Category Archives: Marathon

Are you ready for your first marathon?

Are you one of the thousands who will be running your first ever marathon this spring?

In the coming months we have dozens of marathons coming up, including Manchester, Paris, Brighton, Boston, London, Belfast, Edinburgh to name just a few.

This time last year, i was coming to last few weeks of training for my first ever marathon at Brighton. I was filled with mixed emotions.

Part of me was thinking that having done the training, i just wanted to get on with it. Another part was scared. Very scared. I had never ran this kind of distance before and was not planning on running a marathon again. Could i finish?

Nothing that i say to you now, or any additional training that you do in last few weeks will have much of an impact for a first timer like i was.

But there is one gem, which i have heard many times and Brendan Foster told me at the Brighton marathon Expo last year and that was start SLOW. Now slow can be different speeds for everyone, so one persons slow could be another persons fast. So you need to decide what pace you will be running at.

As it is your first marathon, you are guaranteed a personal best (PB), so there is no need to stress over what time you will run the race. If you finish and think you could of run faster, you can always try another marathon!

Below is the VLOG i took of my first marathon. I recorded the day as i wanted a souvenir of me running a marathon as i was not planning on running anymore marathons.

I do hope you enjoy the VLOG and whatever happens on your first marathon, be sure to enjoy it!

 

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Are you up for the challenge? #runwithguru

For those of you who have been following me from the beginning of my running journey will know that when I run, I run for fun.

Also, I had set myself a series of challenges over 5 years to celebrate my 55 years on this earth and that I am happy to be alive.

It’s called #55alive and the challenge is simply to get everyone to be more active.

In just a short period of time, many thousands have already been inspired to be more active, not just physically, but also mentally.

As part of one the challenges I want to run with as many people as possible.

I have already met many of you, ran with many of you and eat with many of you.

In my life so far, i have been fortunate enough to have travelled to over 30 countries around the world and met some amazing people.

I want to combine this years travelling and I want to run with you all, wherever you are in the world!

Who wants to join me on this challenge?

 

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Start spreading the news! – Monday Motivation

Oh my word, i can barely contain my excitement!

I received confirmation that i have an automatic qualification place for the New York City marathon this November!?!?!?

YEAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!

It’s something that has not quite sunk in yet and probably won’t till i’m at the start line in New York.

It will be 12 months to the day after when i posted about my amazing Frankfurt marathon run, that i will be running New York. Such an amazing feeling i have right now and something that i feel so proud about.

Qualifying for a marathon major after just my second marathon race is an amazing achievement and to think i didn’t even know what a marathon major was till a short while ago. Now i want to run all six! Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago and New York.

So if i’m going to start running marathon majors, why not start with the biggest one?

It just goes to show that neither age or ability need be a barrier. All i want to do, is go for a run.

Good luck to all those who have entered the ballot and maybe i will see you in New York and we can sing some Frank Sinatra together whilst eating some pizza?

No doubt you will hear more about this and right now i have a couple of half marathons and marathon to complete before New York.

Keeeeeeep running!

 

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Headphones or no headphones?

Since i have been running, i have never ran with headphones.

This has mainly started from a safety perspective as most of my training is in built up suburb areas, so i want to make sure i can hear everything around me to reduce risk of any accidents.

I have noticed both when i’m on my runs and on social media that many people do use headphones, so i posted on Social media the question of who runs with headphones and why?

The answers that came back were extremely varied.

The overriding answer was that headphones are worn to help motivate whilst running and helps them run at a certain pace.

Many answered saying they have the music on loud enough so they can’t hear themselves breathing, as hearing themselves panting, puts them off their running!

Maybe someone has already completed a full scientific review on the pros and cons of wearing headphones or not wearing headphones?

For me, i will continue to run sans headphones as i love to soak in the atmosphere and surroundings, especially on race days days. Hearing the crowds cheering you on is priceless!

Keeeeeep running!

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Marathon training for beginners

Having completed my first marathon this year in April at Brighton, one of my biggest worries was how much training should i do?

What kind of training should i do?

For me and what is beginning to be widely accepted, only three runs a week are needed. For some old school coaching and training, they may say you need to build up a lot of mileage each week to be able to complete the full 26.2 miles.

Why do i say only 3 runs?

The simple facts, as a beginner in particular, our bodies need time to recover.

Rather than running hundreds of miles each week and getting lots of injuries in process, why not run less and run smart?

The three runs can consist of sprint training session, hill running training and a long run.

There are a myriad of beginner marathon training plans you can download from the web. Find one that best suits your daily plans and adapt them to suit you.

