Don’t outsprint your finish time

This post is basically going to summarise my weekend, including Mile End parkrun, BUPA Westminster Mile and BUPA London 10,000. To begin with though I want to share a pearl of wisdom. On Sunday after completing my Westminster mile I made my way to the finish line to cheer on others. In one of the waves a young man that looked like he had jogged the majority of the course decided to go for an almighty sprint over the last 50 meters. Maybe he was aiming for a certain time. Ironically in sprinting for the line his timing chip fell off. Moral of the story is, make sure your timing chip is fastened accordingly to allow for monumental efforts in the last few meters. Secondly pace yourself, it may just be a mile but it’s not a sprint all the way. Thirdly don’t outsprint your finish time by pushing too much and getting injured.

On Saturday 23rd May I decided to partake in the Mile End parkrun. Initially the idea was to take it steady and use it as a loosener for the Westminster Mile and the 10k. Those of you that have read my blog before will know roughly what happens next. I clearly lack some self control because after crossing the start line I went into parkRACE mode. I felt quite comfortable and as always enjoyed the slight ups and downs of the Mile End course. I finished in 17:44 knocking 5 seconds of my course PB, that I had equalled a few week back. It could be argued that this was not great mile and 10k preparation but I think it was good to get up to speed. 

The BUPA Westminster mile was the first race of the weekend. This was my second time racing over that distance having done the City of London Mile in 2014. However I couldn’t really compare the times as I did the mile last year after finishing the Hackney Half Marathon that morning. I did the City of London Mile in 5:43 and so when registering for the Westminster  mile I put down around 5:30. This put me in wave B at 9:45 which was good because I didn’t have to wait around all day nervously. It also meant I would be near the front of the wave and have space to run into. To my surprise I ended up running the mile basically on my own. I set off pretty quickly from the start line and there were two or three runners alongside but I then got into my stride and kept a consistent pace. It was surreal to be running along Birdcage Walk out in front. As I got closer to the finish I had the urge to look behind and see if anyone was coming with me but I kept my head down and took the tape in 5:05. I am happy with this time however I would’ve like to have achieved a sub 5. Maybe if I had runners to chase I could have done it and maybe if I didn’t PB at Mile End parkrun the day before I could have got those 6 seconds. I’m not going to dwell on those questions too much as with more track work I’m confident I’ll get a 4-something minute mile in the years to come. Depending on rest etc the City of London Mile on June 14th may be a good opportunity.  

 After my mile I watched the other waves including Steve Cram in the Olympians wave and David Weir trying to break the 3-minute mile in the wheelchair wave. It was great to watch the various waves and see the variety of performances and sprint finishes. 


I have to say well done to Emma, Frankie, Judie, Gemma, Lizzie, Kevin, Stephen, Harry, Tim, Chris & Pete for their great efforts over the mile. 

The second event of my BUPA Bonanaza weekend was the London 10,000. Again I found myself in wave B having put in an underestimated goal time. As I found in 2014 this is good as you have room to manoeuvre for the first half but you then have to weave a certain amount in the second 5k. I find it hard to understand why some runners put in over ambitious goal finish times as it must be so demoralising. Surprisingly I felt quite fresh given the efforts in the mile on Sunday. I therefore set off at just below 6 min miling and planned to  hold onto it to get as close to 36 minutes as possible. As the run progressed I passed a lot of runners and found it motivating to chase others and move through the field. I kept pace and crossed the line with the clock showing 38:27ish. I knew this meant I’d gone close to 36 due to starting in wave B. When the results came in I had done 35:59 equalling my 10k PB and achieving that sub 36 mins I was after, job done.   Overall a productive weekend of running and great fun outside the Queens humble abode. Over the next few days I will be taking it easy with the Bristol 10k coming up on Sunday. 

The BUPA medals have taken their pride of place next to the others collected in May. I’m not sure I will ever race this much in one month again but it’s been a lot of fun. 

