Target 2:50:00 – Week 4 (23rd to 29th January)

A reduced mileage week with my eye on the weekend’s 10-mile road race. The aim would be to do approx. 75 miles and I only came up half a mile short so I can live with that:

Week 4 (23rd to 29th January)

AM: 6mi recovery

PM: 8.5mi easy

PM: 11.5mi – Strength: 4 x 1mile with 0.25 recovery + 3 warm-up + 2.5 cool down

AM: 4.4mi Recovery XC
PM: 8.3mi – Base mileage

AM: 7.5mi – Base mileage XC
PM: 9.1mi – Speed: 4 x 1k, 5 x 200m off 400m recovery plus warm up and cool down

PM: 5mi – very easy pre-race day

AM: 13.9mi – 10mi race plus warm up and cool down

The first key session after I had recovered from previous weeks fast long run was on Wednesday. A shorter strength session easily managing well under 6:20 per mile. All the miles are starting to pay off.

By Friday I was a little short of miles, ideally, I would have done a lower overall total but I did keep the reps fairly short and only 3 miles for the hard part. The target time of 3:30 per kilometre and 35 seconds per 200m rep. I was a little slow but not by much so I’ll take that. Plus with only two days to race day, I didn’t want to overdo it.

Come race day and I felt pretty sluggish. I won’t go into too much detail as I’ll have a full report but to summarise, a 10 mile PB by almost 3 minutes says it all.

Next week back to the 100-mile week, oh joy

Target 2:50:00 – Week 3 (16th to 22nd January)

Back to back 100-mile weeks, 6/7 years ago when I started training I never dreamed I’d be writing that. So without further ado here’s the training:

Week 3 – 106.7mi (13H 41M)

Target 2:50:00 - Week 3 (16th to 22nd January)

AM: Recovery: Easy 4
PM: 14mi – Strength workout – 2 x 4mi with 0.5mi recovery plus 3mi warm-up and 2’ish cooldown

PM: 10mi easy (but felt shocking) to work

AM: 3.9mi Easy XC
PM: 13.4mi midweek LSR

AM: 6mi Recovery XC
PM: 12.2mi – EHH Hills workout – 15 minutes, rest, 10minutes, rest, 5 minutes

AM: 6.5mi Easy
PM: 6.2mi Easy

PM: 10.2mi – Clubs XC Pack Run

AM: 20mi – 3mi up + 15mi @ MP pace (6:30 per mile) + 2 mi cool down

After the previous week’s long run I expected the Monday strength session to be hard work. Obviously it was but actually felt pretty good which is reassuring.

The next key session was the hills workout. This is a club session with whoever turns up running up and down one side of a flyover in East Hull. Each loop is about 0.25 miles. I hadn’t done this session since the start of December and I could tell my fitness as improved massively. The 15minute section wasn’t much faster but felt more comfortable and the other two sections were much faster.

After that a couple of easy sessions before the mammoth LSR @ MP pace (or I should say hopeful MP pace). I can’t argue with 15 miles at 6:28 average, 2 seconds under MP pace. Yes it was hard and I couldn’t have done that much more but I won’t be doing 100 miles marathon week and the 5 loop I used is fairly rolling, technical with lots of divots etc. A nice smooth road will make a massive difference.

Next week is a recovery week with reduced mileage. I’ll do a couple of recovery weeks to coincide with races. This one is the Ferriby 10 (report to follow).

Target 2:50:00 – Week 2 (9th to 15th January)

Wow, my first ever 100-mile week (and by the way first over 85). And it felt surprisingly OK on most of my runs.

Training Log: Week 2 (9th to 15th January)

Week 2 (9th to 15th January):

PM: 13.4mi (3.2mi warm up + 8mi cut down starting at 7:10 and taking 10 seconds a mile off each mile + 2.2mi cool down)

AM: Easy 10.2mi commute to work

AM: 6.2mi Recovery XC
PM: 13mi Midweek LSR

AM: 3mi recovery XC (as getting the bus to work)
PM: 12.4mi – 6 x 1mi @ 6:20 with 0.25 recovery (plus 3mi warm up and cool down)

AM: 5mi slightly snowy half run, half bus to work
PM: 6mi steady

AM: 4.2mi Recovery XC
PM: 10.8mi – 8 mi Club Cross Country Champs 2016/2017 + 2mi warm up + 1 mi cool down

AM: 16mi LSR

The key sessions are Monday’s cut-down, Thursdays mile repeats and the club championship race.

After a fairly light weekend due to the 5k race and being away Mondays cut-down felt surprisingly good. However, I still didn’t quite hit 6-minute mile pace at the end. As a side note, the run to work Tuesday felt shocking as usual. I was hoping to do closer to 12 miles but I couldn’t get much under 9-minute mile pace.

Wednesdays were all very much run of the mill therefore onto Thursday. The mile reps were done running back from work. They felt pretty hard and dodging pedestrians, dog walkers, traffic always adds to the difficulty. Happy to hit the 6:20 pace even if they were harder than I’d like.

