Monday, 7 March 2011

Running over the 20 miles barrier

Firstly before I get started, for any techies out there (I am not thinking of any names in particular Pete), here is the GPS data from my Garmin Forerunner 405 watch  Now let the blogging begin.

As any runner trying to train for their first marathon will know, running your first ever distance over 20 miles is something of a breakthrough.  Without giving your body too much stress and risking injury, which running the full marathon in training would do, running just over 20 miles gives you the reassurance you need, to know that when the time comes you can do it.  I decided yesterday would be the day that I would try it and see how I felt.

The original plan had been to go cross country skiing, but then I realised that my running training is much more important at this stage in the marathon training plan than having fun going cross country skiing.  Actually I woke up a bit later than planned but I wanted to give my body as much rest as it needed before getting up.  Whilst I often skip breakfast I didn't want to do that yesterday, as I knew I would need some calories in me for fuel, so I ate a light breakfast consisting of a banana, a yoghurt and some juice.

I had already pre-decided my route.  It was going to be Zurich to Rapperwil along the Zurichsee.  I could have run half way then turned around and gone back, but it is kind of depressing to turn around knowing just how far it is because you have already done it on the way out.  At least running in one direction it is just a number on the signpost telling you how much further is left and you can break that down into smaller sections.  I found a good way to focus my mind was to run at 10km/hour pace and this way I was able to keep the boredom at bay by monitoring my GPS watch and all the statistics to check if I was on target.   The 10km/hour pace seemed pretty sustainable and I think I could have happily gone on to complete the full marathon distance at this pace.

Originally I had been aiming for a sub 3 hours 30 first marathon time, but due to all the problems I have been having with runners knee and the 3 week break I had to take from training, I am now looking at anything sub 4 hours as ok.  I can always take on a second marathon later, but to risk a long term setback for a short term goal is really not worth it with the Marathon des Sables 2012 firmly in my sights.


  1. Crikey your pulse is low at that pace, compared to me anyway.

  2. Yes I noticed my pulse stays fairly low. I always find it hard in the gym to get into my target zone as doing the cardio machines it often doesnt get much above 120bpm and they say the target zone only really starts from 125bpm or so. I can get my heartrate up by going crazy but I cant seem to sustain that at all. Some people mentioned their heartrate gets up to 180bpm when they are doing cardio but for me that basically requires an all out sprint. I will have to check what my resting is, but during day I often see it is in the low 50s so I am guessing my resting is 50 or just under.