London Marathon Training – Week 11

Mileage for Week Eleven
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 0 miles
Wed – 4.4 miles Instagram
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 4.5 miles
Sat – 0 miles
Sun – 13.5 miles Instagram
Total – 22.4 miles

A resting week!

After my injury worry the week before and the Half Marathon PB at Silverstone, I decided to give my legs a rest.

I ran with Sarah on Wednesday and Friday so that I kept rested and wasn’t tempted to push the legs further than they need to be.

The Friday run was in atrocious weather though, it was cold and windy and raining and just awful!

Sarah was determined to run so run we did, even if I was complaining. Our intention was to run a 10k but we were just too cold and wet so stopped at 4.5 miles.

On Sunday I ran with Alex and Andrew for 7 miles before continuing on my own. It was a really nice relaxed run as we discussed running and other runs we have planned. I’m trying to convince Andrew that he can run a marathon, he knows he can I think!

We took in the canal tow-path which is still a bit wet in places, I tend to avoid it at this time of year. Before continuing on towards Groesffordd, Maggies Lane and the running track.

Once at the track I jogged a lap with Andrew before trying a ‘fast’ 400m. I’ve had a cold this week and ran out of air at around 300m but even fully fit, I’m definitely not a sprinter!

My 400m time was somewhere around 1:29 with the 200m at 0:42 – those very not scientific times are from the Strava segments. I may go up again after the marathon to do some stopwatch times just to see what I can do.

Once we had parted ways I went back down Maggies Lane to run up a few hills towards Llandew. That was certainly a test, the ‘fast’ lap really tested my legs so it was a little while before I got my legs back!

Getting back onto the B road was a relief and I headed back towards Brecon, my legs were getting tight through tiredness and my knees were aching! The wind which hadn’t been a feature on the first 7 miles was now an almost constant presence. Some of the back lanes were like wind tunnels and I was heading into the wind.

I was very glad to get back home and stretch off a bit (something I don’t do enough).

As I type it’s Monday in Week 12, in five weeks it’ll be the day after the Big Day!

I still have my cold and my sinuses are giving me pain, therefore I’ve decided not to run until at least Saturday. I have the Merthyr Half with Kevin and our running group on Sunday so I’m going to give my body enough time to recover.

Ahead of that, my long runs are looking like this:

26/03/2017 Sun Merthry Half 13.1
02/04/2017 Sun Llanfaes loops x 2 & Llanfrynach 5 mile route 13.1
09/04/2017 Sun Llanfrynach 5 mile route 10
16/04/2017 Sun Lock and back 6
23/04/2017 Sun Marathon 26.2

On the 2nd April Sarah is running with Laurie in Cardiff, I might go out for a longer run than the one I’ve scheduled. On the training plan I should be aiming for 20 or 22 miles but I’ve already done that. I may push for 16 or 17, I’ll see how my body is feeling in the days before it.

Here’s to 5 days rest and recuperation!!

London Marathon Training – Week 10 – ADIDAS Silverstone Half Marathon

Mileage for Week Ten
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 5 miles
Wed – 0.2 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 0 miles
Sat – 3.1 miles
Sun – 13.4 miles Instagram1 Instagram2 Instagram3 Instagram4
Total – 21.7 miles

A mixed week that began with an injury and ended with a Half Marathon personal best!

Stick with this one folks, it’s a long one.

On Saturday of Week 9 I pushed out 22 miles, my next run was on Tuesday and I broke myself.

I went out to run 6 miles at a quicker pace as a tester for the Silverstone Half Marathon. The pace I put on was fantastic by my standards. Recently I broke my own PB at parkrun and I think that has been at the back of my mind, especially as I’m running ‘slower’ than normal during this process. I still don’t think my mind has got it that I need to be sticking to the ‘slower’ pace, I like to see how fast I can run!

About 4.5 miles into the run, my right calf felt a little tight but that’s not too unusual recently, not too long after there was a sharper pain at my lower right calf, I carried on for about 30 seconds but it wasn’t going away, I felt like it was going to snap.

Just for fun these were the splits:
1 – 7:08
2 – 7:53
3 – 6:56
4 – 7:08
5 – 7:14

Had I carried on to reach 10k I would have unofficially taken nearly 2 minutes off my PB.

