tree at 12km and that made me a bit flappy as I was feeling very fatigued so I ate a gel and drank some orange squash instead.
I found my second soup stash at 19km and guzzled down a whole pint of soup and half a banana. I was famished and beginning to think I was hitting the wall at this stage. I was on my own by 20km, dropped by the others but I got to 20km in 2:07 (16minutes slower than the day before!), another 64min 10km.
The soup and the banana seemed to do the trick. I felt good quite quickly after them and picked up the pace. I didn't mean to, I was working at the same rate/effort but the speed just picked up naturally, I began to feel good again. The final 5km felt great, probably the best 5km of the weekend mentally.
I finished the 30km in 3:05, the final 10km being just under 58mins. Given the punishment I had given myself on Saturday I am really happy with how the weekend went.
Weekly total was 99km.
Weekend total was 51.5km (32miles) 5:55/km average or 9:32/mile
I have been worried about my fitness and race form, suspecting I was on about 1:54 form for 20km, but the 1:51 on Saturday with heavy legs told me I am stronger than I thought. It must be all this training or something?
There is an international 20km in Lugano, Switzerland on the 16th of March. The qualification standard is 1:52 and if you go over 1:55 your time does not count. I am now seriously thinking about going.
Watch this space...