Liverpool Marathon

This should be the post I tell you all about the event organisation and how the run went -It’ll be a short post then… I backed out in the final few days. The sensible side of me took over and I talked myself out of it due to lack of training plus hearing that my self-build conservatory was to be delivered the same week and with limited holidays off work left I thought my time was better spent building that instead of not being able to walk all week!

I’m gutted I didn’t take part in what sounds like a great successful day but I only have myself to blame. I didn’t train hard or long enough and my heart just wasn’t in it. A friend of mine said a Marathon is not something you can just do half-hearted and he’s completely right, it takes months of commitment and structured training which I completely lacked.

Training for London I had the motivation of my first marathon and every long run was a first which boosted confidence. For Liverpool the long training run became dreaded and boring and after being at work all week I wanted to spend time with my family instead of breaking up a Sunday with a 3 hour run then being good for nothing after it.

Recently I’ve found motivation and desire in other projects like my conservatory build and found my spare time was needed away from training for events to give something back to my wife and Isabella for supporting me for the last year and working the mornings, evenings and weekends around my training needs.

I think the best thing for me now and until next year is to have a free diary and not commit to any events, get back on my bike and in the gym and get back to training because I want to and not because I have to.

I think one Marathon a year is one too many…

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26.2 mile run on Sunday anyone?

Marathon Announcement bannerI must admit when I signed up for the Liverpool marathon back in January and with the year I had planned I thought I’d be ready to smash it. Now in the final week before the event and facing reality it’s just a case of getting round the 26.2 miles.

Honestly, I’m not ready to run 26.2 the way I want to and in the time I want but that could be a good thing. I’m constantly obsessed with times and pace and thinking I’m not quick enough and being disappointed with my results. This Sunday I’m just going to run nice and steady, even slowly avoiding going off to quickly and hitting the wall later on. Maybe even enjoy it!

Training hasn’t gone to plan due to lack of Motivation and other excuses but at the end of 12 months of training this is my 15th Event of the year including 4 half Marathons and 2 Marathons so I think I’ll put the running shoes away for the winter and return to my deserted bike.

Wish me luck – I’ll need it.

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English Half Marathon

Sunday 18th September saw the 3rd annual half marathon in my birth town of Warrington. This one has been on the radar for me since it was established but this year is the first time I’ve been available to run it and I’ve been missing out. Maybe I’m biased but this is a great event with and considering it’s ran on the same day as the Great North run it still manages to produce a mass turn out with an estimated over 2000 runners and attracts some quality too.

This year it was great to see a Warrington 1,2 and 3 in the fastest male with 20 year old Daniel Cliff taking the win in 1 hour 9 minutes. It got even better for the hometown with Louise Blizzard from Fearnhead taking 1st place in the woman’s with a time of 1 hour 22.

It’s a tough start to the race undulating through the back lanes of Warrington up to Stretton peaking at a little over 300ft at 7 miles before you turn for home cutting through a few narrow off-road trails. With support on almost every corner and a well marshalled and organised route they’ve got it right here with a great event that will be around for a long time. Also it was great to finish with one lap of the track on Victoria Park where the many spectators roared you home. A nice shinny medal for the collection and a good quality running t-shirt in the goody bag was a nice touch.

Finish line at Warrington HalfFor me it was an opportunity to test the legs before Liverpool Marathon. It definitely wasn’t going to be a PB day as my game plan was not to push it too hard and to go at a comfortable pace keeping my heart rate steady and mentally breaking down the course into sections staying focused and treating it like a marathon working on my lessons learnt from London and preparing me for Liverpool. Time wasn’t important which is unusual for me as I’m always spending hours working out potential times and different paces and looking for what I considered to be “respectable times”.

I learnt a lot from my first Marathon and didn’t achieve what I wanted as I got too ahead of myself and thought I respected the distance but really had no clue. I went off far too quickly aiming for a time and although going well up until mile 21 I paid for my naivety and inexperience for the remaining worst 5 miles of my life.

I’m more than happy with the way this race panned out and went to plan. I felt in control and comfortable running and unlike in recent weeks didn’t feel the need to stop. It’s giving a boost ahead of Liverpool and got me back on track as long as I stay disciplined and focused during Liverpool Marathon I should be able to make amends for London.

Garmin Stats:

13.17miles 01:47:35 Avg pace 8:10 Avg HR 171bpm max HR 178bpm Total ascent 1128ft

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6 weeks until Liverpool Marathon – PANIC!!

Man flu survival kitDoubt has entered my mind as I write this from my sick bed. I’ve been ill this weekend so again not been able to get out for my long run and I’m falling behind on my training. In the last 3 weeks my longest run has only been 8 miles and only averaging 15mile per week – way behind on my targets leaving me lacking in motivation and confidence.