Onto Saturday the clubs cross country was a war of attrition, to say the least. Anyway I’ll have a full report on the race on the blog, therefore, I hung in there and for cross country posted a fairly decent time of 53:18

Sunday was a good gentle run with a couple of club mates. Legs were pretty heavy but after a massive week, it was good to get another one in the bank.

Week 3 is another 100-mile week and no races.

Great Winter Run 5k

Another 6 days later and another road trip, this time to Edinburgh for the Great Winter Run 5k. For those that don’t know this is one of the now many Great Run events (the clues in the title). This one is the mass event on the roads around Holyrood Park in Edinburgh before the elites take on the XC live on the good old BBC. You may have heard of a certain Sir Mo Farah was taking part. Personally, I was looking forward to seeing Callum Hawkins and Laura Muir in action.

Sensibly I had recce’d the course the day before, however not so sensible was not checking which direction the loop of Holyrood Park the course went, therefore, I had ended up doing two laps the wrong way round!

Great Winter Run 5k, Edinburgh
Flying the red flag in my new vest at the Great Winter Run 5k, Edinburgh

Unseasonably mild conditions for race day making vest and shorts the order of the day. Runners started in waves and being one of the “Faster Paced Club Runners” ensured I started at 10.

The first quarter of a mile is flat before the race goes uphill to over 300ft by the end of the first, therefore, it’s critical to get a fast start. I made sure I did my best greyhound impression shooting out the blocks.

I don’t view myself as a very good uphill runner as anybody who has raced with me will verify. However, something strange happened. As the race went uphill I kept passing other runners. I had expected the exact opposite but apparently, I had entered a parallel universe. First mile in a not too shabby 6:37.

The course flattens out after a mile and I already knew from the day before that once you’re at the top you get a spectacular view of Edinburgh and the river. However, even during the race, it was still equally as impressive as the day before.

Approaching 2k (the course is marked in kilometres) I could hear the distinct sound of bagpipes. A nice touch by the organisers is that at the 2, 3 and 4k marks the air was punctuated by bagpipers in the full regalia giving you a little boost as you knew another k was approaching.

Taking advantage of the flatter section the second mile passed in 5:57 – it’s always good to be back in sub 6 territory. Something which I need to do in all races and especially those of a longer distance.

Great Winter Run 5k Course Profile
Excellent screenshot showing the Great Winter Run 5k Course Profile

“What goes up, must come down” is a well-worn saying in running circles but it’s so often apt. Today was no different and in a reversal of the uphill section it was me that was being passed by a few other runners. My short stride just couldn’t up the cadence to take as much of an advantage as the other runners.

However, the combination of downhill, chasing other runners and the crowds along the finishing straight meant the last mile was covered in 5:23. Job done in a fairly respectable 18:43, as ever I’d like a little more.

To finish off, I’d recommend a trip up north as it’s a well-organised race, with great crowds and a brilliant setting of Holyrood park plus the benefit of watching the elites in the afternoon. And not forgetting all the tourist things to do in Edinburgh.

Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k

1st loop - Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k

Just 6 days after the EHH Boxing Day 10k , Katy and I were on our way at just gone 8 am on New Years Day to Cleethorpes. I’m sure most of you know I’m mad but this must be new levels of lunacy even for me.

However, the case for the defence is Katy (wife and also EHH member) is pregnant with our first child, hence I thought I’d take advantage of this fact. Unlike previous New Years Eve’s Katy wouldn’t be drinking, therefore, I stuck to a couple of glasses of wine allowing me to take on the New Years Day 10k at Cleethorpes.

Race day rolled around and the forecast had me questioning this decision. We arrived at The Beachcomber with plenty of time or so I thought. The car park was full but with plenty of side streets, parking wasn’t an issue. It was obvious once we got inside most people must know how busy it is as with almost an hour and a half before the race there was plenty of runners already there.

After a good strong coffee, it was time to warm up. The start is a mile away, therefore, I left Katy to run to the start and get my 2 mile warm up in.

After de-layering, it was time to get near the start line which is down a nondescript residential side. Although the race is on New Years Day the race pays out some decent prize money up to and including tenth place ( If I only I could find a 2 minute 10k PB!) therefore I was expecting it to be busy at the front end.

After a short residential section, the race takes in a short two loop, section. It’s worth noting that this can cause some confusion as the faster runners start lapping and finish loop two they go right. Make sure you go left if you’ve only done 1 loop.

On each loop, once we got back to the sea front I lost time going into the wind. Thankfully this section finished just before 3 miles (5k in 19:07) therefore I was hopeful I could claw some time back in the second half.

3 long roads make up the majority of the second half, not the most scenic but very flat. My only complaint would be a marshal standing next to a path pointing left and then shouting at us for cutting the course short meaning I had to detour back to the road. I know it’s sometimes a thankless task, therefore, I wouldn’t normally complain but all they had to do was stand away from the racing line and at the T junction 2 metres further along.