That’s irrelevant of course but amazing, even with a fraction of the route being downhill.

I walked the mile I had left to home, trying to get there in as quick a time as possible with minimal pain caused. I did try a little jog just before home but managed only a few steps.

Sarah was due to run on Wednesday, I did a practice run up and down our street but it was too uncomfortable for me to do more than that. I walked to town with her to meet Andrew and Ania. It was very odd watching them all run off.

I was more diligent than usual with the injury as I had the half on the weekend. I iced it in the morning and evenings, rubbed Arnica gel into the area, took Ibuprofen, increased my protein intake by way of protein shakes and most importantly, I rested.

The calf began to feel better each day and on Saturday I joined Sarah for the start of her 10k. I ran tentatively, I was still unsure how the calf would react. Sticking with Sarah has helped me lots over our shared runs, it has made me run slower, I never do actual recovery runs like proper runners, so use those runs with Sarah as my recovery.

I stayed with Sarah for around 2.3 miles and She carried on her route and I headed for home at a quicker pace to see what would happen.

The run home wasn’t quite a mile but looking on Strava my pace was around 8:30 min per mile and the calf held with only a little discomfort.

Sunday was the ADIDAS Silverstone Half Marathon!

Three laps around the track and inner roads of the historic circuit and former airfield.

I looked at this race last year and was put off by a few things; it was early in the year and I wouldn’t have prepared enough, the distance to get to the location and a review I had read that said that it was a very quiet race as there are few spectators around the course.

I personally didn’t have an issue with the spectating, I thought that there were enough people around cheering. Yes in a few spots there aren’t any spectators but you are not alone. I always had other runners around me and due to the nature of the course you can see other runners who are either ahead or behind you at nearly all times. There are also a couple of DJs blasting out music and encouragement.

Such a long day but worth it in the end. I was up by five am to have breakfast and a protein shake. By Google Maps the route we took from Brecon to Silverstone was 148 miles each way. We wouldn’t be back home until 7pm!

Andrew arrived just before half six and we were off. Sarah was spending the day with her Parents, spectating at these events isn’t always the most exciting of things to do.

We arrived just after half nine, the car park was almost empty. The organisers had asked for people to arrive before half ten, so we had arrived in good time. There is a short walk from the car park to the form up area, which gives an opportunity to take in the scope of the site, which is large!

Andrew and I discussed this briefly, it is unusual when at a race to ‘see’ where you have to run. You know you are running 5k, 10k, a half or marathon and beyond but you don’t usually get to take in the course just by looking around. We were walking through the middle of it!

In the form up area were the baggage garages, an ADIDAS shop selling the latest London Marathon branded gear, the Silverstone shop, a cafe, various food sellers and changing areas.

As it was drizzling when we arrived, we headed for the indoor bits. Thankfully I had left my wallet locked in the car so was unable to buy any of the LM merchandise, although I’m sure there will be another opportunity at Marathon Expo in April. Once we had looked around we headed for the changing area, which was in one of the pit lane garages.

We stayed in there for a while. It was dry but cold, it being an empty garage. There was a toilet which was a bonus. Once changed we headed out as the drizzle was easing. It was then that we had the runners dilemma of when do we go for the last loo stop and hand in our bag.

That decision was helped by the announcer informing the assembled runners that the gates to the start were opening at 11:15, five minutes later. We trundled off to join the short toilet queue as there were plenty about, and then handed our bags in.

The short journey to the start area was handled well and simply. If you were expecting to run over two hours you went one way, if under two hours you went the other way. Once on the track there were further markers to break down the estimated time. Andrew and I stood near the 1:55 – 2:00 hour sign. As the start time approached the mass of runners was shuffled forward to bunch up the start.

Before I was injured my plan was to go for a Personal Best, however the injury/pain I had in my calf actually had me feeling nervous on the start line. I don’t remember being nervous before, I just run and if it goes well that’s good, if it goes bad then that’s okay too, especially if in the end it’s a good outcome. Read on to understand what I mean.

