London Marathon 2015 Weekend

I’m just going to start by saying the weekend just gone was absolutely epic! Here’s why…

I’m going to include Friday in this recap because it was such a great day. Working at The Running Works means I get to meet amazing inspiring people daily whether they are training for their first 5k or they have won an European Championship gold medal. On Friday we were lucky enough to be hosting a Q&A and run with Jo Pavey. The main reason for the event was that she has recently joined adidas after being sponsored by Nike for a long time. Now I don’t know the ins and outs of it but I do know it’s a great deal for adidas and Jo, and as she expressed in the Q&A there are very exciting times ahead. I look forward to following how she gets on in the next few years. I was lucky enough to hear from Jo at the Brighton Marathon expo aswell and I still can’t believe how humble she is.  

   The run was out to Shadwell Basin and back (a nice route we tend to do for the work run club on Thursdays at 1pm).

After the event I decided to head out to the London Marathon Expo. I went on Thursday for an hour or so with Kip and Nikki from work but didn’t have much time to check out different brands etc so it was good to spend a couple of hours there. I bumped into Rachel and a friend of hers so it was good to wonder round with them. We tracked down the Hoka One One stand and I tried on the Cliftons. I was pleasantly surprised how light and comfortable they were, I may get some for getting in the miles training for Race to the Stones. After blagging a free visor and t-shirt we then headed to the Garmin stand. It was cool to see Steve Way there. Thinking he had to pull out of London due to injury I asked him about his training for Edinburgh etc. He recovered quickly so although it was a struggle he managed to get another place for London. Steve is similar to Jo in the fact that he is really laid back and incredibly humble. His passion for running and endless amounts of energy are infectious. He spoke to us about all the Garmin watches he has and was really helpful.  

 I love living in London when the marathon is on because you get to meet so many inspiring people. It obviously helps working in a running specialist store too.

On Saturday me, Helena (@the_fitadvisor) and Matt (@thebaldrunner) headed to the North Downs Way to get in some decent trail miles. We did just over 20 miles as Helena is training for the Edinburgh Marathon which is in just less than 5 weeks. It was really good fun and I’m sure we will organise more long runs on the NDW soon, so if anyone wants in drop me or one of us a tweet or something.  

     The photos are courtesy of Matt & Helena.

Now I suppose I better mention the small race that occurred on Sunday. It’s called the London Marathon or something. Only 38,000 odd people do it, I’m not sure why! Ha no let’s be serious about this, the London Marathon is an amazing event! It’s such an incredible thing to witness so many people giving absolutely everything to cover 26.2 miles in as shorter time as possible. It was great to see so many of my friends participating and achieving such great times! You know who you are! Well done! 

I wish I had run it on Sunday but then again I now have almost a year to get into the shape of my life to smash it. Plus it will be good to do The Great North Run and a couple more marathons first.  

     It was awesome to witness Paula Radcliffes last London Marathon. I’m so glad she had a great run and 2:36 isn’t too shabby! It’s also amazing to think the women’s winning time was 2:22 some 7 minutes slower than Paula’s record. It will be some time until that record is beaten. 

It was also great to see Paul Martelletti (@marders) aka Spider-Man flying through London to set a new “running in a superhero costume” world record!  2:30:12! I’m wondering if he’s annoyed about the 12 seconds but I’m sure his attention is elsewhere gearing up for Wings For Life in Australia at the weekend. It’s pretty cool to be running with him on the track at Mile End Stadium for Run-Fasts #TrackTuesdays (7.30pm for those of you that are interested). 

After watching from the amazing #Mile21 with Run Dem Crew for the majority of the day me and Helena decided to watch some of the runners finishing. We were at the finish around 5 o’clock and it was incredible to see how determined those runners were to finish. One lady was being carried across the finish line by two marshals. I then headed to Covent Garden to catch up with Rachel (@therachelgshow) who I hadnt seen for a year and a half. She was in London to watch the marathon and has become inspired so will smash Edinburgh Half! I know for a fact she will sign up to a marathon soon! (She’ll try to tell you otherwise!)

Overall a pretty hectic but amazing weekend. This week has been fun so far, I’ve managed to run with the old Boxpark crew, do #TrackTuesday and get in an hour of running today. Roll on Wings for Life at the weekend where manic May begins!

I hope those of you that ran at the weekend had a great time and are incredibly proud! Speak and run with a lot of you soon!

