What Next?

I like structure, I like organisation, I like having a plan. There’s still nine weeks of my current marathon plan to go but I have already started to look ahead and think about what I will do after Sunday 8th October. Firstly I will take the day off work and most likely eat as much as is humanly possible, I once put on 6lbs in an afternoon at a family barbeque so I have form for high level eating achievements.

In terms of running though my plans are to a certain extent up in the air. I am not Marty McFly, 

I don’t have a crystal ball and I have no idea if I will ever want to run another marathon or not. I genuinely hope that York won’t destroy me like the 2007 Great North Run did and that I will want to take the challenge of 26.2 miles on again in the future but I know that training properly takes a huge commitment in terms of time and this also has a knock on effect on the amount of time I spend with my family who mean the world to me.

I have entered the ballot for the 2018 London Marathon vlm18and if I am lucky enough to gain a place then there is no question of turning that down. I have also considered the 2018 Manchester Marathon mainly due to the various running friends having already entered and this may be a target for next spring. I would love to do the Manchester Half Marathon the Sunday after York but I think I need to be sensible as walking may still be a struggle for me at that point.

One plan that is in place is REDNovember. Having been inspired by the one and only Luke Zwalf and his REDJuly exploits, I have committed to running every day in November (REDNovember).  A group of @ukrunchat pals have also nailed their colours to the mast and we are going to run a minimum of 5k a day, whilst we won’t physically be running together the theory is that by going through the same struggles together we will be able to support and motivate each other, one of the traits I love about the running community. Towards the end of November I will turn 40 so it seemed appropriate to mark the occasion by doing something memorable.

I only currently have one race booked for next year which is the Leeds Half Marathon in May. I loved my first time at the event this year and signed up straight away to run it again. I think that half marathons will feature more for me in 2018 and there are a couple of small, challenging local events that I want to take on.

endure24A bigger challenge is the Endure 24 hour event. As a relative running newbie I wasn’t aware until earlier in the year that such events even existed and when I saw people taking this on I was in awe but it also sparked an idea in me to get together a team of like minded individuals to enter in 2018 and see what we can achieve, whether this comes off remains to be seen, I certainly won’t be running it on my own!

My major goal after the York marathon though is to step down in distance and to try and run a sub 45 minute 10k. My current 10k PB is 46:28 set earlier this year in Accrington so there is work to do and I know that will mean a different focus and style of training, I feel the need, the need for speed sessions!

There is a plethora of 10k events that I can take on both locally and further afield so there is no lack of opportunity, I have heard very positive reports about the events organised by Fylde Coast Runners, one of which I am running on August Bank Holiday Saturday and the Run For All events are very well organised in my experience and feature several which are within an hour or so of where I live so I hope to be able to take on a couple of new courses and work my way towards my target.

Whilst unpredictable, the future holds great excitement and opportunity, I want to continue to challenge myself but also to enjoy my running and hopefully inspire and encourage others to do the same, I’ll try to keep this blog going too although a change in name may be necessary, 10kbore doesn’t quite have the same ring to it though!

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Man With A Plan

Sunday 8th October 2017, when I look back in years to come this day will either be fondly remembered with a smile and a glowing sense of satisfaction and achievement or there’ll be a grimace, a rueful shake of the head and thoughts of what might have been.

All roads, all thoughts, all the training I have been putting in, even the majority of what I have been writing about on here, ultimately lead to the York marathon and last week I started my marathon training in earnest. I like organisation and structure and wanting to give myself the best shot of making it to the start line in good shape I have put together the obligatory training plan. I’ve seen numerous plans online, a good friend sent me a plan he previously used (65 miles in a week at its peak!), and various people have suggested plans that have worked for them. We are all unique beasts though and so the plan that I have come up with is designed to suit me in terms of my current fitness, where I need to push myself to distance wise and when I am actually able to get out and run.

My aim is to do two longer runs per week along with a shorter, faster run built in too. Depending on how I feel and what I can fit in around life, I may also add some short bits of speed work and some track or field laps too, the plan really though is to build up sensibly to around 40 miles per week which I think is manageable, will give me the chance to spend plenty of time out on my feet but won’t push me beyond what I can reasonably achieve at the moment which would then increase my risk of injury and the whole thing falling apart around my ears.

