Motivated?

Really! It’s wet and it’s cold and it’s windy and and and …

Oh blimey. I think of myself as a motivated person but at 5:15 when my alarm starts it’s infernal beeping I really question it. What am I actually trying to prove to anyone, including myself! I’ve proven I know how to walk fast or run – whatever you wish to call it. I’ve proven I’m able to be quite speedy or run a long way. Is there anything else I need to actually do? Like really do?

Winter is always a time when the motivation is tested to its greatest. Dark mornings, dark evenings, cold, windy, wet, snow. Every form of weather to dissuade you. That along with an inviting warm home, and a cosy warm bed – why would you ever step outside.

Sometimes you just need to think about it and remind yourself why.

Running keeps me fit and well. It keeps my mind clear and fresh, resetting things from the stresses and challenges of life – and god knows right now we all have more than our fair share!! It challenges me every time and there’s always a positive feeling afterwards – even if the run didn’t meet with my hopes, expectations and plans. Ultimately running makes things better in many ways, and it makes me a better person. Physically and mentally.

And there can still be goals and targets to achieve and to succeed at. Sometimes they are small, sometimes large but every hurdle you set gives a feeling of achievement when you go past it and turn around to see it still standing. Yes!!

So when I cannot find the way out of the house to start a run early on a winters morning, sometimes I just need to remember these things.

Motivation is all in the mind, but I get over it on the roads and trails.

Keep motivated.

Finding my first 100 miler – December Update

OK, so this might be a little late, but lets gloss over that and think about where we are at.

December started in lockdown (due to COVID-19) but quickly saw restrictions lifted, random tier systems in place, and Christmas looming on the horizon.

December from a training perspective mostly looked like speed work. Weekly workout sessions focussing on the 5 minute workout sessions. Krissy Moehl (whose training plan I am following) has the 5 minute workout plan as a key speed session component. Running at 80% ash of maximum ability for 5 minutes with recovery. In December this was mostly 1 minute recoveries, and replication was 5 reps, 6 reps and then 7 reps. The month ended with a recovery week. Now with Christmas in the month and the things that go with it – even with COVID – I knew that I would probably drop a few sessions and so it worked out. Im a frustrated runner when I don’t run, I know I’m also bad at hiding that – I must work on it!! So missing a few sessions tugs at this and annoys me. But it was only a couple and a few sessions don’t destroy a training program that last bet part of a year!

What did December bring. Well it took me just over 200 miles (by a smidge).

So happy with that.

Speed session info:

Session 1 – Pyramid session 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 minute with recoveries. Good session and achieved some good sub 6 min.mile pace on the downward number.

Session 2 – 5 minute reps – 6 reps 6:10 – 6:25 min/mile pace range

Session 3 – 5 minute reps – 7 reps 6:10 – 6:33 min/mile pace range

Overall I also achieved my 3rd fastest 10 Km time and this was a nice surprise.

Not everyone thinks speed sessions are worthwhile when training for Ultras. For me I think speed sessions are about fitness, cardiac ability and recovery. These all work for Ultra training. I’m not looking to be a sprinter or fast runner, im looking to achieve the finest I can be for an endurance run. Challenging my body using pace sessions helps to developmthe strongest, fitest version of. myself that I can be. Then mixing these sessions into a training program that includes hills and endurance workouts builds the body and mind up to be ready to take on endurance events. Yes, I know everyone is individual and for some speed sessions won’t feature in their ultra training, and thats great for them, and I hope it works – I’m sure it does. However, for me these sessions give me a feeling of achievement and I have seen the improvement on things like my general ability to carry longer runs, at higher pace, and my VO2Max (via my Garmin watch) shows things improving too. Now, before anybody makes the obvious comment that there is only so much point to the VO2Max on a Garmin, I know that. But it’s an approximation that is the best many of us will get. I use a chest Heart Rate monitor so I’m doing what is reasonable to get good data.

December also had 2 races inline for me.

Mapledurham 10 – a great 10 mile trail race in hilly muddy trails local to me. A great race, but also a great trails training session.

