Marathon Training Plan – Week 9

Crikey, it’s week 9 already, only 6 or 7 weeks to go now until race day. For the past 2-3 weeks I have been a little slack in following the marathon training plan, a bit hit and miss with runs.

Moving forward my intentions are to stick to the plan (as best I can) do more core strength training and hill work where possible, I have the Robin Hood Half Marathon in 4 weeks time, my long runs are up to 15 miles, so I am kind of on target.

monday 3rd spetember 2012


tuesday 4th september 2012

It was dark when the alarm went off this morning at 5:05am. I got my running kit on and headed down stairs for stretches and a warm up. I haven’t headed out into a dark morning for ages, I had forgotten how much more tranquil and exhilerating it is to run on a dark early morning. The air was fresh and crisp - you can’t beat country air! It beats that smog filled town shite!

Anyway, today’s run was 5 miles, and with the help of my shiny new trainers I managed to crack it out in about 42 minutes, quite a quick pace to start with, trying to maintain an 8m10s pace.

The blister I got on Sunday’s long run played up a bit, but the new trainers (Adidas Supernova Sequence 4M) held up well, they felt comfortable and more supportive than the Asics I previously wore. Hopefully they will be fully broken in for the Robin Hood half and definitely broken in for the Amsterdam Marathon.

Here are today’s stats.

wednesday 5th september 2012

I took a bit of a rest day today. Well needed.

thursday 6th september 2012

Running club, and after the last couple of days at work I could do with getting out and letting some steam off!

Quite a warm evening, and we all trundled off. A new route for many of us relative newbies to the club. A 5 mile route in and around Springfield.

I wanted to try to maintain a steady pace under 8 minute per mile, but whether it was because it was a new route, or new trainers my pace was somewhat eratic.

Here is the route and the stats.

friday 7th september 2012

Rest day today.

saturday 8th september 2012

Six miles today. I was going to do a simple 3 miles to stretch my legs a bit before tomorrow’s long run, but turned right instead of left as I came out of our lane, and headed off towards Utling.

I have a six mile route that takes me thorugh the country lanes, up a rather large hill and through Utling and Hatfield Peveral, then back up another big hill towards Boreham and home. It’s a great run, and a good practice run for an ‘undulating’ 10k.

My best time for this route is about 48 minutes, I wasn’t going to beat that this morning though.

Here are the stats.

Sunday 9th september 2012

Today is long run day, and I was hoping to run between 16 and 18 miles.

Unfortunately I only managed 16 miles. I ran a similar route to that of last weeks, I extended it a little here and there and was on target for 16 miles, and it wasn’t until I got to the A12 junction 2 miles from home that my burning feet (blistered due to the new trainers) and lead like thighs brought me to a complete standstill.

I couldn’t go any further. I wasn’t tired. I wasn’t out of breath. I just couldn’t go any further.

The blisters had started at around mile 10, stupidly I ignored the feelings and soldiered on.

I had to ring Wifey, and ask her to come and collect me. I was some what disappointed with myself, and hope that I can run further next week.

Here’s the stats and the route.


Marathon Training Plan – Week 8

Week 8 of the marathon training plan, and I need to pull my finger out. This is the week I need to get back on track and re-focussed. I definitely need to get a good long run under my belt, at least 12 – 14 miles and get back to eating properly – too much cake and other goodies over the last week or so. The marathon training plan does not allow for such treats.

monday 27th august 2012

Bank Holiday Monday. Wifey was at work. The boys were at the in-laws. I had the day to myself. Up and about early, got a few things sorted, and then shopping to be done.

My legs felt a little stiff after yesterday’s run, but seeing as I had time on my hands I wanted to crack out a good 5 miler today. The plan was to drive to Sainsburys, do the shop and leave my car there (being cleaned by the nice Bosovans) while I went for a run.

Shopping done and loaded into the car, I set off and headed down towards the running club. I had a route in my head and guessed it was about 5 miles, it took in the running club, then up through Springfield, along a track towards the farm then cut back through the fields at the back of Newhall School, along the drive of the school, then from the A12 back up to Sainsburys.

It was a really enjoyable run, and a nice little route.

Here are the stats.

tuesday 28th august 2012

Taking a rest day today.

wednesday 29th august 2012

I really wanted to get out and run today, and I was going to go out before work, but overslept, which had me running late for everything today, and I really wasn’t in the right frame of mind for running this evening.

thursday 30th august 2012

Running club day today, feels like ages since I have been.

I got there mega early for some silly reason, I am sure someone told me we were leaving at half 7 from now on…apparently not.

