Tag Archives: training plan

It comes in threes, surprise competition and I love hills…

After what can only be described as a horrendous start to 2017 I entered into my second week of training for Edinburgh Marathon feeling the most down I have felt for a long time I was however determined not to be beaten. The last few days had been a blur and I was struggling to come to terms with the hand I’d been recently dealt. I was uneasy that in the back of my mind I was wondering where the third bit of bad luck was going to come from, as they say it comes in threes! As a family we had rallied, we’ve had some fantastic support from some good friends but my wife has stood by me being the shoulder to cry on when I needed it the most. Through the past few weeks we have both taken strength from our sons exploits. Our happy, loving and generous 19 month old boy was the light in the dark times, for him we are so grateful, he is my driving force when I start to struggle.

With Monday a designated rest day I took advantage of the opportunity to put my feet up but I will admit I was itching to get out on the road. After a decent sleep, which is few and far between for me, I was ready for my first run of the week a steady 40 minute plod around the undulating streets of Bolton. Where I work is close to the place my grandma and grandad lived for 57 years, a house I spent lots of time at when my mum was ill and a place that was a safe haven for a scared little boy…me. As I plotted my run I decided I was going to incorporate a fly past of my grandmas old house.

Grandparents old place. 57 years here and a lace I have fond memories of.

As I set out I was feeling good and running well and confident today was to be a good day. 7:12 for the first mile, 7:29 for the second and 7:25 for the third but then came a sudden spike. I trotted out of the town centre onto a straight road which I was to be on for around 1.5 miles I closed in on a runner on the opposite side of the road who after a glance across the road he saw me coming. I was running strong but he decided he didn’t want me to overtake him so started to match me stride for stride…challenge accepted I thought…bring it on. As we approached a downhill he decided he was to up the pace slightly and a sprint ensued down the hill however knowing the road well I stuck to the pace I was travelling at. Now as basic science dictates what goes up must come down and vice versa so the 400 metres or so climb on the other side of the downhill was inevitable. What my friend hadn’t anticipated was my love of hills, I turned on my afterburners, lifted my knees, lengthened my stride and the 20 yards he’d made on the downhill sprint had been cancelled out, a quick glance over my shoulder he was slowing I was running strong and as we hit the next downhill section he’d given up, he was walking and I plodded on triumphant. Now I always say I compete against no one but myself but that bit of competition on that day did me good, it focused me and made me think of tactics, just like in races, to shake off the competition. That run a random fella helped me more than he’ll ever know and I would like to think his desire of me not getting past him helped him as well. As I finished my run on my grandmas old street and a selfie outside a house I have many memories of I was happy with how I’d ran and most pleasant of all was the fact my Black dog has given over growling…for now.

As I returned home that night I was greeted with a hug and kiss from my wife and son who made a good day better however the good time wasn’t to last due to another phone call, the third of three. To cut a long story short our family cat had been in hospital due to what we initially thought was an infection in his tongue however after tests it was found to be an aggressive tumour they could do nothing about. We had to make a decision, one of the toughest you can make, to let Fluff cross Rainbow Bridge and join his friends, heart breaking. That night again the tears flowed it was roles reversed and I was the one trying to be strong for my wife as she’d been my rock through the recent tough times. As we said our goodbyes I really hoped that would be the run of bad luck ending for us as a family, emotionally we were drained and needed a break.


Unfortunately the previous nights down feeling carried over into my Wednesday run. The conditions weren’t the best for running on as the wind had picked up overnight and the 50 minutes steady I had planned was abandoned due to the conditions coupled with my head mash, my discipline when out the window.

Some times you have to stop, take a minute and restock.

With the original plan abandoned that dinner time  run became a mixture of easy running, step work, threshold running and hills! Wednesday wasn’t the most productive of runs but at least I ran.

Abandon the original plan take your anger out on the steps.

Thursdays run became more important to get back on track for me I looked at Wednesdays run, there was nothing to take from it but 5.1 miles in the legs, I gave my head a shake and Thursdays speed session was much better. The easy sections I was disciplined, the threshold sections I hit hard and sustained, the steady section was as the easy, disciplined and in 42:30 minutes I was able to cover 5.7 miles. On a final note todays Instagram running picture was me with a statue of Atlas, a man with the weight of the world on his shoulder, highly appropriate for this moment in time.

I know how you feel cocker

Friday brought a well-received rest day and also with it being Friday 13th and with my current luck it was probably best I didn’t go out on the road, who knows what could have happened!! An early night Friday to close down a hard week was in order however  I did set my alarm for 5:30am Saturday due to the fact it’s Long run day! The plan for Saturday was the same as the week before, same route, 75 minutes but see if I can be a bit quicker. I have a few goals for 2017 and one of them is beating my 26.2 PB that currently stands at 3:25:26. This has played a big part in my choices of marathons this year. I intend to give Edinburgh and Berlin my best shot and to get what I want in my head I need to be averaging between 7:20 and 7:25 minute miles, its more than doable and I am determined to do all I can to get there. As I stepped out the door on Saturday it was a colder morning so with my hat, gloves, tights, base layer and head torch all on I head out down a well-trodden route. 10 miles later and an average minute per mile of 7:25 I was home, showered and sat with a brew all before my wife and son had rose from their pits. Saturday was a good run, I enjoyed it and most of all I felt strong running at that average pace, the question is can I now carry that on to the longer long runs? They say it’s a marathon not a sprint however the reason I run is I get there quicker so will see where my training takes me and as we get a few more weeks into training I’ll have a better idea of my capabilities.