A slight tangent; a bad run that was actually good happened to be the Cardiff Half Marathon last October. I had trained as well as I could and was in the best running shape I had ever been. I had my race plan sorted and I was hitting the mile markers exactly as I wanted to. It was the second time I had run the Half, the first in 2014 I finished in 02:03:06 as my hips went at around 6 miles, I was uncomfortable for the entire second half of the race. A disappointment as I had run 01:59:33 at my first ever Half Marathon at Llanelli earlier in the year. Fast forward two years and I was back. The 6 mile issue couldn’t strike again could it? You’ve guessed it dear reader! Once again the hips went at 6 miles and I was uncomfortable and struggling a bit. This has only happened at Cardiff, I’ve put it down to the camber in the road but I don’t really know. As I was a bit fitter I was able to keep the legs going albeit at a slower pace, although that hill not too far from the end nearly finished me off. I crossed the line in 01:55:51 taking 59 seconds off the PB time I had achieved at the Severn Bridge Half that August. I had crossed the line over 7 minutes quicker than the last attempt but I was in so much pain I could barely walk and I wobbled back to our meeting point so happy to have finished and forgetting it was a PB when I was asked my time. Even recently I forgot it was a PB, the memory of the pain has overridden the achievement.

Anyway back to the start. We were stood on the track for around 45 minutes in the cold and drizzle. Several prepared folks were covered with a mixture of refuse bags, ponchos and those silver foil blankets in an effort to keep warm.

Andrew and I discussed a brief plan of the race, I would stick with him for 9 miles and if my calf was okay then I would push on and see if it held.

As happens as these type of events, when the gun goes off everyone starts to run towards the start and then stops as everyone at the line slows down to do the ‘start watch and step on the timing mat’ dance. We walked to the start, letting others run on and then stop!

We got going and got into our stride trying to hit Andrews preferred pace of 9:00 min per mile, a little bit of a fudge as he runs in KMs and I’m in miles but we got it sorted.

Something that surprised me was how much water was on the track surface. It’s been a while since I watched F1 but I thought the surface would have not held as much water as we were splashing through.

It being a race track there are lots of turns to negotiate, not a huge problem normally but here they are so frequent that everybody is trying to get the ‘racing line’ all at once.

A few times over the distance I was nearly tripped up by someone trying to get as close to the corners as they could. No doubt I was doing the same. Dodging traffic cones becomes a skill the more it’s practised.

I’m certainly not the best pacer and I didn’t hit the pace target for Andrew, we were consistently a little bit too fast over each mile. Maybe not a bad thing as Andrew was going for under 2 hours.

My calf was giving me no issues whatsoever and I was feeling really good and enjoying the run and the route. It was going so well that I revised my plan and asked Andrew if he would be okay if I went on at 8 miles instead of 9. He agreed and as we hit 8 miles the Runners World 1:58 pacer appeared at his shoulder. I left him and sped off.

My first act as I started to weave through the runners in front of me was to apologise as I splashed through a puddle! I spotted a gap between two runners but as they parted the puddle was revealed leaving me nowhere to go other than through it. I tried to jump it and upon landing a bit awkwardly I realised how silly that was with a potentially dodgy calf.

I kept up a decent pace, pushing out negative splits for the 3 miles. I knew the route wasn’t flat, even though it’s a former airfield, and was pleasantly challenged by some of the inclines. The run to the finish line along Hangar Straight is up a slight and long incline. I’m grateful that I live among and run up and down hills. My splits slowed a little over the last 2 miles but I was still pushing as much as I could. I tried a sprint finish but the back of my left knee gave me a slight warning, so I sped up a little just bit more to give me a finish of 01:51:22 and a massive personal best.

I’d managed to take 4 minutes 29 seconds of my previous PB!

The process once finishing is very slick. The timing chips for this race are fixed to your shoe via two twist ties. Once through the finish, a short walk away are several ramps and volunteers armed with tools to clip through the ties and take away the chip. I was a bit tired and stopped at the first volunteer instead of continuing along the ramp. Something for me to remember for the London Marathon.

Next up was the goody bag. I trundled along to the medium section and took the bag I was offered and very nearly dropped it. It was much heavier than I’d expected. The contents included: cotton t-shirt, medal, water, lucozade, crisps, various carb snacks, sun lotion and the obligatory future race leaflets. A very good bag! I was a little disappointed at first with the t-shirt as I won’t be running in it but in hindsight do I really need another running top? No not really. It’s a lovely t-shirt that I’m looking forward to wearing,

So chip removed, goody bag received, next it was getting my bag back.

