NYD Steady Away

Kicked off 2015 with a steady away 10.5 miles…running the Thornton loop, a easy and flat route that takes me from my house, through Melbourne, Thornton and back to my house.

Despite the high wind and persistent rain I really enjoyed the run…keeping the pace relaxed and controlled (08:08/mi av.) and appreciating the fact that the wind and rain have resulted in warmer than normal temperature.

London Marathon 2015 – The Journey Has Begun

For sometime now I have fostered the idea that I am more than capable of running a sub 3h:15m marathon. I have attempted to do this a couple of times before however, through self sabotage and poor training practices I’ve always fallen considerably short of the mark. When I ran Chester Marathon I under-recovered and trained poorly. Spending too much time in the ‘grey zone’…you know, the part where your easy runs are too hard and your hard runs are too easy. The result was I plateaued in my training and even ‘bonked’ after 6 miles of the marathon. The next attempt was at London…this was the one where I foolishly agreed to run for charity wearing nothing but a pair of bright red budgie smugglers. I was in reasonable marathon shape, probably not sub 3h:15m but certainly good enough to go sub 3h:25m however, the sun block I applied on the day stopped me sweating when I ran. This resulted in heat exhaustion caused by my core temperature rising during the marathon. Another failure to each my full potential.

This year I was lucky enough to get through London Marathon ballot system so thought “lets have another go at running a sub 3h:15m marathon.”. “What is so different this year compared to previous attempts?” I hear you ask, “Your last marathon was 3h:46m, how can you manage to shave off 31 minutes?” you say. Well let me answer these (and more) questions.

In the build up to London Marathon 2015 I am fortunate enough to be working locally and have a shift pattern that suites my running and lifestyle demands. You see I live near York and work in York. My commute is 9 miles door-to-door and, the route passes my gym. The shift patterns at work mean that 4 out of my 5 days at work I get to start at 10AM. This gives me ample opportunity to fit in a run or gym session before I start work. Furthermore, there are a couple of fellow runners in the office I work and we often head out for a relaxed 4 or 5 miles during lunch a couple of times a week. This means I can easily manage 6 or 7 runs during the working week without impacting on my home life at all….a HUGE bonus.

In relation to my marathon PB (3h:46m)…this was done off limited training last year. For those that don’t know I broke two ribs in a equine related incident in the build up to the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. The resulting injury meant I missed around 6 weeks of my marathon training and went into the marathon with my long run being no more than the 14 milers over a 12 week period. Consequently I decided to jog the marathon for fun, treating it like a long, social, training run.

So why do I believe I can run a sub 3h:15m at London 2015? Currently I would say that if I were to run a marathon today I would probably manage to finish in around 3h:30m, give or take a minute or two. This equates to 08:00/mi per mile. My current weight is a little on the chubby side, 182 pounds with the Christmas blowout…! My ideal weight for sport is around 154 pounds, this is what I weighed when I played soccer in my mid twenties. So currently I am around 28 pounds away from my ideal weight for running/sport. Now anyone who knows anything about endurance sports performance will know that weight is a critical factor when determining just how fast you can go for a given distance. The average running weight calculator suggests that each extra pound of unwanted weight adds 2 seconds per mile to your time. So…the maths would suggest that if I train well, reduce my weight to my ideal sports performance weight (154 pounds) and drop the 28 pounds I should be able to run around 56 seconds faster per mile for the same effort. Multiply this number by 26 and you can see that if all things are equal (i.e. the aerobic engine and strength stay the same) I should be able to comfortably run the sub 3h:15m marathon based on my current fitness.

To top this up I also intend to run higher mileage in this training cycle compared to previous, add some extra strength work, and improve my rather limited range of motion in my hamstrings/calves/quads etc. Most weeks I should be up in the high 50 miles and, many will by 60-70 mile weeks. Add to that the 28 pounds of blubber I intend to lose for the race, I should have no problem hitting my goal.

December has seen me undergo a gradual increase in mileage and the number of times per week I train. Before December I was a 30-40 mile a week runner, over 5 -6 runs. During December this has increased to 40-50 miles a week, and most weeks have seen a minimum of 7 runs per week…

So…the plan is locked in, the desire and determination to reach my target is there, the coaching knowledge is there, the weight loss will come and so will the performance. Bring on VLM 2015, I’m gonna smash it hard.

