Wales 2014 – TW15 : The Freckleton Half Marathon


Today’s, headline images comes from the Freckleton Half Marathon, which I took part in on Sunday June 22nd. And i can say it was another fantastic event, well organised with loads of support coming out from Freckleton and the nearby villages. If you get a chance, do run this event, you will love it!

So training week 15 is over and i am about to begin the taper phase, here is how it went :

Tuesday 14 miles

After the confidence boost of Saturdays & Sundays runs, i decided that despite the hilly nature of this route, which climbs up over 500ft i would aim to meet my pace target time of 1hr:46min

Pushing hard on a warm summers evening, i reached the 6 mile point, one minute ahead of plan , a great start and i knew that once i got over the next big climb it was mostly downhill from here. So i continued to push hard and although there was one or two moments were i had to ease off, i reached the 10 mile point, again around a minute ahead of plan. Despite the remaining four miles being mostly down hill, i found this part quite tough going as all the hill work started to take affect and it was a mad rush over the final mile as i decided not to let all my hard work go to waste and i knew i was within reach of making my target time. Reaching the 14 mile point in 1:45:24. I had done it!!


 Wednesday 11 miles with 5*1200 m strides

After yesterday’s success through hard work, I had hopes of continuing my good run of form. However, as soon as I set off I could tell it was going to take a lot of effort to meet my pace target today given that not only was I doing some speed work over hilly ground but the 11 miler I had chosen featured another beast of a hill climbing up to 450ft on top on this it was another warm and sunny day, hot in fact. By the time I reached the seven mile point from were I would be doing strides I was a good 7 min behind schedule and once I was finished with the strides, I had pretty much nothing left to give but plod return home in 1:35:18

I’m disappointed, but boy this was a tough session to follow up on yesterday’s. So tough that I’ve decided instead of doing my planned 8 miles with hill reps tomorrow, I will instead do the six and the four tomorrow and give myself a bit of a break from huge hills and body a little time to recover from the effort I’ve put in these past two days.



Thursday 4 miles AM

Feeling sore and tired from a combination of yesterday’s run and just six hours sleep, I decided to change the order of today’s doubles around so I was running 4 in morning and 6 in the evening.

Just as well really, as I plodded along only occasionally able to get up to a decent pace. It was just one of those miserable tough runs, that you just don’t want to do, but once you completed it you’re glad you did and I was.


Run time : 34:34

Thursday 6 miles PM

Feeling a little better , compared to this morning and in a hurry what with England’s crunch world cup match with Uruguay kicking off in a few hours, I decided to make a go of it and make up for this morning. I sped down the road, although I could feel my leg injury flair up and when it came across any climbs I had to slow down a little. But on the flats and the downhill sections. I worked hard, pushing myself , around in 44:40 making this the second time this week I’ve met my pace target!! Excellent work, if I don’t say so myself. Shame about the injury though!! Hopefully it will calm back down.


Friday 8 miles with hill reps

Once again choosing to switch my second speed session for some hill reps, I decided to make an effort to at least make the four mile turn around point of my run, within the pace plan of 7:46 pm, doing so in 39:58. Turning around, to do the gradual decline section of the run, I managed to reach the rep zone in 53:03. Which depending on how I feel might be just enough time to get it home on time.

After the hill reps, despite feeling sore and tried, a second wind saw me suddenly pick up the pace as I set off home and noticing that I was just 3 minutes off the target time, I pushed hard up the final hill leading home. Reaching the top with a minute to spare, i moved up to a sprint, returning home in 1:02:10. Two seconds off my target time but feeling quite pleased



Saturday 5 mile recovery

Running a five mile recovery run, the day before a race seemed a strange thing to be doing but I guess Its all about the marathon and not tomorrow’s half marathon. I took it casually, deciding that being out in the afternoon heat would be the main thing about this run. However, despite this I some how found myself heading home with enough time to meet the 7:46 pace target……so I picked up the pace over the final 600 metres or so and returned home in 38:20. So I’ve met the pace target for the third time this week and this time with out trying, brilliant stuff.