This can sometimes be an issue. Lots of “that one there” “by your foot” “no not that one, the red one” “yes, no, to your left” “THE RED ONE!”

All of that is a distant memory at Silverstone and I would expect at the London Marathon. In the race pack is a large clear plastic drawstring bag upon which each runner affixes a sticker bearing their race number. The bag is handed in to the relevant bag drop garage and when said runner appears dazed and tired back at the garage, a very observant person shouts out the number emblazoned on their front and they are directed to another person who by the time you get there has your bag ready.

I was very impressed to have my bag back in mere seconds after walking into the garage. A very efficient process.

Overall I was impressed with the organisation of the race. The emails and website were informative, as was the race pack. As we got there early the car parking was quick. Getting out was less quick though. Although that was down to several lanes of cars trying to filter through one gate and many drivers being very blinkered and not letting other cars in. We had some non-verbal communication with one driver who thought he would just push his way in even though we had been waiting patiently for nearly 10 minutes. I believe a few marshals placed within the car park to aid the filtering would have helped.

Whilst running the route I found that it was easy to get a bit disorientated. There is a fair bit of repeating bits you’ve done but usually in the reverse direction. That isn’t a complaint but I remember seeing some quicker runners towards the end of the race (11 miles maybe) on an adjacent section of track/road and wondering how and when I would get to that section.

The total distance by my Garmin watch was 13.4 miles. I’d noticed that my watch and those of other runners were beeping before each mile marker. This is likely due to the GPS accuracy of the watches and that there are lots of corners and bends. It’s hard to follow the exact racing line especially on a route like Silverstone. I’m happy that I ran a measured course of 13.1 miles that my time is for that distance.

The distance from Brecon is always a challenge for most events. The London Marathon will be a long weekend away and this event was very nearly a 13 hour day for a 2 hour run. Some other running friends would like to test themselves at Silverstone so I may be back next year, however I shall be booking a hotel for the Sunday evening and the day off work on Monday!

Next up for me are a couple of shorter runs to begin Week Eleven. I’m giving myself an extra day off running so instead of Tuesday, I’ll run on Wednesday. I may run again on Friday and then a 10+ mile run on Saturday.

Final Results:

Gary – 01:51:22
Andrew – 02:05:47

Pacing Andrew for eight miles we averaged 8:52 min /mile. For the final five miles (less the 0.4) I averaged 7:31 min /mile.

1 – 8:56
2 – 8:54
3 – 8:50
4 – 8:52
5 – 8:52
6 – 8:52
7 – 8:56
8 – 8:48
9 – 7:52
10 – 7:29
11 – 7:12
12 – 7:22
13 – 7:39
0.4 – 7:03

London Marathon Training – Week Nine

Mileage for Week Nine
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 5.4 miles
Wed – 4.1 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 0 miles
Sat – 22 miles Instagram
Sun – 0 miles
Total – 31.5 miles

My second three run week in the past three weeks. The first was because we were going away to Chester, this was due to tiredness and my body telling me it needed a break.

I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Which gave me two days rest before the longest run of this process so far.

The weather on Tuesday was a mixed bag. I had the gusty wind behind me for three miles but turning around for the run home of two miles was into the wind. On top of that the gusts got harder and it rained! It wasn’t all bad though as I kept roughly to pace.

It went a bit wrong on Wednesday. The planned run was six miles but I had to cut the run short and managed four. My left knee was aching after about three miles and I didn’t see any point in pushing the run further than I needed too. Not with a long run to come on the weekend.

At this point in the week I was still due to run three miles on Friday but was edging towards skipping it to rest me knee, which I did.

Those two days rest helped and once again I moved my long run from Sunday to Saturday, this has been very helpful in giving me more time to rest and recuperate.

I got up at 3am to have food and as I had the time, watched the first episode of SS-GB; pretty good but I’m not entirely taken with it. I was out running at 5 am. It was dark of course and stayed that way until just after 6am.

I had planned to run from Glangrwyney to Brecon but shelved that idea for another day. Instead I ran an out and back route along the back roads to Llangynidr. Previously I have run from Talybont-on-Usk to Brecon so that bit was familiar but once I was passed there I was mostly on unfamiliar roads.

