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.


Marathon Training Plan – Week 6

Already it’s week 6 of my marathon training plan, all ok up to now, I have missed a few runs here and there, which is annoying but unavoidable at the time. Where they have been missed I have tried to make up for them elsewhere.

All in all, I think I am pretty much on target, my main aim now is nailing the long runs and getting the distances in.

Here’s how this weeks marathon training plan worked out;

monday 13th august 2012

Monday’s are rest days, so I did just that.

tuesday 14th august 2012

Ashamed to say it, but I never managed a run today, not entirely my fault. OK so I couldn’t be arsed to get out of bed this morning, and opted for an extra hour or so in bed.

I decided I would go to the running club for the Tuesday evening training session, something I have wanted to do for ages, and been told I should be doing. As I was driving up the road near Strider’s HQ, the runners from the club all ran past me. It seems they had set off earlier.

I would never have caught up with them by the time I’d parked the car – so I turned around and went home feeling quite dispondent.

wednesday 15th august 2012

Right, so having missed a run yesterday I was mega keen to get out today. Didn’t get out of bed in time (feeling so tired in the mornings lately, probably the holiday catching up with me), so instead I went out this evening.

Target distance was 7 – 10 miles, target pace was 8:30 to 8:40 minutes per mile.

Happy to report both targets were met – well almost, I was a little slower on average pace at 8:42 minutes per mile, but it’s as near as damn it.

Here are the stats and the route.

thursday 16th august 2012

Running club night. I checked out the Springfield Striders website this morning to see what course we would be doing, and found that it was going to be 5K time trials this evening. Hopefully I could improve on my previous time, of which I thought was about 24 mins 50 (ish) seconds.

We ran the mile to the start, a gentle pace mainly downhill, into the park and to the starting point.

The route was as previous, along the path at the side ofthe river, under the bypass, over the footbridge, left down the footpath at the end of Fifth Avenue, which heads all the way to the Uni at the bottom of the other Avenues, round the back of the Uni, into the park over the bridge, then repeat for a 2nd lap, only to turn right after the final bridge and 100 yards top the finish. Nice and flat and simple…and tough.

I started at break neck speed, yet again. I was running around 6:50 – 7:00 minute pace for the first mile, I felt ok, but knew I would not be able to maintain this kind of pace and would probably drop down to about 8:00 very soon.

Instead I kept my breathing steady, and gave myself targets to reach; the underpass, the bridge, the next marshall, all the while trying to maintain this crazy pace. I did slow a little, my legs were like lead weights (probably still feeling the effects of yesterday’s 9 miler).

The second mile was slower, but only by 30 seconds, 7:30 minutes was pretty good going. Could I keep this up for the last mile or so?? In my head I broke the route down into small chunks and laughed to myself when I reached them, my legs were shot but I was keeping the pace up.

Mile 3 was 7:33 minutes. My overall time was 23:17. I had beaten my previous time. I was very happy, I thought I had knocked well over a minute off my pervious PB, it turns out though that my previous PB was 23:58, so only 40 seconds had been knocked off…even still I was buzzing!!

Here’s the new 5K PB stats.

I have a new target now for 5K, and that’s a sub 23 minute run.

A gentle run back to Strider’s HQ, warm the legs down a bit and head home.

friday 17th august 2012

Friday’s are rest days remember!

saturday 187th august 2012

We’re away this weekend, staying in Stevenage for my cousin’s wedding. We travelled up today and will be staying for a couple of nights, not getting a run in today (it’s far too hot to be running during the day), perhaps tomorrow.

sunday 19th august 2012

Managed to get up and go for a run this morning, not as early as I liked, nor did I run as far as I would of liked, but even at 8:30am it was stuffy, hot and humid.

Here’s the hilly run.

Wednesday 20th June 2012 – running a faster 5K

A quick 5K

This morning when I woke up I only had one objective.

That was running a faster 5K than I had ever run.

I’ve not done this for a while, the whole “I’ve got to beat my previous time” lark. In fact the the other week at running club when we did the 5K time trials was the last time I actually tried to run 5K as quick as I could, this morning I would attempt to beat my fastest time of 23 minutes and 53 seconds ,and that was probably 8 months ago, maybe longer.

