Monday, 24 September 2012


240 miles over 24 days in September in the bag...less than two weeks until the Chester Marathon (13 days to be precise!) and I am definitely starting to "tune in" to my marathon pace.  

After a sluggish start to the marathon training my September has looked like this...

1st Sept - am steady 6 miles @ 6-45 pace.  pm:  4 miles @ 6-30 pace
2nd Sept - 17 miles approx 6-55 pace
3rd Sept - easy 4 mile recovery am.  pm: treadmill 5km in 18.34
4th Sept - easy 3 miles am. pm: 4.5 miles @ 6-30 pace
5th Sept - Easy jog am. pm Coast Road 5km in 16.56 (4th)
6th Sept - am: 3 miles steady.  pm: off road 6 miles
7th Sept - easy 4 recovery run
8th Sept - 10 miles steady @ 6-12 pace
9th Sept - 21 miles @ 6-50 pace
10th Sept - easy jog am.    pm:  Treadmill 5km in 19:00
11th Sept - am 3 miles steady.  pm 8 x 800m @ 10km pace
12th Sept - 5 miles hilly run @ marathon pace.
13th Sept - am steady 3 miles @ 7-15 pace.  pm Woods run 6 miles @ 7 min miling
14th Sept - Easy 3 miles am.  pm:  6 miles @ 7 min miling
15th Sept - Park run (18:15) followed by 10 miles @ 6-12 pace
16th Sept - 20 miles @ 7 min miling followed by 3 miles @ marathon pace
17th Sept - 4 miles hard @ 6-06 pace
18th Sept - am:  easy 3 miles.  pm 6 x 1 mile @ sub 6 minute miling with a 400m jog recovery.
19th Sept - Easy recovery run @ 7-30 miling.
20th Sept - Easy 3 miles am.  pm Hilly run - 6 miles @ 6-35 miling
21st Sept - Easy 3 miles am.  Pm; Treadmill 5km in 19:05
22nd Sept - park run (17:38) followed by 10 miles @ 6-10 pace
23rd Sept - 20 miles long run @ 6-38 miling.
24th Sept - Easy 3 miles am.  pm: Treadmill 5km in 18.51.

Time to ease down a bit now and enjoy some taper time.   The race pack has arrived and my racing shoes are primed.  

Build up wise this one has not been easy and compared to my build up to the Marathon of the North  I should not be thinking about a pb at Chester but maybe I peaked a bit too early with my long runs before MofN.  I definitely feel I am coming into marathon form just at the right time and Im hoping that the long runs that are in the bag will see me through the 26 miles.  

The long runs have got easier, the marathon pace feels more comfortable and the recovery needed between sessions is minimal...I'm almost there!

I just hope these guys dont take me down in the last mile as I try and breach the city walls!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

A proper charlie of a session!

Sometimes you need to learn from the best.  I wanted to get a "confidence boosting" track session in tonight so opted for a session described by Charlie Spedding in an Interview he did for the brilliant "Marathon Talk"

I was lucky enough to meet Charlie after the Marathon of the North and have read his amazing autobiography "From Last to First".  
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In the interview Charlie talks a lot about his training and describes a few sessions that helped him achieve his amazing 2 hours 8 minute marathon.  The session that stuck in my mind was his 5 x 1 mile with a 400m "float/jog recovery between miles.  For Charlie this meant 70 second laps (4:40 for the mile effort) with 90 seconds jog lap recovery (6 min miling).  For my session (bearing in mind my aim is not a 2:08 marathon but a 2:45 Marathon) I opted for 5:58 mile efforts with 7:18 minutes per mile recovery.  Instead of doing 5 I decided to put six efforts in... 

Mile times:  5:59, 5:57, 5:57, 5:58, 5;58, 5:58, 5:57
Recovery laps:  between 6:40 and 7:10 per mile.

With just over two weeks until the marathon it's a big confidence booster...cheers Charlie!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I'm Back!

Well its been a while since my last blog.   My excuses for not blogging mainly comprise of injury woes, Olympic distraction, a two week all inclusive holiday in Spain and the school holidays!
Since my last blog I have been mostly on the verge of or recovering from injury.  I have dabbled with orthotics which helped resolve some of my left hamstring issues but then transferred hamstring (and achilles) issues to my right side.   It also left me with an inability to run faster than 6.30 minute miling without one or both hamstrings seizing up and leaving me barely jogging!
Two weeks in Spain on an all inclusive holiday with enough food to sink a ship on offer meant one thing...despite the 35 degrees average temperature I needed to run.   I decided that an easy run on a morning between 4 and 6 miles would keep me ticking over.  I enjoyed the runs along the seafront and was surprised to see the number of runners, joggers, power walkers, strollers and even a few roller bladers that had the same idea...get out nice and early before the sun came fully up.   One thing I did notice was not many runners acknowledge each other on the continent where as here fellow runners are more likely to be acknowledged with a nod or a few words...maybe the heat makes them a bit grumpy!
I usually enjoy a good read while on holiday and whilst the majority of the books to be seen around the poolside were "fifty shades of grey" my book of choice was "Run, The Mind-Body Method of Running by Feel" by Matt Fitzgerald.   Whilst not an easy read it was a fascinating book with lots of nuggets of valuable information, thought provoking ideas and some chapters that really made sense of training and how running by feel can make you a stronger runner.
I think I have, without realising, been using some of the principles of running by feel for some years.   Probably the most thought provoking chapter was Chapter 9 entitled "The Gift of Injury".    It is hard to accept injury as a gift but this chapter really seemed to hit home...particularly this extract:
"the lesson in the unpredictability of injury treatments is twofold.  First try just about anything to fix your breakdowns, and never give up trying to find a solution no matter how many treatments fail you.  Second never place too much hope and expectation on any single measure....Try everything and expect nothing.    The author then goes onto describe a particularly painful 10 weeks of achilles pain and plantar fasciatis which despite 10 weeks rest from running had not resolved.  It was eventually resolved by the author returning to running. 
This was a bit of a eureka moment for me and I wondered if I was maybe placing too much hope on a single cure...orthotics.  With that I decided that on returning to England again I would try a few runs without orthotics to see how it felt.   Other than feeling slightly strange it felt more natural and I was running quicker than I had done for some time on the first "normal run".   Just over one week later and I finally seem to have put summer injury woes behind me and I am looking forward to getting back to full training and racing mode.
On Wednesday I enjoyed a return to racing at the New Marske Coast Road 5Km where I finished 4th overall in 16.56. Bearing in mind my last 5km was Sunderland 5km where I finished in 16.42 with my hamstring seizing up in the last 200m and not an enjoyable run at all I was ecstatic with my 16.56 which comes off the back of a lot of training at 7 minute miling, no speed sessions or tempos and a reduced mileage trying to get used to orthotics. What was even more encouraging was the way I ran with each mile getting progressively faster (5.29, 5.25 then 5.22).
Four weeks today and I am hoping to be toeing the start line of the Chester Marathon.  I must admit that pre holiday I rated my chances as about 30%.   After a 17 mile run last week and a 21 mile run today I am confident that I have enough miles in the legs to get round.  As for the pb potential the jury is out but after a 10 mile run at marathon pace yesterday I am feeling more confident as each run goes by.     It may just be a case of holding the chimp back once the race starts!