Marathon Training Plan – Week 3

Marathon training plan – week 3

This is week 3 of my marathon training plan – 13 more weeks to go after this one.

I had a bit of a bad end to last week’s runs, so I am more determined to complete this week’s runs in fine form.

Monday 23rd July 2012

Today was supposed to be a rest day, but seeing as I missed a couple over the weekend, I headed out for a few miles. Wifey and I had spent the morning chilling out without the boys, both of us had taken the day off work, and whilst I enjoy spending time alone with her, I couldn’t resist heading out for a few miles today.

The weather is scorching at the moment, and I went out without a top on, covered in plenty of sun cream. It was nice to feel the heat and a slight breeze on me as I ran / plodded around the village.

Far too hot to run at a silly pace.

Here’s the results from the scorchingly hot run.

Tuesday 24th july 2012

A fresh start to the morning, and the marathon training plan said it was a 40 minute steady run today.

We’d had a busy weekend and I was shattered, and could quite easily have stayed in bed this morning, but I was up and out early, keen to get running, blow the cobwebs away a bit. After yesterday’s slow plod in the heat, I wanted to get a bit of pace up, and a bit of distance too.

A good 5 miles this morning, it a good 43 minutes.

Here’s the run.

wednesday 25th july 2012

Ok, so today is a 40 minute easy run, I ran the same route as yesterday, but a little faster this time. Managing to do the 5 miles in just under 41 minutes, a decent pace, and to be honest I could of probably pushed myself that little bit harder!

Here are the stats.

thursday 26th july 2012

Today’s run was supposed to be 6 mile tempo run according to the marathon training plan, but seeing as it was a Thursday and running club day, I would swap the tempo run for a long run (I missed the long run on Sunday).

Tonight’s running club route was Graces, either a 3 mile, 6 mile or 8 mile route. I opted for the 8 mile route. This takes in about 3-4 miles running along roads, and the rest is riverside running or through fields. It’s got a swine of a hill at about 4 miles, but it’s a great route and one I really enjoy.

Due to the slow running through the long grass at riverside and edges of the field, a much needed pee stop and stopping to allow others to cross the bridges, my time was not fast, just over 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Here’s the route and the stats.

friday 27th july 2012

Another fantastic rest day.

saturday 28th july 2012

I missed today’s run as it was Mum’s 60th, so we were all over there for celebrations.

sunday 29th july 2012

Today was due a long 9 miler, but after drinking 1 too many yesterday, I opted for a 30 minute easy run that I missed yesterday.

The day started off as another scorcher, we got home around midday and after doing a few chores and bits and pieces around the house I decided it was time for a run. It had began to rain on and off, so the air was now slightly cooler, better running conditions.

I headed out around 5pm, stopping only to go back and put my running jacket on, the massive blue / black / grey cloud lingering overhead looked like a thunderstorm! I quite like running in the run.

No such luck, the rain held off and the sun beamed upon me the whole route.

I set off at a steady pace, the plan was for an easy 5K with the intention to hit the first mile at around the 9 minute mark, and then pick up a little for the next 2. I tried to run slowly, but as much as I wanted to run at a 9 minute pace, I managed about 8:45 mins per mile.

The second and third miles were quicker, a few times I was running at sub 8 minutes, but averaged both at around 8:15 per mile. I felt good and strong at that pace, I’m getting quicker and more comfortable with how I am running.

Here are the stats.



Marathon Training Plan – Week 2

Marathon training plan – week 2

This is the second week of my marathon training plan, the first week went well, but then it was pretty easy, it’s going to get a lot harder and more intense as the weeks go on.

But then if it was easy it wouldn’t be worth doing.

monday 16th july 2012

What a great way to start the week – a rest day, that means a lay in!

tuesday 17th july 2012

Today’s run was down as a ’30 mins easy run’, so I stuck to the same route around the village, distance is between 3 and 4 miles at a nice steady pace.

Here’s today’s stats.

wednesday 18th july 2012

Tempo running today for 40 minutes, this consisted of running for 9 minutes at a slow to easy pace, then 16-17 minutes running under 8 minute miles (I found this quite tough, trying to maintain a quick speed, and continuously looking at my bloody watch to make sure I wasn’t going over the 8 mins per mile).