The last time I had been on that road beyond Talybont was when I used to get the bus to Brecon college, so that’s over 20 years ago.

That unfamiliarity is fun as running where you don’t know what is coming keeps you on your toes. If you constantly run in familiar surroundings it’s easy to get complacent. When you go to races it is usually an unfamiliar place.

As I left Talybont and looked forward to the next four miles to my turn around point, I hit a hill! Which was quickly followed by another! To say the route was undulating is an understatement, no longer had I gone down an incline than another one to run up seemed to appear. It was fun.

I got to Llangynidr and the 11 mile halfway point in 1:42 or so. I had stopped to take a quick Snapchat photo in Talybont and swapped my water bottles in Llangynidr. I tried to take a second Snapchat but only managed to get the picture, that’s all my phone would let me do, my cold fingers wouldn’t operate the screen!

I set off again and got back into my stride, I looked at my watch as I went through 13.1 miles and I was just over 2 hours, a decent time considering the two stops and the undulating route.

The final five miles were the hardest, I can’t say it hit ‘the wall’ but I certainly had an energy dip and felt like I was just shuffling along. My watch told another story as you can see in the splits.

My aim on the day is to run the first half at my goal pace to bring me in around 2 hours at 13 miles, then once we’ve turned right over Tower Bridge start to pick up the pace and keep that pace picking up once I’m back on the Embankment.

The splits told that story and I’m happy overall with my time and pacing, even with the energy issues towards the end. As I’ve said before London will be a lot flatter than the Brecon Beacons.


1 – 9:37
2 – 9:17
3 – 9:33
4 – 9:05
5 – 8:49
6 – 9:17
7 – 9:19
8 – 9:08
9 – 9:05
10 – 8:33
11 – 8:48
12 – 8:42
13 – 8:33
14 – 8:33
15 – 8:30
16 – 8:37
17 – 8:43
18 – 9:11
19 – 8:34
20 – 8:29
21 – 8:54
22 – 9:01

As you can see from mile 10 I was certainly able to manage a faster pace even with the undulating route. This bodes well for the big day. The average pace for the run was 8:55 per mile, which would bring me in around 3:54 on the day.

The aching knee that curtailed my run on Wednesday didn’t resurface until once I had finished running and then it gave me lots of trouble over the weekend. I’ve rested it and iced it and it seems okay so far. I’m running again on Tuesday so that will be the test.

I’ve been advised by much more experienced marathoners to not increase the distance I’m running. I had planned to run two more 20+ milers but have shelved those. I read on a website this weekend when researching if I should run the full distance before the day, that for amateur runners, running over 3 hours or 20 miles poses more problems that positives.

Apparently the body starts to break down at a faster rate at these points. How accurate that is I have no idea but I realise that I can run 22 miles, not with ease that’s way to blasé but I can run it and I will be able to run 26.2 miles on the 23rd April. To that end I am not going to test myself further at 20+ miles. Yes it’s a long way to the big day but I want to be in a position to run free of niggles.

My long runs for the next seven weeks look like this:

12/03/2017 Sun Silverstone half 13.1
19/03/2017 Sun Brecon 10 route plus Llanfaes loops 13.1
26/03/2017 Sun Merthry Half 13.1
02/04/2017 Sun Llanfaes loops x 2 & Llanfrynach 5 mile route 13.1
09/04/2017 Sun Llanfrynach 5 mile route 10
16/04/2017 Sun Lock and back 6
23/04/2017 Sun Marathon 26.2

As I won’t be running 20+ miles I want to keep the legs moving and tested somewhat, so I have decided to push out a few other runs at the half distance. This should hopefully keep my body aware that it still has to run!I have two organised half marathons Silverstone and Merthyr, the former will be a PB (1:55:51) attempt and the latter will be run with my Brother-in-law for his first ever half.

London Marathon Training – Week Eight

Mileage for Week Eight
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 4.4 miles with Sarah Instagram
Wed – 10.1 miles with Kevin Instagram
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 5.4 miles
Sat – 3.1 miles
Sun – 20.1 miles Instagram
Total – 43.1 miles

Well what a running week that was! My longest ever run both in time and distance and the largest total mileage run in a week.

I had two goals going into the week: firstly to run 20 miles on Sunday and if I could manage it, go for a Personal Best (PB) at parkrun. I happy to say that I achieved both.