One reason is August has been a very busy month for me. My small photography business has had its most successful month on record with 2 weddings and 2 portraits and with a full time job Monday to Friday my weekends have been focused elsewhere leaving my training bottom of the priority pile.

Another is I’ve just not been feeling good. Training for London did not go to plan but I was enjoying getting out and feeling good on my long runs, seeing improvement week on week busting my confidence and even with injuries holding me back I felt I was ready come race day. For Liverpool it’s the complete opposite, I’m not looking forward to the long runs and when I do talk myself in to getting out its hard work and my heads not in it so I’ll look for excuses to stop and stretch or cut the run short.

It can go either way from here, I can continue to feel sorry for myself or I can snap out of it and rediscover my enjoyment and competitive edge and get training. This week could be the turning point if I can shift this “man flu” and get out for a few decent runs. Next week is Warrington half marathon and will be a true test to find out where I’m at. I certainly won’t be looking for a PB but hope to run a steady race and get that buzz back that you get from these events and drive on the Liverpool then.

Let’s see if I can turn this around…

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Finding my Running legs again…

group of legs running I’ve just been looking over my training spread sheet that I keep and it’s been 17 weeks since the London Marathon. During this time my training has all been geared towards short distance and speed and now I’m trying to tell my body – mostly the legs that I want to go long again and they have not been happy about it for the last 2 weeks.

The first few runs although only short 3-4mile and slow pace seemed to be no problem when running but the next day my thighs where screaming at me and my whole body felt stiff. I guess I’d got too used to riding the bike and with running the impact on the tarmac was a shock to the system.

The weekend soon came round and I wasn’t looking for to a longer run. I hadn’t run over 6.2 miles throughout the last 17 weeks and my aim was to get out and run 6-8 miles. As soon as I set out the heavens opened and I got soaked in a down pour. I must admit I prefer to run in the rain – I always loved playing Sunday league football in the rain so I guess it must take me back to my glory days!

After 5 miles I felt ok so I opted for the longer route, the problem was there was no turning back and after 6 miles I didn’t feel so good anymore. My fitness was there but the legs weren’t interested, there was no rhythm, my form was all out so my shoulders and back started to hurt and if I had any money on me I would have got the bus home. I pushed on and after 7.62 miles I got home feeling deflated and sore and I’ve only got 10 weeks to turn this around!

The next week I was off work for a family week with a few trips planned and DIY products to take on. I always struggle to train when I’m off work, sounds daft because I have so much more time available but I think it’s down to Routine. When I’m in work I fit my training in at lunch which gladly gets me away from my desk or I use it as a way of getting to and from work. At home I’m with my family spending precious time with my 1 year old and can never work out the best time to go out.

I did manage to get out for a couple of runs in the week whilst Isabella was having her afternoon snooze but that meant sacrificing my down time when you can put your feet up and have a cup of tea and stop talking in baby language and crawling around on the floor – when did I get so old?

Sunday’s long run was approaching and I was feeling much better with how the shorter runs had gone but with an 8-10 mile run down on paper I still wasn’t exactly excited about it. With Isabella down for her sleep I got myself out there before I could change my mind and I’m so glad I did. I felt good, not great but heading in the right direction. I started to fatigue at about 7 miles but that was on a hill after 4 miles into a headwind so getting home after 9.32 miles I was feeling much more positive about the upcoming weeks and maybe I’m starting to find my running legs again.

Week 1 Stats:

Mon: 3M –27:19 Avg Spd 9:07m/m – 1M@10kmh – 1M@11.5kmh – 1M@10kmh

Weds: 4M – 32:04 Avg Spd 8:02m/m Avg HR – 151bpm

Fri: 3M – 24:10 Avg Spd 8:03m/m Avg HR – 147bpm 0.5M Intervals.

Sun: 7.62M – Slow outdoor – 1:08:20 Avg Spd 8:58m/m Avg HR – 149bpm

Week 1 – Total 17.62M

Week 2 Stats:

Tue: 4M – 35:23 Avg Sdp 8:51min/mile Ave HR – 142bpm

Thurs: 3.82M – 31:43 Avg Spd 8:18m/m Avg HR – 152bpm

Sun: 9.32M – 1:21:24 Avg Spd 8:44m/m Avg HR – 151bpm

Week 2 – Total 17.14M

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Liverpool Marathon Training

me running Blackpool halfWell the trainers are back out – took me a while to find them having not run now since Liverpool Triathlon 5 week ago and man did I feel it after my first session back!

Liverpool Marathon is now only 11 weeks away so not the ideal amount of time to prepare but after my London Marathon training experience I felt I hit my peak at 10 weeks and then after that things started to go wrong. Maybe I’m saying that as a way of making myself feel better and forgiving myself for not running over the last 5 week. It’s a kind of excuse but I’m sticking to it.