I hope you all had a great long bank holiday weekend whether you were running or otherwise. See a lot of you soon.


Richmond Park Marathon 2015

A few weeks back I learnt about the Richmond Park Marathon through Martin who runs with us at The Running Works run club. He’s run it on numerous occasions and said he enjoyed it despite the pretty hilly course. I looked in my race calendar and there was a gap, that soon dissappeared. 

Being only my third marathon I should have been nervous but due to how busy I have been recently with races and running events I didn’t have time to think about it. Another reason I wasn’t nervous was because I was thinking of it as a long training run for Race to the Stones. I wasn’t aiming for a specific time I just wanted time on feet and a run around Richmond Park. Leading up to the run I planned to run at 8min/mile pace and go sub 3:30. That soon changed just after the start line.

In recent weeks, in my opinion, I have paced myself reasonably well over various distances. I was happy with doing 23 miles for Wings for Life, 1:20:30 for Hackney Half Marathon and getting decent times for the assembly league victoria park run and Mile End parkrun. I believe running on track has helped me think more carefully about pacing, understanding what I’m capable of and what pace is pushing it. Richmond Park Marathon went a bit differently. Instead of running at 8min/mile pace I set off closer to 7min/mile pace, which felt comfortable enough through the first half, but I knew it would come back to haunt me in the last few miles. I probably should’ve researched the course more and accounted for the hills.   Another reason I kept running at this pace was because within the first few miles Stuart began running alongside and we had a good chat about marathons etc. He was doing his 35th marathon and was thinking that he’d started the race a little too quickly, join the club. The course was great and some small out and backs gave us the opportunity to cheer on fellow runners. Me and Stuart got a friendly shout and smile from the winner of the women’s race, Run Dem Crew runner, Sorrell. She smashed it. I also saw Martin out on the course, he completed his aim of going sub 4, well done mate.

I really enjoyed the marathon as the route was really scenic and when you’re in Richmond Park you have to become a professional deer spotter. Around mile 17 our pace slowed but this was always going to be the case in hot (sunburning) conditions. The last couple of miles in particular were really hardwork but I think I needed a run like that to test me mentally. I just kept thinking to myself “it’s going to be a whole lot harder after 60 miles of Race to the Stones so get used to this.” 

 As you can see the hills and heat took their toll. I’d also like to add to that excuse, fatigue off the back of a half marathon and no proper taper or carb-loading. I’m not sure why I’m making excuses for going sub 3:30 in a tough marathon but there we go. I finished in 3:25:48 finishing 27th. Stuart had a rest around the 23 mile point and then came tearing past me in the last few miles, he nailed it and I’m sure he’ll get his GFA time for London soon enough.

As some of you have probably seen on Twitter and Instagram I’ve been lucky enough to meet some amazing people recently. On Sunday before the start I just had time for a cheeky selfie with David Weir CBE. He’s won 6 gold medals and the same number of London Marathons, amazing! 

 Overall the Richmond Park Marathon was a great race, loads of water stations including bananas etc, awesome scenic route and good crowds. I will definitely be back in Richmond Park soon for a long run and/or some hill training. 

I almost forgot it’s all about the bling

It was hardwork but as the t-shirt says I do love the Richmond Park Marathon.

It was great to see some of you at The Night of the 10,000 PBs on Saturday. I hope you all had a good weekend whether you were racing, running or not. Hopefully see some of you at the Westminster Mile and/or Bupa London 10,000.



Night of the 10,000 PBs

  Serpentine striding around Parliament Hill Fields Athletics Track

 Jessica Coulson flying, just ahead of Aly Dixon and Rhona Auckland, at the front of the Women’s A Race  The Running Works (run-fast retail) pop up shop  The crowd roaring on the athletes every step of the way 

Team Run-Fast pacing the Men’s A Race Team Run-Fast look on as Tom Payn paces in the Men’s B race

These photos were taken by @evilphoto79 (on Instagram). I think they capture the Night of the 10,000 PBs really well. It was a great event and I left truly inspired from watching the efforts of the athletes and the amazing support from the crowds. 




