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Heat, Hills and Hurt – Brighton Marathon 2017

Sometimes in life, things don’t quite goto plan.

Brighton Marathon 2017 was to be my latest marathon following my epic Boston Qualifier run in Frankfurt last October. Only my third marathon and also my runniversary Marathon as it would of been April 2016 when i completed my first marathon in Brighton.

Having been training so hard since Christmas eve 2016, with some amazing races in January, February and March, i was expecting to put in another new PB for my Marathon and continue my amazing running journey.

Sadly, within the first few strides of the marathon, an injury that i picked up during the Reading Half marathon in March hadn’t fully cleared, so ran the whole race in absolute pain, with many occasions wanting to quit. But something kept me going.

The only way I describe yesterday’s race was like driving with a flat tyre. The engine and bodywork was in great condition, but one tyre had blown and just could not get any speed without damaging the car itself.

The race for me was one of two halves.

The first 0.2 miles and the second 26 miles.

Whilst I started off with the 3hr pacesetter, literally within yards I felt my back and leg pain.

That was plan A out the window!

By the time I reached the mass start at mile 1, I felt like quitting and wait to fight another day.

But something inside me was carrying me. My usual speed had completely gone and every time I tried to push the speed the pain intensified.

That was plan B was out the window!

Then the hills and heat was kicking in and it was just a case of enjoying the ride. The Met office predicted morning temperature of 10 degrees topping out at 14 degrees. How wrong it could be! The start temperature of race was almost 14 degrees and by mid-day it was 21 degrees!

It was so fabulous to see Bridget and Launa supporting and giving me a shout out and oh so many amazing supporters shouting out Go Guru!

At mile 15 I had a young guy fly past me and shout Go Grunners! He really did put a big smile on my face. Clearly he must of seen one or two of my YouTube VLOGs!

At this point the pain was killing me and was seriously now wanting to stop.

The heat and pain was almost making me want to cry, but again I felt something inside me willing me on!

Only 11 more miles to go!

I was stopping at every water station and drinking what seemed gallons of water!

The last 2 miles was incredible. Massive crowds cheering us all on and with the last stretch with finish line in sight the crowd erupted as I was passing so I had to break out a dance, as you do!

Crossing the finish line was such a joy, never did I know that I could endure so much pain for so long, but i did and the victory was mine!

Whilst I did not get a PB and was way off the expected time based on my training and recent half marathon race results, it matters not.

Injuries happen and we can’t control the weather, but what matters is how we overcome these hurdles in life.

Below is the VLOG i filmed of the race day, but be warned it contains swearing and me saying it how it is and totally raw.

Hope you enjoy, like and subscribe to my YouTube channel.

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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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Reading Half Marathon 2017

On Sunday 19th March 2017, i ran my second Reading Half Marathon. Of all the half marathon races i have raced in, this is one of my favourites.

It’s one of my favourites for many reasons and here are a few reasons, why i love Reading Half marathon:

  1. Very well organised with easy access to and from start and finish with free buses from central Reading
  2. Massive turnout with approx 15,000 runners which makes it a great atmosphere
  3. Fabulous support around the course, which is a great help and motivation to keep us running
  4. Stadium finish at Madejski stadium, which is home of Reading FC and London Irish RFC.
  5. Epic bling and nice goodie bag
  6. Pacers in 5 minute intervals from 1hr 20mins

During this years race, most of my VLOG is interviewing some amazing people all running for different reasons and also one of the pacers organised by the race with the icing on the cake getting to meet Mr Madejski, Reading Lord Mayor and Iwan Thomas.

Hope you enjoy the VLOG below and please like and subscribe if you enjoy, as it means a lot to me. Thank you!

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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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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 – Brighton Marathon Training

This weeks training has been amazing. The training is tough and it is all coming into place.

I have stepped up the cross training and also completed my first half Marathon race as part of the training. In addition to the half marathon race, the two mid-week runs also resulted in some super fast 10km race times for me.