For me the training has to be of top quality and intensity with a lot of rest and recovery time.

Below is the VLOG i made of my first ever marathon this year. Such great memories and all on just 3 training runs per week.

 

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Mainova Frankfurt Marathon – 2016

There have been many reasons why you haven’t seen many updates from myself since my first Parkrun back in June this year.

Sadly my beautiful mother suffered a stroke and passed away the following week.

For the past 5 months i have gone through many changes, which i had no control of whatsoever. Before the loss of my mother, i was already having to look for a new contract of work in a new location, all of which were having an impact on my training for only my second marathon since Brighton Marathon in April.

Frankfurt was to be my first ever big city marathon, this was a big deal for me.

The months of training we very enjoyable and often tough, especially getting up at 4am or 5am to complete my ‘short’ weekday training runs before getting into work. And as autumn approached the mornings were dark, which meant i needed to use a head torch to help me see where i’m going on footpaths and enable motorists to see me.

Over the summer months i had picked up a number of injuries to my feet, toes, achilles and left knee. The knee injury was caused by me falling off my bike, which meant i had a sharp pain on knee cap while training for the following 6 weeks. It seemed forever! One bump or bruise after another and also some back pains, which resulted in 3 visits to an osteopath, 2 visits to a sports physio and 2 podiatry appointments.

The second podiatry visit was where i had full foot and leg analysis to find one leg is longer than the other and both feet pronate, with one pronating 2 ways!

I wasn’t going to let any of this stop me, but instead, i embraced the changes needed. I was strengthening my glutes and learning to engage them whilst running, so putting less strain on other parts of my hips and legs.

So raceday arrived, Sunday 30th October, 2016 and it was very cold, for me, in the morning. Nonetheless perfect marathon conditions with virtually zero wind, clear blue skies and it warmed up to 12 degrees Celsius.

Whilst i had a clear race strategy with my coach at Running With Us, some things don’t often go to plan.

After about my third gel, i almost felt like throwing up and didn’t want to take anymore, but had the dilemma of my energy levels potentially dropping off. So i persisted with the gels.

Also, i knew i had to have a glass of water at each 5km point, but after the first 5km and having most of the content go all over my face, i had to stop and calmly drink my cup of water at every 5km point. Yes, it slowed me down, but i needed the water. It was also tough to get running again after each time i stopped. Maybe i need to train how to drink out of a cup whilst running?

I was determined to come in with a good time and made sure i did not look at my Garmin watch, i just ran to effort and listened to how my body felt. There were a number of points i was with some runners going at a 3:09 pace, but i could feel my legs saying slow down. So i did.

The last 10km was oh so tough and i dug deep and kept going. With 7 km to go, we were back in the final loop in Frankfurt downtown and at 40km was where some official pace setters with balloons of 3:14 passed, that was the moment i knew i had run a brilliant race, but had to finish strong.

I came in with a time of 3:15:44 and i was full of great joy and elation at the finish.

It was the race of my life and loved every kilometre and to all the people who cheered me on around the course, it was simply amazing.

With that finish time and my age, based on current qualification times, i now could qualify for the 6 World Marathon majors. Which with Frankfurt Marathon only being my second marathon, running for just a little over 16 months, for a non-athlete like myself, is nothing short of remarkable.

I really do have to pinch myself as i’m still thinking this is all a dream.

Below is my Frankfurt marathon race VLOG. It is raw and emotional. That’s my style and the only music you hear is me singing along to sound tracks along the route. I do hope you have enjoyed reading this and enjoy watching the VLOG and would love you to leave positive comments and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Thank you!

 

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Week Fifteen – Brighton Marathon Training

Following the joy of last weeks new PB for the Reading Half Marathon, with the icing on the cake of coming in a couple of minutes faster than Iwan Thomas, this week was mainly recovering and tapering and getting to meet one of the greatest running legends of my time, Seb Coe!

The Reading Half Marathon really did drain me both physically and mentally and the little voices in my head starting getting louder. Muscles and joints beginning to ache more than normal and the worry of what pace should I start the full marathon at.

Also, my fund raising has dampened my spirits somewhat as I thought running such an extraordinary distance by a newbie in his mid-fifties would inspire people to sponsor me….lets see how things progress, but so far was under £300 of a target of £1,000. You can Sponsor me here Just Giving.

I can’t control the fund raising, but I can control my training and running, so lets keep going!

Thankfully after seeing my Physio and also a great evening organised by Cancer Research UK, the voices are beginning to disappear and I am really believing now that I can do it. I can run a marathon! I will run a marathon!