Merry FITmas Challenge

Part if the VLM 2015 build-up requires me to train more and run more mileage…to get my body ready for this I’ve set December as my ‘train to train’ month. This is where I get my body and mind use to regular training. In an effort to ensure I train regular I’ve set myself a simple and easy to do challenge…run a minimum of 1 mile EVERY day during December. The thought behind this is that if I achieve this I will have gotten my body and mind use to training a minimum of 7 times a week, and this will prepare me nicely for the increased training load during the VLM 2015 build-up.

So…below I have listed what I’ve done so far in my Merry FITmas challenge…

Day One: 3.17 steady mile (av. 08:29/mi)

Day Two: 7AM 10 mins W/U, 6×3 mins efforts off 90s recovery, 10 mins W/D (6.5 miles); 1PM 4 mile ‘Social’ run leading a couple of colleagues from work (av. 08:57/mi), 7PM 1 mile escorting ‘Anna’ (my daughter) for her 1 mile run (09:05/mi).

Yes you read it right…my daughter is also partaking in the Merry FITmas, 1 mile-a-day challenge.

Today I will do my run tonight however the plan is for a slow and steady 40 mins or so…ideally I’ll stay well within the aerobic zone and just have some solid 09:00/mi miles.

VLM 2015 – Long Build-up

So I managed to get through the London Marathon ballot and have a place for the 2015 Virgin London Marathon. 2015 will be my third running of London Marathon and this time I want to get it right.

I did my first one back in 2007. I hadn’t been running long and managed to blag a place with 8 weeks to go. In excitement I threw myself headlong into training and quickly became overwhelmed and lost two weeks of training with illness. I hit the start line having amazed a total of 6 weeks and 2 days of training…very underprepared. That said, I managed a creditable 3h:59m:53s marathon on the day.

The second one was done wearing the infamous red budgie smugglers…I foolishly agreed to run the marathon in a pair of budgie smugglers (swim trunks) to raise funds for the ‘Run for Japan’ charity. The marathon was very tough. Helen was very worried about me running the marathon in only a pair of red budgie smugglers so, in her attempt to save me from sunburn, she covered all my exposed parts (and there were many) in factor 50 sunblock. This worked…however a side effect of this was that due to the thickness of the sunblock I lost the ability to sweat. Given that sweating is my body’s preferred way to regulate it’s core temperature I soon began to overheat, suffering heat exhaustion , struggling to get round in 4h:15m and feeling very sick.

This year I pledged to run this the best way I can…no short term training plans, no silly charity challenges, just go out, train well and race well. So that’s my plan…

I’ve already started a pre-load in my training programme with a view to getting my body ready for the training load when it begins in earnest (Jan). I’m currently running 5-7 times a week and will be gradually picking up the mileage from the current level of 35-45 miles to a high 50, low 60 miles.

The time target is simple…I want to be in a position where I have a very realistic change of running a sub 3h:15m marathon, ideally sub 3h:10m.

It’s gonna be a HUGE challenge, but it is a challenge I’m up for…

OMG, that’s some funky sh*t..!

One thing I did note last weekend when running, I use that term very loosely (see last blog) in reference to the Thunder Run, is that I felt quite fatigued, more that I would have expected for my level of overall fitness.

I know I’m cracking on in years, however over the last few weeks I’ve began to notice that I am feeling more fatigued than usual. At first I was putting it down to the heat making me feel lethargic, but being at the TR last weekend I had plenty of time to think about this and, the realisation that I may well be suffering with iron deficiency anaemia crossed my mind on more than one occasion.

I had this problem a few years ago and spent a good few months on ferrous sulphate tablets to get my levels back into the normal range. Back then I didn’t really notice the issue ’til it was too late. Suddenly I was feeling washed out, lethargic, and struggling. Although I’ve not YET had this confirmed by a blood test, I’m pretty confident, the way I’m feeling now is very similar to how I was back then. I’ve started back on the ferrous sulphate tablets again just to be safe and am planning to get a full blood test next week to confirm my levels.

One thing I’d forgotten about iron tablets is the erm effect it has on your poo….it’s turned black again…as the Prodigy once sang “OMG that’s some funky sh*t”

Adidas Thunder Run

Last weekend I strayed away from my normal ‘road’ running and ran in a team of 8 for Marathon Talk at the Adidas Thunder Run.