In all honesty I have probably over thought this whole experience but the memories of the Great North Run 2007 when I was woefully under prepared nag me still. I know my running, my fitness and my preparation are already so much better than they were then and if someone held a gun to my head now and told me to run a marathon I could probably do it but I want to enjoy the day and if I do then I will have the confidence to enter future marathons. The battle here is almost entirely in my own mind, as the rational thoughts are shouted down by the self-doubt and the fear of the unknown.

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Looking at the positive though marathon training week one has gone well. First of all my fantastic wife offered to bring forward my 40th birthday present by 5 months and so I have a shiny new Garmin Forerunner 35 to play with and my hope is that this will really help me to nail down my pacing and give me confidence that my legs will last the distance, I’m also a data geek so love looking at all the stats it fires out. My first run of the week was deliberately hilly as I prepare for the challenging course of the Pendle Running Festival 10k on 15th July, a solid 7 miles, followed on Wednesday by a quick 5 miler, as both runs coincided with summer (yes that was it folks, summer came and went last week, we’re on the downhill to Christmas now, if you missed it you missed out) I came home in a rather sweaty state after both. Friday’s 13 miles were a lot cooler though and felt good especially since I haven’t run more than 10 miles since the Leeds half back in mid May, looking at the myriad of stats from my Garmin my pacing was rather wonky but where I live and run is an undulating environment and so I’m never going to get it bang on.

The countdown then is now on, I love it when a plan comes together!

 

Run Tourism

Despite it only being three weeks since I last posted a blog it feels like forever and quite a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I have been officially discharged from cancer surveillance and given the all clear after 5 years, I’ve been offered a new job (both on the same day), I’ve been to Wembley and experienced the gut wrenching disappointment of playoff final defeat, I had a blog posted by the fantastic people at RUNR and I have experienced run tourism for the first time during a family holiday to the Costa Blanca.

Normally our family holidays include chasing the kids around a pool trying to make sure they are safe whilst attempting some form of sun bathing/relaxation and if we are lucky the odd bit of cultural diversity to take in some of the local sites, sounds and cuisine. This year though Isaac and Hattie are a little bit older, Isaac is already a good swimmer so as long as he stayed in view we were happy for him to go off and throw himself down slides and work on his bombing. Hattie is a little younger but the hotel we stayed at was well geared up for children of her age and so we didn’t have to follow her around 24/7. Consequently we were able to relax a bit more and I was able to take some me time to explore the delights of Albir, Altea and Benidorm with five runs in the eleven nights we were there. This exercise also helped to a degree to stave off the negative impact of chocolate doughnuts for breakfast and my evening tipple of mojitos laced with brown sugar which I became rather fond of! IMG_20170526_210424

Overall despite a few challenges, mostly of my own making, I would say my first foray into the world of run tourism was a success. Notes to self and others who fancy getting out this summer whilst away, mostly blindingly obvious but here goes:

  • Don’t forget to take water
  • If you like to run with music, remember where on earth in all your bags and suitcases you put your headphones
  • Wear a cap/visor/headband/anything to absorb the sweat and stop it running into your eyes and stinging like hell, it’s hot out there
  • Remember that in Europe they drive on the other side of the road, make sure you look the right way at junctions
  • Give any local runners you encounter a big smile, wave or thumbs up, share the love, most return it
  • Take your phone in case you get lost
  • Take a couple of sets of kit, you’ll sweat, a lot, you’ll smell

The majority of my five runs were around 45 minutes long and gave me plenty of chance to discover the local area from the delights of dodging stag and hen parties outside bars in Benidorm to the more sedate promenade that runs from Albir along to Altea with a beautiful backdrop and locals fishing and windsurfing. I surprised myself with how much I genuinely enjoyed the experience and I even had other hotel guests approaching me to ask about my running after they had seen me out and about.

Whilst my run tourism was entirely out of the make it up as you go along handbook, there is an increasing number of companies who offer guided running tours of cities around the world. I’ve no first hand experience of these tours but the feedback on social media seems favourable on the whole and the guided element takes away some of the fear of perhaps getting lost and makes sure that you see what a city or region really has to offer.

If you are due to go away then this summer, wherever that may be, take your running shoes, take your sense of adventure and go and see a bit more of the world.

