Seeing results

Towneley park 10k

Towneley Park 10k 2017

It’s safe to say, the doubles are now paying off…….four months after I started working towards doing two runs a day, although still this isn’t every day, I am now seeing results and three key events support that.

The first indication of this was at the Towneley park 10k on July 23rd. A tough 10k with over 500ft of climb beginning and finishing inhe t pleasant Towneley park, which helpfully has plenty of parking and toilets. So perfect for a race. I approached the race with my normal hill race tactic of forgetting about a pace plan, not over doing it on the hills and making up time of the descents. With 3.5 miles of mostly up hill followed by 2.5 mles of down hill, I thought a PB was out of the question. But I had been doing plenty of off road work and hilly runs, so I decided to push it a little harder on the climbs than I would normally and go hard over the last mile of the race. The result was a surprising 10k PB of 37:50, down from 38:17. As you can imagine I was really pleased about this and it was the best sign yet that my training was working.

A couple of days later, I was doing a fast 10 mile training run, running hard, but not to hard. But when I loaded my run to smashrun, I discovered it was the second fastest 10 mile run I’ve ever done…..this again was really surprising and a great sign.

Then there was Blackpool Air Show 10k, August 13th, warm weather, a half undulating half flat route and almost 2 miles running by myself. The result a another 10K PB of 36:50. Admittedly, on the back of Towneley park, I had high hopes of a PB and an aim of going sub37. So the result was what I wanted, but the course was harder than I expected. I had it in my head that it would be an easy course, it wasn’t. Better research required in future.

Now that twice a day running to brining results, its time to step it up. I plan to increase the intensity of some of my runs and introduce weekly hill reps….how I don’t know. Twice a day running, is mentally and physically hard. I aim for 7 hours break between the two runs, this doesn’t always happen and it can be hard going. The key seems to include plenty of easy paced runs, including at least one day where both runs are easy paced. Increasing my food intake, I’m now on two sandwiches for lunch not one and try and increase how much sleep you get……I am still working on this last bit….

Onwards and upwards, its the Garstang half marathon next, its a hard one, but I’m looking forward to it.

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Becoming a two timer

Walsh 2 lads

Picture from Walsh 2 lads fell race, thanks to @fellephant 

Once again its been a long time since I last posted, however whereas in the past, ive been busy with study or renovating a house, this time ive been busy running as I my plan to move to twice a day running has taken hold.

A normal training week now kinda looks like this :

typical weekAnd it was a lot of hard working getting to that…….

I made the decision to introduce doing doubles on a gradual basis, going from once a week to seven times a week and it was a smart decision. As early on in my transition from being a once a day runner to a twice day runner, I felt really tired and even lined up at the start of a 4 mile race wishing I wasn’t there, that’s how tired I was. But I am now getting used to things and give or take another two months I should start seeing results.

There has of course been a few races along the way, mainly all involving hills. Be it hilly road races or fell races…..yes ive taken to fells this year. As I have decided, that fell running could be the summer version of cross country.  That is a great strength work out, that will help me get fast on the roads. Its certainly proving to be a tough test, so much so, I even went head over heals in the last one. But that said, ive done well….ok ive only done two races, but ive finished in the top 20 in both, which has been a pleasant surprise and a positive start to a new form of running.

On the roads, ive broken my five mile PB twice, which is brilliant, as ive now got that under 30 mins, which is a good target to aim for at that distance. These times and performances are more down to the cross country running the five S’s and the marathon programme I completed ahead of Brighton, as its still far too early for my new approach to training to be having an impact. But it goes to show, that hard work pays off and training should involve more than just pounding the reads.

Onwards and upwards…….literally!!

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Why I keep going and Lytham interclub

harriers at lytham

Photo stolen from Olga Wiggin’s Strava account

So Thursday (May 11th) I made a return to racing just under five weeks after the Brighton marathon, having spent my time following the recovery programme in the Advanced marathon book, pretty much to the T. Which is the first time I have done that to be honest. The mileage was never an issue, its doing faster runs that have been my achilles heel. Too happy to run at a comfortable pace, but this year will be different…..I hope.

Anyway, I arrived at the race late… per usual….with just enough time to find a toilet, pick my number up and make it to the start. Terrible preparation but there you go. I had the ambitious plan to run the race in even 5:50 split, something which I think I could do, but it turned out I couldn’t do on this occasion. My second aim, was to go under 30 minutes, I didn’t do that either and my third aim was to be within the top 10 harriers….that I did do.

