Challenge 2015 – Something to focus on

new york 2014

This posts header picture is of Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany the male and female winners of the recent 2014 New York marathon who battled winds of up to 40 mph to record times of 2:10:55 and 2:25:07. A world a way from the kind of times i am doing and pretty mind blowing.

So challenge 2015. I needed something big to focus on, something other than trying to improve my running form that is. And after a lot of thought, Ive decided after two years of traveling, to do a home marathon and Ive plumped for the award winning…..

Runners world, most improved marathon 2014,

Running Awards best marathon 2014

Great Manchester Marathon

The race in its current format, has only been going since 2012, but 2015 will actually be the 39th addition of the race, after a decade passed during which it wasn’t held.

The race is known as the flattest marathon in the UK, which will make a change from the Wales marathon which had been designed to be the UK’s toughest.

The race starts and finished near Old Trafford stadium, taking in many of Manchester main roads and Media city, so I can expect plenty of space (hopefully) . So again, quite the contrasting race from Wales, which took in coastal views, castles, hills and fields. But being a big city marathon, what it will lack in beauty it will make up for it in atmosphere. With the organisers promising entertainment throughout the race and a festival style atmosphere. So that’s will make it a little special and keep us runners moving.

For more details on the route , you can see the online map here

The marathon is licensed by UKA and your time counts as a qualification time for other marathons such as Boston, Comrades and London ‘good for age’. So who knows maybe, I’ll be going to Boston one day after all (fingers crossed).

Looking at last years times, the first four runners all finished in under 2:20 , 204 (3.4%) runners of the finishers completed the race in under 3 hours. So despite the race being the flattest in the UK, the theory that only around 3% of runners will ever finish a marathon in under 3 hours holds true. After all, you would need to run around 6:52 mins per mile for 26.2 miles in order to just slip under the 3 hour mark, so its no easy feat.

48% of runners completed last years race in under 4 hours.

The winning time last year was 2:16:58, the average finish time was 4:07:43 and last place came home in 7:12:29. There were 5,911 finishers of which 73% were male, so clearly more women need to sign up to this one.

great manc mara 2014

So April 19th, all being well, will mark my first attempt to go under 3 hours, requiring a PB of at least 12 minutes and 47 seconds. Its not going to be easy.

I will again be following an 18 week training programme from the Advanced Marathoning book, once again stepping up, in terms of distance. To take on the 70-85 miles per week schedule. Unlike Wales, were i made the mistake of not starting training early, i will be starting training, two weeks early so with just 23 weeks (gulp) until marathon day i will be starting training in three weeks time on December 1st (Happy Christmas). The advantage of starting training early is a reduction on the impact of any injuries that may occur and flexibility to account for any life related matters or should i wish to enter any races.

I already plan to do a few races, which i will keep to a minimum as they do break up training. However, if i can achieve some PBs in say a couple of half marathons then it will give me confidence going into the day and give me something to gauge my development as well as forcing me to train at a higher pace. That said the training programmes in the Advanced Marathoning book, do often include “tune up” races, so perhaps some races will line up nicely with my training.

As well as an increase in mileage, there are a couple of others things i plan to do to aid my mission to go Sub3. These include an increase in core work (every time, i say it, i just don’t do enough), an increase in speed session, improve running for (With the aid of Helen Clitheroe) and perhaps join a running club. I will continue to walk to and from work, despite my office move adding an additional 600 metres to the journey. This will help me maintain a good endurance base as well increase my leg strength as there are a couple of hills en-route.

So i have three weeks to build my mileage up to fit in with my next training plan, which last week was 54 miles and this week is on for around 50 miles and week one of the training plan is 65 miles. So i think am on for a smooth(ish) transition into that. I am thinking 55 miles, followed by 62 miles, followed by 60 miles will be a good transition. Although i was thinking about doing a 5k race on November 30th…..But hey this is why am starting training early.

So it begins……well in three weeks time it does….

In other news

THE RUNNING AWARDS Not only is voting and nominations under way for the 2015 additions of the awards, but you can also vote for this very blog, if you have found it at all useful, i would appreciate that. Thank you 🙂

Runners World look at the ideal age for marathon running

Yoga for core strength


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