GutBuster 10 mile – this fell foul of the COVID pandemic. Hoping to get a rescheduled February date but things don’t look great. We will see.

Planning

Im beginning to think about my race day planning. Im looking to take a support person to the race. Not decided who, but that’s a part of Q1 planning. I really want a friendly face at some approved crew stops, and know that having somebody ready with pre-planned fuel/kit/support is going to really help me through this race. I know the Robin Hood 100 is hardly the Western States, but as bigger and tougher races hopefully feature on the horizon, getting used to having support is also something I want to build up.

Hydration

Another area of thought for January. Im read the Jason Koop Ultra training manual and he has made me really think about the importance of Hydration. Being short of food in a race, low on fuel, can be quickly rectified by eating something. A pause, some food and in a few minutes the sugar/carbs start to have an impact. With hydration the recovery is slower. If you hit a point of dehydration you can take on water/electrolytes of course but the recovery is slower and it can quickly derail the event. I’ve not really thought much about this. I drink sports drink (currently Tailwind and Precision Hydration) but I’ve not thought seriously about it. I know I need to.

The key starting point is to drink often in the race and I need to train this into my habits. So all runs over 10 miles I aim to take fluids with me and drink them through the run. In reality my body doesn’t start telling me I need to. I run regularly 10-15 miles (especially this time of year) and need little if any fluid. But the reality is that if I reflect on this after I run, I am in a point of mild dehydration. It doesn’t derail a 10.15 mile run, but that habit is not good when I think 100 miles.

So training my habits to consume fluids routinely is a key objective in January.

Im also doing more research into hydration overall to see what I can do to ensure I am doing the best I can to balance fluid intake and effort, without taking onboard too much and feeling uncomfortable in a run.

Fuel

I need to eat. I’ve been more structured over the training so far to eat on long runs. Before I need to, I eat. Ive got used to eating whilst moving – mostly stroopwaffel, but this is an improvement. I like the idea that ti can eat on the go, eat whilst carrying on decent travelling speed. What I now need to do is broaden the range of food I eat on the run, and think of pitstop food. Im not sure savoury will work for me on the go, but I know I need to add some in to provide the fuel I’ll need.

2021

The new year promises to challenge me more than any other year since I started running. I know im up for the challenge, I know I can face everything the training will throw at me and I know I will do my best. I can ask no more.

Challenge yourself. you don’t know your limits until you meet them head on.

Finding my first 100 miler – November Update

Click this for my previous blog post!

Week 7 complete and November nearly out.

Training so far has been fine.  Still feels like the calm before the storm.  Its noticeable that there are few rest days, but the 3 weeks hard effort and 1-week recovery is working out well.

The slow start in October following the Run to the Sea Ultra meant I really only properly picked up the training from the Hills block at Week 5.

With working from home, I’ve replaced the time my normal weekday commute used up with training.  Early starts to ensure I’m back before the kids go to school.  Right now it’s an alarm call somewhere around 4:45/5:15am.  That’s just nuts, but it’s the only time I can be sure to get up (though that’s the hardest part!), get out and back in good time to help with the school prep, get showered and then be ready to work by 8:30.  It’s tough, but I’ve omitted myself to hitting the start line of a 100-mile race in September 2021.  I’ve paid my entry fee and I’m damn sure I’m going to do what it takes to get to that race.  Of course, things can happen out of my control that might affect that, or totally scupper it!  But willingness to train, determination and a will to succeed in what seems like the most impossible personal challenge I have set myself, will not be lacking.

One thing I have started to think about is logistics for the event weekend;

Travel, support, aid stations and crew support.  I’ve thought about it, but right now I have no plan.

Another thing I’m throwing in to all my long runs is structured fuelling.  I used to be a ‘fuel when I felt like it’ runner on all my runs.  Following the Quarantine Backyard Ultra in July I realised that for me fuelling when I feel I need to is just too late.  I need to plan fuelling; I know my calorie burn rate was about 100 calories a mile-ish.  So, I know by 5 miles I’m down 500 calories.  By 10 miles I’m down 1000 calories.  So, I have started to plan fuelling during my long runs regardless of feel.  I’m probably way of getting the balance right at the minute, but it’s work in progress.