This took me to the 3 mile mark, I then slowed up a little to run at my 10k pace.

This was my first attempt at tempo running, and it may take me a couple of goes to get into it a bit. At the end of it I felt out of breath, it had been a great run, I’d certainly worked hard and pushed myself for once!

Here is today’s run and info.

thursday 19th july 2012

Today was down to be 5 miles easy run, but seeing as today is a Thursday, this means it’s running club night with the Springfield Striders, normally we’d go for a 5-6 mile run, which would of suited me and the marathon training plan.

For the last week or so I have been suffering a bit from a stinking cold and an equally annoying cough to accompany it. I haven’t been letting this stop me though.

Tonight, when we set out for the run from the running club I felt ok, after a mile or so my chest was beginning to burn and feel tight and my legs were like lead. At almost 2 miles I decided I was going to pull out, I eased off from the crowd I was running with, and then sloped off left when everyone else had gone right.

I limped back to the running club at a slow pace, I got back to the car and flopped onto the driver’s seat, it took me almost 15 minutes to get my breath back before I drove home. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, but I knew it was my body telling me I needed to chill out!

This is the link to today’s run.

friday 20th july 2012

Hoorah – rest day!

saturday 21st july 2012

Unfortunately due to Wifey’s and number 1 son’s birthday celebrations, and preperation for the party and festivities I never managed to get out for my run today. Not ideal, but hopeing to make the time up.

sunday 22nd july 2012

I was hoping to get a few miles under my belt today, but this never happened. Instead I spent the day with my family enjoying the sunshine and a pub lunch!

I will definitely be running tomorrow!

Thursday 28th June 2012 – multi terrain running

A cunning plan

Whilst driving to work today I was thinking about tomorrow morning. Already thinking ahead. The reason for this was I would be riding my bicycle to work (I would be using a company car over the weekend – unable to drive two cars home), the plan would be to put the bike in the boot for the journey home.

So anyway, this got me thinking, why not ride my bike to the running club tonight, complete the run / route and then ride the bike home. Simples. It was four miles from home to the running club. That was manageable right?

I’d forgotten one thing

I was looking forward to tonight’s mini endurance test. Like the fool that I am.

To be honest the ride to the club wasn’t too bad, it took me just over 20 minutes to get there. That was the easy part. I had failed to do one thing today, and that was to check which route we would be running is evening at the club. The route is always posted on the website on the day, this was something I had totally over looked.

It turned out the route wasn’t a simple 5 miler, along tarmac covered pathways, nope, this was partly along pathways, but mainly running along the river bank, through fields, and around fields for about 8.5 miles.

The run was far from easy, I struggle running through fields, I struggle with the uneven surface and nigh on running one foot inline with the other…and hoping the person in front of you doesn’t go for a burton.

Back on my bike

It was tough but enjoyable. I managed to run it in 1 hour 15 minutes, not bad considering the multi terrain running challenge.

So once we were back at the running club HQ it time for stretch and then back on my bike for the four mile ride home. Perhaps a little slower than the ride to the club, and a little more up hill.

In had ridden 8 miles and ran 8.5 miles. I was knackered..but buzzing..!

This is the run.

Running though the fields.

Thursday 21st June 2012 – Riverside running

Thursday – Running club

Thursday already, it rolls around so quickly.

Today’s run was with the running club, I’d checked the website to see which route we would be running this evening, it seems we would be running the river route. I’d not run this one before, it looked about 6 miles. I was looking forward to it.

Running conditions

We’ve had a bit of rain recently, but this evening was warm with a slight breeze, nice conditions to run in.

We headed out of the running club HQ and over the bridge, down past the Audi garage to the roundabout, straight across and turned left. A public footpath through trees and thickets past a few houses and down to the river.

With all the sun and heavy rain we had been experiencing lately the bushes, grass and nettles had grown thick and luscious, which was nice, except they intruded across the foot path at the side of the river, that mixed with the slippery muddy conditions underfoot made for an interesting, careful and steady trot.