 

Leeds Half Marathon Preview

Sunday 14th May marks the next stage in my #marathonbore journey as I take on the Leeds half marathon.

leeds number

In writing this I have mixed emotions about what lies ahead of me. On the most basic level it’s 13.1 miles, a distance I have covered  several times in training in the last few months as I’ve built up to Sunday’s event and to be honest the distance in itself does not faze me. I am excited about the challenge ahead and I’m looking forward to taking in the atmosphere and support of the crowd. I hope to meet a few fellow tweeters in person for the first time at some point on the day which will be great and will add that extra level of encouragement and camaraderie, especially as my family aren’t able to attend. To be honest I’m also eager to get my hands on some nice bling as a tangible reward for putting in the hours and miles needed to get me to this point. I’m using this event and the York marathon to raise money for two great charities as well and in the last couple of weeks my fundraising totals have started to pick up, this has added to my motivation and the generosity of friends, family and complete strangers is genuinely heart-warming.

I am though a little anxious about running in such a large field as this will be the biggest event I have run in since my epic fail at the Great North Run 2007. I am a bit of a lone wolf when it comes to running, I like space to settle into a rhythm, get my head in the right place and enjoy what I am doing, if nothing else space also allows me to clear my airways without the risk of catching anyone else in the crossfire! There are staggered start times on Sunday depending on predicted finish times and I’m in red group which sets off at 9.30am along with blue group. These are the first two groups, I’m pretty sure I entered a realistic finishing time of 1 hour 45 minutes, so I’m expecting a large chunk of the group to be quicker than me, my plan is to start near the tail end of the group and hopefully create some room for myself that way rather than getting caught up in the middle of a pack and pulled along at a pace that’s too fast for me.

leeds

Growing up in Bradford and having spent some time in Leeds as a student back in the day I have a degree of familiarity with the area and know parts of the course in my head. The first section starting on The Headrow gives me no concerns but looking at elevation maps of the course, as we get out beyond the city centre the route climbs steadily for the vast majority of the first half of the course as we wend our merry way up towards Weetwood. My worry here is that although the climb isn’t overly steep it is a constant drag and could prove to be energy sapping on what could be a quite warm today, potentially leaving me with little in the tank for later on, I need to get my fuelling right here so that this doesn’t become a reality. The second half of the course is much flatter and I’m looking forward to heading back into Leeds past the picturesque Kirkstall Abbey and then the final push down Kirkstall Road back to Millennium Square, just visualising this as I type brings a smile to my face.

Sunday will be a great barometer for me of how far I have come and how far I have yet to go, not just physically but mentally, I’ll post a race review next week, wish me luck!

Down with the kids

If you know your bae from your bare and your hench from your dench then you my friend are a better man/woman than I am.

Slang and a somewhat confusing use of language though isn’t solely the domain of the under 20s. Since taking up running I’ve entered a whole new world of terminology, so I thought that for other relative newbies like me a blog to explain what on earth some people are talking about may prove useful.

Below is just a small selection of words and acronyms that have now entered my vocabulary on some level, it is by no means a definitive jargon busting glossary but hopefully will point you in the right direction and give you a bit of a laugh at the same time.

Tapering – This was a completely new one on me and has nothing to do with that blue tape that athletes of all shapes and sizes now seem to cover themselves in, in the hope of holding up their dodgy back/hamstring/bicep. I’d started to see the word more frequently and research tells me that you should taper in the period before a long distance race, usually a marathon, when you reduce the length and intensity of your training so that your body can prepare itself properly for the exertions you’re about to put it through on the big day. It’s kind of guilt free putting your feet up and doing not very much in the knowledge that you’re not going to become a sloth and you will soon be getting yourself back in gear to do something amazing.

maradona
Maranoia – Nothing to do with Diego

Maranoia – No, he wasn’t the one who claimed it was the Hand of God that helped him to punch the ball into the net against England at Mexico ’86. Apparently maranoia often occurs during tapering, I have also seen it referred to as taper tantrums, as people start to doubt their ability, their training, their diet and in some cases their general sanity before a marathon. As we’re now in peak spring marathon season there seems to be a maranoia epidemic breaking out up and down the country as otherwise rational people lose the plot, just what an already overstretched NHS needs!

