For my fourth and final week in Iten I would start to drop my mileage in preparation for my race at the Paris Marathon, but would include three quality sessions. I had included three consecutive days of double sessions the previous week but returned to running single sessions.
After an easy Monday run I headed to the track on Tuesday. I would run 15 x 1000 metres at marathon pace with a 200 metre recovery. I managed to get into a good rhythm, and after checking my split at the 400 metre mark of each interval managed to run confidently at the required pace. The intervals started to feel more strained towards the end but for the final 1000 metres I still managed to increase the pace to complete the interval 14 seconds faster than marathon pace. It was another great confidence-boosting run.
I had planned to run on Wednesday morning but was feeling quite stiff. Therefore I decided to shift my run to the afternoon, but getting caught up on some travel planning I only headed out late in the evening with limited light remaining. However I knew that the decision to delay the run was the correct one from the first step. My legs felt great and I enjoyed a wonderful 18 km, running through the failing light and arriving back after the sun had dropped below the horizon.
My last track session took take place on Thursday morning with a 16 x 400 metre workout. I had planned four sets of four laps, increasing the pace with each set, but my pacing was a disaster from the first lap. In a case of total mental failure I ran the first lap too fast while thinking that it had been too slow. It was only halfway through the second lap that I realised I was running the wrong pace. Consciously slowing down for the third lap I slowed too much. From there I ran almost every lap either too fast or too slow, finding myself unable to hit my intended pacing. But it was still a tough workout, and therefore a valuable one.
On Friday I woke up to rain. I headed to breakfast through the rain, thinking that I would run prior to lunch. But while looking out at the continuing rain I decided to push it back even further. As I was sitting at lunch the rain finally stopped and the sky started to pale. One of the skills I have picked up from my trail ultra marathons is the ability to eat on the run. Therefore I decided that I would run immediately after finishing my lunch, on a full stomach, to ensure that I would avoid the afternoon rain that I felt was likely.
One of the guys staying with me at HATC was a Canadian who was the sponsor for the Rift Valley Marathon. Therefore I found myself heading out to the race to run a fast half marathon on the Saturday. I will cover that race, which was my final run in Kenya, in a separate post.
It had been a great four weeks of training. I had arrived feeling slightly under-done, my first week was a bit disconcerting, but I was very happy with my progress and had some great workouts in my final two weeks. Three weeks of tapering while I travel through Italy will bring me to my first target race for the year, the Paris Marathon.