The other thing I’m thinking about is what do I want to achieve.  Now in reality I want to start and then finish a 100-mile race.  But no matter how much I try to convince myself that this is my goal, the real goal will be to run it as fast as I can.  I have a real problem running faster than I should, and then hitting a wall that I have spent a good chunk of a run building in my own way, brick by brick.  I know I do it, but I’m yet to really overcome it.  That said the training plan from Krissy Moehl is helping me build more diligence in keeping pace down.  I’ve done more runs in the past few weeks averaging over 8:30 mins/mile than the last 18 months I suspect.  This is good.  But I also need to work on it.  I would like to be able to predict my timings for the 100 miler.  I did it with the Run to The Sea in October.  I predicted my times at each 5-mile point and at the time I would meet my wife around mile 26.  I was a minute out!!  I like to be able to judge my progress and at a fairly untechnical 50 Km rave on trails and roads I got it pretty spot on.  100 miles is different, but I hope to get to the point where I feel able to build a plan.

So, looking ahead, December is a speed block.  4 weeks starting 7 December.  I like speed blocks.  They are the workouts I find the most exhausting, but the most exhilarating.  Also, I found my Heart Rate Monitor chest strap last week, so I’ll have that for gathering some accurate HR data over those hard effort sessions.

this updates gallery:

As I write this there are 286 days to race day, and 8 days to my next event (a great local 10-mile mud race – with lockdown changing in a few days the race is back on – Woohoo!!).

Here’s to the next training block, the next 286 days and the biggest challenge I have set myself.

Whatever happens at the end of this journey I know I will have done my best to rise to the challenge and overcome the physical and mental obstacles that litter the route ahead.  Strength comes not only from within but from the support, belief and love that surrounds you. 

I will take this challenge on with just one body, 2 feet but the strength of countless hearts and minds from those all around me.

Click here for the start of this blog!

Click here to know more about the Robin Hood 100.

Nike React Infinity Run

Another shoe in the armoury is the Nike React Infinity Run. A super cushioned shoe for those easy runs.

With the first 120 miles now logged, what are my thoughts?

So first thing first, they are the flyknit upper from Nike. not the usual tongue and upper.

Firstly I thought this wouldn’t work for me. I like a shoe to have a tongue.

Having thrashed a few miles in them though I would say that I really have gotten to like them.

The tongue is really comfy. The upper hugs the foot but doesn’t create friction and the dreaded blisters. There is also good ventilation, so feet don’t overheat.

The sole has a decent amount of rubber but only very minor tread patterning. This means they are terrible in muddy or wet grass conditions. But they are firm and stable on road, gravel etc. I found the issue on mud through experience – not a fun way to finish a 10 mile run!!

The big selling point of these shoes is the React foam in the sole of the shoe. It’s the shoe with the most foam, and therefore the most cushioning. And I would say you really notice it. I normally run Nike Pegasus and they are great shoes, but these feel like slippers in comparison. For some they might feel too soft and spongy. For me, they are great for those slow, easy recovery runs. After long runs when the legs might ache a little, these shoes do a great job of minimising the impact on those recovery runs.

Width – Well the shoe is wide, not in the fit, but its got a wide sole. For me this doesn’t cause a problem but for others there’s the risk that feet might clip ankles etc. Depends on technique and running form maybe, but if you struggle with wide shoes these might cause you trouble.

Price – Wow! these aren’t cheap. one of the most expensive shoes in the nike running range that don’t have a carbon plate in them! The shoes are good but at around an RRP of £135 the price point is damned steep. You also tend to find they rarely get given discounted prices. Of course Nike sometimes do offer discounts across all their range, a great time to pick these shoes up – if you can find your size – I was lucky!!!

Style – Mine are pretty understated – it was the only size 10 I could find! But generally the styles are pretty understated and modest. They have a rigid plastic wring around the heel (just on the join with the sole) and this gives a shiny feature around the rear. The rest of the shoe is a good modern style shoe, not too ‘in your face’ and not too retro. My kind of shoe.

