This is (initially at least), the story of my preparations for the Flora London Marathon in April 06. I ran i last year, raising money for charity - and may have to do so again this year - but my goal this year is to run below 3hrs 15 minutes, which will get me automatic entry for the next two years - here's hoping!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Brass Monkey Half

Happy boy - not only have I wangled an 18 miler out of today, I've also run just over 13 miles of it at a pretty speedy pace for me and taken another 2:45 off my half marathon PB. Hurrah!!

It works like this: warm up for 3 miles at jsut pver 8 min mile pace, sympathising with BAR (or should thet be HAR - Hypochondriac Across the Road?) about his foot, his stomach problems, his cold etc etc.

Then run Brass Monkey half in a new PB, breaking the magic 85min barrier in the process.

the warm down for a mile with woman from Ilkley who's just stormed a 1:25:40-odd, then meet the plucky BAR who's also smashed his PB (1:37 being outstanding for someone who should by rights be bed-ridden), but who gets lonely warming down by himself so run another mile with him!.

Brilliant, brilliant race - well organised, flat as you like, friendly marshalls, polite traffic(!) and a decent sweatshirt at the end.

Might run tomorrow, or might be rude and go to the club Tuesday whilst some friends come over to stay before we go skiing on Wednesday...

Garmin numbers (race only): 13.21 miles (I know...) in 1:24:42, average pace 6:24 min miles, average HR 158 (78% WHR).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Track session and bonus run!

Didn't post yesterday, but had a good pre-half marathon sesion down the track. A few of us are "halfing" on Sunday, so we had a good warm-up then ran 2 lots of 6 laps (2,400m - or a mile and a half nigh on) with an 800m recovery in between. Intention was to run them at half marathon pace, so pleased when I hit my intended 6:40min mile pace almost bang on - out of 12 laps only the first and last weren't spot on 1:40 target time, and they were both quicker. No pain from anywhere unexpected, and finished the session feeling pretty good.

Was supposed to be going over to Chester for a meeting this afternoon, but decided to do it by phone instead, so managed an early dart today for once. After a hopeless wander round TK Maxx to try and find Lily a fleece for skiing, I tried a bizarre route home (anything to avoid Keighley...), and got back about 5.30 - so decided to get a few miles in before tea.

Ran my usual 6 miler, but tried very hard to take it very easy, so kept it about 8 min mile pace. It was very windy, but it was behind on the way out (which is also up), so came home feeling good in a tiny bit short of 47 mins, meaning 7:49min mile pace felt very easy indeed - don't want to count any chickens, but that's only 15 seconds outside marathon pace, so things are looking good before my 'mid-season break' after Sunday.

I'll run Monday, hopefully, but then won't run at all for a week as I'll be skiing till Sunday night.

Garmin stats: 6 miles in 46:59, average pace 7:49 min mile, average HR 139bpm (pleased with that) - 65% WHR

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Club night, but no andy...

ITB a bit sore yesterday, so decided to give the club a miss - it's nearly always at least 8 miles, and with one or two male egos doing the rounds there's usually a fast hill or two. Paid off when I woke up this morning with leggies feeling groovy.

Managed to have my 5 o'clock meeting in the car on the way home (how good are conference calls?) then went out for 4 pain-free miles - intended to do 8, but we had the Tesco man coming at 7 o'clock. ran steady away, and did it in just under 30 mins.

Garmin: 4 miles, 29:37mins - average pace 7:24, average HR 142bpm (67% WHR).

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Another one - longer and slower...

A tad fatigued now, after my longest LSR to date. Same route as the last long one, over into Wharfedale then down the valley towards Ilkley. Adde half a mile on before the turn, which got me to a couple of seconds short of an hour and a quarter. Didn't manage the negative split, but given the terrain this is hardly surprising. Anyway - check this out - it's called Motion Based, and is some softwar that enables you to upload your Garmin track and get more analysis than Garmin's own software, and (I'm soooo excited!!) downloads your route into Google Earth. Now I know I've got Memory Map, so have an aerial photo of the Dales, but this is fab!!

Interesting that Motion Based gives a total of feet of ascent - according to that this run involves 2,400' - hence why I'm not surprised about the lack of negative split:

Anyway - how did it go - 19 miles, which I'm really pleased with, as it didn't start to feel tough till just short of 17 miles, and the pace was just under 8 min miles, which, looking back to last year's Garmin numbers is about 40 seconds a mile quicker than I was doing those sort of distances last time. Got 3 weeks off long ones now (although might try and fit a 15 miler in somewhere), then a coupld of weeks where I'd like to get a couple more 18/20m in, before skiing trip #2 - and after than it's big miles every week until taper time...