For a flat five mile race, this turned out to be tougher than I imagined. The warm sea breeze causing problems for many runners, myself included. As within the first mile of the race, a mile I ran in 5:38 for some foolish reason, my mouth was bone dry and I could really have done with a sip of water. Which is probably the earliest in the race that I ever felt the need for a drink.  

The second and third miles saw the runners being hit by cross winds and side winds, admittedly not the strongest winds I’ve ever faced, but enough of a wind to be nuisance and play havoc with your pacing and I completed these miles in 6:07 and 6:15 pace. Seeing 6:15 flash up, in a race were I was trying to run each mile under 6 minute pace was certainly frustrating and slightly disheartening.

But I didn’t let it effect me and helped by the fact that the wind stopped being an issue over the final two miles I started picking up the pace. I actually felt alright at this point in the race and I was catching and passing other runners. Part of me felt that I could push things even more, but another part of me wasn’t confident I could hold a much higher pace all the way to this finish. Completing mile 4 in 6:01 pace.

Over the final mile my legs still felt fine, what wasn’t feeling fine was my stomach, as I started to feel a slight cramp coming on, it wasn’t pleasant and thoughts of stopping popped into my head. But if marathoning has taught me anything, its to run through the pain and there was less than a mile to go… that’s just what I did.

So I gave it what I could, I didn’t slow down, I got faster, completing the final mile in 5:56 and even reaching 5:30 pace on the home straight. Giving me a finishing time of 30:06 and 24th place out of 413 entrants, beating my five mile PB by 1 minute 24. So a mixed bag but a good return to racing.


Why keep going……

I recently read a blog of a fellow runner, who is good runner and a good blogger. They were talking about how from now on running was going to take a back seat. Which is a shame in many ways, but at the same time being the best runner you can be takes a lot of time and commitment and it isn’t for everyone, so I don’t have a problem with that. For me personally, its a thought that’s also crossed my mind many many times, I love running but it is a big commitment to do the training required to hit the times I can now run and sometimes I also do question what is the point. There are more important things in life after all, things that your sacrificing for running. When I started running, my dream was simply to full fill my ambition of running the London marathon and Great North run, two things I achieved years ago but I still keep going, why is that ?

I spent most the first year of my running hobby……running just once a week, eventually I was running 4 times a week. Yet I still couldn’t imagine ever running every day like I do now, let alone twice a day which is plan for this summer. But then, at the same time, I didn’t think I’d ever get as fast as I have, so the targets kept changing and evolving. From running the London marathon, to running a sub4 marathon, a sub3:30 marathon, qualify for Boston….now im a sub3 marathon, crackers, just crazy. 

If I had stayed a once a week runner, I would never had achieved these things, which in the grand scheme of things are meaningless achievements, but personally they are great achievements and experiences that I am glad that I have had. Running a sub3 marathon and getting run in Boston are two very special things that haven’t changed my life in any way, but have enriched it in a way and they are life long memories that I will treasure. I have joined the Preston Harriers, a club I dreamed of joining as a youngster, I’m proud to wear the vest and I’ve met some great people along the way, who I would never have ever met.

This brings me to one of the comments under the blog post in question and the whole reason why I have given this some thought. Where someone had written, that they felt sorry for runners for chase PBs.  A very strange comment, why feel sorry for someone wanting to improve, to be as good as they can be. Did anyone feel sorry that Kipchoge had to work extremely hard to break new ground in the world of running as he tried to run a marathon in under 2 hours. On the anniversary of Roger Bannisters sub4 minute mile……I doubt it. They may have felt sorry that he missed out on it, but they wouldn’t of felt sorry for the training he did. Granted amateur runners aren’t going to break 2 hours for the marathon. But to feel sorry for them for trying to be the best they can be, is just wrong and ridiculous.

Are they enjoying running any less than someone who only runs casually, as I used to, no not at all, I enjoy running every day as much as I enjoyed running once a week. Are faster runners enjoying racing more than those that go around in 9 minute miles, no not at all. Running a marathon 4:13 felt to me as good as running one in 2:55, admittedly for different reasons but both are great achievements. I could have stopped there and been happy to have a run a marathon, it isn’t something anyone can do. But I didn’t, I got faster and I am proud of the times I’ve run and the hard work it took to get those times.