Steve

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Brilliant Brighton Marathon Weekend

As I’m sure most of you are aware, the 11th/12th of April was a pretty big weekend in the marathon running calendar. The main events included Paris, Rotterdam and Brighton. After running Manchester last year I decided to sign up for Brighton, mainly because quite a few friends had run it and they really enjoyed it. After London, Brighton is one of the biggest Marathons in the UK and is well known for its great crowds by the sea. 

This year my taper went relatively smoothly. Leading up to Manchester last year was a bit of a disaster, running 26.3 miles two weeks before and being ill leading up to the race. I still managed to do well and was happy with my time of 3:28 but I knew this time round as long as I tapered well and changed a few more things I could knock off a fair amount of time. In hindsight I probably should have taken #TrackTuesday a little bit easier and I shouldn’t have walked around and stood up so much on Saturday but overall the taper was good. 

On the Saturday I headed to Brighton reasonably early (probably too early) to pick up my race pack and have a look around the expo. Due to Manchester posting race numbers this was the first expo I’ve been to. Due to being early I got my race pack without having to queue and then went and got my name printed on my t-shirt. I also spent some time catching up with Paul from Run247 and Michelle who works at Asics (that I use to work with at Sweatshop). Michelle is never far from a marathon and she was pacing 4:30 on Sunday, which she nailed. I’m thinking about getting involved in pacing at some point, It must be so rewarding.   I then grabbed some food and went for a stroll along the seafront and along the pier. It was a bit windy and I was slightly worried that on Sunday this could cause some issues. I ran Bristol Half Marathon a couple of years ago and it was really windy, not fun. I then headed back to the expo as they had lined up speakers to talk about race prep and nutrition etc. Nick Anderson said the race doesn’t start until mile 20. I found this out last year at Manchester! Another of the speakers, and race starter, was Jo Pavey. It was great to hear from Jo. She reiterated how important pacing is and said how she struggled in her first marathon. She went through halfway in 71 minutes and did the second half in 77. Still not bad! After her talk she signed race no.s etc and had a chat with each of us. I get pretty starstruck so just asked where she ran when she lived in London. I need to get to Richmond and Bushy park more often it seems. After the expo I went and got some pasta and then I had a relaxing evening reading Running with the Kenyans by Adharanand Finn (great book!) before getting an early night. I slept reasonably well but woke up at about 2am, I then fell asleep again intermittently before waking up at 7ish. I grabbed some food and walked to the race village. I bumped into Sarah @littlerunnergal and Scott @ScottBrealey and had a quick catch up. She absolutely smashed the marathon and PBd by a massive 30 odd minutes! Sarahs been on fire recently and it’s so inspiring to see the amazing progress she’s been making. After getting rid of my bag etc I got to the start line. As in Manchester last year it suddenly dawned on me I had 26.2 miles to run, it came around so quickly. Thankfully this time I had the aid of my TomTom runner to keep me on a steady pace. I wasn’t really sure what time to aim for so set off at around 7min/mile pace. I started reasonably far up but still had some weaving to do hence the 7:43 for the first mile but I then found my pace and went through half way in 1:32. I felt comfortable at this point and started to up the pace to 6:40ish per mile to try and get close to sub 3. I was doing well with nutrition and hydration using the SIS isotonic gels every 7 miles and taking on sips of water at every station. I kept a solid pace until about mile 20 when I started to slow slightly. I was still feeling pretty strong until mile 24 but then near the beach huts my right hamstring started to twinge slightly. At roughly mile 22 in Manchester last year I had the same thing only more severe. It was weird because there were paramedics in that exact spot then and right next to me at mile 24 in Brighton. This time instead of needing to stop to stretch I carried on and it soon loosened up. My hamstring basically told me to ease up and make sure I made sub 3:05 and that Good for Age time for London an Boston Marathons. I’m glad I listened to it otherwise I could have pushed it and ended up finishing nearer 3:28 if not worse. I coaxed my hamstring home to finish in 3:02:49. A PB of just over 25 minutes and that GFA time achieved.  The event was awesome! I’m so glad I got my name printed on my shirt. A lot of runners that were near me didn’t so it was just loads of “GO STEVES!” There are always certain moments you’ll remember from marathons. My favourite from Brighton was an elderly man at mile 25 shouting “Just over a mile, you got this Steve!” I also really appreciated the shouts from Jon @LordJon, Scott, Sophie, Frankie @FrankieSaysRun and the @UKRunChat crew. 