For those that don’t know (and there may be quite a few out there), the Adidas Thunder Run is a 24 hour trail race based in the woods at Catton Hall on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border. If you’re a crazy nutter you can do the 24 hour race as a soloist, a pair, at team of 3-5, or as a team of 6-8. Needless to say, being my first ever attempt at such an event, I was more than happy to run this as a team of 8.

Having never done something like this before I thought I’d take a moment to provide some commentary around my thoughts and feelings as I ran each of my four 10k laps. I apologise for the industrial language in advance, however I left it in as I think it provides you with a real sense of what goes through the ‘Average Joe Runners’ mind when doing something like this.

These are a selection of my thoughts as I was running the Thunder Run.

Lap #1 – The Beginning

[5,4,3,2,1 –beeeeep]. They’re all cheering, cheering for me. I am a running god. It’s only a 10k lap, this is gonna be so easy. First climb. They’ve all stopped to walk!! What’s up with them, it’s only a small hill. Hang on, this is freaking hard work. Who moved the earth closer to the sun? Seriously it’s gotta be hotter than a camels ar$e. If I die on the Conti Hill will they name it after me? Oh look at all those people running back to the campsite whilst I’m at the top of the hill. I wonder if I could slide down the hill on my ar$e to save me 5 minutes off my lap time? That hill near the end looks small. Fook me, that hill near the end is so freaking huge. Ooo…the finish line, lets get ready to pass the baton. Slap, I’m done.

Lap #2 – The Hunger Games

My team mate should be here any minute with the baton. Jesus I’m hungry. I wish I’d remembered to eat something after the last run. Seriously, I could actually do with some greasy, lardy chips right now. That blokes head looks a little like a burger to me. Stop thinking about food, you only have to run for 50 minutes and you’ll be able to eat again. Ooo team mate here, slap, off I go. I’m so fit, seriously I’m gonna smash this lap. Man this hill is so steep, I think I’ve just been overtaken by a sloth on the climb. Top of the hill…breathe fatboy breathe. That’s better. Aw fuck, another fuckingty, fuck, fuck, fucking hill. Seriously, if this is what Adidas do to their runners then I’m gonna burn those trainers when I get home. Conti Hill, shit…the photographer just snapped me walking, the bastard.!!! Great, lots of twists and turns in the wood and I’m getting dizzy. I reckon I might slide down that hill. Jesus, I’m so hungry I can barely run now. I’m so slow that the song for this lap would be ‘everyday I’m shuffling’. Ah the finish line…right…FOOD.

Lap #3 – Slip Sliding Away

Rain, it’s fucking rained. Ok it’s stopped now but I’ve only brought road shoes because the ground was parched dry and the forecast was sun and heat…then it fucking rained.! Jesus it’s cold waiting for the baton, glad I’m wearing my lightweight running jacket. That’ll keep me warm. Slap, I’m off…it’s dark, glad my head torch is like a lighthouse beacon. Fucking hill..I hate this first hill, seriously I’m sure it’s gotten steeper since the start. Joy of joy, I can barely see the trail, I’m wearing road shoes, the ground is damp and, I’m slipping like a pissed up Bambi walking on ice!!! Fuck me it’s still hotter than a camels ar$e. Why did I bring this stupid lightweight running jacket.? Conti Hill…fuck that, Cunti Hill more like…named after the cunt who decided it was a good idea to run up it!! Shit, it’s freaking dark, there’s no one around me, am I lost? It’s starting to feel like a scene from Blair Witch Project. Is that a pile of stones I see? Out of the woods…I survived..! Fuck you Blair Witch…I SURVIVED!!! Right, follow the line of bobbing running lights back to the camp.