Running a faster 5K

From the moment the GPS connected with the satellites (finally…) and I pressed start I ran at a pace I thought I could maintain for 25 minutes (this should be long enough for me to complete the 5K).

My aim was a pace of 7 minutes 40 seconds per mile. I started off OK, and the first mile was 7m 15s. I tried not to ease off, but I think I over egged it a bit again, the second mule was a bit slower at 7m 25s.

Too fast too quick

Annoyingly I dropped down to 7m 48s or the 3rd mile, I just wish that was how I had started the first mile, perhaps it would of been easier. Although to be fair, the splits were a lot closer than I thought they would be.

With more practice I will be able to maintain a pace, and hopefully get my 5K time down to 22 minutes.

For now though I had achieved my goal of running a faster 5K and clocked a time of 23 minutes 10 seconds – I was very happy.

My quickest 5K so far is here!

Saturday 16th June 2012 – Mind over matter

Saturday morning

I was up and out of bed all raring to go this morning, I felt good, and was looking forward to going for my run.

After the run on Thursday at the running club I had planned to tweak one of my usual routes a little to try and incorporate part of the run from Thursday. This would form the last part of the run and entail running through the back of Beaulieu Park and round the back of Newhall School and down to the A12, before heading home.

Today’s target was 13 miles.

Mind over matter

I may have mentioned this before, but I have struggled for quite sometime to get through the 3rd mile of each run, except when running a 5K. It’s within this mile that I get the ‘white flag’ moments.

You know those moments when you are already planning a shorter router. Or wondering how far you will get before you will stop and call someone to come and get you. Or if that ever so slightly aching leg or arm will stop your run today. Anything that will make you stop and turn around and go home. These ‘white flag’ moments drive me nuts. I hate them.

The odd thing is, as soon as the GPS or iPhone indicates that I have passed the 4 mile mark, my whole mentality changes, and I look forward to the rest of the run.

It’s a case of mind over matter really. Throughout the 3rd mile I am constantly fighting the darker thoughts and ‘using the force’ as it were.

There go my legs

The run started well, the first two miles around the village were good, I wanted to try and maintain a steady pace. I needed to complete my long runs at a continuous pace, practice for completing the half marathon and marathons I had planned.

All was going well, we’ll skip the 3rd mile and head straight to mile 6. I had ran through Chelmer Village and was now heading back up towards the running club HQ, and my legs stopped moving. Now warning. No pains, niggles or aches. They just stopped.

I walked for about 30 seconds, took and energy gel and some mouthfuls of water from the bottle and continued to run as if nothing had happened.  I was baffled, and remain so.

Heading up to Beaulieu Park I had a decision to make, did I go straight on and head for the route around the back of Newhall School or did I turn right and head for home, thus cutting the run short by a couple of miles.

I went right. Not sure why I had stopped earlier, I didn’t want to risk anything so I opted for the shorter route. I headed back towards the A12 interchange and was just starting the 2 mile straight towards home and my legs stopped again.

I walked for another 30 seconds, took another energy gel and began again, slowly making my way back home.

I managed to complete the 10 mile route in 1h 34m – ok it was slower than I would of liked, but I am still not sure why my legs stopped moving, and wasn’t going to increase the pace just in case.

Here’s the geeky bit!

Thursday 14th June 2012 – Chelmsford running routes

Club night

Thursdays seem to come round so quickly, which isn’t a bad thing as it’s the only day I really get to run with other people and always come away feeling like I have given 100%. Plus it’s nice to have a bit of a natter to other people as I run, and to find out a bit about my fellow club mates, I am after all a newbie here!

It’s always nice to get there as the room is filling up, lots of buzz about the room and every time I’ve been so far there has been someone new joining that night. Running seems to be growing in popularity as a recreational past-time and great way to keep fit, plus clubs also have a great social side too.