Would I recommend – Yes absolutely. For the right run these are perfect. As I said, these are my sloe.recovery running shoe. They sit alongside my other Nike Peg’s which I use on my more up tempo runs, and also my Inov8 shoes I thrash around on the trails in. They are now a key part of my running kit. And I would say they are here to stay!

Finding my first 100 miler

Updates: December 2020 November 2020

If I think back to 2017 the year started with nothing of note when I think activity/fitness or health. New year came and passed, 40th birthday drifted by with minimal note and that was that. March saw my youngest born – the cheekiest most wonderful little cheeky chap you could imagine. And then the summer approached. 

I’ve mentioned more in my running story. But if I look back now I don’t think I could ever have thought back then that I was ever going to reach the day when I say ‘I think it’s time to sign up to a 100 mile race’!!  Seems so unlikely reflecting back. But roll on the somewhat peculiar year of 2020 and that’s where I find myself. 

In Summer 2020 the thoughts that I had reached that milestone started to occur.  I did some looking around, asked for some ideas online and decided to settle on the Robin Hood 100. I also did some research for books and found a book I thought would help. 

So before I signed up I got ‘How to run your first Ultra’ by Krissy Moehl.

Reading the training programs in that book was inspiring. Reading the hints, tips and advice cemented in my mind that this was the right choice. So October rolls along and I eventually decide that this is the time. I’m ready for this.  I can do a 100 miler. So I sign up, pay my money and the confirmation email comes through. 

I can do this. 

Can’t I?

?

What Have I Done?

I like running long distances. Having done the 62 mile Race To The Stones in 13 hours in 2019  I can surely extend to 100 miles. I’m not really sure that makes sense, or that this is enough reason to sign up. But I kind of think that with the right training that basis is enough to build from. 

The Krissy Moehl book provides training programs and for me that is a god send. I need structure to train and I need advice as to what sort of running to do, what to build up, when to rest and recover, the right sort of balance between miles/workouts/full efforts etc.

I’m going to follow the 48 week plan. 

I’m going to build my blog on this page with monthly training and prep updates. I’m not sure I know what I’m doing. And I’m not sure I can be any useful source of inspiration or advice myself. But maybe there are others who  have similar dreams or thoughts and this might just be a blog that rings true. 

Wish me well. I may be some time. 

Running with anxiety or depression

It’s not new but it really is a life saver for many people. Running can be a really effect way to manage mental health conditions. This is worth a read. 👍

www.runnersworld.com/health-injuries/a18807336/running-anxiety-depression/

Inov8 TerraUltra G270 – The first 100 miles

TerraUltra G270

Firstly, these are one of the first times I’ve bought ‘new’. This was bought on the day of release and I paid the full price. Not my normal way, I’ll normally go for a previous model at a cheaper price. But with these the improvements were really key for me and I felt if I was going to go for the TerraUltra, it would need to be the G270.

So 100 miles (well 96) done and what do I think?

Well they are simply stunning. I cannot say enough about how highly I rate these.

They are designed for long run, properly long ultra length runs.

I’ve worn them (apart from the first 10 mile taster) on 20 miles and up.

I’ll start at the top, and work down.

The laces are good, simple but good. they stay tight, grip when being sone up and help anchor the shoe nicely.

The upper is very flexible and comfortable. The material doesn’t always clean well but it is a very comfortable upper.

The heal and sides of the foot around the ankle get a good deal of support in this shoe and you feel really well supported.

The shoe is wide, the widest width Inov8 do (level 5 out of 5). This was a reservation on my part as I’m an. average width foot person and was worried this would slip around all over the place. In reality there is nothing of this. With a bit of adjustment, the placing and the upper really anchor the foot into the shoe and the width of the toe box is generous and really comfortable. The width is intended to steal with expanding feet over long runs, and I can see this would be a fantastic feature as runs stretch on. The rubbing fear came to nothing and the idea the foot would move about, simply was unfounded. My foot feels at home in these shoes.