Run Hackney Half Marathon 2015

Since the Wings for Life UK run on Sunday the 3rd of May I’ve been pretty busy running and racing. I went to #TrackTuesday, ran the Assembly League Victoria Park 3.5 miler, did Mile End parkrun and enjoyed the Run Hackney Half Marathon.

Surprisingly after doing 23 miles for the Wings for Life run I felt pretty fresh and therefore in the last week I managed to do over 50 miles including the three “races” I mentioned before. #TrackTuesday was great as always, I’m looking forward to tonight’s session. It would be good to see more new faces soon. We run at Mile End track from 7.30pm (it costs £3.25 for track access) message me if you’re interested and want anymore details or head over to the Run Fast blog. 

My first race of the week was on Thursday. It was the Assembly League Victoria Park 3.5 mile run. It just so happened to fall on the day we have run club from The Running Works store. I was day off but decided to run in to do the 4 mile route around Shadwell Basin with the group. I decided to do this because I have found that I often run stronger after I’ve ran earlier in the day. The race was at 7.30pm so I had a good couple hours to rest/chill. I didn’t really know what to expect for the Assembly League run. Over 300 people ran coming from all the different London run clubs. I ran for Victoria Park Harriers as I have ran with them a few times in the last couple weeks and am joining them aswell as team Run-Fast.   One of my colleagues, James, was running the race aswell. Off the start line he managed to weave his way through the group and set off at a good pace. I decided it would be good if I could keep him in my sights and try and close up the gap as the race progressed. Having people to follow and keep pushing myself is a great motivation for me and I enjoy this aspect of running on track. The plan is to close the gap, not necessarily throughout the session but week after week, to the front runners. My race strategy, if you can call it that, worked well and I finished two seconds behind James. I finished in 19:20 in 34th place and considering the amount of running I’d done prior to the race I was more than happy with that. You can see the finish here (James in yellow and me in Green from 1:40 in).

I decided Friday should be a rest day. Then on Saturday after much deliberation I decided to run Mile End parkrun as a loosener ahead of Run Hackney Half. The run soon changed from a loosener to a race (again I know it’s parkrun not parkRACE!) I guess I’m just too competitive with myself to not push it at parkruns. I enjoy the Mile End course as it has a few little ups and downs and I try to keep a constant speed going up them. I managed to equal my Mile End PB with a time of 17:49 finishing 2nd. 

Now to the main event, the Hackney Half Marathon. I didn’t really know what to do pace wise considering the amount of running and racing I had done the week leading up to it but I just thought I’d go with the flow. I ran with Alan (a friend and pacer from Niketown) for the first half of the race. We set off at a steady pace in the first couple of miles then started picking it up. In the first few miles we saw Georgia (another Nike friend) and as strange as it is to chat during a race we had a quick catch up (pun intended!) talking about the London Marathon which she smashed in 3:17 after getting the place two days before, mental! 

Me and Alan went through 10k in 39:07. Just after this Alan got a bit of a stitch and had to ease up but as I was feeling comfortable I went on maintaining a decent pace. I knew I was pushing it a bit because my calf had twinged half a mile into the run. Luckily my legs cooperated with me for the rest of the run. After mile 6, when I was on my own, I just kept thinking about people around the course and the cheers I would get especially at mile 10 where Run/Cheer Dem Crew were situated. It was great to see so many friends on the run and I really appreciate the support.   Also big thanks for the photo and shouts from the Advent Running guys.

I managed to hold on to a decent pace despite the heat and finished in 54th place in a time of 1:20:30. That finish time is quite rewarding, I obviously would have liked to go sub 80 mins again but a better taper would be required for that I think.  I feel incredibly lucky that I can do what I’m doing and I have been enjoying every race. I am so relieved that I got through the half unscathed and I can now look forward to Richmond Park Marathon on Sunday. I’m going to take it steady between now and then as doing a half the week before is probably pushing it enough. I’m going to the Christopher McDougall “Natural Born Heroes” book launch on Thursday which should be good. I will then be working at the Night of 10,000 PBs as we (The Running Works) will be retailing at the event. It should be a great day, I’m looking forward to cheering everyone on and picking up issue #5 of Like the Wind magazine.