Sunday The Freckleton Half Marathon

Freckleton overheadAs usually, the sun came out for the Freckleton Half Marathon, it had been predicted to be a warm but cloudy day. However, come Sunday afternoon it was all blue skys and the dial had been cranked up to 20. It was a hot one!!

I find this race a funny one to do not because of the route or anything, but because it starts at 2 in afternoon just when it starts to get really warm. I guess ensures a big crowd comes out and they do, but it certainly makes for tough running and I think this year was by far the toughest yet, well that I’ve experienced anyway. The later start time is also a bit strange to prepare for given that you get a lay in, you get breakfast and you get time for lunch. I think I prefer the 11 start to be honest less time to dwell on things.

So the race, I decided to  aim for 1:27-1:28 which would be a course PB but not a distance PB. I think given that my distance PB was set on a flat race route and in February, running a slightly hilly one in the heat would probably be too challlenging to set a distance PB. So i set myself a pace plan of 6:35 per mile and aimed to stick with that for the first ten miles.


Racing with me was my friend John , my dad and friend Phillip. Who was running his first ever race over a 5k, brave man and quiet a step up. Luckily the biggest crowds I’d seen for this event turned out so no doubt it would of helped make it a special first half for him. Incidentally Freckleton was also the first half marathon i ever ran, so i was interesting to see someone step into my shoes. Those three were all aiming for between 2 hours and 2:10.

Lining up a the start, I found myself around half way back but as the race is chip timed that didn’t bother me too much. Although it meant a bit of a walk of a start which is always a bit of a pain. Then I was off and running, moving onto the inside so that i could move up through the crowds and find a nice bit of space  to push on. Covering the first mile in around 6:15 way ahead of time. I remained ahead of my pace plan right up to the fourth mile, were between it and mile five. I some how fell around thirty seconds off pace. It could of been a combination of the hills and heat or perhaps I had become complacent. I’m not sure. I had joined onto a group of runners who all seemed to be running at pace quicker than 6:35. Perhaps collectively we had all slowed down.

So i found myself, chasing the pace……..which is never smart, for the next five miles. Until, eventually I was back ahead of time by around 3 seconds. Which felt great and this whole period I it ever passed other runners. However, i knew i couldnt relax and that it was probably time to keep pushing on and slowly I gained more time ahead of plan, although between miles 11 & 12 I did have a bit of a wobble were i wasnt sure if i could maintain the pace. However, i passed the 12 mile point around 20 seconds ahead of time, which was great news.

Over the last half a mile of the race I continued to work hard, passing around three runners each time getting the mental boost which comes with passing another runner, late into a race. Reaching the final home straight, which I knew to only be around 65 metres, i gave the waiting crowds a clap and wave, before I moved up to a sprint having no idea what other runners were doing nor what my time was. But as I crossed the line I looked down and saw 1:26 on my watch and punched the air if joy, before giving the crowd wave of thanks as my name was read out over the speaker system. I couldn’t believe it,i had hopes of 1:28 and here i was recording a time of 1:26 in crazy heat! My second fastest time over 13.1.

Looking at the final results, it turned out i had finished 27th out of 660 runners, my highest finished ever, in this race and I had taken nearly seven minutes off my previous course PB and 22 minutes faster than my first ever half marathon race.

half marathon progress

Overall, the race was won by Ben Fish, for the eight year in a row in a time of 1:10. Will anyone, ever beat this guy! See [here]

Freckleton medal

So let the taper begin!! and the first week of taper looks as follows :

Tuesday 7 miles with 8*100

Wednesday 12 miles medium long run

Thursday 5 mile recovery with 6*100 m strides

Friday 5 mile recovery

Saturday 8-10k tune up race

17 mile long run

Already there will be changes,  i am changing Thursdays and Tuesdays runs around, as i want to get out to Longridge and take on Jeffreys hill again, as i still see it was a perfect practice area for Wales. And havign raced this weekend just gone, i wont be racing on the Saturday, but i might use it get get to Longridge a second time in one week……..hmmm we will see.

In other news

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Should you stretch before running?

Cardio linked to decrease in cognitive decline

Man v Horse: the world’s most eccentric race?





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