Tonight’s route was ‘Meadows’ not as scenic as you may first think. The route took us through the ‘Meadows’ shopping area, along the river at the back of the Uni, and up through Springfield.

I haven’t run this route before and found it to be quite a good little run. I tried to keep a steady pace running alongside a lady who competes in triathlons, our pace fluctuated a little here and there but overall it was about 8m20s per mile, which, considering we got a bit lost when we came out of the park, and we should of turned right on Lawn Lane and not left….wasn’t too bad!

We completed 5.7 miles in about 47 minutes of darkness – very pleased, great route to run. This may form part of my long run on Sunday.

Here is the route and the stats.

friday 31st august 2012

Rest day. Splendid!

saturday 1st September 2012

This morning’s run was going to be quick. I planned to do the 5k run around the village as quick as I could. I hadn’t done any speed work for a while.

The air was fresh and good for running in, I set off at a pretty good pace of about 7m40s for the first mile, and then got quicker for the second and a little bit quicker for the third.

I finished in 23 minutes 43 seconds which wasn’t too bad, the 22 minute mark still eludes me, but I will have that cracked by Christmas!

Here’s this mornings quick 5K.

sunday 2nd september 2012

Time for a nice long run. According to the marathon training plan it would be 15 miles, and I was quite looking forward to it. I haven’t run this distance for months. It would be a good challenge.

I began by heading out through the village, back lanes over the river and on towards junction 18 on A12, that’s my 4.5 mile point, over the A12 towards Baddow, but turned left and went through Sandon too, trying to get the extra mile or so in, through Baddow and down towards the Army and Navy roundabout, this was about the 8 mile mark.

Calculations in my head were that from juntion 19 on A12 to home is 2 miles, the ‘home stretch’, so I needed to get at least 5 miles in between here and J19.

I ran into town and picked up on part of the ‘meadows’ route from Thursday’s Striders run, this took me along the river, past the back of the University running along the back of the Avenues, then over the bridge under the bypass and then left up a short steep hill into a housing estate, I turned right and then left at the end of the road onto Lawn Lane.

It was at this point the inner arch of my left foot started to feel a little hot, a blister was on it’s way. Not sure why as I hadn’t had a blister for ages. This hampered the final part of the run a little bit, but not enough to stop me.

I ran along Lawn Lane and turned right into Brackenden Drive, left at the top and then right at the roundabout along New Nabbots Way, crossed the road at the top and ran through Beaulieu Park and out again and down towards Sainsburys. At Sainsburys my thighs were aching and the blister was burning hot, I knew I only had 2-3 miles to go, no stopping now.

The ‘home stretch’ was hard. The cool air was warming up, the clouds had disappeared and the sun was shining nicely, getting to the top of the last hill up towards The Lion felt like a major acheivement. I ran as far as the Cock Inn where the Garmin clocked at 15 miles, that was good enough for me, I stopped and walked the last half a mile back home – a good warm down after running non stop for 2 hours and 8 minutes!

Could I have run further? Possibly, maybe a mile or 2. Could I have run further if the course had been a lot flatter? Definitely. And the Amsterdam Marathon is apparently quite flat, so I don’t think getting to 15 miles or even 20 miles will be much of a problem, the last 6 miles however…

Here’s the stats and the route.

The week finished on a real high, very happy with the long 15 mile run, and in a pretty good time. Let’s hope I can continue it moving forward to the next phase of the marathon training plan.

Tuesday 3rd July 2012 – Running at the same pace

Running at the same pace

This was the beginning of my last week of ‘solo’ running for a while. As of next week I would be working to a marathon training plan, 16 weeks of tempo, easy and long runs in the build up to running the Amsterdam marathon at the end of October.

Today I wanted to cover 5 miles running at the same pace. This may sound easy and probably is for some people, but it’s something I tend to struggle with, so this morning I was going to practice it.

A simple route around the village at a manageable pace was the plan.

Setting off too quick

As per normal I set off a little too quickly, this is becoming a very annoying habit I have, and something I need to work on.

My pace slowed down after a mile or so, my target pace of 8m 20s to 8m 30s per mile, seemed manageable. I set out and headed down toward the village.

A quick right at The Cock, up and over the A12 and back not only adds distance to my route but throws a short sharp hill in both the beginning of my run and at the end too.

Back down to the main road, left at Plantation Road and then around the back of the village to the top of Church Road.

On Target

I turned left then, past The Lion, down hill then up to the A12 junction, over that and back on myself for the 2 mile run home.