Lap #4 – Victory Is Ours

I feel like shite. 2 hours sleep last night and I’m running again. I really, really, REALLY, want to sleep in my tent but my teammates need me to run and, if I run this then it means we can squeeze one more lap in and beat last years Marathon Talk total. Slap, baton on and off I go…This time I’m running all that hill, NO walking. Fuck that, who am I kidding. Just one small walk won’t kill me. OK, I walked the whole hill but I can make it up on the rest as I’ll feel fresher. Jesus ‘H’ Christ, I’m knackered..I wonder if I walk the whole lap will the team still have enough time to squeeze in an extra lap? Come on Princess, man up. Running again, albeit slow and steady. Cunti Hill…I hate you Cunti, cunting, Cunti Hill..!!! More trails, twists and turns. Seriously, who come up with this route? They must have mapped it out when they were staggering home from the pub pissed one night. I mean, it snakes and loops everywhere.!! Ooo…approaching the campsite now…jesus the crowds are loud.

Well that was pretty much what went through my mind when running, (and I use the term running VERY loosely on this occasion) the 2014 Adidas Thunder Run.

It was tougher than expected but despite that, I will definitely return again next year.

Week Commencing 23rd June

Solid week of training done despite struggling with hay fever.


Day Session Distance Time Energy Notes  
Mon REST 0 00:00:00 8 REST & RECOVERY  
Tue Fartlek 6.7 00:50:00 9 50 mins of fartleks  
Wed General 10.23 01:24:22 8 Run with club mates at Pocklington. Up over the Yorkshire Wolds, taking in some reasonable climbs. A strong finish in the last three miles (low 7’s high 6s)  
  AM-Gym 0 00:45:00 8 S&C  
Thu Pyramids 6.06 00:43:00 9 10 mins warm-up; 1-2-3-4-3-2-1 (60s)   
Fri S&C 0 00:45:00 8 45 mins S&C, Core, Flex  
Sat Progressive 6.47 00:50:00 8 10min WU 3x8min incremental paced runs Pick up the pace as you feel 2mins rest between each one 10min WD  
Sun Long Run 11.11 01:24:07 8 A litte tightness in the right calve for the first 20 mins or so, but soone eased off and pace was strong and comfortable,  
  Total Distance 40.57        
  Total Time 06:41:29        
  Av. Energy 8.3        


Week Commencing 16th June

Solid week of training, finished off with a 10k time trial on Saturday to see where my current level of fitness is.

Day Session Distance Time Energy Notes
Mon REST 0 00:00:00 8 REST & RECOVERY
Tue Intervals 8.88 01:04:00 8 10 mins w/u; 3mins(90s rec), 5mins(90s rec) x 4; 10 mins w/d
Wed S&C 0 00:45:00 8 45 mins S&C, Core, Flex
Thu Progressive 6.58 00:48:00 9 10 mins w/u; 2mins @ 70%, 2min@75%, 2mins @ 80%, 60s easy x 4; 10 mins w/d
Fri S&C 0 00:45:00 8 45 mins S&C, Core, Flex
Sat Time Trial 6.22 00:41:39 8 10k time trial, av. HR 170, Max HR 181.
Sun REST 0 00:00:00 8 REST & RECOVERY
Total Distance 21.68
Total Time 04:03:39
Av. Energy 8.1

Week Commencing 9th June

Training for week commencing 9th June 2014

Mon 9th: 3.25 miles av. 08:47/mi. Surprised to have DOMS in legs after a little 10k, suspect that the physio treatments are making the muscles work differently hence, the loading causing me some post-race soreness.

Tue 10th: 6.82 miles av. 08:25/mi. Nothing too hard today, could still feel the DOMS.

Wed 11th: 7.54 miles av. 07.57/mi. Legs felt a little fresher so I upped the effort slightly. Followed this with a little S&C work in the gym.

Thu 12th: 2.52 miles av. 07:43/mi. Pushed for time but managed to squeeze in a little pre-work run.

Fri 13th: Scheduled Rest Day

Sat 14th: No running, took my daughter to Download Festival in Donnington.

Sun 15th: No running, was over to Scunthorpe to see family.



It’s a long journey…

After yesterdays Hull 10k my dream of the 2 handle marathon (sub 3) seems a long way off today. The result was a cold shower to my ambitions, a real wake up call to let me know just how much effort this is going to take.

The race started well enough, clicked off the first mile in 06:34/mi however the heat was killing me. I always struggle in the heat and yesterday was no different. I quickly found myself struggling and having to drop off the pace to just ensure I could finish.

The end result was a rather poor 47 exact, not fast, not pretty, but it’s a start and lets me know where I am today.

Next stop…a little more training, some more dieting and maybe a parkrun or two in the coming months.