In each case, slower runners, I was once one and fast runners. Are people who are achieving something. They are doing something that they enjoy, something that is good for the mind and the body. Whilst one is putting a lot time and effort into their hobby, they are enjoying doing just that. Just as much as the casual runner enjoys not having to go running all the time, simply enjoying the odd run. I have been there, I have experienced both worlds running. Both are commendable and enjoyable.

All runners are runners, however you choice to do it, enjoy it. Take it serious, push yourself as hard as you can, achieve everything you can, take it casual,  take it easy, take it slow. Set a PB based on a time, run a new distance or perhaps try new form of running, road / cross country, fells, track, there’s lots to chose between. But don’t feel sorry for someone because they are different kind of  runner to you, that they are putting in more or less time than you, respect them, you’ve a shared interested, a shared understanding of what it takes to get out and run. Running is a community of all sorts, embrace that.

One day you will stop running all together and if you look back with no regrets that’s all that matters.

Feel free to follow or chat……

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My Brighton marathon 2017

Brighton marathon

So I did it, I completed my eight marathon and here is how it went.

I arrived in Brighton on the Friday before the race having driven half way down from Lancashire on the Thursday, stopping overnight in Strafford-Upon-Avon. This helped to break up the travel and ensured I didn’t spend five+ hours sat in a car. Friday was also the day I chose to go down to the event expose heading there after six, which ensured there was very little queuing and I was in and out with my number within 10-15 minutes.

Unusually Brighton has two start points, one for faster runners, which gives you a most downhill start to the race and a second start for everyone else which sees you running up hill for a large proportion of the first mile. I was luckily enough to given the latter start point…..bugger. Two positives came out of me being assigned this tougher start, firstly the Preston Park start is just two miles from the sea, which is where I was staying, so walking distances. Second, that it made me rethink my race tactic and drawing on the experience of Boston, a hilly marathon in hot conditions and the Wales marathon, an extremely hilly marathon. I decided that rather than sticking religiously to a pace plan, that I needed to be smart and run the route, not the plan. This meant I would easy off on any hill climbs and make up for the lost time on the descents, using gravity to speed up.

The start being within walking distance also helped with Breakfast, as did my hotel Room With A View. Which turned out to be the nicest guest house I have ever stayed in, not only is the hotel done up to a really high standard but the guy the runs the place came in early on the Sunday to make breakfast for people doing the marathon. Which was really good of him and made a huge difference to my race. As thinking back to Boston, another race with an early start, I stayed in a fantastic hotel, but they wouldn’t do an early breakfast which meant I had a really poor breakfast consisting of one of those pot of porridges you buy from a convenience store, a flapjack, an energy drink and an energy bar….not good. Whereas thanks to my hotel in Brighton I had a nice big bowl of porridge, toast and a coffee and an energy drink.

In terms of carb-loading, Brighton is an easy place to do this as there are restaurants and cafes everywhere. So I was having pasta for lunch and rice for my main meals with the two best places, in my opinion being Donatello for pasta and Pavel for rice meals. My pre-race meal was Chicken Tikka Biryani, with Bombay potatoes and garlic nan on the side, so plenty of carbs there!!

I arrived at the start around 8:30 which was just enough time to join the huge queues for the portaloos and head to my start zone just in time for the race. Clearly, the organisers need to hire more toilet’s in future, which a 10k race and marathon both starting at the same location the park heaving. I am glad I wasn’t one the unlucky runners who choose/had to buy breakfast in the park before the race, as the queue for the porridge truck was just as big as the queue for the toilets.

When the race eventually got going, I set off at quite a fast pace, possibly too fast as I just dipped under 6 min pace, but I knew a hill climb was just around the corner and I was would easy off on that and sure enough I easy back to 7 min pace on the hill climb and so the race began.

I continued this system of easing off on the hills, speeding up on the descents and trying to hit my pace plan of 6:40 on the flats for the rest of the marathon, but it wasn’t all plain sailing. The tendonitis in my left foot played up which forced me to stop three times to loosen my shoe lace and then around miles 22-23 we hit the headwinds I had feared ahead of the races. Granted they didn’t last two long nor were they the worse headwinds I have ever faced, but they were strong enough to slow you down, which was quite frustrating as this was a fairly flat section of the course and I had hoped to take advantage of that, as the last three miles were mostly slightly uphill. Heat also played a major factor in this race as temperatures reached 17 degrees whilst I was running, almost as hot as Boston was. Luckily, I didn’t realise this as the forecast was for temperatures of 13 degrees and physiologically this probably did me a big favour as I reassured myself that it wasn’t that hot. Annoying I also picked up mild cramp in both calf’s from mile 15 onwards, now this cant be due to hydration as I because really good at taking on water every day, so it looks like more work is needed on the training ground (read more about cramping here).