So far so good with the pace, although I had slowed a little, something which I expected to do, I hadn’t gone over the 8m 30s per mile mark, I felt pretty good too, the legs were holding up nicely and my breathing was steady.

The last two miles were good, the uphill run back toward The Lion was easier today (I’m sure that’s just a mental thing). I tried pick pace up a little once I’d come back down the hill by The Cock and started the last half mile home.

All in all a good run this morning, happy with it.

Here’s a good 5 mile route

Tuesday 19th June 2012 – Fartlek

Dinner with friends

On Saturday evening Wifey and I donned our finest and went out to dinner with a couple that we know. Nanny was babysitting the boys, and we were off to let our hair down and chill out for a few hours.

The husband of the couple we were at dinner with (let’s call him Chris – as that’s his name) happens to be an ex runner. I’d heard him mention this months ago, but never managed to talk to him about it in more detail. He’d been a very competent long distance runner.

“So then, how’s the running coming along Paul?” he asked. I told him it was going well, and that I’d recently completed my first half marathon. He asked how I got on? I told him about the race, how hot it was, how I struggled a bit, how much I enjoyed it and how nice it was to have Wifey and the boys supporting me.

Finally I said “I think I was very under prepared for it, and could of trained better for it”

Getting some advice

I’ve read various forums and articles in magazines about hill running and fartlek training, but never quite understood just how it would benefit me, or how to actually carry out the training process. How would I know if I was doing it correctly?

Chris said to me “have you been doing any hill runs?” Well that’s a good question… “What about your fartlek training?”

I explained that whilst I had heard of it, hadn’t tried it, wasn’t sure etc. Chris told me in some depth about how it works, the benefits etc and what sort of other stuff I should or could be doing in preparation for the marathon in October.

I was buzzing, I couldn’t wait to get out and carry out some different training.

I had to wait until today though.

My first fartlek session

I sprung out of bed this morning, and was soon out of the door and pounding the pavement. The first mile was at a very slow 9m 20s ish pace, just a bit of a warm up. Then it was a sub 8m pace for 2 minutes, then back to a slow pace for one minute, then quick again for 2 minutes. I repeated this several times. Slowed down to 9m 30s ish for the last mile home.

At the end of it I felt great, felt like I’d had a good work out. This was definitely going to become part of the training programme!

Fartlek rocks!

Here’s my first fartlek session.

Thursday 31st May 2012 – Running through fields

The running club

Thursday. Can only mean one thing. Today’s run would be with the running club.

I had no idea what the route would be, who would be going, what the weather would be like, but I was very much looking forward to it. On the few occasions I have been so far, each one had bought a new challenge and pushed me that little bit further.

The first week was a new route and a quicker pace, last week was the 5K time trials. I wondered what this were would bring.

Off roading

I checked out the Springfield Striders website earlier today to see what route had been put up for tonight. It was titled ‘Taj Mahal’. It showed a route from the club HQ up towards Boreham, then cutting down hill through fields, along the River and back up hill along the roads to HQ. A good 5-6 mile route.

Here’s the off roader!

Tuesday 29th May 2012 – Running routine

Tuesday mornings

To be honest I haven’t been up early for a run on a Tuesday for ages. Tuesday’s used to be part of my stringent routine, then my running routine somehow broke down and was replaced with going out for a run as and when I could, then as and when I could be bothered.

I knew I had races planned, but the more I thought about them, the less I could be arsed to get up and go out for a run, this then led me to getting annoyed, angry and frustrated, mainly with myself for not going for a run.

A running routine

I am slowly getting back into a routine, Saturday morning’s have always been my long run, and I usually get up two mornings a week before work, and I’d go out for 5 – 10K on a Sunday afternoon, depending on how my legs were after Saturday’s long run.

I found that having a routine wasn’t quite enough, you need self motivation too. You have to want to go for a run. I think that if you go out for a run when you aren’t in the mood or right frame of mind hinders you and your performance.

Sometimes I have gone out in completely with the completely wrong mood, but found that as I started to run I got into it. Although the majority of the time that wasn’t always the case.

I use Map My Run to log all of my workouts, I also have the app on my iPhone which tells me how far and fast I am running during a run, and gives me splits and graphs etc. I find that keeping a log of my runs helps with motivation, and enables me to see how much I am progressing.

Joining a running club

I find that buying new running attire or accessories also helps me to get motivated, which helps to maintain my running routine. It’s amazing how shopping can help with your running.