The insole is a piece of magic, with cushioning beads fo foam to provide a more comfy run to the predecessor (according to Inov8). the shoe certainly has good comfort over long runs and feet don’t feel tired.

Drop. This shoe is a zero drop shoe. I’ve never run in zero drop shoes and feared the change would give discomfort in the calf and thighs. But nothing. These just feel quick and easy and I don’t find they have had any negative impact given the zero drop. Of course some people are more suited to the zero drop than others, and maybe I’m just one of those that it suits.

Sole and grip. The ‘G’ relates to graphene which is integrated in the sole to give durable grip. In my experience the grip is great. On the South West Coastal Path in Cornwall I found the grip was great on damp rocks, gravel, paths and grass. really giving me a confident run, including running the path in the rain. It also seems pretty durable. 100 miles has certainly given it some wear but not much and hopefully the shoes will be good for a whole many more miles.

Overall I think these could be quite possibly the best Trail shoes you could want. (yes I know I have only tried a few – so make of that as you wish). I will be using them on trail miles of 20 and above and my ultra’s I have in the plan over the coming months (sadly less than I would have hoped but hey 2020 is what it is !

As I said at the start, the idea of paying full price for a shoe is often reason enough to look back at old versions. In this case I couldn’t be convinced to part with these and am very pleased I took the decision to. enter the Inov8 fold.

These sit proudly and happily alongside my Roclite 300’s.

16-week 50-mile ultra-marathon training schedule

Want to run an ultra marathon? In 16 weeks, this training plan will get you ready to run 50 miles.
— Read on www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/ultra/a774983/16-week-50-mile-ultra-marathon-training-schedule/

The Sub 3:30 Marathon Experiment

November 2020 Update:

Well, with Brighton Marathon moving to 2021 I thought the wait for the sub 3:30 marathon would wait until April next year. Then, Brighton move the event to September. No problem! Sadly yes. I have my sights set on a 100mile event next September which now clashes. I could move the the 100 miler – Hmm. Well the hard decision had to be taken. So 2021 doesn’t look like a marathon year for me. Lots of Ultra’s and the Holy Grail of a 100miler in September, but the marathon distance looks like it might have to wait until 2022. Im signed up to Brighton already. If it happens I will be there and I will get that 3:30 marathon time – its a deal!

For now, im focussing on the 100 Miler in 2021. Follow my blog for my progress – Oh and wish me luck!!

September 2020 Update:

Well the inevitable means Brighton is off this year and the 3:30 Marathon won’t be happening this year. Bummer but that’s life and no surprise.

So what now? A lot of training all to waste?

Well not really, I have signed up to the Race to the Sea 50Km event on 10th October, run by UltraViolet events.

It’s not a marathon and its not the same sort of race, but it at least keeps my training as valuable time spent.

The other news is that next year I aim to hit a bigger milestone of 100miles. This means a longer formal training program and incorporating Brighton 2021 into the training plan. I still believe I can get my 3:30 target even if the marathon becomes part of the training program and not my A race.

Lets see how that goes!

July 2020 Update:

Things seem so unsettled still around whether my target race will go ahead. At the moment I assume its game one and training is on. But it seems so unlikely a mass event of such size could go ahead. in the current climate. I guess we wait and see. For now, the sub 3:30 goal is still on for 2020!

Since Junes update I finished the month with 300+ miles of training and completed the #GVRAT1000Km virtual event. Massive mileage for me (635 in 2 months) and probably not the best training miles for a marathon but I certainly feel I’ve built some good endurance in the legs.

I also did the Quarantine Backyard Ultra earlier this month. loops of 4.17miles every hour, on the hour. A really different type of event, and one that made me feel I had to behave like a real endurance runner. Planning, nutrition, pacing lots of things I don’t really do well (ha ha). But I thought why not. I covered over 107Km (Report link). I learnt a huge lesson on preparation that will stick with me for a long time. I hope to do the next event, but it will all come down to timing.