After our weekend in Chester Sarah and I were both feeling good. We had both had good runs at parkrun, I came close to a PB and Sarah had her best run in a while. The Running Gods had other ideas though. We ran for 4.4 miles and we both struggled, each mile was a chore. There are always days like that even for the most accomplished runners.

Wednesdays run was supposed to be 50 minutes but Kevin wanted to run 10 miles in preparation for Merthyr Half. He’s doing well although this run was a little slower that the last time he ran the distance. He’ll be fine for the half, which will be his first.

Parkrun on Saturday was a blast. The weather at Parc Bryn Bach is always interesting. The winter months are cold, wet and windy. The summer months are wet and windy. It is a fantastic place to run though.

As I had come close to my PB at the more challenging Chester parkrun I thought it possible to get close to my best time of 22:10 at the flatter course in Bryn Bach.

Despite the conditions I positioned myself close to the front and waited for the start. I stuck with the front pack and was within the top 10 all the way around. I finished in 8th place, my highest ever finish at parkrun. Which was helped by some more prominent runners being away for races and it being a rugby weekend.

My time was 21:19, taking 51 seconds off my PB. I was amazed that I was able to keep my pace going, it must be all the miles I’ve put in, even if they haven’t been at that pace, it must count for something.

The splits by my Garmin were:

1 – 6:50
2 – 6:47
3 – 6:45
0.1 – 5:56 (I put in a little sprint to the line!)

I felt really good all the way around and it was only the last half lap that I could feel the pace getting to my legs. It’s not in my plans up to the marathon to attempt a quicker time at the 5k distance but I may look at training after April to reduce my PB further.

And so to Sunday. My long runs are all done early in the morning, be that Saturday or Sunday. This is so that I have the rest of the day to recover and that running doesn’t take over the day. I do intend to run my longest long run at the same time I’ll be running the marathon.

The alarm went off at 0330; I stick to the ‘eat 2 hours before’ running instruction. I had my now usual weetabix and a pint of water. I followed that up with a banana and some chocolate snack-a-jacks.

I then watched a film before getting myself ready to run. Once I was ready I headed out. It being 0530 I went out with a long top over a t-shirt but that was removed after a mile, as I was too hot.

The first few miles eased me into the run, I’d run the route of the first nine or so miles during my 16 miles a few weeks back, so knew what was coming but I still went ahead of my target pace, once again getting quicker up towards Cradoc.

There is nothing new in the complete route I ran and that familiarity is useful. Next week my long run takes me from Glangrwyney to Brecon on roads I haven’t seen for over 20 years! It’s only once I’m about 7 miles from home that I hit familiar surroundings.

So knowing what’s coming doesn’t help my pace as I know the route and know I can push the pace up!

I was almost always under my target pace of 9:00 minute miles. This helps mentally as the routes here are much hillier than anything I will meet in London.

During my 16 miler I hit ‘The Wall’ at 11 miles, this time I was fine and got to that part of the route at 17 miles with no walls in sight. I even picked up the pace.

Strava tells me that I ran a total of 20.1 miles in a time of 2:58 at an average pace of 8:52 min per mile.

On the day that would bring me under 4 hours and I would be very happy. I think I can go faster in the second half of the run. I have long runs planned where I can test this.

Coming up for me are the following Long Runs:

5 Mar – Glangrwyney to Brecon – 20 miles (I’ll add miles to the route along the way)
12 Mar – Silverstone Half Marathon – 13.1 miles
19 Mar – Brecon to Llangynidr to Brecon – approx. 22 miles
26 Mar – Merthyr Half Marathon with Kevin – 13.1 miles
2 Apr – Brecon to Glanusk to Brecon – approx. 26.2 miles
9 Apr – 10 miles in Brecon area (taper)
16 Apr – 6 miles in Brecon area (taper)
23 Apr – The London Marathon!!

I’ve decided to move away from my regular route of Cradoc, the hills are fun but I think although I can maintain pace up there, I need to go less hilly. The test will be on Sunday where I run from Glangrwyney to Brecon. I used to live close to the village and was amazed when some of my Dad’s workmates used to run home from Brecon. I’ll be running on the B road which if successful will be used for my 22 and 26.2 mile attempts.

Not long to go but there are still a lot of miles to cover!