I’ve spent the last week coming up with a training plan based on lessons learnt last time out and sessions I really enjoyed doing which surprisingly where hills and fartlek. For London I followed the Runners World plan but my body couldn’t take the miles 6 days a week not to mention finding the time. This time I’ve opted for 4 days a week with a good mix of sessions and not too much too soon all working towards hitting my peak come race day.

I’m hoping over the first couple of weeks I can find my running legs again after concentrating on my Cycling Time Trials. I was putting in some great improvements in the build up to Warrington R.C 25 mile TT but unfortunately I had to back out last minute due to unforeseen circumstances. My attention is now fully back on running with the main aim of making up for my bad London Marathon run as I know I can do much better. Also coming up is the English Half marathon which is my local Warrington half that I missed out on last year so looking forward to that hoping for a sub 1:40 if the training goes well.

I best hit that tarmac then!

Posted in English half Marathon, Half Marathon, Liverpool Marathon, Marathon training, Training Plan | 1 Comment

Return to the Kilton 8.75…

After seeing great improvements over 3 continuous Wednesday nights on the flat Rainford 10 course I wanted to head back to the harder “bumpy” Kilton course to see if I could achieve the same improvements or at least smash my PB.

My first Kilton 8.75 miles this year started with a PB of 25:33 avg spd 20.55mph back on the 11th May. My next attempt on 25th May was slower at 25:41 but I hadn’t really been doing the miles so I was reasonably happy just that I’d improved from last year.

Me TTing during Liverpool triathlonJune was different, with Liverpool Triathlon round the corner I had to make more of an effort so I got my golden ticket from my wife to let me out on Wednesdays to do the TT’s and at the weekends it was 20-25 miles of intervals. Still nowhere near the mileage I would like but bear in mind I still had to get my running and swimming in too. It seemed to be working though as I took my Rainford time from 28:21 avg spd 21.2mph to 26:34 avg spd 22.6mph.

The true test came on 6th July on my return to the Kilton setting myself the target of averaging over 21mph. I got there early as usual and the heavens opened, rain hitting my window screen so hard I thought it was about to shatter. There I was, sat in my car in an empty car park wondering what the hell I was doing – I must be mad. Luckily the rain eased but it was still wet and very windy so maybe not the best night for a PB. I got myself warmed up and down to the start line already soaked through. My number was up and off I went flying down to the roundabout wind assisted which could only mean one thing, head wind on the way back! I always struggle on the way back as there’s a bit of a bump over the motorway and it always zaps my legs and tonight it was into the wind too! The wind was relentless and it was a battle all to way to the finish line. About 2 miles to go I felt it was going to be a slow time but just keep the effort and gave it everything. I crossed the line feeling Ill and on the verge of passing out but when I checked my Garmin for the first time it was all worth it seeing 21.something through my blurred vision. For some reason I didn’t look at it again and decided to wait for the results to be read out. Andy Meade 24:09 it felt like I’d won, time’s like 20:48 and 19:58 where being called out but I had the biggest smile on my face knocking 1m24s off my PB and averaging 21.7mph I was well chuffed.

Never fully satisfied I set my target the following week of hitting avg 22mph and the conditions looked perfect. According to the forecast there was little wind and stood in the car park pinning my number to my jersey I was in agreement. It was a different story once I was racing though, head wind from nowhere on the way out made it a lot more difficult than I have ever rode it and just when you’re thinking it’ll be fast coming back in, I’d used that much energy on the way out that I wasn’t feeling strong enough to push on. The wind did assist me up over the motorway so I wasn’t completely spent and then I managed to get settled into a rhythm maintaining a good speed and even found a little something extra for a downhill all out finish. Again this week I waited for the results, Andy Meade 23:52 another 17 seconds off my PB. It wasn’t till the next day on the North Cheshire website that I’d hit my target just hitting an average speed of 22mph.

With only 5 more Kiltons left in the season I’ve now set my sites on the North Cheshire Clarion most improved title. Currently held by Giles with a 2m05s improvement this year I think I’m currently in second place with 1m41s off. So to have any chance of winning I need to at least knock off another 25 seconds and average 22.4mph and that’s without Giles improving further. It’s a long shot but something to aim for. I also wouldn’t mind getting back on the Rainford to see if I can break 23mph on there while this weekend if I’ve got in I’ll be trying my first official 25m. Should be fun!

Garmin Stats:

6th JULY – 8.70mile 24:18 avg 21.5mph avg HR 171bpm max HR 179bpm

13th JULY – 8.71mile 23:57 avg 21.8mph avg HR 173bpm max HR 179bpm

Posted in Cycling, Kilton, Kilton 8.75TT, Liverpool Triathlon, North Cheshire Clarion, Personal Best, Rainford 10TT, Time trial | Leave a comment