Slip sliding away

We ran single file along the river for a mile or so, through Sandford Mill and onwards towards the bypass. A small group of us eked our way through the grass, skipping over muddy puddles and dodging nettles.

Why is it there are always nettles crossing the path where there is lots of mud? You either get stung or go ankle deep in the brown stuff!

The chap behind me was quiet, I guessed he was concentrating as hard as I was on balance and not getting stung. “I’m angry!” he suddenly said. I shouted over my shoulder “what’s the matter?”. It turns out he had slipped over (that’s why he was quiet). I felt for him a bit, the last thing I wanted to do was to slip and injure myself.

Suddenly the lady in front of me went over. Her left foot caught a very slippery patch and down she went. Luckily I was some 15-20ft behind her otherwise there may have been a pile of bodies laying in the mud and nettles!

Home stretch

We reached the bypass, by now it was just me and the guy that had fallen over behind me earlier, we crossed a small bridge and ran across a field towards the under pass. It was so much nicer to have some more solid ground underfoot. Through the under pass and back up onto the pavement. The last three quarters of a mile up to club HQ.

We were caked in mud, him more so than me. Our legs were red and stinging. It felt brilliant. What a great route!! I’d thoroughly enjoyed it, we’d completed about 5.5 miles in about 48 minutes.

Riverside running; it takes concentration, it’s muddy and full of nettles – I loved it!

Can’t wait to see what happens next week!

Slippery and packed with stinging nettles, here’s the route!

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!

Thursday 24th May 2012 – 5K time trials

British summertime

We had a good few days of lovely warm weather. I am not sure how long it is going to last, but it’s hot, people are happier (unless they are stuck in traffic or stuck on a packed train on the underground), the flowers are well in blossom, and everywhere around here is getting greener by the day.

This will probably be the only week or so of really good weather this year, so we should make the most of it. Although some of us will still be moaning because it is too hot.

5K time trials.

This was my second week at the running club, I had been looking forward to going all day. Having checked out the website earlier in the week, I noted that there would be 5K time trials this week.

5K? Simple. I had ran than time and time again. 5K time trials? I guessed that was a race. Run it as fast as you can…right?

I wasn’t overly concerned, I had ran 5K in under 24 minutes before, I thought that if I pushed myself I would be able to do it again.

We met at the club house and ran a mile or so to the parkland behind Chelmsford University. The 30 or so of us lined up, listened to directions of the route we were going to take. Two laps, along the river, under the underpass, keep on going, turn right, over the bridge, left again along the back of the Avenues, through the University car park, around the front of the University, around the back of what looked like the food hall, over the bridge on the left hand side, turn left for lap two.

Too fast too soon

As always, I got over cocky and over-confident, thinking I was going to breeze it. The competitive side of me came out instead of the sensible side.  I ran off at such a pace that when the app belted out my time at the first mile, it was it was 6 mins 57 secs. Probably the fastest first mile I had ever run. Foolishly I hadn’t taken into account the wonderfully warm evening, it must of been about 18-20 degrees, and it was humid, that didn’t help with my running. Not one little tiny bit!

No surprise then that my second mile was a lot slower at 7 mins 54 secs and the third mile was 8 mins 15 secs. I was properly shagged. I need to learn ‘less haste more speed’ theory a little more.

I may have worn myself out too quickly but I was happy to finish in 24 mins 45 secs, not last by any means but the first few to finish did it about 5 or 6 minutes quicker than me…that was quick!

I’ve set myself a marker now, and will be aiming to get under 24 minutes (in a sensible manner) next time. One day I want to get to 20 minutes. I bit more practice me thinks!

So, once we had all finished, and got our breath back, we all ran back to the clubhouse, a nice gentle up hill mile long run. Lovely.

Here’s the route and time.

Chelmsford Running Club

Running alone

There’s something nice about running alone, you can run at your own pace, you can increase or decrease your speed when you want, you can run where you want to and you can run when you want to.

You can watch and listen to the world go past as you run along streets, by streams or through woods and fields. You can experience the sights and smells alone, special moments when you see a deer an owl or a kingfisher, ok so it may be nice to share those moments, but it’s those moments that make MY run special. A reason why I like to run alone.

