About aquavista

Age 45.

Week 5 – No experiments please!

After last week’s somewhat fraught experience with water carrying running vests, I was definitely not up to experimenting with anything new this week. I also resolved to make sure I always (ahem) ‘cleared the system’ before I set out for a run, and also bought some extra jars of my favourite coffee such that when I am away from home I can take them with me, to make sure that I do the job properly (it’s very effective coffee!!).

I was also somewhat heartened to discover, on checking my very efficient, if rudimentary, wallchart, that there were a mere 38 miles to run this week. A step back from last week’s 39! And if even only one mile, it is a relief compared to the fact that every week so far has increased by about four from the previous week. It’s the little things!

Better still, this week there was no tempo/race pace running at all. That’s good for me, as I find that the most tiring and challenging overall. I don’t mind faster intervals, and (usually) enjoy the slower long runs, but the tempo ones mean I have to think harder, or be ‘in the zone’. It’s psychological of course, but that is often what running (or most sports for that matter) are all about – believe you can do something, and you are (almost always) at least half way there already.

Marathon training, I am discovering, is so psychological! Particularly when like me, you have never done one before. I still have no idea if I can even run 26.2 miles for example, but I set off on this programme thinking, no, believing (subtle but important difference there) that I could. And that’s where I still am. I have simple, but strong, faith that by following the Runner’s World programme that I have (to the letter, naturally :)) and meantime looking after myself in terms of nutrition, hydration, rest, alcohol intake, and trying to stay injury free (to name but five things!) then I have a good chance. It’s a huge undertaking though, and when you hear people saying that ‘it takes over your life’, they are right.

In fact, thinking about it more, marathon training already affects almost everything I do. It affects the time I get up, what I have for breakfast, the time I go to work, what I do (and eat) at lunchtime, what I do in the evenings after work, what I cook for my dinner, what I drink with my dinner and after it, and what time and for how long I go to sleep. And that’s not the end of it, far from it. It dictates what I do, and where I am every weekend, and affects any thoughts or plans of holidays I have. It affects conversations at work, my social media posts and things I look at online. I may in fact be living in a running bubble – and this is after just four weeks of the 16 week programme! I even bought a mug to reflect just what this has done to me in fact………..:

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself……………..:)

So onto this weeks running:

It consisted of six miles Tuesday, including 10 x hill sprint repeats, 8 miles Wednesday at easy pace, and six miles Thursday including 9 x 400m sprints. Then Saturday was a leisurely 4 miles @ slow pace, followed by a half marathon on Sunday. I did each of the midweek runs at 6am or thereabouts, such a nice time to run in the summer if you can force yourself out of bed (not always easy for me!).

The Tuesday run went well, the Wednesday run was fine too, but so wet that I wouldn’t have been wetter had I run the whole thing underwater. I also got ‘puddle-splashed’ by some white van man who thought it presumably funny to do, but I was already so wet i didn’t care. On Thursday the 400m sprints were hard, and I really felt the pace (7min mile pace or thereabouts). I also got very distracted along the way by somewhat randomly singing (out loud at times) the words to “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz. I have no idea why. It popped into my head, and wouldn’t go, earworm style. I haven’t altogether shaken it yet in fact some four days later!

I’m not sure why I felt the need to post this, but something compelled me to do so!

Thankfully the Saturday run called for just the gentle four miles at a jogging pace, and that was a big relief for more than one reason, the principal one being that on Friday night I had friends round for dinner, and let’s just say that a lot of drinking was done! In fact after gin and tonics, white wine, red wine, and vodka shots (to name a few) it was a miracle I surfaced into the daylight at all the next day!

For the Sunday we (Melanie and I) took things considerably more sedately on the Saturday night, as we had a half marathon to get through. And after being woken up early by a colossal ground shaking as the nearby Didcot Power Station cooling towers were brought down in a controlled explosion, we also managed to avoid a massive downpour (and a power cut which nearly put paid to my ability to make coffee!!) and get it all done without incident, in what was pretty much perfect running conditions.

So the week ended with 38.2 miles having been run, and me actually feeling pretty good at the end of it. I felt like I could have gone on further on further on Sunday in fact, which was a completely different outcome to the week before!

It’s now getting close to Great North Run time (in just under three weeks from now), and I can’t wait for that. As anyone who knows me will tell you, it’s the most emotional and exciting occasion of my year, or any year in fact, and currently I’m even looking forward to it more than the New York Marathon. I’m so happy also that Melanie will be joining me for it this time too, it is so wonderful to be able to do these long runs together, and it will be great to be in my homeland with her too.

Meantime the next two weeks gets much harder. There are 43 miles to run this week, with a 17 mile run at the end of it. It might be August Bank Holiday weekend, but there is running to do, and it will be done. We’ll fit in some fun around it too though, as we have managed to always do so far. Keep it coming………..:)

Fantastic, or what!