Back to school

Tonight’s run would be the Newhall route. A 6.5 mile run up and around the large private school next to Beaulieu Park. This was the route I first ran with the club, tonight I would try to run a bit slower than last time, my legs felt heavy around 5 miles on the previous run.

As Chelmsford running routes go, this one has a good mix. It was mainly running on pavement except for when you run along dirt tracks at the back of Beaulieu Park, then cut across a couple of fields along the back perimeter of the school, then it’s back down the long drive of the school to the roundabout at the A12. A steady mile or so along the pavement, past the BMW garage towards BnQ and then back towards HQ.

The run

It was quite overcast today and we’d been threatened with rain so I went out with my running jacket on expecting a drop of the wet stuff.

We all set off at a nice steady pace, I tagged in with a couple of guys that are quicker than me, the pace was manageable but after a couple of miles I was breathing hard. The bloody 3 mile mental block / barrier I go through each and every time is so frustrating. I wanted to stop and walk. I just had to keep going, as soon as we got to mile 4 I was fine.

Oh and as for the rain, no such thing. The sun came out and ensured I was toasty warm. Too warm at times.

I really enjoy this route, the mix of road running and off roading combined with a manageable distance make it good to run. I finished the 6.64 mile run in just under 58 minutes. A great run.

This is the route

Saturday 2nd June 2012 – The Garmin 110 Forerunner

Upping things a little

As you know I’ve been trying to improve my running a bit, I’ve been seeking more motivation and I have been taking my running a little more seriously.

I have got back into a running routine, I am plotting and running different courses and routes. I have joined a running club and I have entered races. I have even entered the Amsterdam Marathon.

All of these things are good and I am feeling better about my running, the main thing that is getting on my nerves and leaving me frustrated about my running is the fact that I seem to set off far too quickly and flag majorly towards the end of the run or race.

I need help with my pace.

The Garmin 110 forerunner

I recall a year or so ago talking to a guy about running, he was all excited about a new GPS watch he had just bought. He was a very serious runner, he’d completed a few marathons and he said that if I was serious about my running I should get one, I would need one.

I remember thinking it was a) a bit geeky and b) far above my level of running, after all at the time I was only running to keep fit.

Little did I know that it would become so addictive, and I would find myself where I am with it today. He was right, I needed a GPS watch. Mainly to keep track of my pace, something I could look at and measure how fast I was going and whether I needed to increase or decrease my pace.

I have done some research, and all GPS watches seem to do the same sort of thing, prices ranging from £100 to £300 – £400. I didn’t want to spend a fortune, but wanted something practical that would offer me the basic information I needed; mainly distance, pace set and current pace.

The Garmin 110 Forerunner seemed to be the most suitable, and upon reading reviews from others who had purchased it, it was quickly looking the likely choice.

Using the Garmin 110 Forerunner

Ok, so when my shiny new toy arrived yesterday I couldn’t wait to try it out.

I found it easy to set up, the small easy guide manual did what it said on the cover. I put it straight on charge ready for using it today.

I was going to try a new country lane route today, I was up early and heading out the door, ready to test the Garmin 110 Forerunner out.

Two minutes later I was still standing outside the front door as the watch searched for satellites….still waiting…

It finally connected, I pressed start and set off at a fairly rapid pace, a quick glance at the watch told me I was running sub 8 minute mile, so I eased off a little. After half a mile or so I turned right off of the main road and headed for the back lanes, towards Utling, fortunately there was little traffic, the air was cool and I was smiling.

A gentle run down hill (this could only mean one thing…time for a hill), and across a ford, a gentle right hand bend and then up hill. A bugger of a hill too. But I was ok, I felt good, I had paced myself for a change.

I ran through Utling and then onwards and through Hatfield Peveral, then downhill alongside the A12 and up towards Boreham. The 3/4 mile run up hill towards Boreham. It was tough going, but enjoyable.

I managed to clock 6.08 miles in about 51 minutes.

Here’s the new route with the shiny new watch!

Sunday 27th May 2012 – Preparing for a half marathon

Planning a run

I had planned today’s run a week or so ago. I was going to try to complete a 12 mile run with Crispy, my graphic designer mate. He had entered the Southend half marathon too, so we were going to get out for a run together.