Sometimes the mind can play games with us and this week was no different. I was again considering double spin class on Wednesday and as there was a half hour gap between the two 45 minute classes, I decided to do it and throw in a 20minute rowing session. The mind was saying ‘how will you cope with this the night before a 60 minute run in the morning’. But I just did it anyway. Thursday morning ran fastest 10km in non-race conditions. Sometimes its best to ignore the mind games.

I always run mindfully and listen to my body. I have no loud music playing to motivate me. I listen to my body. The breathing, the aches and pains. I need to know if I am pushing myself too hard.

The marathon is all about mental toughness. That’s what I need to build, in addition to the physical training. They work together. Simple, eh?

 

Below was my training schedule from the week:

Monday: 30minute rowing. 1hr15 Ashtanga Yoga. All in evening

Tuesday: 10km morning run pre-breakfast

Wednesday: 45 minute spin, 20 minute rowing, 45 minute spin. All in evening

Thursday: 12km run in morning pre-breakfast

Sunday: North London Half Marathon

 

I managed to do a video diary of the North London Half Marathon, more for my reference in how I am progressing, but may hopefully provide some enjoyment and education for you all. Enjoy!

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Week Eleven – Brighton Marathon Training

Apologies for the delay in posting blog update on last weeks training, but sometimes life happens and with the training intensity increasing, finding some spare time is quite tough!

Little did I know when I took on this challenge to complete my first ever marathon, that it would require so much time and planning.

The hardest part to organise for me is where I will do my long runs at the weekend as I can be in different locations at different weeks and juggle that with time with my children and catching up with friends and family.

Also, as I had a hospital appointment for a CT scan of my heart, I was told no strenuous exercise within 8 hours of appointment on Tuesday, so my first ‘short’ run was Monday morning.

With my daughter arriving Saturday lunchtime, I decided to have my long run on Saturday morning and try a new nutrition schedule. I was up at 6am, had porridge for breakfast and almost literally went back to bed. By 7.30 I was up and at it! All was going well, 1st gel at 1hr 20, second at about 2 hours and then another at 2hr 30ish as by then my legs were going! Also, unfortunately at about 25km point I felt like having a good sh*t, so I changed my route to get back asap for toilet! You can see the video of the run below.

The weeks training consisted of:

Monday – 10km run in morning and 1hr15min Ashtanga Yoga in evening

Wednesday – 45 min spin class

Thursday – 12km morning run

Saturday – 32.4km morning run

I still need to get the right nutrition during the run and will hope to get that right on next long run in fortnights time at Easter, which will hopefully be around Malvern Hills.

Next weekend sees me running the North London Half Marathon, which will be epic as it finishes at Wembley Stadium!

 

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Week Ten – Brighton Marathon Training

Only 6 weeks till the big day!

The training is definitely stepping up a gear as the weekly ‘short runs’ of 10k are getting quicker, so i am running further to get the timed runs in and the longer runs are getting longer.

The training days have been pretty much the same as other weeks, which are namely:

Monday – Yoga night, although a slipped in a steady 20 minute rowing beforehand

Tuesday – Morning 10ish km as the mornings are getting lighter

Wednesday – 30 minute hard row, with a new PB of 6,400m

Thurday – Lunchtime run of 10ish km with Matt Richardson

Saturday – 26ish km long run around the Lickey Hills

Whilst the locations may vary week on week, depending where i am, the distances and times i try and keep the same.

This weekend i was with folks for Mothers day on Sunday, hence my long run on Saturday, so i could relax and have a lush lunch at posh restaurant with them.

Some significant happening that make the training more real was the arrivals of the bib numbers for the two half marathons i’m doing as part of my training. The North London and Reading Half marathons. These will be real tests on how my training has gone and to have the free run of closed roads.

Also i got myself a new gadget. The GoPro Hero 4 Session to hopefully record a lot of my training runs and maybe even the marathon itself. What do you think?

Below is the recording from my Tuesday morning training run. Enjoy!

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