Despite all these things, I was able to push onwards and maintain a fairly fast pace, even if I didn’t manage the fast final six miles as I had hoped for I did manage to find myself being helped/raced/supported by another runner in yellow over the final two miles..i have tried to work out who he was from the race photos but its proved impossible I have managed to be pictured around two runners in yellow over the final mile of the race and the race numbers are blurred in the pictures…..Anyway thanks to him (Thank you whoever you are), I was able to pick up the pace once more, particularly over the final 600 metres to finish the race in 2:55:32 a new PB, although technically as with Boston I ran further than the marathon covering 26.4 miles this time so my estimated marathon PB on smashrun is now 2:54:18 but my official time of course 2:55:32 and I am very pleased with that.

Brightn medal

I have spent the last three years doing pretty much the same training, but I have continued to make improves by adding simple things such as core work, weekly spinning classes, strength work, regular stretching, foam rolling/other massage tools, off road running and joining a running club. But now I think its time to shake things up. I am currently working through the Advanced Marathoning 5-week recovery programme but after that, a new training regime will gradually be introduced. I cant keep doing the same kind of running and expecting results, there is nothing more I can add to my training programmes, so its the running that must change if I am to continue to see improvements. It will be a gradual thing, but hopefully, by June I will be fully on my new programme and its going to be the kind of twice a day training system you see in books such as “The art of running faster” and I will go into more details soon.

So its an easy five weeks after a long 11 weeks of hard training which paid off with yet another marathon PB and a fantastic medal to add to my growing marathon medal hoard. Bring on the summer, bring on race season!!

all medals 2017

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Brighton marathon : training complete

brighton logo

So that’s it, that’s my lot, the final run is done……its time to race!

Today marked my last run ahead of Brighton, brining my total mileage run over the past 20 weeks up to 993 miles, however I have only managed to complete 11 full weeks of training due to going over my ankle mid-December. Making this one of the shortest training periods I put in ahead of a marathon in a long time. This has made me slightly apprehensive ahead of Brighton, but remember feeling the same last year when I headed to Boston with 16 weeks of training, again due to injury. Obviously there is a big difference between 11 weeks and 16 weeks but my recent performance at the Trimpell 20 suggests that I am at a similar level as I was ahead of that race so that gives me some hope. Additionally in the 12 months before Brighton I have run 1,949 miles whilst over the 12 month period prior to Boston I ran 1,970 miles so over the longer term there isn’t much in it and again hopefully that will help.

As per Manchester and Boston, I have been using the 70-85 miles a week training programme from the Advanced Marathoning book whilst last year I added in strength work and completed my first year as I club runner. This year I have added off road running and trying to ensure that each training week incorporates the five S’s of running : Speed, Strength, Stamina, Suppleness and Skill. The Trimpell result, compleing 20 miles in 6:31 pace, just outside my PB for that distance, suggests that these new additions have made up for the missed training but I guess Brighton will be the real test.

The course appear to be an undulating one, although the organisers talk up as being as fast course I am not so sure the profile chart backs that up :

Brighton course profile

So it looks like an interesting course, the weather is currently predicting temperatures of around 12 degrees, so it will be warm but not as warm as Boston. One additional weather factor which play a key role is the weather. There are a lot of miles along the cost in this race and a strong sea breeze will knock even the best runners off their pace target.

Incidentally, I have umm’ed and arr’ed enough and decided to go for an initial pace plan of 6:40 for the first 18 miles, then gradually pick it up. Where I can, I will use the downhill sections to gain a boost but for the rest of the race I will aim to hit 6:40. The course profile suggests there is a long down hill section at 18 miles, hence why I have picted this mile to pick things up rather than mile 20 , I hope to then try and pick the pace up once more at mile 23 and then mile 25. This wont be easy as miles 23-25 are mostly up hill but I will give it a go.

Sooo race time it is…..packing done… list created….key documents printed…..

The Trimpell 20

trimpell2017 medal

So two weeks ago (Sunday, March 19th 2017) was my traditional spring marathon practice race the Trimpell 20 up in Lancaster. A 20 mile race on mostly flat traffic free paths, which finishes inside Lancaster castle over what must be one of the hardest finishes to a race going!! With runners expected to climb around 100ft over the final half mile of the race.

