24 miles later, then 12km

So, this Saturday, I set out on a long run adventure. I LOVE Harrow Hill and have recently rediscovered my love of the old cross-country course where I made my name (aged 17-19). I did 4 loops of the course which made that section of the run up to around 15km; it starts upwards on fields, then a dirt road, then a wet muddy hill and then trail. On the way down you run through a golf course, past the school kitchen (yum), past the athletics track, past the sports hall and back down to the pitches. I used the opportunity to test out my new New Balance 690at shoes that I acquired from a local charity shop for £8.99!

You can see the fields on the small green section at the bottom of the route map. 

The shoes, despite being bigger than my usual shoes – I normally wear a 9, these are a 10 – were comfortable and warm. I did experience some swelling in my toes so the additional space was useful but the main problem was that they are much firmer that my LunarEpics. I could feel every step, the shock up my legs, the lack of bounce was slightly uncomfortable but they gripped beautifully and felt great throughout. On a side note, the famously steep trail ascent and hairpin corner where many people cheated the course and gained race places, has been cordoned off! I may have to jumped a fence and get back on that trail; it was exciting and extremely challenging. I miss it. 

I finished a nice grassy run and headed back to the house where I had set up an ‘aid station’ in my front porch. I came back to the house, changed my socks, switched out my 690s for my Nikes and grabbed a fresh tshirt. I had intended to swig a Lucozade but I forgot I had left it in the fridge to stay cold and left without it. I necked an energy gel and some Dextro tablets and headed out for another long run. [Time spent in transition; 8.5mins]

Every Ultra/Mara training plan I have read has spoken about the need for runners to do Back-to-back (b2b) runs in an attempt to teach yourself to run on tired legs so this second stint was an excuse for me to test the longevity and durability of my legs.

I went out strong and tried to maintain for as long as possible – I got to around 30km without many problems but my legs began to flake at around 18miles. I took in Hatch End, Bushey, Hatch End, Pinner, West Harrow and all the roads between. 

I had fun, learned some things about myself and about my body, and developed an understanding of why increasing mileage in training is so important. 

I had Sunday ‘off’ – if you call a 7am start and a 9pm finish a day off. 

On Monday night I returned to Nike Run Club for a nice chilled (yeah, right) evening jog and got 12km under my belt with an ever-passionate group of runners and coaches. We started from NikeTown London and did 12km around Regent’s Park, Camden and Parliament Hill. I often lead the group out and this evening I even decided to lay down a fast kilometre on the return journey – a 3:30mins/km – before we got back to the store. 

Legs heavy, thighs hurting, stomach collapsing. Amazing. I love running. 

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