For now I’ve reverted back to marathon training. Lower weekday mileage and long weekend runs. Pace sessions using temp/threshold structure as well as typical short intervals. Mixing this with easy miles too, including having my 6 year old pace me on a scooter (lol!).

So July continues and I expect more certainty will come next month.

Bournemouth half was cancelled and so after Brighton im looking at the Great South Run, then Reading Half. What will be will be and we will have to realise that COVID-19 has made the world a very different place. At least for a while longer that is!

‘If you can’t run, then walk. And if you can’t walk, then crawl. Do what you have to do. Just keep moving forward and never, ever give up

Dean Karnazes

June 2020 Update:

Well what happened there then!

I think we all know the answer to that. With the onset of March’s Coronavirus lockdown and global events being cancelled and postponed, my sub 3:30 plans were left in a few tatters. Brighton Marathon was postponed from April to September. Training was ultimately put on hold and a little bit of my enthusiasm and excitement for reaching that goal went south!

That said it wasn’t like the world had ended. I usually have an optimistic outlook, at least externally, and was just thinking ‘well OK, it’ll be September, maybe the rest of my events will go ahead’… Obviously now I know that was beyond optimism. As march moved to April I had to seek a new option, a new goal. Enter the world of Zwift.

I’ve had a treadmill for a bout 18 months and have only ever used it when weather is awful, or I wanted to run but had to also look after the youngsters. But treadmill running in my garage is tedious and it’s so much harder for that fact alone. Zwift however gave me a competitive edge to the running, something to watch and a little bit of a feeling that I actually was running with others.

That led me to join a Marathon event , on the treadmill at 8am on the 26th April – London Marathon day!

not to be underestimated how challenging that can be.

Anyway with a bit of focus I managed to get that done in under 3:15. Now whilst I was chuffed I also realise that its a bit different running on a treadmill.

For now the true sub 3:30 dream is on ice until September. And realistically until April 2021 if I’m being really honest with myself.

But we keep running and there will be a chance to go for my goal in the not too distant future.

Feb 2020 Update:

February saw the training continue but has been a tricky month. The weather was hard to fight against with long runs lost to the elements. The temperature has been up and down and it’s been harder to get out first thing in the morning to keep churning out the miles. But I plodded on with my marathon training plan with the Ultra twist.

I managed to put in a few couple of 20 miler runs. One on road and one trails around Wendover Woods – a real highlight in the month for me. I tried to push one of them to my marathon pace. I aim to hit 8 minute miles to get around Brighton Marathon in 3:30. On the 2nd Feb I put in just over 18 miles at an average pace of 7:31 per mile. comfortably within marathon pace. this was on roads so close as I can to race day. I also employed the relatively new Levitate 2 in orange. So that was fabulous, that has given me renewed confidence of achieving the task in hand.

The highlight around Wendover woods has been something I have been thinking of and planning for a while. It has appeared on many searches, Facebook posts and there are a lot of events. Being a trail fan I got the feeling I needed to try it out. So on 20 Feb I packed up the car early and rolled up to Wendover woods, arriving in a rain shower and to be only the second car in the car park.

I packed a drink some snacks and took on the 10 mile circuit from Centurion Running. Well as best I could. the route includes some of path routes which were not always easy to find, let alone follow. I did two loops, pausing in the car park for a snack renewal half way. I pulled in just under 20 miles and achieved over 4000 feet of gain. It was a real challenge with some serious poor weather making it incredibly wet, slippery and windy. But I loved every step and every second of it. A trail runners dream I would say.

Theres only a smidge left of February, and I plan to put a small pre-race warmup 5K in for that on the 29th. I’m in the Big Half on the 1st March, to take on my first race of the year. I’ve taken part in the first two years of the big half and at the moment I intend to they and take part each year, until I forget and book another race the same day, or they introduce a ballot for which I have zero success with so far!!

Oh and the New York Marathon ballot was drawn on the 26th. Big fat no for me, will try again and maybe next year I’m lucky.

For March in in two events (Big Half, Maverick Buckinhamshire) and I need to build my training a little towards completion. Early April starts with the Reading Half too.

my distances for the last 6 months are below, Jan was a highlight and feb a little low.