Garmin stats: 19 miles in 2:30:54, average pace 7:56min miles, average HR 142bpm, 67% of WHR.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

A brisk 6 miles

Seem to be in danger of turning into a "3 sessions at 8min miles and one track sesh" runner at the moment, so went out for my saturday run and went a bit harder than usual. Felt very hard, actually, and as i had to sprint like stink to get under 7 min mile pace I was feeling like I need to more of this sort of thing.

Usual Halton East circuit, with miles of 7:34, 7:14, 7:08, 6:43, 6:43 and 6:26 to finish - garmin output below:

You can see from the elevation (green line) that it's basically up a hill and back down again, hence the mile splits.

Garmin numbers: 6:00 miles in 41:51, average pace 6:58 min miles, average HR 151bpm (73% of max). Need to do some more runs with higher average HRs before marathon day, I reckon.

Big 'un tomorrow...

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Counting's really hard!

Tough session down the track tonight - few laps warm up, then a few drills (high steps, back flips, skipping, 4x100m strides) then 5x1,000m with 200m recoveries. Ran the first k a bit quick (3:48) but then settled into what's about my 10k pace of 3:55 per k (which is about 39:10 for 10k). Quite surprised to see a couple of the lads stop after 4 reps, but carried on manfully, feeling very virtuous in the fact that I'd completed the session.

Ran my last k in 3:53, and jogged triumphantly round to the lads.

"Six, eh?" they said.

Ah...that was why they'd finished "early" - they can count to 5...

Silly old me.

Rest tomorrow, then 6 miles Saturday and another 18 Sunday, hopefully, which'll give me another 40 mile week, before a "mini-taper" for Brass Monkey half on 22nd (and then skiing on 25th!!!!!).

Wednesday, January 11, 2006


Bit of a lumpy one in Edinburgh last night. Was away with work, and am off beer (actually make that cutting down - see late) so instead of the usual 'get to hotel, chack in, meet in the bar for a pint' I decided to go for a run. All the luddites who pooh-pooh Gamins and Memory Map etc - take heed:

Planned aroute in MM, downloaded to garmin then had a great run round a city I don't know without having to constantly stop and mess about with street maps etc. For those that know Edinburgh I ran down from Grassmarket (nice hotel - Apex International), then round the wibbly wobbly road round Arthur's Seat, turned back on myself to go round the loch, down to Craigmillar Castle then pretty much followed the A7 back into town. Profile above - the big pointy bit is Arthur's Seat.

The we went out for a nice Italian (Tuscany?), where I resisted the temptation to drink beer, but when we came down it was tipping it down, so we darted into a pub. Ended up joiningin a bizarre pub quiz MS'd by a somewhat eccentric American girl, competing for the prize of £13.

Anyway - felt obliged to have a beer, so just had 3 pints and went home feeling quite virtuous.

Back home today on Virgin sodding railways - thank the Lord they didn't give them the East Coast line - crap food, crap service and unapologetically late.

Garmin stats: 10.05 miles in 1:21:14, average pace 8:05min mile, average HR 148bpm (71% WHR)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Garstang 10k

Interesting little race - and one that Fat Bob and I do every year (and have had my pants taken down and my bottom soundly spanked by Bob at every year since 2003!).

It's run from a school, and starts in the grounds, and they're having building work done this year, so the start was a bit bonkers. Being well brought up we went round to the start line and sort of hovered, expecting to get a decent start, but as all the rest of the people piled round they gave up on getting everyone back and so we ended up a fair way back and had a ropey start!

As I usually do when I get a bad start I went steaming off and ran the first mile in (I guess) about 6 minutes - it was 6:23 on the watch, but that includes the walking and stumbling at the beginning.

Had a good first 3 miles, and went through 5k in about 19 minutes, but then suffered a bit in the 4th and 5th miles (6:25 and 6:33), although picked it up in the last mile (6:00). Ran 39:49 on my watch, which is another sub-40, and an "event best" for me by miles - my official time will be slower, as a stupid old fart overtook two of us in the finish funnel, so I'll be a place further back. Twonk. I also beat Fat Bob, but as he's been doing nothing but fell running all year I'd expect to, really - he had a good run and ran 42:23.