Looking forward to seeing lots of you at #TrackTuesday, The Running Works Thursday Run club and at the events mentioned above. I hope you all had a great weekend.



Review: Salomon X-scream 3D

A few weeks ago I received an email asking if I wanted to try out the Salomon X-scream 3D trainers and give them a review. Having wanted to run in some Salomon trainers for a while I jumped at the chance to get my feet in them. The reason I’ve wanted to try them is that since I’ve got into running more I’ve seen their amazing videos on YouTube. If you haven’t already seen them check out the Salomon Trail Running YouTube page. Personal favourites are “Why we run”, “The Original”, “The Ultimate Fan” and “Of Fells and Hills”.

Another reason I wanted to try the X-scream 3Ds was that I’ve been running around London including up to and around Hampstead Heath where a mild trail shoe has been required when the trails are dry and firm. I am also in training for Race to the Stones 100k so have been trying to run off road more often. I was excited to receive the trainers and my first impression was good as I think they look pretty cool. Working in a running specialist store I know it’s not about aesthetics but at the end of the day everyone wants something that has style and substance. This shoe definitely has style but would it have the substance.   I put them on straight away. These are the first trainers I’ve owned that have quicklace. I quite like this as it means you can get out the door quicker. I tend to run in the mornings, often straight after waking up. The fit for me feels a little generous due to the fact I normally wear an adidas size UK 12 and the shoes I have tested are also 12s. However I will continue to do some of my longer runs in these trainers so a little room is probably a good thing. Having ran in the Adidas adios and adios boosts for the last couple of years I have gotten use to quite a lightweight, reasonably narrow fitting shoe. Therefore at first the X-screams felt quite heavy but at 290g it’s not bad for a well cushioned longer distance trainer. 

I planned to take them out for just a few miles but due to them being really comfortable I ended up doing 10+ miles. These miles were all on road and the grip seemed good as I went round corners and changed direction.  In the last few weeks I have ran approximately 30-40 miles in the X-screams. I have done a few runs on firm trails and the grip has been good. In wetter conditions I will probably opt for a trail shoe with larger lugs but for long training runs along the canal, around Victoria Park and up to Hampstead Heath I will use these trainers a lot. One issue I have had with them is that the plastic cup in the heel is quite high and therefore has rubbed on occasions. Due to the weight and firmness of the shoe I will probably continue to do most of my mileage in my beloved adidas adios and adios boosts but there is definitely a place for these shoes in my training. 

I have been impressed with the X-screams and with just a few minor tweaks it would be a great shoe. I am incredibly tempted to buy some S-lab Sense 4 Ultras now as they have been receiving some good reviews but for now I will continue to hit the city trails.

I will be attending a Salomon community run in Fulham on the 27th May so it will be good to test some more of their kit then. Lookout for a post about that.

Has anyone else tried any Salomon trainers recently? How have you got on in them? Let me know by tweeting me or messaging on Instagram @StephenSkinner6.

See you on the city trails! 


Wings for Life UK run 2015

A few months back I heard about the Wings for Life World Run through some of my friends at the Nike run groups and friends I made at the Ashmei Ambassador day. I was interested straight away as the concept sounded really cool. It was explained to me that you run around and out of Silverstone and you create your own finish line by running as fast as you choose to then be caught by David Coulthard driving a catcher car. 

Similarly to how I signed up to Race to the Stones 100k, every now and then the Red Bull event would be mentioned on Twitter or Facebook and make me want to sign up. So it was only a matter of time really. Also the entry fee funds research into finding a cure for spinal cord injury, so we were running for those who can’t. I’m going to blame James from work aswell because he pointed out it was the day before Bank holiday Monday so I would have a rest day to make the most of. 

