Marcus Chester, Marcus Chester runner, Freckleton Half Marathon, Burnden Road runners

Chester Marathon week 2/18 – Freckleton Half Marathon

The aim of this week was simply to turn the mileage up slightly for the eighth consecutive week.  I managed to do this despite the best efforts of the increasingly warm days and evenings.  It’s not been easy though: Sunday’s Freckleton Half Marathon was hot.  It’s always a risk entering this event because it’s a 2PM start time in the middle of June…Sunday didn’t disappoint – it was the hottest day of the year so far.

On the start I made the conscious choice to take it easy, or at least as easy as I could given the heat.  I wrote last week that I thought that I could comfortably run a PB on this course; but with the sun blazing in a azure sky I put this to the back of my mind.  As it was I set off at 1:40 pace, but with stopping at every drink station I came in at 1:41:17 (74/431).  Although this time is off from where I want to be, I’m still pleased.  I’m pleased that I altered my plan and stuck to it.  Setting off too quickly would have made for a very miserable race indeed, and stopping to drink at every station (and stand under the showers) really did mean I could manage the heat.  I’m pleased that, despite the heat, a 1:40 half felt very comfortable from a pace perspective.  I’m also pleased that it has taken so little out of me.  Final pleasing note, I didn’t ease down for this race.  I ran 55 miles last week.

But, there is unfinished work here:

2012: 1:51:51

2013: 1:50:24

2015: 1:48:16

2016: 1:36:29

2017: 1:41:09

The rest of the week was made up of easy running, although I did a session on Tuesday which involved running strides.  Perhaps the most enjoyable run was Saturday’s Bolton parkrun because I volunteered to pace this at 27 minutes.  A steady start, and a negative split, meant that I came in at 26:54.  It was really pleasing to see people sprint past me on the track as they hit their sub 27 minute target.  It is always a pleasure to be able to give something back to running, and it’s nice to help others achieve the things that they want to.

Freckleton results

Last week’s training looked like this:

Monday: 6 easy miles with the dog

Tuesday: 8 miles with strides and stretching

Wednesday: 7 miles @ 7:13 m/m (hot)

Thursday: 6 miles very easy

Friday: 10 miles

Saturday: pacing at Bolton parkrun, warm up and cool down (hot)

Sunday: Freckleton Half Marathon

Total: 55.5 miles

Next week’s training continues with the aim of building the endurance base.  Mileage increases slightly and there are two hard sessions.  One is Bolton parkrun on Saturday and the second is either a hard five miles at the end of Tuesday’s or Wednesday’s run.  The heat will dictate which of these runs I do this on as I can only run at specific times again this week.


Freckleton Half Marathon

The Freckleton Half Marathon has been a fixture on the road running calendar for the past 52 years.  It’s easy to see why: a flat course and great organisation is always a good starting point.  Add to that some good course support, a carnival-like atmosphere at the start and the finish, and it becomes a very attractive way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Oh yes, it’s a 2 o’clock start time too.

So it was with a positive sense of expectation that we made our way over to Freckleton on Sunday.  I had spent time in the week thinking about a target time for the race and had settled on 1:35:00.  I was looking forward to a solid run.

My body had other ideas.  I ran a disappointing 1:36:39 (93/488).  Not disappointing for missing my target time by 90 seconds; disappointing because of the manner in which I missed it.  Once again, like Manchester in April, I felt empty.  From the outset this race was a real struggle: breathing, legs, and stomach all seemed out of sync and I felt like I lumbered along the course.  I really do need to reflect on why this is the case, but even summoning the energy to do this properly seems like a step too far.

Perhaps I need a break.