Cleethorpes New Years 10k FinishAnyway working hard to try and keep sub 6:10 pace before the final three-quarters of a mile back into the biting headwind. I managed to raise the pace for this final section, however, the second 5k was slower covered in 19:27 for a 38:34 fishing time.

Overall considering the unfavourable conditions happy to once again finish in the 38s and only 3 seconds difference between this race and the EHH Boxing Day 10k showing excellent consistency (if a little slower than I’d like!).

Next up Great Winter Run 5k in Edinburgh.

EHH Boxing Day 10k

After a 6-month blog hiatus, I’m back. I’ve been training and racing but for some reason, I’ve neglected writing about it. I’ll rectify that and talk about my racing and training plans for next year in a separate post.

However, for now, I’ll focus on my club’s annual Boxing Day 10k. What better way to burn off some of the Christmas excesses than a 10k right on my doorstep.

An unseasonably mild day greeted the 250 runners making vests the order of the day. The sting in the tail, though (as it often is with this race) would be the headwind down the track leading back to Hull. Having done a couple of miles warm up I knew which direction the wind was coming and therefore decided to go out as quick as possible anticipating the wind holding us back once we turned the corner at Ganstead and starting heading to swine. Also, the Hornsea trail is very exposed and generally as a headwind.

Back to the start and after a short race briefing, we were off. Having been penned into the side a little I managed to find some space and catch up with the second group behind the leaders.

A rapid first mile passed in 5:53, maybe a little fast but knowing this course it was ideal as I knew I’d slow down.

Leader of the pack!

Although the course isn’t uphill, the end of the first mile and second mile does have a slight ascent meaning you have to make sure you carry on working hard to stick to the pace. At this point, we had a group of 5/6 with me leading the bunch. The second mile passed in 6:10, a little off pace with the more difficult sections to come.

As suspected after the turn at Ganstead we were greeted with a wall of wind hence a 6:14 mile and the break up of our group. 5 became 3 with Steve Remmie, Darren Edge and myself.

Running down the Hornsea Trail Track is never my favourite and today’s race was no different. I was trying to share the workload with the aforementioned two however somewhere towards the end of the track I was a good 5 metres back. 6:27 and 6:25 for miles 4 and 5 respectively won’t have helped.

Sprinting for the finish

The last mile skirts past where I live therefore I know this area well. Also, the wind was now in a favourable position meaning it was time to put the hammer down. The final mile covered in 6:13 with the 0.2 in 5:14 pace with the help of a great downhill towards our clubhouse and a battle with another runner to the finish line. I never did catch up to the two ahead.

However on reflection a solid 38:31 for 14th place out of 249 runners is a good way to end the year.

Target 2:50:00 – Week 1 (2nd to 8th January)

Before I get into the training lets back up slightly. 2017 will be a year of transition for me with my partner expecting our first child.

Talking of which the due date is the end of March and the target is Manchester Marathon, which for those that don’t know is on the 2nd April, eeeek.

There is a plan B as I’m also in London, I’m still hopeful that I can do Manchester as I believe it’s a faster course. Many of my club mates have done it and got some good times (inc. when it was the right length!).

Whatever happens, I’ll be getting the miles in and will do a very short sharp taper, allowing me to increase the mileage if baby arrives beginning of April and I do end up missing Manchester.

From the start of January, I plan to do 1000 miles (or more) in the lead up to the marathon. One of club stalwarts said he always did that in the lead up to London and with a marathon time of around 2hour 45, who am I to argue. Each week would consist of:

  • two long runs – one at the weekend and one midweek with the weekend one being longer. Also, I’d look to do a long fast run at marathon pace every 2 to 2 weeks
  • strength workout, for example of repetitions 3 x 2 miles, 2 x 4 miles
  • tempo/threshold run of anything from 6 to 10 miles or maybe more (see long runs above)
  • And then lots of easy runs on the road and cross country

Of course, that isn’t set in stone and I will do shorter speed work, hills and the occasional Parkrun and race. Anyway without further ado onto the training:

Week 1 – 79.4 MI (10H 42M)

Training Log - Week 1 (2nd to 8th January)

AM: Easy 7 mi
PM: Easy 6 mi

AM: Recovery 3.7 mi
PM: 10.5 mi inc. 4.1 mi warm up + 5 x 800m, 2 x 400m + 3.4 mi cool down

AM: Easy 9 mi (commute)
PM: Easy 6 mi

PM: 14.3 mi midweek LSR

AM: Easy 6.6 mi – Holyrood Park Recce as racing the 5k the next day

AM: Raceday – 2.5 mi warm up + 3.1 mi race + 1 mi cool down

PM: Easy/Recovery 9 mi

The target for the week was 90+ miles, however, with a Cleethorpes New Years Day 10k race on Sunday 1st plus the Great Winter Run 5k (while on vacation), it was always going to be hard to get the miles therefore 2 good races in 7 days, speed work and a midweek long run I have got to be happy. One final thing I should add is that after a couple of weeks off at the start of November I was averaging 70+ miles coming into the start of the year. And covered over 2500 coming into 2017, therefore, I had a strong base before trying to do even greater mileage for this block of marathon training.