Conditions were not as favourable as last year with cool temperatures and head winds and crosswinds adding to the challenge of running a fast 20 miles. Also unlike last year, I arrived at the event HQ in plenty of time, however just like last year there were huge queues for the toilets which wiped out any time for a suitable warm up. Although with the race starting a bit away from the HQ, I was able to jog down to that as part of my warm up.

Due to the amount of training I missed in December and January, I opted to run this race using the same strategy as last year, trying to stick to 6:30 pace for 14 miles and then seeing what I could do over the final six. Last year I latched onto another runner fairly earlier on who was also hitting this pace but this year I had no such luck and I spent most the earlier parts of the race working with just my watch. In the most part, this went ok and I completed the first six miles in 6:31 pace. I then did find another runner, who did seemed to be hitting 6:30 so I ran with him and we occasionally exchanged conversation about the course and I was able to let him know what to expect up ahead and we also used each other at the drinks stations which helped. However after mile 10, he pushed on ahead as he planned to run a hard second 10 miles, a tactic I have used unsuccessfully in the past.

From mile 12-14 the course runs in a mostly downward section and as a result, I picked up the pace earlier than planned, but its always good to use the terrain to your advantage. Finally, reaching mile 14 it was time to genuinely pick up the pace. However, it was from mile 14 onwards that runners were faced with the worse of the head winds and crosswinds making it harder to stay on pace. But I found I managed this fairly well I passed a number of runners over the last six miles, including my one time running companion. As I passed through mile 15 in 6:29 before completing mile 17 in 6:09 which was a bit of a surprise to myself, but this was again assisted by the course terrain elevation profile.  The next three miles were a bit of a mixed bag with mile 18 completed in 6:37 and mile 19 in 6:27 before I reached the final and hardest mile of the course, mile 20, which I completed in 6:48.

Ultimately I completed the race in 2:10:56, slightly down from last years time of 2:10:41. However whilst last year I finished 29th, this year I finished 23rd so in that sense this potentially represents an improved performance given the conditions, if not an improved time.

In the whole, I am happy with my time, as I did miss a lot of training sessions early on over the winder. So I am thinking, perhaps I am seeing the difference/benefit that off road running makes as my time wasn’t far off last years result. So I head towards to Brighton with a confidence boost which leaves me feeling less apprehensive about the training I have missed. When I line up on April 9th, I will have completed just 12 full weeks of training, but it would seem that I am in the same condition I was ahead of Boston so maybe, just maybe this is thanks to introducing off road runs to my training.

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I do enjoy the Trimpell 20……

trimpell2017 tops




A long overdue update


It has been quite a while since I posted an update, who would have thought that renovating a house and training for a marathon would be so time consuming……

Anyway….I have battled back from my ankle troubles and am back full-time training…although I am quite conscious that I am well behind where I was last year when training for Boston, something is troubling me a little. This said some of my training runs are being recorded as my fastest ever times for distances such as 15 miles and today 24 miles….which was nice. I have completed three races, one of which I am still feeling to this day, one that was right off and another which went well but maybe could have gone better.

Inskip Half Marathon – January 22nd

This was my first race back from injury and it probably shouldn’t have been. I turned up with less than three weeks of training in my legs and attempted to run the thing at my PB pace…..This went well for six miles, but sadly a half marathon is more than twice that distance and I spent the next seven clinging on to a decent pace. The result was a miserable feeling race but I came home in just over 84 minutes which still a respectable time.

The Northerns XC – January 28th

This was the North of England cross country championship race and this year it was held at Knowsley Safari Park….sadly there was no time to go around the park with the mens race not starting till 15:00, coinciding with the final entrance time to the wider park (Blast). The race was a monster of a race….as by the time the mens race started, the course had become a mud bath. With thick, ankle deep mud covering the most the course, save for a few sections, with most of these being uphill sections!! It was a battle more than a race and my usual XC race plan of staying in bed till 10, eating breakfast then heading to the race didn’t really work out here. As were other the XC races I have done started at 14:15, just over four hours after I had woken up and eaten. This later start of 15:00 left me starting to feel hungry just as we approached go time. However, my XC strategy of starting fast did work out as well has it has done in past XC races and I completed the course in 55 minutes. Which given the state of the course, was a good time and it was a time that secured me a top half finish, something which I was pleased about given my limited XC experience and the fact that I was running in fell shoes.

