Sunday, 30 March 2014


14 days until the London Marathon. This week I ran for 4:25 this week. (But this was a bit of recovery from last week, where I ran for 7:31).


Last week was a heavy one on the Pfitzinger schedule, and it culminated in a 25.5 mile run along the coast. I didn't intend to go quite so far, but my route took me to Edinburgh, and once in town, it made sense to just continue running until I reached the train station. Though I took it slow, and stopped to take photos of my route (as seen above), my last mile was 7:40 something. So, I could do 25 miles, and I still had something in the tank. This was a big confidence builder.


This week was as follows:

Mon.: rest
Tues.: swim 1600m
Weds.: run 8 miles, with 5 x 800 m intervals on the track
Thurs.: run 6 miles, with 2.5 miles club handicap race
Fri.: run 1.2 miles before lifting for 20 mins (core; upper body)
Sat.: rest (including 3 mile walk in woods with son and friend)
Sun.: run 16.5 miles


So, this is it. The last long run is done, and I am now tapering. I will do a 10k race next weekend. I probably wouldn't schedule this, but it's a local race that I like.

This training cycle has been good. For a long time I felt like I was struggling, and that the miles were all hard. But, regardless of how I perceived it, the fitness has come. One factor here perhaps is consistency: I've done 4-5 runs a week, including a long run, every week since probably mid-December. I'm hoping that the volume of training will push back the wall on race day.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

A half-marathon on my way to the full marathon

23 days until the London Marathon. I ran for 5:33 this week.


I had to pee with 10 minutes to go to the start of the Alloa half marathon.

I made my way through the crowd, back to the recreation centre that served as the headquarters for the race, and took care of business.

By the time I returned to the starting line, it was jammed with over 1500 runners. I tried to weave my way as far forward as possible, but eventually came to a standstill.

The gun went, and we started a slow jog to the start line.


Mile 1 was flat, and came in at 6:47. This was fast, and I wanted to dial it back a bit. My ambition was to break 1:30, which would be a personal best. I had the miles in my legs, but did I have the speed?

My timing chip came loose in mile 2. One of the plastic ties was undone, and the other was loose. There was nothing for it but to pull off onto the sidewalk and fix it. I tried to tighten the tie, but it didn't seem to bite. Then I tucked the chip into my shoelaces. Runners streamed past. Eventually I just started to run, and almost immediately the chip came out of the shoelaces. It flopped against my shoe with the one remaining tie. I thought I'd just keep an eye on it until it fell off, and then carry it the rest of the race. Mile 2, with the stop, was 7:46.

3 had a slight climb, and was 7:05.

4 had some descent, and was 6:51.

5, with a real descent, was 6:33. Though I was in shorts and a vest, when the sun was out I warmed quickly and sweated.

The middle miles of the race were into the teeth of a strong wind. For 6 and 7 I stuck with a guy who was picking people off, and they came in at 7:01 and 6:56, respectively. The guy pulled ahead a bit, and for 8 and 9 I faced the wind on my own mostly. These came in at 7:11 and 7:04.

Mile 10 came out of the wind, but featured a good climb. It came in at 7:15.

The end was nearing, and I caught G., a friend from the running club.

11 was 7:19, again with some climbing.

I knew that the rest of the race was largely downhill, and so I tried to pick up the pace.

12 was 6:52.

13 was 6:39!

In the final turn, I kicked, and caught another runner just before the finish line. And then I was done. 1:31:33 all in.


It wasn't a p.b., but I thought I'd run well, considering the wind and my stopping for my chip. My finishing time was only about 45 seconds off my p.b., and I'd finished strong.

Monday, 10 March 2014


33 days until the London Marathon. I ran for 6:48 this week.


The goal of this week's long run was to A) get in 20 miles or more, and B) spare my legs as much as possible for the half marathon race I'm doing next week.

How to do this?

5 mins running, 30 seconds walking. And repeat.

The purist may scoff. However, I wanted to administer that 20-mile+ stimulus to my legs, and to experience being on my feet for 3+ hours. But I wanted to recover quickly. I've tried the run-walk-run strategy on long runs in previous training cycles, and found that the strategy allows you to extend your miles, and to do so without the debilitating exhaustion that often accompanies big miles (at least for me). Also, surprisingly, it does not slow my pace dramatically .

I ran with my birthday present on - a Garmin from my wife. It provides distance and mile splits, and also heart rate. I don't know if this is a factor in keeping the fatigue at bay, but my heart rate dipped every five minutes. My suspicion, however, is that run-walk-run primarily lets your legs recover a touch, and thereby extends the distance you can travel without exhaustion.

And today, the day after my 21 miler, I feel good.


This was my week:

Mon: swim 1350m
Tues: run 7 miles
Weds: run 9 miles (with 5 x 1000m fast)
Thurs: weights ~ 20 mins.
Fri: run 11 miles
Sat: rest
Sun: 21 miles

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Starting to feel fitter

40 days until the London Marathon. I ran for 6:37 this week.


This week I turned one year older, and to mark this my wife and children gave me a Garmin.

I tried it out on my 17-mile long run with G., a friend from my local running club.

My legs felt tired at the start, and G. set a good pace. Eventually, I started to warm up, and the miles ticked by on the Garmin. My heart rate seemed to settle in at 153 or so. I felt a bit of a fade at 9, but whether it was because of the gel I'd taken at mile 6, or the Snickers at mile 12, or the mid-week medium length run, I felt not too bad at the end.

So this was my training week:

Mon: run 1 mile on treadmill, upper body weights
Tues: run 4 miles with some 200 m intervals at end (up and down my street while I waited for my son to come home)
Weds: run 12 miles (at 7 a.m.)
Thurs: swim 1100 m; run 5 miles (including 2.5 mile club handicap race)
Fri: nothing
Sat: run 6.5 miles
Sun: run 17 miles


Earlier in the week, the clouds and incessant rain broke for a bit, and we had clear skies. From my driveway, the stars were bright.