We had covered 10 miles a month or so ago, and as much as it was a good run from my house, through the village and in and around Springfield and back, we decided that this time I would drive to Crispy’s and we’d run from his house.

Preparing for a half marathon

Crispy and I are both confident enough runners to be able to cover the 13.1 miles of a half marathon, I have run that distance and further on a number of occasions, but lately the furthest I had run was about 10 miles, most recently the Edmund Carr Charity Race a couple of weekends ago.

I think that what ever the distance of the race that you are going to run, you should of run that far a couple of times prior to running it, just so you are aware of your mental state, whether your body can cope with it, whether you can maintain that pace and whether you are in a fit enough state to complete the race.

It may be that you are more comfortable with 10k or 10 miles, and anything over and above that is way out of your comfort zone.

So today’s 12 miles would be suitable preparation for the actually race in 2 weeks time.

Training sensibly

By the time I got to Crispy’s house at 9am the temperature was already 18-19 degrees, it was warm and humid. Not ideal running conditions for me.

Crispy had plotted out a good route through country lanes, away from heavy traffic. Lots of fresh air and countryside, and as it would turn out, just enough shaded parts to take the edge off.

We decided that it would be more sensible to stop running if we were struggling with the heat or cut the route short, a much slower pace of between 9:00 minutes and 9:30 minutes per mile would be more suitable.

We set out and clocked the first mile at 9:17, a nice steady pace. The sun was beating down, but I knew we’d be ok, and we’d get to the end ok.

I love hills

We were passed by 3 or 4 cars in the first five or six miles, half a dozen cyclists over took us, and we crossed paths with a couple of other folk out for a run. I was pleasant and bearable – just.

One thing that James forgot to mention though were the hills. The first one was similar to the big one from Baddow last week, the second one wasn’t as bad, but bad enough. “how many more of these hills?” I asked Crispy, “just one, and it’s worse than those two – sorry, I forgot to mention the hills didn’t I?” he said.

We started on the third hill, it was a bugger, there was little shade around, we’d been slipping into the shadows as and when we could throughout the run so far, but this hill was exposed, it was a good half a mile long and seemed relentless.

Finally getting to the top and turning a corner I could see the road ahead wound round a corner, and it looked as if we would be going up hill again.

“Sorry mate, there is just one more hill, not good at explaining routes am I?”

Bugger. Was my first thought, but hey, we’re here now and there is no way I am stopping now. We tackled that hill, both of us grinding out step after step up that steep incline, and the feeling of achievement when we reached the top was immense.

The sensible route

At 7.5 miles we had a decision to make, did we go for the full 12 miles or cut it short and do 9-10 miles? We we both shattered. The hills and the heat had taken their tolls, to try and be heroes and possibly risk an injury would be silly, we decided to take it easy and head back the short route. Which was good cos it was downhill all the way home.

We managed 9.05 miles in 1 hour 26 minutes. Not quick by any means, but it felt good to have done it.

We’ve planned to do the course again in a weeks time – hopefully it will be a little cooler.

Here’s the hot hilly 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!

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.

Thursday 19th April 2012 – A steady pace


I’ve changed it up a little this week, I rested yesterday and went for a run this morning instead. In hindsight a good idea, my legs felt good and I was raring to go again when the alarm went off.

Slightly warmer than Tuesday morning, the sun was up and beginning to rise as I set off.

Today’s target was 5-6 miles, pretty much the same route and distance as Tuesday, and hopefully the same kind of pace too.

Mind over matter

I need to get over the mental blocks of the first mile or so. The constant ‘only going to do a few miles’. ‘I’ll turn back at the next corner’, thoughts that go through my mind at the early stages of a run drive me nuts.

Does every runner experience this?


Miles 3 to 5 were much easier. I fell into a good stride and at a comfortable pace.

Checking my app as I reached home again it turned out that I had almost matched the distance, the time and the pace of Tuesday’s run. Quite incredible really.

I wonder if I can maintain that kind of pace again over the same distance?

Here’s the route and the run.