The solitude of running; that YOU time of the day. If it’s before or after work, its weekends, its running in the sun, snow or rain, it’s that short spell of freedom that allows you to break away from family or work stuff and come back refreshed and re focussed, de stressed and calm. Another reason why I like to run alone.

But running alone doesn’t help to improve your running. Nor does it help to get you used to running in a race or group running.

Running alone does not give you a pat on the back, or those words of encouragement when you want to throw the towel in, it doesn’t push you to improve your speed, it doesn’t give you a team of runners who are there for you and it certainly doesn’t give you another social aspect to your life.

Chelmsford Running Club

A year or so ago a friend of mine suggested I join a running club. “I don’t need a club to run” I said, full of myself. At the time I probably didn’t. I was achieving my own little goals under my own motivation and drive, something which I continued to do.

Then just after Christmas just gone I looked up “Chelmsford running club” on google, there in front if me were the words “Springfield Striders running club”. I took a quick nose at the website, they met up a couple of times per week, loads of members seemed to regularly win medals and they were fairly local.

I forgot all about them for a while, my time to be one a Strider was not yet.

Since I have booked myself into the upcoming races I have struggled to motivate myself a bit. Getting up in the mornings is a struggle (which is odd considering there’s normally daylight steaming through the curtains and it’s not dark at 5:30am). I knew I needed to do something to help with getting out and improving my distances and run times if I was going to finish these races.

So two weeks ago I punched “Chelmsford running club” into google again. Again there were the “Springfield Striders” in front of me. I decided there and then that I was going to attend a meeting on a Thursday the following week.

Joining a running club

I was very much looking forward to Thursday evening.

I was a bit nervous when I arrived, I didn’t know what to expect, or where or how far we would be running. What if I was too slow? What if I couldn’t keep up? What if I was out of my depth? What if I made a total tit of myself! Just…what if..?

I needn’t have worried. The first person I spoke to was very nice and friendly. I explained it was my first time and that I ran “a bit”. She introduced me to a member called Paul (which was easy to remember), we chatted for a bit before we went out. Paul has ran numerous races and completed 12 marathons, all in quite a short space of time.

Tonight we would be running 5 miles. Brilliant. Or unless you are Paul’s GPS system 5 is actually 6.5 miles.

Paul and I set off at a good pace, after a few hundred yards we were joined by another couple of guys. We ran. We chatted. We laughed and joked. We continually encouraged each other throughout the whole run. Time flew past.

I struggled a little with the slightly quicker pace, but I felt rejuvenated. I wanted to do it again. Back at HQ we warmed down and said our goodbyes.

I was buzzing. Why the bloody hell hadn’t I done this ages ago??

If you are thinking of joining a running club then do it. Now.

There are lots of additional benefits to it, discount from running stores, discount from race entry fees and help and encouragement from other people just like you!

Go on…do it

This was the 6.5 mile route!

My first proper race!

The Saucony 10k – Chelmsford

How on earth did I get to enter my first race? Well, it was quite easy really. I had been running for a year or so, and had not long attempted and completed my first 10k run/jog. And I remember thinking “that was easy enough”. (Seriously, sometimes I am my own worst enemy).

I looked online for local races, and found that in 3 weeks time there was the Chelmsford Saucony 10k – all runners welcome. Brilliant. I printed off the registration form and sent it off with my cheque!

Remember I had only run 10k once, and I had 3 weeks until the race, less than 3 weeks now.


I continued my regular training, hitting the roads 3 mornings per week with a 5k and I ran a 10k on the Saturdays with a quick 5k on the Sundays.

The thing was, the race was on a Sunday, so I didn’t train on the Saturday before as I was reserving energy. My last run before the race was on the Thursday, I was concerned I would injure myself and therefor not be able to compete, and I was determined to run.

All in all I had ran 10k a grand total of 3 times before entering a 10k race. In hindsight probably not enough.

Before the race.