Most recently I have found that by joining a running club, I not only have my motivation back, but I have some kind of a routine back in place. I know that the club meets on a Thursday evening for a run, therefore I plan to run on Tuesday mornings, long and / or run on Saturday or Sunday.

My routine is back, because there is a constant in my runs, namely the running club, I have been able to get a running routine back.

All I need to do now is stick to it, as I have the Southend Half Marathon next week, and the Felsted 10K a few weeks after. Long term of course is the Amsterdam Marathon in October.

So, back in the routine then, happy to get up and out this morning, aiming for about 5 miles. Slightly warm already but the air was fresh, I really enjoyed it a 5.2 mile run in 42m 40s.

Here’s the run.

Tuesday 15th May 2012 – 5 mile runs

Early mornings

I was 05:10am when my alarm went off this morning. I’d been awake for 5 minutes already, laying there waiting for the beeping noise to begin, attempting to wake me from my sleep. But this morning I’d beaten it!!

The sun came streaming in through the curtains, I think this may be what awoke me to start with, that and the fact I was itching to get up and go. I’d woke up a couple of times during the night, just in case I’d forgotten to set the alarm or I’d slept through it.

I was up and out in about 25 minutes, stretched and raring to go.

5 mile runs

Keen to get my miles up in preparation for this coming weekend’s race, I planned a 5 mile run. This is fast becoming a favourite of mine. I used to settle for 3 miles (5k) for a morning run, but these days find that 5 mile runs give me more of a workout. It just means getting up 20 minutes earlier of a morning.

I headed from home and turned left towards the village, looped around the back of the village past the church, and then down towards the A12, cross that and then head back on myself. I know that my 3 mile distance is when I get to the turn around point on the A12, and I have at least a 2 mile run back home.

I managed a 5.35 mile run in just over 45 minutes. A nice steady pace on a beautiful sunny morning.

Here’s the 5 miler!

Sunday 13th May 2012 – Running up hills

A week later…

I am getting so lax, it’s a week later and I still hadn’t managed to get out for a run. Today is Sunday, my last long run was a week ago with Crispy. I’ve been out for a quick 5K last Monday, but nothing major.

I’d felt the symptoms of a cold coming on last weekend, and ran on both Saturday and Sunday feeling a little bunged up and congested. Monday it was a little more full on. And it probably lasted until Thursday / Friday. I still have a little congestion now. It’s not man flu though..which was lucky!

I probably needed the rest to be honest, but I have been desperate to get out there and run. I have the Edmund Carr Charity Race 2012 next weekend, that’s a 10 miler with some serious hills, I needed to get some training in, and include some running up hills training!

Sunshine at last

Yesterday was lovely, I’d wanted to get out for a run, but had far too much to do at home, Wifey was baking cakes all day, I was trying to entertain the boys and mow the lawn and paint the decking, the day flew by.

I planned to go out today instead. Yesterday and today were lovely, blue skies for the main part and beautiful sunshine. Both days have been very productive.

A small issue; I felt my back tweak a little as I lifted the lawn mower out of the shed yesterday, (it’s an old raised chicken coup that’s about 18 inches off the ground – and it’s full of crap like most good sheds!) and painting the decking hasn’t helped it much.

I set out for a run around 3:30pm, I would love to have gone out and done 8 miles or so, but I’d left it too late, so needed to keep it to 5 miles maximum. Wifey and the boys were heading to the shops in the next village, so I changed my plans to turn left and run through and around our village as per the norm, and turned right instead.

Running up hills

After about half a mile heading down the gradual hill, I heard a car horn behind me, Wifey and the boys drove past waving frantically, I smiled and kept on. At just under a mile the bottom of the hill came to an end, and the beginning of the up hill part started, it was about 300 – 400 yards, quite steep (to me it seemed quite steep) and was good for getting the legs pumping. The hill eased off to flat again, I turned right to run along the loop road round the back of the village and up past the church and village school.

As I turned the bend at the church and headed toward the school I felt something tweak in my back. A slight discomfort that soon got worse. My posture changed to alleviate the pain, I felt like I was running with my arse sticking out. Wasn’t going to stop now though, I was only a couple of miles in.

I turned left at the end of the road and up towards the pub, I spotted Wifey and the boys driving my way, a quick waving exchange and they were gone again. I ploughed on, up to the pub and turned left at the mini roundabout heading back towards home. Downhill first, then a long incline that would test my legs.

Hills are good

I’d managed quite a good pace so far, I was running just over 8 minute miles, that could all change after the next mile and a half.