Wrexham Village Bakery Half – February 19th

A favourite race of mine and one I’d recommend doing. Coming at a time when my training was back on track, but also a time when I had no time to taper due to my December ankle injury. Although that said, I turned up for this race feeling confident of a good time but worried about the lack of any taper, having completed a 15 miles just two days before and I was still slightly sore from the Northerns XC. It really has left its mark!

The race did go well, I set my virtual pace as my PB pace (6:20) but I felt good enough to stay ahead of that for the majority of the race, with just three disappointing miles. Mile 4 where I must have lost concentration and miles 11 and 12 were the impact of having consistently stayed ahead of my PB pace started to take effect. It would have been smarter to stay on pace and then speed up. That said, I did take 11 seconds off my PB to come home in 1:22:59, so that was pleasing but if I had raced smarter, I could have achieved a better time.


So plodding on and starting to feel a little more confident but still feeling pains and stiffness in my left upper tight/quod muscle area from the Northerns. Hopefully, it’s nothing serious, it certainly seems to go away after a few metres of running.  In a couple of weeks time, I have my customary spring marathon practice race, the Trimple 20. Here is hoping for a great time, which would be a great confidence boost, as Brighton looms on the horizon.

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2016 over and out

2016 and as per most running years it was a mix of highs and lows.

The lows were the several injuries I’ve had, which led me to wonder if i have become injury prone. But then I realised that I have had 2 ankle sprains, one caused by a treadmill mishap a week before Boston and one picked up just the other week caused by another running mishap with a rock, one calf muscle tear caused by trying to push off on a sloped ridge and one shin splint injury. So three of these injuries are in fact self-inflicted, caused by moments of madness/stupidity which makes me think that in 2016 I become accident prone. I am training smart but running a like mad man. So mission 1 for 2017, run sensible and don’t take any unnecessary risks.

Misssion 2, continue to train smart, run off-road regularly and keep with the five S’s.

As for 2016 well i set PBs in the 4 mile (23:26), 5 mile (31:30), 10k (38:17), 10 mile (1:02:18), the half marathon (1:23:04), the 20 mile (2:10:41) and finally the marathon (2:57:31). Meaning the only distance I didn’t run a race in and set PB was the 5K, although I did do a Harriers only track 5k in around 18:33 minutes I have decided not to count it. So a good sweep of all running distances and those who are quick at maths will see that pacing wise those results do not exactly line up which hints at possible future improvement.

I completed enough races of the Lancashire Interclub series to receive a placing despite that fact one of the races I ran was cancelled, one was run the day after I had done a relay training session on the track and therefore with heavy legs and one was done during a return from injury. However, one race was the race I earned my fastest average pace of the year in, the Blackpool interclub 4 mile (5:51 per mile) so that was a good moment. In the races, i did complete I finished 19th, 29th, 51st and 35th giving me a surprising 30th place finish overall in the series, out of the 212 runners who completed at least four races.

As well as road running, I took part in my first ever Cross Country series completing all four races of the Red Rose Championships finishing 67th, 62nd, 47th and 33rd to earn a series finish of 31st out of 146. Not bad for a road runner!

Overall in 2016 I ran a total 2,037 miles, which is my second highest milage ever recorded despite the seemly stop start year that i have had, which added to all PBs and ventures off-road, make me think that actually i had a pretty good year of running.


My average training pace was 7:43 which is the fastest average I have recorded, but it should be said that 2016 was my first full year of being a club runner, so I recorded a lot of very short and fast track runs, which would of no doubt brought the average down. This also explains why my average run distance was just 3.6 miles in 2016, competed to 6.4 in 2015 and 9 miles in 2014. At full overview of my 2016 runs can be seen here

So on to 2017…..and currently my plan is to train for and run the Brighton Marathon, which hopefully will go as well as previous marathons (Fingers crossed the ankle heels up soon). Then I want to complete enough races to record a series finish the road race interclub, the rell run interclub and again the Red Rose XC. It will be hard to do all of those things and I need to study the race listings and plan things out, but if it all goes well and I achieve my goals, will be a great year of running covering three main disciplines which would be quite pleasing and a venture into new territory. Also, I must update my 5k PB!!

At full overview of my 2016 runs can be seen here

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Taking to the Fells


Fell running is type of running which originates in the North of England and is particaully popular in Cumrbia, Lancashire and Yorkshire. It basically means running over hills, valleys and moorlands.