I remember the morning of the race, I was fidgety, I kept looking at the time (the race started at 2pm), I was ready to go at 12pm. My wife said to me, “why don’t you just go, get there and relax a bit?” Wise words. So off I went.

My palms were clammy, was I actually ready for this? I knew I was. Only an hour of my life,  perhaps less, perhaps? Hopefully less, I didn’t want to finish last, what if I finished last? Would everyone laugh at me? Did I have the right kit on, had I remembered to put pants on? (It was a road race, and the roads were not shut off to traffic, what if I got hit by a car, always wear clean pants right?)….god I hadn’t even got in the car yet and I was bloody nervous.

I arrived at the venue and there were lots of people milling about, talking, laughing, stretching all looking relaxed. I was alone and bricking myself. I went to register, then walked to the changing rooms. Loads of others getting changed, I got my kit on, pinned my number on (number 74), at that point I felt really really nervous. I had a number, as did everyone around me. This was race day. 300-400 people in a race. Nervous. So very nervous.

Take your marks.

We all started walking to the start line (about a ten minute walk away). I joined a friendly couple and their daughter in nervous chat and laughter, it was her first race too (I had to beat her – bloody competitive edge in me).

Wifey and the boys arrived at the start line to see me off, this helped a lot, I calmed down and kissed them all goodbye, and took my place amongst the masses. Only an hour (or less) right? I needed the loo…

Now then, my best time for running 10k was 58 minutes 25 seconds – and that was my target for today, under an hour.

The gun went off, I heard “good luck daddy” from wifey and the boys and off I ran.

The course.

Hmm how best to describe the course? Country lanes, tight bends, cold, sunny, oh and hilly. Bloody hilly. And no music. This would be my first run without my music to listen to, no pace setting music, nothing to help me focus. That’s Health and Safety for you.

The race.

I started OK I think. I felt alright, tried to settle in a bit. Just after the first mile marker the chap I had been talking to before the race ran past and said “good start, 8 minutes for the first mile” and off he went.

Hang on. 8 minutes? I was going too fast. My average pace was about 9 minutes 30. I tried to slow a little, but each time I did, I saw someone else to overtake (I told you I was competitive). I was annoying myself.

All I could hear was breathing, panting and gasping (not just me). It was terribly distracting. Coming up to 2 miles I wanted stop and go home. Fact.

Just before 3 miles my calf muscles decided enough was enough and they didn’t want to play anymore, they seized up a bit. I stopped running and walked for 20 seconds, got overtaken by 3 people and began running again. The fact I had been overtaken spurred me on to keep going.

At 4 miles I checked my watch for the first time, it read 30 minutes 14 seconds. What the f…? I had been running at break neck speed (for me anyway). No wonder my calves had left me and gone home! That worked out roughly at 7 minutes 30 seconds per mile. I was way too quick for my own good.

I stopped running. I walked for a bit and did a quick calculation. I wanted to finish in under an hour. My calves were killing me. I had done 4 miles in half an hour, I had about 2 and a bit miles to go, and I had half hour to do it. I was going to achieve my goal.

I started running again, at a slower pace. The hills were agony, I was overtaken by quite a few people, but I was now enjoying it. My legs stopped aching, and I was really enjoying it. I noticed people along the road were cheering and waving at all the runners – had they been doing that the whole race?

The 6 mile marker was lovely, I nearly stopped to give it a great big hug, but kept on going. People who had finished already were walking past me heading home, I didn’t have far to go. I kept on.

Round a little bend up into the athletics stadium onto the running track and there was the finish line, and bugger me, there was Wifey and the boys clapping and cheering me on. God it was wonderful to see them, I was very emotional at that part, fortunately they never got to see me wipe away a little tear after I had crossed the line.

Crossed the line. Did you read that bit? I crossed the line. I finished the race and in a pretty good time too, I did it in 53 minutes and 43 seconds. I knocked 5 minutes off of my personal best.

I was elated. I was pumped. I wanted to run it again. I wanted to give wifey and the boys a big hug. What an amazing feeling, those of you who have done it will know what I am talking about.

You can see all the results here. I was position 230 out of 329.

Not bad for my first race.

I wonder what it feels like to complete a Marathon..?