The main reason I was contemplating entering for so long was because I have four other events in May. It’s going to be pretty tiring this month but hopefully I will be able to recover quickly enough off the back of each event to get respectable times and give them all a good go. I’m so glad I signed up in the end, I’m still on a bit of a high now I think. 

I managed to get a seat on the coach with some of the Nike crew which was a good laugh so the journey there and back didn’t seem too long. We got there nice and early and because there wasn’t  a huge number of participants it was straight forward with the bag drop and getting to the start etc. On the start line we managed to see David Coulthard briefly and Sophie being a pretty big F1 fan got a picture with him. I’m surprised but she hasn’t really mentioned we met him!! 

I decided to start quite near the front as I was aiming to do about 33k if not a bit more. We started at 12 o’clock coinciding with all the other countries. It was amazing to think there were around about 100,000 runners toeing the start line at the same time. I decided to go off at about 7 min/mile pace which was nice and comfortable around the track. Within the first few kilometers a guy called Eric asked me how far I was aiming to run. He wanted to do as close to marathon distance as possible and asked if he could stick with me so I ended up pacing him the whole way round. It was good to chat and the miles flew by (pun intended!!) after about 8k we were out of Silverstone and into the countryside. We spoke with another runner at the same pace. He ran the event last year and was aiming to do 30k. This made me think well if he’s going at this pace now he’s factoring in something… Hills!!?? Hmm.

Yep there were hills. This made it a more challenging course but also meant we got to see some great views of the countryside. It reminded me a lot of running and training down in Devon which was nice. Me and Eric kept a steady pace and went through 13.1 miles in 1:34. Due to the hills we slowed quite a lot but we kept pushing and he said if we couldn’t get to a marathon distance we had to do 35k at least. We did well to keep a decent pace taking on lots of water and having a couple gels. It was good to have bananas at the stations too. Lots of water was needed as it was quite a hot and windy day (sunburn and windburn are my only injuries!) An underlayer was definitely not needed but then who would be stupid enough to wear one of them! (Yes me! Ha) 

We got through 35ks with no sound of the catcher car behind us. Just after the 36k mark the cyclist accompanying the catcher car came passed and let us know it was 30 seconds behind us. We upped the pace and sprinted a well timed downhill section. The car got closer and closer and me and Eric began to race each other. He caught me off guard a bit and gunned it. I wasn’t having any of that, pacing him all the way round to be out sprinted near the end, no way. So I got passed him before the car got to us and then I started to feel reasonably comfortable at 6:30 min/mile pace for a bit so I kept pushing and took another place. I then got to an uphill section next to another runner I sprinted passed him with the car just behind but he had a sprint in him too so I surrendered the position and David Coulthard came past smiling with his thumb up. It was such an adrenaline kick it’s hard to put it into words but i’ll remember it for a long time. I managed 37k in the end which made me 13th for te UK run and just inside the top 1,000 worldwide. After being caught we got picked up by a shuttle bus. It was cool to pick up the guys who had finished further up the road. At one point we thought we were going to have to drive to get the winner, Tom Payn. Luckily we didn’t have to as he managed a big 61ks. Working with Tom he said he was aiming for 70ks but in tough conditions 61k is a great effort especially due to him cramping around 40ks.   The event was amazing and if I can fit it into my calendar for next year I will be back to hopefully get in a few more kilometers. I recommend you keep an eye on Toms running in the next few months and years, he gets to do the wings for life run in another country next year so I’m sure he will get in some big mileage then as Silverstone is probably one of the hardest courses.

Overall the event was great, I would recommend everyone giving it try. Whether you want to do 10k or 70k you can create your finish line due to pacing.  Well done to everyone that did the Wings for Life UK and World runs. If you ran or supported how did you find it? Tweet me or message me on instagram: @StephenSkinner6

Well done to everyone else running events this weekend, hope you all had a good one!