I was hoping to run 15 miles on Saturday, but the other events of the week don't make that very convenient. So it was today, or not at all.
I decided to see if I could run 15 miles at 8 minutes per mile - the pace at which I did 12.1 on Tuesday. This would be a good test to see if I could maintain the same pace at a slightly increased distance, and to see if my legs had the endurance to do so only 2 days later. This may be about the pace I aim for on the marathon itself so it would help me know how feasible that was. Plus it would take about 2 hours, which is the minimum you need to run if having a training run to increase endurance (or so saith the Internet, anyway).
I've only run a distance of exactly 15 miles once before, 6 weeks ago today. That was the first time I'd ever run further than 12.1 miles. Then, I did 3 laps of the hilly circuit, but I'd like to be able to move my knee joints again before mid-September - so that didn't seem like a good option. Instead, I ran 5 miles up the A6, then back, and then did a lap of the hills. Happily someone's removed the rotting adult badger from the back road - the stink was getting so bad it was getting difficult to avoid heaving!
As far as the timings went, it was almost clockwork. I was within a few seconds of the overall pace throughout the first 11 miles, and then there was a very slight acceleration to get home in 1:58:58. The first 5 miles were done in 39:38, the second in 40:21, and the third in 38:59. This time was 13 and a half minutes faster than when I did this distance 6 weeks ago - over 50 seconds per mile. From about half way, I could feel in my legs those 12.1 miles I did on Tuesday, and the last 4 miles felt very tough; I got a stitch, my hips started whinging, and the big hills called me nasty names as I ran up them (I think). My knees felt pretty good though, and the watch kept telling me that the pace was being maintained. All in all, today's run was a real confidence booster. 9 and a half weeks to go!
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