Going Longer, The Impossible, and Embracing the Dark.

Photo by Vek Labs on Unsplash

As I have already described in my race report, the Great Eastern Run didn’t exactly go to plan. It didn’t really go at all, actually, as it was cancelled last minute. Rather than spend any more time marinating in that disappointment, it is time for me to move on and plan what comes next. The original plan was to focus on 10k’s after the half marathon, and since I haven’t made that massive effort my body feels ready to race soon. Instead of winding down before building back up to knock out a decent 10k time before the cold weather really hits, I’m just going for it from the off, looking to increase my mileage from 40 to 50 miles a week.

Although it would probably make some kind of sense to do less mileage whilst I’m aiming for 10ks, I’m really enjoying my running at the moment and whilst I have this enthusiasm it makes a lot of sense to just run more.  

Once again the key is the double up days – they really push that mileage up beyond what most people see as feasible, and that is fair enough. When I’m focusing so much time on running it doesn’t exactly leave a whole lot of time for anything else, I can fully understand why even keen runners might not want to spend the sheer volume of hours on a single hobby when they have other commitments to family and work and whatever.

As it is I am not getting a huge number of hours at work right now, so I figure I might as well spend those spare hours on the road/treadmill.

Both surfaces are seeing plenty of me at the moment, with the nights drawing in the majority of any post-work runs will be on the treadmill, but I’m keen to put the vast majority of my miles in on the road for as long as possible – the weather is still very good for running in and I don’t want to waste it.

This week my running schedule looks something like this:

MONDAY: OFF

TUESDAY: AM 3.5 mi (steady) / PM 6.5 mi (treadmill fartlek)

WEDNESDAY: CROSS TRAINING (10-mile exercise bike) + 3.5 mi (treadmill)

THURSDAY: AM 7.5 (accelerator) / PM 3.1 (steady treadmill)

FRIDAY: AM 8 (steady) / PM 3.1 (steady treadmill)

SATURDAY: OFF

SUNDAY: 11 mile (easy pace)

Those bonus 5ks that I’m getting in after work are boosting my mileage quite nicely, and all it takes is less than an extra 25 minutes out of my day. Not only do they increase my mileage, but because I’m only knocking them out a comfortable pace they reset my legs, for instance after the increased difficulty of the 7.5-mile accelerator and before the steady 8, keeping everything feel fresh and limber.

Inspired

Still, it is a lot of running, and to keep up that level of intensity I’ll need some inspiration, thankfully that is not in short supply at the minute thanks to one Eliud Kipchoge.

Photo by Denis Barthel

On Saturday 12th October the Marathon world record holder created history by running a 26.2 miles in 1:59:40 – a frankly ludicrous speed that many of us could hardly maintain for a minute, let alone a marathon.

It is not a time that beats his own world record, as it remains unofficial thanks to the use of a team of 41 pacemakers, who rotated in and out of the attempt, maintaining a phalanx formation around Kipchoge to reduce wind resistance.

A laser was also painted on the ground by a lead vehicle to give Kipchoge and his team visual confirmation of the target time.

This trickery has led to some debate about exactly how impressive the feat is, although it would seem to me that much of the cynicism around the feat comes not from those doubting Kipchoge’s talents but questioning the purpose of the run itself.

It has, in a case of severe hyperbole, been related to the feat of man walking on the Moon for the first time. This comparison was made by the lead sponsor of the event, INEOS.

INEOS splashed themselves all over this event, on the running gear, on the name, on every banner, and now on the merchandise that they are hocking to commemorate the event.

INEOS are a multi-national chemical company founded by the UK’s wealthiest man – Jim Ratcliffe. They took over the Team Sky racing team, and have now funded Kipchoge’s push beyond the 2-hour mark.

The necessary evil in sport is often sponsorship, and I can’t criticise anyone from being cynical about an event which has put the INEOS brand name into the news in good faith, especially since much of the most recent news coverage over the company has been about the negative impact that they have on the environment.

Kipchoge’s success then is also sadly a success for the massive corporation which funded it, so of course they would relate his feat to those of Neil Armstrong and crew, they wish for the achievement to go down in the annuls of history and for their own name to stick with it.

I can only hope that their sponsorship fades, and Kipchoge’s legacy lives on. Imagine a world where we remember the BAYER AG MOON LANDING 1969 or AMAZON PRESENTS: THE 4 MINUTE MILE.

The achievement has become an event for INEOS to ride on the back off, to hide their negative press behind.

Running a sub-2-hour marathon was an impossible feat. No matter the trickery, the tactics, the sponsor, Kipchoge deserves all the praise that he gets.

A multi-national chemical company does not deserve to be treated with good faith because of their association with this tremendous achievement. Remember what they are and what they do and continue to question how appropriate it is to allow them to be involved in an event like this.

Let Kipchoge’s achievement ride high on the back of their funding, do not allow them to ride on the back of his achievement.

It is Eliud Kipchoge’s name which will continue to inspire me, not theirs.

The Haldon Night Run

Photo by Ian Morton

The nights are getting longer, the days are getting shorter. Many of my post-work runs are heading inside towards the steady thump of the treadmill…

But it doesn’t have to be that way! This weekend at Haldon Forest runners will be embracing the dark for a series of races (1km, 2km, 5km, and 10km) which make sure there is something for everyone. Strap on your head lights and fight back against the long night, don’t let it stop your running!

If you find that running in the dark scratches an itch you didn’t know you had, the Haldon run is part of a whole series of night runs. Find out more through the organisers at https://findarace.com/something-wild

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