London Marathon – Week Seven

Mileage for Week Seven
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 6.5 miles with Kevin
Wed – 16 miles + 0.7 miles Instagram 1 Instragram 2
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 0 miles
Sat – 3.1 miles Instagram
Sun – 0 miles
Total – 26.3 miles

A truncated running week. Sarah and I were in Chester this passed weekend to celebrate our first wedding Anniversary.

To accommodate the weekend and not have to do a long run in Chester, I brought it forward to Wednesday.

I took the afternoon off work and got to it. The 0.7 miles is me running through town to the starting point I had chosen.

Not too far away will be the longest of the long training runs and I need to find a route or routes to cover the distance, which will be at least 20 miles, maybe more as I want to push myself and if I can get the 26.2 covered before the big day on a hilly route, at least I’ll know what to expect and have the nice knowledge that London is almost flat.

Anyway back to the run. I put together three routes I have run before several times. Ideally on the long run day, I want to have our car parked somewhere that I can run passed without going out of my way. That way I can get extra water and sustenance should it be required. Thankfully in town there is a carpark that is in a great location, and I can run passed it at the end of the routes.

So I have combined the allotments loop that is just over a mile long. The Cradoc loop which is roughly 5 miles and the Groesffordd/Maggie’s Lane/Struet loop which comes in close to 6.7 miles.

Today I completed two allotment loops and a loop each of the other two. This got me to just over 14 miles. I wanted to get over 15 miles as that was my long standing distance record which I achieved in February 2014.

The run started off feeling really good and I was on target pace or thereabouts for the first 4 miles. Then the climb up to Cradoc began and I don’t know why this happens but I usually get quicker here. It’s not an easy hill to run up but I get myself into a rhythm and the pace comes with it. Once at the top I had a little breather before the nice run down the hill which is around a mile or so before the road becomes undulating again.

Of course at this point I’m only on the first loop and I have a longer one to come. The pace is feeling good and although I’m telling myself that I’m likely to pay for this soon, I keep the pace going and going and going.

At 11 miles I hit the wall, which coincided with a hill! I managed to keep pushing and actually increased the pace. As I hit 13.1 miles and a PB time for the distance, I felt great, it helped that the last few hundred metres were downhill, however once on the flat my legs went and at 14 miles I could have quite easily stopped but I didn’t.

I added a bit onto the route at the end to make sure I got to 16 miles, I went back around the allotment loop as far as home and then passed our usual stopping point to reach the magical 16.

It was at this point that I knew I couldn’t keep that pace going for another 10 miles. However I was elated that I had been able to run so far at that pace.

There are many more runs and miles to do but I believe that if I run the first half of the marathon at my 9 minute mile pace, then the second can be faster and at this pace, which will hopefully bring me home under 4 hours.

Split Times

1 – 9:34
2 – 9:12
3 – 9:20
4 – 9:13
5 – 8:45
6 – 8:11
7 – 7:51
8 – 8:59
9 – 8:13
10 – 8:28
11 – 8:30
12 – 8:26
13 – 8:00
14 – 7:57
15 – 8:32
16 – 9:15

As we were going to Chester, Sarah mentioned going to parkrun. I was up for it, its nice to run in other places. It was a chilly morning on Saturday. We walked from our hotel to the Countess of Chester Country Park which is the location for the most challenging parkrun we have done so far.

It has tight turns, a couple of short sharp inclines and a two loop section which includes running over grass for about half a loop. We very rarely run on grass, so that was new to both of us as adults! It was fun though.

I’d said to Sarah as we waited that I might try and go a bit faster than normal but wasn’t sure how I would do. So as the start of the run got closer we split up and I went to join the speedy runners at the front. I kept with them for a bit, looking at my watch it told me I was running at 6:30 min per mile pace, which is too fast for me but I tried to hold on! They left me behind and I settled into my good pace of 7:00 min per mile.

Amazingly I held onto this pace, despite not challenging myself like this for some time. The two loops, including the grass, were really fun. The grass field was undulating and leg sapping but I managed to go quicker over the second loop.

Then it was the final push to the finish, I was running alongside one chap but he put a spurt on and left me, I then caught up with a younger chap and expected him to do the same but I went passed him with ease (I was surprised!) and even managed a sprint finish.

