News & Media

Vic Lennard: Blog 2

By Vic Lennard Aboudara

7 April 2016

A few weeks ago I completed the North London Half Marathon. It wasn’t an easy course with far too many hills, especially towards the end, but it was a really good workout.

I’d had an achilles injury for the previous six weeks which had meant no running. However, speed-walking was fine and 60km or so had kept up my basic fitness.

The half marathon was entered with two prime goals:

  1. Increasing the mileage in the lead-up to the marathon
  2. Seeing if the Achilles had healed

The plan was to speed-walk the first 11km in around 88 mins followed by a 10km jog in around 70 mins. The first part went pretty much to plan, shaving off 2 mins. The first 4km of the jog was also fine but then I started to hit the hills and slowed down; the jog took an extra 4 mins for a total of 2 hours 40 mins. I’m happy with that. The hills certainly hurt my knees, both of which have long-term injuries, but the good news is no recurrence of the Achilles problem that had stopped me running. My left hamstring tightened during the few days afterwards and needed some physio but no big deal.

That got me thinking: could I do the marathon the same way? Could I speed-walk 32km at 8 mins per km and then jog the final 10km? So I decided to test this out.

About 10 days ago I completed the 32km speed-walk in 4 hours 15 mins. The pains in my knees required painkillers at about 25km but the last few km were as fast as the first few. I feel confident that I could have jogged at the end of the session. If I can do the final 10km in around 75 mins, which is possible as the marathon course is pretty flat, I can finish with a time of around five-and-a-half hours. That would be a real achievement for me, cutting an hour and a quarter from last year’s time.

This week I did a fast 10km speed-walk (74 mins), concentrating on getting my heel to hit the ground smoothly so reducing the jarring in my knees. It paid dividends – no pain at all.

I’ve broken in a new pair of trainers and got used to Spotify’s ‘running’ mode for a constant pace. I’ve also started using coconut almond milk with my protein shake instead of the really awful skimmed variety! Food generally consists of lots of fruit and veg, fresh fish and eggs, and the occasional pack of jelly sweets. Well, you can’t give up everything!

Just 17 days to go – bring it on!