Carb loading – Whilst I’d heard the term before I wasn’t particularly clear on what it meant and how to do it, basically I just thought you had to get as much pasta down your neck the night before a race as possible. I have become somewhat more enlightened though through a bit of research and find the explanation below clear with the added benefit of some suggested recipes that I’m looking forward to trying out, https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/carb-loading-explained

DOMS – I love Twitter and find it is the starting point for a large proportion of how I gather news and information these days. That said the 140 character tweet limit leads to some confusion and ignorance and DOMS is a case in point, it’s the acronym for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Basically if your muscles are stiff and painful 24-72 hours after exercise, it’s likely to be DOMS. At least I now have something to call those awful toe cramps when it feels like they are tying themselves in knots.

LSR – Another acronym used in the running world and which I’ve been seeing a lot of recently as people build up to marathons is LSR. The Beatles sang about LSD, The Shamen sang about LSI but as far as my musical knowledge goes nobody so far has penned a tune about long slow runs. LSR’s are used to get your body accustomed to running over a longer distance and to teach it how to improve its efficiency in storing and using energy. My running is pretty one paced and metronomic so dialling down the speed as I up the miles is going to be challenging I think.

Rolling – This one really confounded me, I ended up tweeting someone who kept mentioning rolling and received a short video in response to make sure I clearly understood what it actually was. This video I think does a good job of demonstrating the exercise.

Depending on who you believe rolling, or foam rolling, is either a great way of loosening your leg muscles or it is a form of torture that people inflict on themselves. I’m yet to give it a go.

Bonk – I sniggered to myself like a child when I read this word in someone’s blog recently. I think the last time I heard anyone refer to bonking it was probably Victoria Wood at some point in the late 80s on one of her many sketch shows. Bonking, in the running context at least, is probably more widely known by the term hitting the wall. Essentially, it is the point in a run or race where an athlete feels like they suddenly have nothing left to give, their legs are wobblier than Bruce Grobbelaar in a penalty shoot-out and they think they can’t go on. I’m not looking forward to my seemingly inevitable meeting with this legendary piece of civil engineering, although hopefully with the right fuelling and some mental strength it can be overcome.

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Not for hair styling

Gel – Not John Frieda, not Vidal Sassoon, not even the cheap bright blue stuff with bubbles in that was the preserve of the 90s boy band and made your hair look like you’d just walked in from a rain storm despite it being bright sunshine outside, in the world of running, gels are to be swallowed not applied liberally to your barnet. As I’ve been finding out, gels come in handy sachets and various flavours with slightly differing added extras depending on your brand of choice. Lots of runners use gels to boost energy during a workout or run and personally I’m glad I’ve discovered them as they really seem to work for me and give me a lift when I need it most.

Ultra – If you’ve read any of my previous blogs or you follow me on Twitter you’ll have no doubt picked up that aside from running I’m a bit keen on football too, so when I saw the term ultra for the first time my mind instantly jumped to Gazzetta Football Italia, James Richardson supping a latte in front of a fountain and images of blokes with a flare in one hand and a megaphone in the other orchestrating a group of fans in Turin or Genoa to bounce up and down behind their numerous banners proclaiming allegiance to the various wonderfully named Ultra fan groups. Ultra in the running context though is a race that is anything more than a marathon distance, typically 50k plus, fair play to anyone who can do it, I’ll say here and now though I will never be an ultra runner.

Fartlek – Oh my, where to start with this one? Is it some form of renewable energy source generated by the consumption of copious amounts of prunes and mushy peas? This word also took me back to my dark days as a secondary school modern languages teacher. Don’t get me wrong I love words and language, shameless plug for last week’s blog, but it doesn’t half make it hard to teach adolescents when you are using words such as Kunst (art), Fuchs (fox) and Vater (father). Fartlek translates from Swedish as “speed play” and therefore it refers to a type of training in which you play with your speed by running faster for short periods of time in a unstructured way, for example running to the next tree or junction, followed by a slower recovery section.

C25K – For most people with an interest in running this bit of jargon is probably blindingly obvious but it threw me. I read the C as if it was a C. (ie circa) and so when people said they were a C25K runner I thought they meant they ran c.25K. With the amount of new runners using the term though I was baffled, when I started running c.10k was a slog so how come all these other newbies were already smashing more than double that!??! Of course I eventually twigged that it is short for the fantastic couch to 5k programme, face palm!!

