It’s Saturday, August 31st. Next Sunday is the Great North Run. This one has crept up on me a little, but I’m very excited to have a crack at my half marathon PB, which ironically was set in the first half of Liverpool Marathon in May. That in itself is a little embarrassing.
Perhaps this shows how little attention I’ve paid to shorter distance races. I don’t know why this is, racing various distances provides stimulus for growth in different areas, a great gauge of fitness, and a welcome opportunity to vary the marathon paced pounding of training.
My GNR ballot entry was speculative, much like my 2020 London Marathon one. It would be cool to do it, but it won’t happen…then it did!
GNR is a rarity, a race that people who aren’t into running know about. The famous shot of runners crossing the Tyne Bridge, with the Red Arrows flying overhead. The brutal downhill before swerving left onto South Shields seafront. Mo Farah’s recent dominance. It’s part of our cultural history.
This is the first time a half marathon has fallen neatly into my marathon buildup. Ideally, it would have been one or two weeks later, but I can’t complain. What I might lack in fitness, is made up for in that I will have an extra two weeks in my Frankfurt buildup to address issues from GNR.
I have a goal in mind, and there it will stay. The plan I’m following for Frankfurt has more speedwork than I’ve done before, and has properly scheduled recovery days, which I think are paying dividends.
I no longer wake up thinking “must run 10 miles today, no matter how you feel, no matter the pace”. Each day now has a purpose, each workout feels targeted to improve a certain area. When I’m recovering, I’m trying to really recover well, with as much focus as I would give to a workout.
Next Sunday will be the first real test of what I’ve been doing the last month or so. While I know I’m not quite peaking (nor should I be 8 weeks from a marathon), I feel good, the legs and lungs have a bit of zip in them.
I am ready to suffer again.