The run down hill was easy enough, I made sure to keep in the shade of the trees as much as I could. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to run in the sun but it can get a little unbearable, and the shaded cover is sometimes a welcome.

I reached the bottom of the hill, took one look ahead of me toward the top of the hill in front of me, took a couple of sips of water from my bottle and then got my head down and ran up the hill. It’s a little over 3 quarters of a mile from the bottom to home. I didn’t look up once, just kept going.

Once at the top I was out of breath but happy to have achieved it. My back was hurting a fair bit, but I was ok.

I completed a 4.35 mile run in just over 36 minutes. Not bad at all.

Here’s the hill climb!

Thursday 3rd May 2012 – Swans in flight

Alarm call.

Yesterday morning my alarm went off at 5:10am, I woke up, blinked and turned the alarm off, then annoyingly put my head back on the pillow for ‘a couple of seconds’, next thing I know it’s 5:50am and I am waking up AGAIN!

I was very annoyed. I hadn’t been up early on a weekday for a run for what seems like ages, and I was very much looking forward to getting up and out yesterday, especially as it was raining. It put me in a crap mood for most of the day.

Well it wasn’t going to happen twice!


I intended to get a decent run in this morning. The plan was to complete 5 to 6 miles. Not running yesterday morning had left me feeling frustrated, going for a run always makes me feel better.

I’ve been used to getting up early 2 or 3 times per week and going for a run for a while now, I’d somehow slipped out of my routine and become a little lazy, and this was annoying me. What was double annoying was bloody over sleeping yesterday!

I hauled my arse out of bed, got my kit on and headed out.


The air was fresh yet a little damp and there was very little wind, ideal running conditions for me. The sun was just beginning to rise, but the clouds hindered it’s full glory much as they had done for the past couple of weeks.

My target was the long route around the village to the top end and back, this was about 5.5 miles. The first miles or so was a struggle but I soon settled into a good pace of about 8 minutes 40 seconds per mile.

Heading back from the A12 interchange roundabout I was just about to attack Mental Hill (I call it this because it plays havoc with my mental state especially when its in the later part of a long run) when out of the corner of my eye I noticed 3 swans flying in unison above the field to my right. There’s something beautifully majestic about watching swans in flight, this out a smile on my face and I pumped my arms and legs and I ran up the hill and headed homeward.

I managed to complete a 5.3.mile distance in a time of about 46 minutes, I was happy. It had been a good run.

Hopefully Saturday’s run will be just as good.

Here’s the quick run.

Sunday 29th April 2012 – Rain rain go away

Bloody weather!

For the last week or so now it has pretty much rained all day every day. Although we have a hose pipe ban, and according to the weather lady on TV this afternoon, over the past 2 years the monthly rain fall has only been above average for 3 of those months. The monthly rain fall has mainly fallen below average, hence the hosepipe ban.

Some places are expecting 50mm and over. 2 inches of water. Not much really, but this meager 2 inches brings with it ‘amber’ flood warnings.

Still, at least the boy’s like to sing ‘rain rain go away!’

Running in the rain?

I have been a bit lax on the running front lately, the wet mornings and evenings, puddle (small lake) covered pathways and grass verges have not been overly enticing to run on…not overly helped by the sound of the rain beating down on the bedroom windows, and the bed feeling extra warm and snug lately.

New running stuff.

I ran in a lightweight running jacket on Tuesday (the one that Virgin send you when you don’t make the ballot for the London Marathon – this was from last year), I thought it would make me claustrophobic, but it didn’t, I was actually quite comfortable. So I looked into buying one.

I went to the local Asics store yesterday afternoon and bought a new one, a nice lightweight black one (like the picture), also managed to get myself a running cap. I am not one for wearing baseball caps or running caps, so I felt a bit odd trying it on in the store, let alone running with one. I got the one in the picture.

Rain Rain Go Away

All morning I had been itching to get out, it had been raining constantly, a light drizzle, then heavy – constant. I couldn’t wait to wear my new cap and running jacket, my new protection against the horrid weather.

Around mid afternoon I declared that I would be going out for a run. I threw my kit on and proceeded to piss-ball around for ages with the jacket, my ear phones and my bottle belt (which was new too), I was getting the hump, I need to work on my running preparation time, especially for morning runs. I finally managed to get out of the front door.

Two minutes into the run, the rain stopped…the clouds parted, and for the next 45 minutes the sun shone gloriously as I trekked out a 5 mile route.

I was gutted, I was so looking forward to running in the rain, getting drenched and testing my new attire.

This is the non rain drenched run!