Category Archives: Marathons

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The Ladybower Trail Marathon

I would never recommend starting your marathon training plan by running a marathon, especially a trail marathon with over 2,500 feet of ascent and to be honest it’s not something I would normally do especially when I haven’t been training for a marathon. My normal training load is pretty high with a weekly volume of around eighty miles per week which is what I would normally do when training for a marathon. The difference is my weekly mileage has been made up of running twice a day most days and has been missing the key elements of a marathon training plan which are a mid week medium to long run of around ninety minutes and a weekly long run of two hours. I have only ran four training runs over sixteen miles this year and I was just about to start my marathon training plan for an Autumn marathon. I was confident I could handle the distance but there’s a big difference between running 26.2 miles and racing over this distance There’s not many races I see and instantly think I would like to do, especially when I haven’t been training for that distance. This race really caught my attention as I know the area well and it’s in a beautiful part of the Peak District. I messaged the race organiser asking for more details on the race route and really liked the look of the route. The route mainly followed the path around the Ladybower Reservoir but with the added challenge of a two mile climb from mile fourteen to take you away from the main paths and the chance to see some amazing views before a quick technical decent taking you back down to the tourist path. The lack of long runs in my current training was putting me off entering and there wasn’t much time to start upping my distance. I decided to keep tabs on how the race was progressing and who was entering. As the weeks passed the race was getting more and more interest and I noticed one name get added to the start list that I knew would make it an interesting race and would be a great way to test my fitness on the trails. Continue reading

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Manchester Marathon 18 week training plan

This weeks post follows on from my last blog were I wrote about how I thought my Manchester Marathon build up had gone and my disappointment on race day.  You can see below my 18 week training plan I carried out for the 2015 Manchester Marathon. It shows the types of runs I did each day with information on the distance and speed. All the runs were ran within my heart rate zones, the pace depended on the factors such as the weather, terrain and general fatigue.

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Heart Rate Training Zones

  • Recovery running zone 1                                   144-156bpm
  • Threshold running zone2                                   157-169bpm
  • Tempo running zone     3                                   170-186bpm
  • Interval running zone   4                                   above 186bpm

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Can you have too good of a marathon build up?

Can you have too good of a marathon build up? This is one question that I have been asking myself over the last few months, as things just didn’t go quite right for me at the Greater Manchester Marathon. It seems that the best laid plans don’t always give you the desired results. Back in November my Mamma paid for me to enter the Manchester Marathon as a Christmas present. I had spent the previous four months working on my speed endurance to improve my times over the shorter distances, in the hope that this in turn would help to decrease my marathon time. I managed to get my 10k time down to 33:28 from 34:29 which equated to a predicted marathon time of sub 2:35, providing I got my marathon build up right. I was in great shape and feeling really positive about starting my marathon training plan, my confidence was really high and it gave me real boost, knowing that I was in the shape to take a good chunk off of my PB which stood at 2.42.27.

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How I went from plodder to runner

You might wonder how does someone go from running 100 miles in the mountains to racing marathons on the road? The answer is pretty straight forward to be honest, I followed a simple but effective training plan where the training sessions were tailored to my heart rate zones which were identified by carrying out a lactate threshold test and not running to a set pace. The rest was down to a lot of hard work and commitment.

The first thing I did was recover properly, before regaining my base fitness. I then started logging the miles on the road before starting my training program. In the months between the Ultra Tour of the Lake District and Christmas I worked really hard, slowly building up my mileage and spending more time running in my threshold heart rate zone. This was the key zone used during my marathon build up to improve my strength and speed when running around my marathon pace. Running on the road is very different from trail running as it takes a lot more out of your body. This makes your choice of trainers very important, as they must be able to provide you with the support and cushioning you require. I visited The Lincolnshire Runner (running shop) to have my running gait analysed before choosing my first pair of road running trainers. This ensured that they were suitable for the amount of mileage I was about to carry out.

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The start of my running obsession

At the age of nine I was diagnosed with a disability called Perthes disease which made exercising more or less impossible. I spent weeks on end going in and out of hospital, being placed on traction and having to have a number of operations to lengthen the tendons in my groin. I had to have my hip pinned to try to increase the blood flow into my hip joint and this was followed by 6 weeks in broom stick pots. During this time I was wheel chair bound and then gradually progressed to using crutches and carrying out regular physiotherapy sessions to build up the muscles in my legs, as they were too weak to support my body weight. Perthes disease (also known as Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, or Calve Perthes disease, is a childhood disorder which affects the head of the femur (the ball of the ball and socket joint of the hip). In Perthes disease the blood supply to the growth plate of the bone at the end of the femur (called the epiphysis) becomes inadequate. As a result the bone softens and breaks down. The specialists told me that I would never be able to lead a fully active lifestyle due to the shorting of my leg and the weakness within my hip joint but  I stayed positive and tried to be as active as possible throughout my teenage years. I played as much football as my hip could handle and at the age of  eighteen I was finally discharged from the hospital.

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