First time I've ever seen a race actually fill up on the day - lots of people turned away, lots of tossers ran anyway and dipped out of the finish funnel - I'm sure all the people who came in behind you will be pleased to get the wrong time - nice one, bloke in a red and white vest...

Special mention to my work colleague Tracy, who in her 3rd 10k broke 50 minutes - Bob and I were watching the clock count down, and as she came round into the finish straight we went bananas - and we reckon she got in by about 5 seconds! Nice one, Trace!

Anyway - the Garmin numbers: 6.34 miles (dodgy measurement - although downloaded the track to Memory Map and that says 6.3miles!) in 39:49, average pace 6:17min miles, average HR 159 (78% WHR).

And here's the results: at ukroadraces . I was 73rd, Bob was 112th and Trace was 272nd.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Steady away on a Saturday

Just back from a solo 6 miles. BAR's still suffering from a poorly foot, and I've got new shoes, so even though I'm racing tomorrow I decide to do a steady one on my own.

Chilly, but stayed dry - usual Halton East and back jobby - worked at keeping the HR down below 140, and managed to average 141, which is pretty reasonable at 66% of WHR.

Spent most of last night sorting out a sweepstake grid for people to guess my time - I've set up times from 2:50 ('e's 'avin a larf!!) to 4:29 (bloody hope not!), which is 100 time slots. Going to offer a DVD player for the correct answer and a bottle of wine for the ones either side - £2 a pop, so should raise £100 or so at least.

Anyway - the Garmin Gospel: 6.04miles in 47:19. Average pace 7:49min miles, average HR 141bpm, 66%WHR.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Track session #1

1st track session of the new Year tonight - a bit of a weedy one to be honest. Very cold (about 2 degrees) so never felt properly loose, despite 6 laps jogging and a few drills to get warmed up.

Then we did 20x100m strides, starting easy and accelerating through, then ran a fast(ish, in my case, as I'm racing Sunday) 1600m - more or less a mile, run in 6:30.

The others ran another mile effort, but I wasn't feeling too well stretched, so I juts jogged another couple of laps and dashed home to see if my new shoes had arrived - they had, so I'm sat typing in my new Saucony Grid Omni shoes - which hopefully will sort my sore bum out, as it only hurts in my cheapy shoes.

No Garmin tonight - decided a while ago that GPS on the track just looks plain silly!

I guess we did about 3 miles or so. Rest tomorrow, maybe a steady 6/8 miles saturday then racing on Sunday - should be my first 40 mile week for a while!

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Not too bad...

Club night, and a bit wary after my sore arse and 18 miles yesterday - think it must be down to a pair of cheap shoes I bought (my sore arse, I mean) - as I wore old nacked shoes tonight and despite the miles yesterday felt pretty ok. A steady 8 miles or so round Ilkley - no macho silliness up the hills as seems to be usual, so just what thedoc ordered. BAR is resting his sore foot. Will maybe do some hills tomorrow after putting the kids to bed and putting the shopping away!

Fundraising's up to £270 so far, meaning only another £200 to my (first) target, and there's several 'dead certs' not chipped in yet.

Tonight's effort (according to Garmin): 7.94 miles in 65:07, average pace 8:16, average HR 149 (71% of WHR).

Monday, January 02, 2006

Another one bites the dust...

The first long run of 2006 is done. Intended to go out for an hour and 15 then turn round, but was making fairly rapid progress and didn't want to overdo the mileage so turned round when Mr Garmin said 9 miles.

Ran through Halton East into Wharfedale, then down to Bolton Bridge, through Beamsley and Nesfield, and turned round just as the road reaches Ilkley Golf Club. A lumpy little number, as the Memory Map profile shows - about 1500' of ascent.

Ended up running 18 miles in 2:20 exactly - which is not far off target marathon pace. Slightly worrying pain in my left bum cheek after 8 miles or so which passed, but I now have an ache in my lower back on that side - tried the 'stright into a cold bath' trick whn I got back and have been sat with frozen peas on my back for a while, so we'll see how it goes.

Pleased to have go this sort of distance under my belt this early, and also pleased with how I felt in the last couple of miles - miles 17 and 18 were run in 7:31 and 7:13 respectively, and as 16 miles is traditionally where I start to feel it I'm quite chuffed.

Anyway - Garmin numbers for today: 18 miles in 2:20:00, average pace 7:46, average HR 146 (69% of WHR).