Overall I’m really pleased with the run and my pacing. In hindsight I should have done my half marathons earlier on and got in more and longer runs closer to the day. Those runs should have been closer to marathon pace aswell but I will take all this into training for my next races. In May I have a pretty busy schedule race wise. I have Run Hackney Half May 10th, Richmond Park Marathon 17th, Westminster Mile 24th & BUPA 10k 25th. I think when I come to train for and do the Great North Run, Bristol+Bath Marathon and possibly Valencia or Nice marathon later in the year I can focus on them more and aim for certain times.

Well done to everyone that ran Brighton! From what I’ve seen everyone smashed it and really enjoyed it. It was a good day for the Run Fast athletes aswell, Dominic Kangor finished 2nd and Tom Payn finishing 10th paced Pennina Wanjiru to 1st woman. A big shoutout to those that ran Paris and Rotterdam Marathons. Kevin absolutely destroyed Rotterdam finishing in 3:10 including an epic sprint finish and Charlotte smashed Paris in 3:37! Amazing stuff guys!

I hope everyone’s recovery is going well and good luck to those of you doing Boston, Manchester and London Marathons in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to supporting at London. 

Steve

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Mixing it up

Last year I wrote a blog called “20 odd miles”. It basically summed up the way I keep running fun and mix it up. In that post I wrote how I ran 4 times in one day running a parkrun, with friends, at an event and home from the event. Although I am in the “tapering” phase of marathon preparation I am still mixing it up and thought I would document what I’ve been up to this week. 

Last Saturday I ran Hilly Fields parkrun (@hillyfdsparkrun). This isn’t my local parkrun but I make the the effort to get there because it is a great, fun course and the race directors (Adele, Emma & Glenn) and volunteers are awesome. I enjoy it mainly because it is hilly, as the name would suggest, and consequently is a bit of a challenge. This was the first time I’ve been back to do the parkrun in a long while due to work and other things and so I wasn’t sure what time I would manage. My Hilly Fields PB from around this time last year was 18:57. Recently my running has been going well, especially at Reading Half, and therefore I knew I would get close to PB if not better. I set off at 6 min/mile pace and aimed to stick at it for as long as possible. It definitely helped I was in second place, I kept pushing to stay a constant distance from first place. I think I may have even gained some ground (I know parkrun is not a race!) It’s kind of amazing how another runner can help you without knowing it. I finished with a big course PB time of 18 minutes dead. This made it three PBs in the last 3 weekends. I’m wondering if I can make it 4!? Ha  

 

In the middle of last week I spontaneously decided to sign up to Kingston Half Marathon. I was thinking I would take it reasonably steady or use it as a marathon paced run having already done North London and Reading Halfs the two previous weekends. This didn’t quite happen. I felt good on the start line and ended up running the race at 6.30min/mile finishing in 1:23:52. Next time I want to do a steady or marathon paced run I’ll know not to sign up to a race/event.

I had a rest day on Monday and then went to Mile End Stadium for #TrackTuesday with Run-Fast (@RunfastLtd). I started work for The Running Works (@RunningWorks based along Houndsditch in London) / Run-Fast on Monday and had been invited to track sessions with them months ago but hadn’t been able to make it due to work etc. This was my first ever time on the track and I loved it. It was good fun and great to run with people much faster than me. The track session was lead by Peter McHugh, the founder of Run-Fast. I didn’t know what reps we would be doing as Peter likes to keep it a surprise. We ran 3x2ks at 10k pace with 2x400s in between, finishing with straights and corners (striding the straights and jogging the corners). I think it will take a few sessions to get use to the surface and knowing how much to push it but I can’t wait to get back on track. It’s kind of ironic but I know running in circles is going to get me much further than doing lots of steady, possibly “junk” miles. In the next few weeks I will try to balance speed work and getting in the miles for race to the stones.  

 

Although I should probably be tapering more than I am I think it has been good to work on speed and sharpen up before Brighton Marathon. A few months back a customer described tapering to me as sharpening the pencil. I like this analogy and expanded on it a little by sketching “If runners were pencils”. 

Obviously in the drawing I should have drawn a track on the sharpener.

I rested on Wednesday and then got in a fair few miles yesterday. I ran one of my standard 5 mile Victoria Park routes in the morning. I then ran 3 miles into work to run nearly 6 miles with a few of the guys from work to think about routes for the run club we will be starting soon.

Today I ran 6 miles to Covent Garden to do a short run with the Nike group. The weather wasn’t great but it meant it was nice and quiet along the river. I will be parkrunning tomorrow but haven’t decided where to go yet. The weather may play a part in that decision. 

I hope everyone is enjoying there running and you all have a great Easter weekend. 

Steve 

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