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Nearly a no ball(s)

Streaking – Growing up  it seemed most major sporting events attracted a streaker or two, from Erica Rowe giving the Twickenham crowd a eyeful before her modesty was protected by a well placed St George’s flag to Michael Angelow and his epic jump over the stumps at Lords. I genuinely thought when I first read about streaking in running that it was some form of niche nudist event most likely held on a remote beach somewhere. In fact run streaking is running at least one mile on consecutive days for a sustained period. I’ve seen posts about people doing at least 5k a day which is admirable and this has given me some ideas about what I can do in the future to sustain my running.

 

And there you have it, hopefully now you’re a bit more enlightened and I’d love to hear from anyone else who has come across more weird and wonderful words in running that to the untrained eye either mean something else or absolutely nothing at all.

Quick update on the training too. Friday last week saw me run 14.7 miles in 1hr 58 mins, a really enjoyable run including a couple of peaceful miles along the Leeds – Liverpool canal, followed up on Monday by 9.25 undulating miles in 1hr 12 mins, I haven’t been rained on either for a couple of weeks which is always a bonus!

Fuelling / Refuelling – Part 1

Until recently these two words were not part of my everyday vocabulary. The only time I’d really come across either was when the erstwhile England manager Graham Taylor made reference to Paul Gascoigne having “refuelling problems” back in the early 90s. Loosely translated this meant that between games Gazza liked to sink too many beers and preferred a large donner kebab or KFC to a nice bowl of pasta. beer

Whilst I enjoy a pint or two of my homebrew beer and cider, it’s good stuff, verging on rocket fuel at times, I have in the last year or so radically changed my diet. Out with the processed foods and a drawer full of snacks in my desk at work; in with fruit, veg and fresh meat. This has helped me to lose nearly 3 stone and a lot of body fat to the point where according to a doctor I contacted via a post on #ukrunchat last week my body fat level is that of a Premier League footballer and really I need to actually put a bit back on.

How to balance the right day to day nutrition, plus pre-run fuelling and post-run refuelling has become a regular question in my head. I normally run after work and so have a day’s worth of fuel inside me. I make sure I have a chocolate bar mid-afternoon on running days for some extra energy but that token gesture aside I haven’t really done anything else and my post-run regime is non-existent. This lack of preparation came into sharp focus though after a recent 10k race which was at a different time to my normal runs and after which I felt terrible, read about it here Accrington 10k – Race Review. I needed to start taking this aspect of my training more seriously.

I’ve dabbled with some energy gels on a couple of my longer evening runs but I’d like to start to nail down a regular routine now and so have bought a mixed starter nutrition pack from Science In Sport (SIS) to find out if any of these products can work for me and in business speak add some value.

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Firstly the pack was a bargain at £7.80 from Amazon, box ticked for tight Yorkshireman! The pack contains two GO Energy sachets of powder to mix up in the bottle which comes with the pack and drink around 2 hours before I go out to help me get enough carbohydrates on board ready for my run, in addition there’s two GO Electrolyte powder sachets to again mix up and drink whilst running. Also included are five GO gels for a boost mid-run, one of these is a an electrolyte energy gel which is of particular interest to me as on the two recent 13 mile runs I’ve done I’ve started to cramp up a couple of miles from home and I’m keen to find out if this gel will prevent that. The final product is a chocolate flavour REGO rapid recovery powder sachet to mix up and drink in order to get vital nutrients back in my system straight after I’ve finished.

As well as fuel, hydration is also now on my mind as Spring brings higher temperatures and I actually start to sweat a bit during my runs. Whilst I can do a 10k or so without taking on water the longer runs I’m now embarking on will definitely need me to drink during my runs and so I’ve bagged another bargain and bought a Nike Running belt with two small bottles. I know Sports Direct are derided by many, and with some of their practices rightly so, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to get something I’ve had my eye on for the princely sum of £6.25.

After a decent 10.8 miles in 1hr 23 mins on Monday night fuelled by my normal day’s food and a rather soft Werther’s Original which I found in my bag and sucked on for a couple of miles mid-run, I’m going to put the SIS pack and water belt to the test on Friday when I plan to run just over 15 miles, the longest I’ve ever run.

