Tempo runs. Not my favourite kind of run where sticking to a pace is the primary requirement. The pace I had chose was 7:45 per mile as over the course of a marathon that average pace would get me well under 3 hours 30 minutes. Today, all I had to do was hold it for 6 miles or so.
I guess the image at the top of this post kind of gives it away that I overachieved on the target pace as I average 7:22/mile. A bit of a spoiler, but please do read on…
I’ve never been particularly good at maintaining a pace. I do find that naturally, my pace would be around 8:15/mile without trying too hard. 7:45 is more challenging and maybe I should be going slightly faster, maybe 7:30/mile or even 7:15/mile in training.
As the miles passed I was checking the splits on my watch (it reports after each mile) and I was pleased to see I was maintaining a sub-7:45 pace each time. But the mental side of me was also wondering whether I could maintain this pace for a marathon. Today I was doing 6 miles – I’d need to go another 20 at this to reach my goal.
I guess the difference between solo training and actually running a marathon is huge. I always perform better at events as I have people around me and I can use them as pacers. I haven’t checked if the Yorkshire marathon uses official pacers (the type with the flag on their backs) and if they do will I go with the 3hr30m pacer or faster?
My twisted logic would be to go with the 3hr pacer and if I can’t hold that pace I might end up attaching to the 30hr30m pacer and stubbornly hang on. “Don’t go out too fast” is what all experience marathon runners will tell you. Yet my go-to tactic would be to do exactly that.
One other thing I was pleased to see on Strava’s analysis of my run was that my heart rate was in the “Tempo” zone (zone 3) was the majority of the run. If you’re planning to do a tempo run then it’s good that the technology agrees that this is what you did. It also means that I know I can go faster if I need to.
I was listening to the latest episode of my favourite podcast – Running Commentary – on this run. Paul (Tonkinson) was yet again injured so this was Rob (Deering) with a guest. The guest bing Zoe Lyons. She was recounting her experience of running the London to Brighton ultra-marathon last year and her questionable choice of fuelling on the way and the catastrophic consequences. It got me thinking.
Paul had mentioned in previous episodes that peeing while running the marathon was commonplace amongst the running community. It’s an issue that has bothered me and did bother me as I prepared to run my first marathon back in 2017 in Blackpool.
Would I stop for a toilet break?
In Blackpool, I didn’t and in fact, I don’t recall ever feeling like I needed to either. I’m quite good at holding my bladder but I always wondered if during that marathon I hadn’t taken on enough fluid if I didn’t even feel the need to urinate. We’ll leave the other toilet possibilities shall we?
Stopping will hurt my pace and depending on where in the race that stop might happen could seriously hurt my chances of getting going again. Once past 10 miles, I don’t stop. I know if I do it’s bloody hard work to get started again. As my training runs get longer I shall assess my bodies capabilities in this area carefully.