For years ive looked at hills and thought wouldnt it be great to run that.  Well today (Dcember 24th 2016), i finally got my first taste of felling running. As I joined up with a host of runners from verious clubs including of course Preston Harriers, to take part in their annual Christmas eve fell run up White Coppice, a small place just outside Chorley, Lancashire, home to 1,000 ft of hill climb and synonymous with a fell runner known as Joe Whitter (Nice chap it seems) who has his own memorial up on these moors.


Annoyingly, i have recently missed a week of running due to sprained ankle but i had healed up another to decide that i didnt want to miss out on this trip and although it was tough going on the old ankle it was well worth it. There were some great views on offer, some chllegning terrian to naviage over and of course a tough hill climb. Being new to the run and to fell running i ensured i that i always stayed behind someone so that A) i didnt get lost and B) so that i would watch how they move across the terrian, a sort deomstration in fell running if you will. That said, with all the stopping to let the slower runners catch up i had enough energy to surge up to the summate to be the first one at the top, the competive runner in me couldnt resist.

One major learning point and this is something my lunch time runnign partner Rob Hope  has pointed out to me, is when you run up hills you need to avoid using your heels , you want to be up on your toes and sure enough plenty of these experienced fell runners were doing just that. Something i will have to pratice until it becomes second nature.

I think my misson to run at least one near or completly off road run a week and the cross  country races have done is paying off for this run, as the terrain wasnt too bad, mostly being the kind of stuff I have faced in cross country, wet muddy grassland. Although there were a couple of very narrow ridges and some rocky sections, which will take a lof practice on before i become confirdent of running.

So learing wise, I need to practice hill climbs, running on rocky terrian and picking a good path across a boggy moor….thats another key thing to learn for this kind of running (There will be mud!!). It was a great introduction to fell running and i am looking forward to returning to this kind of running latter on in 2017.

Here’s a bunch of pictures from the run, none of which are of me as i took the snaps……

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Rossendale XC


It could be said that Rossendale was fairly muddy. Yes that is me in the swamp.

A week behind….but hey ho….So last Saturday (03/12/16), i ran the last of the Red Rose Cross Country , completing the full series and my introduction to cross country, completing with by far the hardest of the four races. With the series getting harder with each race, i am thinking the order of the races is intentional….

Learning from the previous three XC races, i set off on a fast start aiming to get as far up the field as I could before we hit any narrow sections which I was sure we would do, based on the other XC races i have done and sure enough we did. After a steep hill climb (see below) we reached several sections, most of which also involved going uphill, that very narrow making it difficult to go past other runners.

Rossendale XC.jpg

None of these people are me.

There were three laps of this mud and hills, but there was one section of open flat grass and it is this section where I worked my hardest, saving myself on the hardest hill climbs as the energy spent there would have resulted in me becoming fatigued later in the race, as I did in my first cross country outing. It was a tactic that worked and despite almost slipping over several times and having to use the odd tree to prevent myself running off course on the woodland hill descents. Rossendale ended up being my best performance of the series, finishing in 33rd place.

This meant that despite finishing in the mid-sixties in my first two races, this finish combined with my 47th place finish in the last race, meant i finished the series in 31st, which isn’t great but given it was my first go at cross country i am quite pleased with myself and a couple of places higher up and i would have broken the top 30.

Rossendale is a tough course, with my people comparing it to a fell race. But it is a great one to do, it’s very challenging but it’s set in a fantastic landscape and completing it is quite rewarding.


Marathon training begins

In other news, last week, i began my marathon training program, which as ever starts with the endurance phase. So far i have completed all but one run, a 10 miler which i dropped as i was feeling exhausted and i decided running it would do more harm than good. As always, i have started training two weeks early to take some of the stress of any potential injuries away and should i manage to go injury free, it will give me the option of tapering for one or two of my practice races.

In terms of what training i am doing, i didn’t manage to build up my mileage enough to move up to the 85+ a week training program as planned. So instead for the third year running, i will be running the 70-85 miles per week training program from the Advanced Marathoning book. Its got me two sub3 mararthons so far, so why not…

In regards to what i will be doing that is new….well last year was the introduction of regular speed work, which took 2 minutes from my PB and this year, i guess will be the test of what difference following the five S’s and introducing at least one off road run a week will make, as well as all the XC races i hope to do. They say that off-road running makes you better runner well…..time to find out.

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