Before then if anyone has any advice on fuelling/refuelling/hydration or any experience of using these specific products I’d love to have your feedback and I’ll post a full review in part two over the coming weekend. That is if my fingers will type coherently through the additional refuelling haze of gallons of homebrew and enough Nutella and banana cake (thanks to fellow blogger Sophie for the recipe) to feed a small country!! Just taking the doctor’s advice to add a bit of body fat!

Lies, damned lies and statistics

What can statistics tell us and how can they be used to help training, my thoughts.

In our lives we are bombarded by a constant stream of information and statistics, some of it fake (#prayforSweden), some of it real, most of it useless, understanding what is useful and more importantly how to make use of it seems to me to be the tricky part in terms of training.

Above all else there is one statistic about a marathon that you can’t escape, isn’t fake and will never change, and that is in order to finish the marathon you have to somehow get yourself around a course of 42.195 kilometres or 26.219 miles. How you do this and how long it takes will in part be down to a combination of various factors and statistics, the temperature on the day, your bodyweight, your level of hydration, training miles in the bank, the number of people in the field (and more importantly the number of people who massively overestimate their ability and start walking after a mile forcing you to slow down or take evasive action to get round them) etc etc etc. I know that some of these factors are totally beyond my control so I’ll forget about them and focus on what I can do something about and then look at how and if I can use the information available to me to improve my performance in any way.

Over the last 12 months I’ve mainly focussed on my weight, I can’t really say that I’ve typically been one to weigh myself regularly but since realising that I wasn’t happy with my weight and that 13st 8lbs (87.6kg) wasn’t healthy or sustainable I’ve weighed myself every week and am currently down to 10st 9lbs (69.6kg), I’ve never been particularly scientific but even I know that dragging 3 stone less around with me can only be good for me and make my running easier and quicker.

On Saturday my wife arranged for me to attend Fitness Evolution in Burnley for an assessment on their Biotrax system. As mentioned in my first blog post I’d previously had a similar health check this time last year which gave me a kick up the backside and started my journey to being a runner/advanced jogger. On that check I was told my metabolic age was 50, on Saturday that metabolic age had dropped to 24, I’m actually 39! I have no idea how that assessment works, it’s a statistic, I think it paints a wider picture of where I started and where I am now, whether it can assist me is a moot point.

 metabolic-ageMore measurable and more telling is my body fat percentage, last February I had 24.8% body fat, on Saturday I had just 8.7%.

body-fat

Whilst it’s obvious what that is telling me about how my body looks and feels I don’t yet know how I can actually use this information to aid my training, is this figure about right, too high, too low, should I add a bit of fat, does it matter? I’d appreciate any thoughts and comments from either seasoned runners or medical people out there on this one.

As my training has now gained a genuine sense of purpose I have also started to pay far greater attention to my pace. Based on my performance in the Burnley 10k last June I was doing a race pace of just under 9 minute miles. Over recent weeks and longer distances I am now hovering around 8 minute miles (tonight’s 11.7 miles for example was rattled off in 1 hour 31 mins 20 secs, 7.77 minutes per mile) which gives me a good measure of progress,  one I’ll be putting to the test in another 10k race in early March, this is also useful information for me to set myself a realistic finish time goal for the big day in October. As I was particularly restless one evening last week I tried to get myself to sleep by doing the maths in my head for various paces and finish times, 8 minute miles across the full distance would bring me home in 3hrs 28mins, is it realistic to keep that pace up across the full distance? Doubtful. Running half the distance at 8 minute miles and the other half at 9 minute miles is probably a more sensible target and would bring me home in 3 hrs 41 mins and even if I did the whole thing at 9 minute mile pace I’d still be over the line inside 4 hours at 3hrs 54 mins. Whilst I’m at this level of pace in training I totally understand that things can change on race day so again I’d really appreciate any feedback on what times others have run on their marathon debuts compared to any targets you’d set yourself and whether my times seem reasonable or overly optimistic?

If used appropriately statistics, assuming they are the right set of statistics, can I believe really add value in training, provide motivation and help us all to improve in one way or other, on the other hand lies and damned lies just leave us looking like some fella with bad hair who just happens to have landed the biggest job in the world!!!