To finish the week off I was meant to be out on Sunday hill running however due to me being tired and the lack of hills around home I decided to rest and spend some time with the family. I decided I would run my Sunday session on Monday around the streets of Bolton due to you never being too far from a hill! Off to Matel Play in Liverpool we went to meet Thomas the tank engine, Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam, my son loved it and so did we. To finish the week on a positive note on Sunday night I received an email from mapmyrun, which I used to track my runs when I started running in January 2014. I now however use Strava ( Matt Bowman) on the recommendation of some friends who run triathlons competitively, I only run but it works for me. When I logged on to my mapmyrun account I found a 10 mile run recorded on 11th January 2014, the same run I ran on Saturday 14th January 2017 I was pleasantly surprised. I felt really proud when I compered the two times and splits from the two runs. I knew I had made progress over the last 3 years but seeing it in black and white gave me a massive confidence boost, running is a slow burner and there are no short cuts. With hard work, persistence and determination you will see results, listen to other runners and be true to yourself you’ll improve just don’t expect it overnight. Stick at it and safe running all…Thanks for reading.

Same run 3 years apart. Progress


Trying to build a routine 

At the moment I intent to document my runs weekly however over time this may increase dependent on races and schedule.
Busy week this week and have had to fit runs in where I can so routine has gone haywire. This week started off with me getting married! Which was lovely but brings a certain amount of over indulgence. As it stands I’m at my second week training following a plan from virgin. The reason I use this one is 1) it was free 2) I used the beginning plan for the Liverpool rock and roll marathon in June and it worked so decided to up my game this time and try the intermediate. This should have been fifth week of training but with the wedding, stag dos! illness I struggled gaining momentum. Motivation is hard at the moment and forcing myself outside to run but that will improve with routine. 

Monday me and the new wife had a night away in a posh hotel that had a spa. In the gym there were a few Treadmills, now I don’t really do treadmill as I don’t feel it gives me a true representation of my running and fitness. I Started off easy and built up to 5k in 21 minutes which I was happy with but as mentioned previously on the road my 5k none ‘treadmill’ assisted is slightly slower than that. 3 miles in the tank is all I’ll say.
Thursday (40 minutes steady) This was my first day back at work after 10 days off and I managed 5 miles 41+ mins in my lunch break, I struggled and probably chose the wrong route but once I start a run I have to finish the one I’m on!! First 2.5 miles up hill and running out of town were hard and I definitely know the past few weeks indulgence have caught up! Once out of town I was struggling more than I ever have recently. Mentally this became hard for me!! Two miles and I’m struggling!! So I took a step back pace wise and plodded. Knew last 2 miles was generally down hill so kept ploughing on. Past Barrow bridge chimney made famous by Fred Dibnah and Back down Halliwell road into the town centre. At this point I was enjoying it more as it all down hill!! As a run I felt mixed emotions but over all I’m happy I went out. 


Friday interval run- 10 mins easy, 5 x 2 mins interval 2 mins easy, 10 mins easy – Today began with me talking myself out of it. I’d been up since 4:30, an hour commute to work and meetings in the morning I was shattered by half ten however I knew once I was out of be fine. I opted for a straight out and back route i’d not planned but I knew from my previous training for my last marathon. I headed out of Bolton on a steady climb up Chorley New road towards the macron stadium. I had to do 40 mins running, 20 minutes one way cross the road and 20 minutes back. I started slower than normal purposely but still slow is difficult for me. Reason I run is I get there quicker hate hanging around but always in the back of my mind is the long game and you can’t sprint a marathon! I hit lucky with road crossings and only caught once which for such a busy thoroughfare is good!! I finished the run stronger than when I started which is a plus and I enjoyed the intervals as over all I felt much better than I did on my previous run. Today was a positive.


Positive from today = new runners!! 

Saturday 1hour 10 mins long run. Back to earth with a bang!! Didn’t start the day well as I woke up with my hamstrings tight but I’m back around home for my longer weekend run so thought that’s ok. Always a nice break from the streets and more importantly the hills of Bolton as where I live it is generally flat. Having said that today was torture and I’m left with more questions than answers. Have I slept enough? Have I fuelled well enough? Did I start too fast? Mentally today was hard. Positives from it were my new shoes got a first run and ultimately its 8.6 miles more than I’d done when I woke up!! Every cloud I suppose. I knew early today was going to be a slog when 3 miles in I was struggling and by 5 miles I’m in pain. This isn’t right, I’m normally stronger than that however today I wasn’t. Weirdly all I wanted to do was finish and eat a double decker! Now I plan a few days rest until my next outing on Tuesday I plan to use it to relax and contemplate what I did wrong today. Hopefully Tuesday will be a more positive experience but with a threshold run planned not sure it will be!!