Yorkshire Marathon 2018

The alarm rudely woke me at 5.30 am,I didn’t feel like getting up as the weather forecast had promised me some pretty grim weather.

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Can you even do a race without a flat lay first?

I had a solo drive over to York this time as my wife was double booked,this is the first time she hasnt come with me to a big race which is a miracle in itself with the amount of different races I do and my poor diary keeping skills !

The drive over was uneventful,coffee and naff early morning radio 1 kept me company.

There is no parking at the marathon event village and instead they operated a park and ride from the train station.

I met up with club mate Neal and his wife Amy while waiting in the bus queue. The buses were a nightmare ,not enough for the amount of runners and I heard stories of runners being late for the start!

We got to the event village in plenty of time fortunately but I just felt rushed,no idea why.I could of done with maybe using the loo one more time but the queues were massive so I took a gamble and hoped the rumble in my stomach was just nerves!

The rain while not as heavy as predicted was still coming down plenty and so I could keep my jacket on as long as possible Amy offered to look after my gear so I didn’t have to use bag drop.

9.15 we decided to head to the start and a rare bit of foresight meant I had brought two very fetching auto trader ponchos,they did the job and we looked super fashionable !

On the start line I told Neal my plans 6.28 min/mile and hold on as long as possible to try and hit 2.50 ,I knew this was very ambitious but sometimes you just have to roll the dice and go. I definitely was not going out faster than that ,no way no how.

Hand shakes,gun goes we are off!

                                                                      First mile 6.08 – shit!

It took 10k or so to settle into a rhythm as the cold and rain kept my mind off my pacing!

The Yorkshire course is hillier than I expected ,I knew it was supposed to have a few bumps and while nothing major they did make a dent on effort levels.

First half went well and I went through in 1.23.42 ,about 2 mins up on my official half PB from 2016 !

I had been tucked in with a group of lads all aiming for 2.50 from about 4 miles in.The chit chat was the usual , how many miles in the build up ,how many 20 milers had been ran etc etc.

I felt like a fraud

Since Lakeland In July I have been a mix of conservative and lazy ,long runs had been scarce in fact since Lakeland I have done 1 x 20 with Dan Lawson on his jogle attempt a 15 miler hungover and a 16 miler ! I had no business being in this group , I was undertrained and running on stubbornness.

                   I fell off this group about 18 miles in ,I hope they finished well!

Just after falling off I spotted Neal coming back up the opposite side of the road ,he wasn’t lost it was a boring long out and back section! He looked super strong and we exchanged a quick shout before he disappeared into the distance.

By the 20 mile point I was really cold ,I hadn’t taken a drink from 16 miles as I couldn’t open the lids to get in them,this continued to the finish and I just decided to not bother getting a bottle from the remaining stations (not anyone’s fault, it can’t be easy making sure 1000s of bottle are open for precious runners who’s handies are cold !) .

Calf Cramp hit me around this point ,my right calf just seized up and no change of gait was easing it off. I knew to stop and stretch would of been game over as I would never of started up again!

I had opted to wear my new balance 1400 v5s ,I love this shoe but I think it was a little too light for full marathon distance ,mixed in with the bloody plantar fasciitis I’ve had for weeks ( I’ve tried everything to shift it ,ice ,massage ,stretching and voodoo! ) probably brought on the cramp.

The last six miles are a blur of cold ,cramp and demons. I had covered 20 miles quicker than I had ever before but all I wanted to do was stop ,I was no longer bothered about a PB. My normal mantra of counting up to four wasn’t working and my leg was not responded to my obscenities!

I had gone from wanting a 2.50 to not even being bothered if I hit sub 3! The only reason I continued on my shuffle was fear of getting even colder. The final two miles 7.08 and 7.24 ,almost a min slower than avg pace proved how far I had over stretched and the importance of long runs in training !

I came round to the final straight to cheers from Amy and Neal’s parents who had been kindly waiting for me to come in.I finished in 2.53.25 a massive 6 min PB and was absolutely over the moon,yes it wasn’t 2.50 but that goal doesn’t have to have a time limit and i know it is ripe for the taking.

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I shoved some dry clothes on while Neal had a massage,I was in too much pain to even think about someone touching my calf.

A quick pint back in york with Neal and family to celebrate our PBs ( He was 9th in 2.38!). I had to then leave them to the celebrations and head on back home.

I arrived back to a victory bottle of whisky from my wife and a takeaway,the simple things in life are often the best.

So what’s next?

I’m going to chuck myself wholeheartedly into a hard XC season and of course the world famous Stockport 10

Train Smarter Not Longer

So it’s London Marathon ballot results week again and as usual a lot of commiserations mags have been hitting doorsteps.

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All week i’ve been reading a lot of posts on social media about how unfair the system is. Whether that is true or not is above both my pay grade and level of intelligence, however talking to a friend who was unsuccessful I mentioned that he try for a good for age time, He replied

We can’t all train as much as you!

This got me thinking, do people think that to achieve a goal such as good for age that they have to train twice a day 7 days a week?

Now don’t get me wrong im not for one moment suggesting that everyone is capable of hitting a good for age time,there are factors that could and do stop people hitting them but MOST runners could if they trained smarter!

I know some runners that train far more than most (one has hit 2500 miles this year already!) yet have had no real progress at any distance they have raced.

While I get not everyone runs for times, i also get that deep down if someone said they could take 5 mins of your PB you would take it (I know i would!) .

The problem with some runners is that they train at the same pace all the time,train too much or simply hit too many marathons a year and don’t recover enough between efforts and as such stay in the spiral of not hitting their target, so they train more,don’t recover and so on goes the struggle.

Back to my mate’s comment………..I very rarely train more than 5 days a week and when i ran my sub three marathon it was based on an average of 30 miles a week over 15 weeks,I got ill and had to be really smart with my training .(I had been running for a few years and it wasn’t my first marathon).

What training should look like

  • Long runs should be EASY!!! 60 seconds per mile slower than Marathon pace is a good starting point.
  • speed sessions UNDER marathon pace, ( 5 mile repeats 30 seconds quicker than MP with two minutes recovery is a great session) As is getting down to your local parkrun and having a good old blowout!
  • Marathon paced tempo runs, should be in your arsenal get used to running that pace and make it feel comfy!,a good start is 4 miles at goal marathon pace in the middle of a 6 mile steady run.
  • Recovery runs, these should be easy as well, a run where you are panting and struggling to talk is not a recovery session! On a Recovery run you can hold a full conversation.

 

A normal week for someone who runs five days should look a little like this

One long run

Two specific sessions (Tempo run,hills,track workout etc)

Two easy recovery runs

Your aim should always to be nice and fresh hitting the two sessions a week rather than hitting every run at the same pace,If you don’t you are not really going to improve or recover enough on any run. More does not always equal better!

It may take you 12 whole months to get closer to your GFA time but stop looking at them as impossible targets,train smarter and make then an achievable Target!