I’ve also included the last 12 months trace for VO2 max as this has shown a nice trend and I’m really pleased with how that has developed.

So the month is up and we go again. Brighton is not far away and the thought of breaking that 3:30 barrier is front of my mind when I get out running. This could be the year for making it happen, and I certainly won’t miss the target through not trying.

Jan 2020 Update:

So training has started as of 1st Jan. In order to make a 15 minute improvement in my marathon time I’ve got to make some noticeable improvements in my training. 15 minutes is a big deal, that won’t come without some effort. So I’ve started to follow the Runners World sub 3Hr 30min training plan which is 5 runs most weeks, a mix of easy effort twice a week, mid to high effort twice a week and a long run. Now to confuse the situation I am running a 106Km ultra 2 weeks after Brighton. So a marathon plan alone isn’t going to give mt the mileage I need for the ultra. So I’ve decided to modify the plan a bit. Firstly 5 runs a weeks has become 6. Long runs starting around 9 miles and working up to 20 are starting at 10/15 miles and work up to 30 miles prior to marathon day. Finally I have opted to take the short easy runs (3-5 miles) and add an extra mile on. What that has meant is that week 2 totalled 45+ miles already and im likely to hit 60+ miles training weeks before I get to Brighton.

Progress though has been encouraging. My training runs were often mixed with some real high pace (for me around 3:30 per km/5:40 min per mile but also regularly 5:30 min per km/8:51 min per mile. So far after nearly completing 3 weeks of training my tuns are averaging 7:47 min per mile which equates to 4:50 min per Km. an average that is much faster than I used to run at. And it feels OK. I’m not finding it a real struggle and I’m not finding I’m on the edge of what I can do. A good indicator of where I am now is my rent long run at the end of week 2 – 17.06miles averaging 7:57 min per mile which, in a training run, is probably one if not the fastest run over 15 miles. And I still felt strong and could have carried on. My splits were good and I wasn’t flagging at the end.

So it’s going well. Im enjoying the training and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks. Building the miles further and looking to see my pace hopefully improve a bit to underpin my hope of making my goal of a sub 3:30 marathon. Fingers crossed!

Dec 2019 Update:

Brighton 2019

2019 – my first Marathon year.

Brighton – April

3 Hours 44 min 7 seconds

Write Up here

2020 – the. 3:30 marathon experiment begins!

In 2020 I aim to try an push 15 minutes off my Marathon PB and go under 3Hrs 30min. For many that’s an easy target, for more thats far too fast – we all have different targets which are all as challenging and significant on a personal level. Mine just happens to be 3:30, yours might be 2:30 or 4:30 or 5:30 – we all have our own goals to work to.

I’ve drawn uo a training program using Excel which is based on the Runners Worlds Training program for a sub 3:30 marathon. The link for that Runners World training plan online is here:

https://www.runnersworld.com/uk/training/marathon/a760129/rws-ultimate-marathon-schedule-sub-330/

What I have done is prepare a spreadsheet with all my runs listed and then built a training program about delivering the ones I want to target for performing well at.

Currently my training program focusses on hitting Brighton Marathon on form for a sub 3:30 time. 16 weeks starting in the new year.

Over time I will build out the rest of the year too but for now, and for the purpose of this blog I am focussing on Brighton.

If you want to see the training program or wonder if my template might be useful then you can download it below.

Notes on the plan:

I have-it most sessions in as the below example:

1M/@9, 3x(0.5M/@6,200m@10),1M/@10

This translates as:

1 mile at 9min/mile followed by 3 repeats of – 0.5 miles at 6 min/mile then 200 metres at 10min/mile – cool down 1 mile at 10 min/mile

I have also included an adjacent column for the approximate total training time. For me thats also key as time is not so easy to find sometimes and knowing a good idea of the time I’m committing to a training session means I can better plan and work around training days.

I plan to put routine updates on this blog post during my training. Compare plan to actual, record general comments and how things feel. And hopefully come late April 2020 I can report on a successful marathon and breaking that 3:30 barrier.