My final time was 22:17. Which is 7 seconds off my Personal Best at Bryn Bach. I was 3rd in my age category too!

The splits from my watch were:

1 – 7:02
2 – 7:19
3 – 6:57
0.1 – 6:16

It was really nice having time off running this week. Running the long run on Wednesday meant that my legs were given more time off than usual. Excluding the 22 minutes at parkrun, I’ve had five days off as I type this on Tuesday morning. However Week 8 could be a heavy mileage week as I try and push Kevin to more miles in prep for the Merthyr Half.


London Marathon – Training Weeks Five & Six

I’ve already got slack and fallen behind in the updating of the blog!

As I type, it’s Wednesday of Week Seven and I’ve come back from a long run. I will get ahead of myself and start a draft that once this once is posted.

Mileage for Week Five
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 3.2 miles with Sarah
Wed – 4.4 miles Instagram
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 2.5 miles
Sat – 6.2 miles with Sarah
Sun – 9.2 miles Instagram
Total – 25.8 miles

Week five on the plan was a quieter week, which I was doing well at until I joined Sarah for a 6.2 mile run on what should have been a rest day for me!

On Wednesday I ran almost flat out to The Bin, a distance of 2 miles if taken straight through the town. Pace averaged around 7:15 which was spectacular considering I haven’t run that fast for a while. On the way back I tried some fartlek between the lamp posts and to be honest that combined with the speedy start, took the juice right out of my legs.

The long run on Sunday was good but oh so cold. It was cold to begin with and it just got colder. I made the error of not taking my gloves, by the time I got home my hands would barely work! I got home and got straight into bed to warm up.


Mileage for Week Five
Mon – 0 miles
Tue – 4.5 miles
Wed – 4.8 miles
Thu – 0 miles
Fri – 5.2 miles with Kevin
Sat – 13.2 miles Instagram
Sun – 0 miles
Total – 27.9 miles

The first run this week was a slog. I remember looking at my watch and feeling like I had already run 5 miles but the readout was only 1.8! I plodded around the route and got the run done. A run is better than no run.

I’ve noted on Strava that the heel pain that I’ve had was becoming annoying. It’s still there and still bothering me but not as much. I have tried to stretch my calves a bit more but I still need to work on them.

I moved the long run from Sunday to Saturday in order to give my heel a bit more rest. On the plan the run was ‘Run 10 miles’ but I knew my legs were capable of more, so went out with the aim to run the half marathon distance.

To do this and not lose too much of our Saturday, I woke up at 4am to eat and then went to run at 6am. This meant that I was back around 8am and the day wasn’t wasted!

Once again my idea was to run 9 minute miles which I did mostly for nine miles; dipping under for three of nine. Once it became clear that I could probably go under two hours, I started to race the clock and made it home in 1:58:04.

On Strava I have written “I won’t be able to do that in the longer runs coming up but it’s nice to know there is something in the legs to push the pace if I need to.”

Well I can say now that I can and I can’t do that on the longer runs. Today in week 7, I ran 16 miles at a quicker average pace than that run… So I know I can do it but there’s no way I could add on another 10 miles to it! It’s good to know that if I pace the first half of the marathon correctly, I can then go for it for the second half.

See you soon 🙂


The Social Media

As I’m updating this blog a bit more frequently than before, and I’m getting a couple of more views and follows than in a long time, I thought I would spread the word about my Social Media presence.

These are in no particular order:

Instagram – I post pictures about my running, what I’m reading, the films I’m watching and other stuff!

Strava – I use Strava to log my runs, I also use…

Smashrun – Does the same job as Strava but puts the data into nice graphs and such like.

Last.FM – I’ve been Scrobbling, as it used to be called, the music I listen to since 2003. I primarily listen to digital music via Spotify these days. Back when it started I was an iTunes user.

Snapchat – Not a link but if you are a SC user as the Kids call it, find me by searching for – gary_bartram – I use it but don’t expect anything Earth shattering on my story etc

Twitter – I used to be a prolific Twitterer when I was annoying various people within the online film community but I stopped all that when I met Sarah. I occasionally go on a rant but it’s rare these days! Stop by and say hi!

Letterboxd – This is where I log my film watching and see what the remaining members of the film community I like are watching.

So that’s me on Social Media!