Eyes On The Prize

The idea for my blog this evening came from my 6 year old son Isaac. This week has been half term and he’s been attending a football camp run by the lovely people at Burnley FC In The Community. As Burnley are playing Lincoln in the FA Cup tomorrow live on TV there was a special visitor at training this morning, the actual FA Cup!!

fa-cup

All the children were excited to have their photos taken, some slightly apprehensive after the briefing not to touch the prestigious cup. Isaac was absolutely thrilled to see it and I really hope it has inspired him to keep training hard, practising his skills and dreaming that one day he’ll actually get to hold the trophy. Maybe he’ll make it, maybe he won’t, who knows but I think that having a dream is really important, having your eyes on the prize drives you on at times when you think you have no more to give and motivates you to find that extra something from somewhere.

Until signing up for the Yorkshire Marathon my training was purely about achieving a healthier lifestyle and keeping active. Although I enjoyed my runs/advanced jogs, they lacked somewhat in intensity and real purpose and a friend had planted the seed that having a specific goal to train for would be useful, not sure whether to thank you Rick or curse you, I guess I’ll find out for real in October. Having something to work towards now though has helped to give me an extra push. For the marathon itself I’ve set myself what I think is a realistic time goal but I’ll genuinely be thrilled to just make it round intact.

Tonight’s run, 11.6 miles, 1hr 33mins 13 secs, was tough for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was an almost entirely new route for me and at one point I actually got lost, secondly it was quite an undulating route and I actually find running downhill harder than uphill, don’t seem to be able to get the technique of not letting me legs run away with me and maintaining a steady pace quite right and finally we’d had a buffet lunch celebration for a colleague going on maternity leave and sausage rolls, pakoras and samosas is hardly the greatest pre-run meal I’ve ever had!!! I broke the route down in my mind though and set some goals which pulled me through.

Whatever you are doing in life, whether you consider it big or small always have a goal to help motivate you, keep your eyes on the prize and dream big, what’s the worst that can happen?

And we’re off….

Running blog of a marathon first timer.

So this is my very first blog entry, I may be the only person to ever read this.

I’ve decided to write this blog to save all my friends from having to read my Facebook posts and me becoming the #marathonbore. Before I get onto running though a quick backstory. I’m a 39 year old Yorkshireman from Bradford, living in exile just over the border in Lancashire. In March 2012 I survived testicular cancer and have been cancer free since, I have a fantastic wife and two great kids. As near as damn it a year ago I went for a health check at work. I weighed in at 13st 8lbs, I had a physical activity rating of 2/10 and was told I had a virtual age of 50. All my motivation is pretty much summed up right there. I needed to get fit, stop making excuses and start eating things that were actually good for me. That weekend my wife and I went out for a Valentine’s meal. I drove to the restaurant (tight Yorkshiremen don’t pay for taxis to a venue) and decided that the following day I’d run the 3.25 miles back to pick the car up. That run took me about 35 minutes and I felt like throwing up, it was the first serious bit of exercise I’d done in a long time.

Fast forward 12 months and I am pretty much a running addict, I’m still not sure if I define myself as a run

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My wife Catherine and I after the Burnley 10km 2016

ner or an advanced jogger. Anyway, I kept the running up and actually started to enjoy it, going pretty much every Monday and Friday evening. The company I work for were one of the sponsors of the Burnley 10km in June so I entered along with my wife and on a baking hot day came in with a respectable time of just over 54 minutes. The next day was the perfect excuse to give up, still hot, still tired from the 10km, goal achieved but I went out and did 4 miles or so and have carried on. I have pretty much stopped eating rubbish and I weigh just on 11st.

Shortly before Christmas I did 10.5 miles, then 12.7 miles and then last week I took the plunge and entered the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in York in October. Now things have started to get serious and as a first timer I’ll be honest, I’m bricking it. On Friday I ran 13.25 miles in 1hr 45 mins 59 secs, which I think is ok but how the hell am I going to double that over the next 8 months?

This people is hopefully where you come in. I need, advice, guidance, tips anything to get me across that line in one piece on 8th October. I intend to post most weeks and keep you up to speed (no pun intended I’m not that fast) on how things are going and if you are a marathon first timer or #marathonbore too then maybe you’ll find some inspiration or comfort here too.

Thanks for reading.

Stu