The evening at Cancer Research, UK offices in London gave me the wonderful opportunity to meet Lord Seb Coe, who is the current President of the IAAF, who gave a packed audience some top tips on how to run a marathon, which you can see in the video below.

Also, Nick Anderson from Running With us, gave some excellent information on what to do a week before the race, on race day and after the race. Invaluable information, that will help us all.

The weeks training consisted of:

Monday: 20 minute rowing followed by 1hr 15 Ashtanga Yoga

Tuesday: 10km 52 minute run at 6am

Wednesday: 20 minute row followed by 45 minute spin class

Thursday: 15km 75 minute run at 6am

Sunday: 15km 78 minute run at 8am

This week may be tapering, but it felt tough possibly because of overdoing it on the previous Sunday and also the lack of sponsorship.

Till next week, hope you enjoy the below video of Lord Seb Coe giving some top tips on How to Run a marathon.

 

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Week Fourteen – Brighton Marathon Training

After last weeks longest training run on Saturday of 35km through the Malvern Hills in gusting wind and rain, it is with great relief that the tapering now begins.

For those who don’t know what tapering is, this is where the length of the training runs start to reduce prior to the main race. there is a science behind why this is done, but that will be for another blog post, or maybe even a YouTube video!

Still in Easter holiday mode, i was still in Ledbury till Tuesday after bank holiday, so my 10km training run was in Ledbury town itself. I wasn’t feeling it at all and felt very slow and cumbersome. I think the long run had really taken it out of me. The pace for the 10km was almost same as pace for 35km on Saturday before. What happened, what went wrong? Nothing. That’s just how it is sometimes. We accept it and move on.

Was it because i also missed my normal yoga class on a Monday evening or trip to my physio?

Wednesday back at work i felt so exhausted, i was advised to rest. So i skipped my usual spin class and rowing session and went home for an early nights sleep.

When i ran my route on Thursday morning, the pace was almost back to race pace and i felt good. Most of time it’s all psychological, not physical.

As i missed yoga on Monday evening i decided to goto Yoga class on Thursday lunchtime.

Sunday saw me do my last race before the BIG one at Brighton. This was the Reading Half Marathon and it was brilliant.

For me it was very hot, but a nice route and i goto meet British Athletics legend Iwan Thomas, which you can see it all on video below….. am soon enjoying the tapering!

 

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Week Thirteen – Brighton Marathon Training

Having completed this training week and with only 3 more weeks till my maiden marathon at Brighton, i can now say I AM READY!

Apologies for the lateness in posting this. But what with easter weekend and a few set-back this week, it took me a while to catch up. More about what happened this week in my next post.

For week 13, it was lucky for me!

I had a great two ‘short’ run training days early morning before work and still bright daylight before the clocks went forward on Easter Sunday and the weekend away at Ledbury with the kids, so i had to plan my 3 hour long run from Ledbury.

Using the Garmin route planner, it estimated approximately 35km at a steady pace of 5km per minute, which i thought would be an achievable pace for the route. Little did i know how hilly the Malvern Hills would be!

I managed the route with a light detour in 3 hours and 8 minutes and it was just over 35 km. It was very tough with the hills and added gusting wing and rain in many parts, but i did it! That’s when i really felt inside i was ready. Whilst i may of been aching all over from the tough hills, the fuelling strategy worked a dream and i felt no loss in energy as i had in previous long runs. included Porridge an hour or so before run stared and banana half hour before.

You can see the video of my training run below where the Malvern Hills were alive with the sound of my singing and includes a selfie with a statues of Elgar in Great Malvern!

My weeks training consisted of:

Monday: 1hr15min of Ashtanga Yoga in evening

Tuesday: 10km run at 6am ish

Wednesday: 30 minute rowing followed by 45 minute spin class in evening

Thursday: 12km run at 6am ish

Saturday: 35km run at 7.30am

Till next week, onwards and upwards!

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Week Twelve – London Marathon Training

This week our fundraising group raised an incredible £10,293.11 for Cardiac Risk in the Young!

We had over 400 guests at the stunning Grand Station in Wolverhampton. The four course dinner was kindly supplied by Jolly Catering and the Mayor even presented our volunteers with their awards. It was a special evening and I’m so proud of all our volunteers and guests.

We had a grand old time! But it did put a hold on my training which is so not good. Also, the day after I came down with sinus congestion, sickness and headaches. Mixed with fatigue and general exhaustion my mind and body were just not up to well, anything! It’s frustrating as I’m still not 100% and I’ve not ran in two weeks.
But, I did learn your body can overrule any training plan and it’s important to love and repeat the whispers. Here’s hoping to a better next week!

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