I ended last week’s blog post with the line “it’s getting serious now” (probably, and if not I meant it) and it has definitely come home to roost this week. The simple figures alone show that to be true, in that until a week or so ago, I had never ran 25 miles in a week before. This week I ran 39. I’d also never run more than a half marathon before (ever), and the final run of the week called for 15 miles, 5 of it at race pace. I thought I was ready for it, and it ended up being a lot tougher than I thought….

The week was also made more difficult by two other factors. One, I’m back home, and running on my ‘same old same old’ well trodden paths was always going to be a comedown after last week’s wonderful holiday in Chamonix (see last week’s blog here…….https://aquavista.me/2019/08/09/week-3-bye-bye-chamonix-its-been-a-blast/ . Secondly I’m back to work, and the midweek runs are now a minimum of six miles long (they get longer from here too).

I used to be able to do the four mile midweek runs in my lunchbreak, especially helped by the fact there are quite a few other keen runners at my place of work, but not any more – I just don’t have the time to justify it. A seven mile run takes over an hour, and by the time I’ve dressed, showered, stretched and eaten, that would be just taking the mickey to do it on anyone’s time but my own.

So therefore, three times this week I’ve been out pounding the pavements of Abingdon on Thames at 6am in the morning to get those midweek interval runs in. This just takes its toll, as I find myself needing to go to bed earlier (but actually not!), and also needing to lay off the alcohol midweek (but actually not!), so this all has both an instant and also cumulative effect upon you. I absolutely know that I will have to make some proper and serious adjustments to my lifestyle soon, including eating more healthily, or something will give, and it’ll be me, and that is not something I obviously want to happen.

The midweek runs themselves however went well, with 8 minute mile runs dispatched with less effort than I thought they’d take, and a tempo run in between was ok too. With the weekend approaching though, and the 15 mile run on the Sunday, one other thing hit me that was going to be something I’d never actually dealt with before on training runs, and that is hydration. With my previously longest ever run being a half marathon, and that an organised event, the drinks are laid on at feed stations. This time it’s just me (or actually me and Melanie, as I was over in Cambridge with her for this weekend’s runs), so somehow I figured with the weather being warm I need to somehow provide for myself.

I have tried a few times before to carry a water bottle on runs, but I just don’t like it. Worse, I find it actually expends energy, something that is quite precious to me!! I thus (after asking a few running friends’ advice) took the plunge and bought one of those trail running vests with squidgy drinks bottles, like they wear on ultra marathons. I got it from Decathlon, for what I thought was the pretty reasonable price of £20 (some online I saw were well over £100, a price I thought very steep for something I wasn’t sure how often I would use).

Decathlon’s finest water carrier thingymajig, modelled to an amused office by yours truly.

The weekend in Cambridge (and pretty much everywhere in the UK) turned out to be very windy, and I was also concerned about how that would affect things. In fact 65mph per hour winds were forecast, and that could have been just downright horrible at best.

Saturday’s five mile run (no vest needed for that) actually went well, despite the winds. Although it was gusty, we stayed out of the worst of it, and it felt good. Sunday however was a different kettle of fish. The 15 mile run was not a success overall, although I suppose not a failure either…

So firstly (this is a bit TMI here, but am recording this for posterity and my own benefit as much as anything so bear with me, or skip this bit!) I had toilet issues! I always manage to ‘go’ before a run of almost any kind, but this time I just couldn’t. Blame it on the wrong coffee, or whatever, but nothing was happening! Knowing that we had about two and a half hours of running ahead of us didn’t augur well, but when you can’t go, you can’t go!! Thus unfortunately about an hour into the run, things had worked their way through (as it were!) and so a hastily arranged visit to a public convenience in a park in Cambridge took place. This might have worked, were it not for someone to come banging on the cubicle door (trying to get in!!) within 10 seconds of me sitting down, which put me off somewhat! I thus spent most of the run waddling like a duck, not a good look! I have resolved to take my favourite coffee with me wherever I am from now on, and so far it hasn’t let me down. There’s also a good book I have called ‘How to Make Yourself Poop’, which I clearly need to read more carefully…….:) https://www.amazon.co.uk/Runners-World-Make-Yourself-Poop/dp/1635651832

The title says it all……………..compulsive reading 🙂

Secondly the aforementioned water carrier device did not exactly get the outcome I desired! Firstly it wasn’t comfortable, by which I probably mean that I had it on too tight, as I was worried about it all sloshing around (I was carrying a litre of water). Secondly it basically restricted my breathing (due I suppose to me having it on too tight!) to the extent that I got a bad stitch at about mile nine which I just couldn’t shift. Whenever I ever get a stitch I can normally get rid of it pretty quickly by deep breathing and extending my arms to open my diaphragm, but this just didn’t work this time. The stitch was painful and didn’t shift for about five miles,even after taking the vest off altogether. And thirdly I didn’t even drink the vast majority of the water I carried! I threw most of it away in the toilet I visited, and probably squirted the rest over myself without ingesting it.

When I took it off at mile 10 I actually wanted to throw it in the river, but I am so grateful to Melanie for carrying it the rest of the way for me. My takeaway from the whole vest experience is (at the very least) that I was pretty stupid to attempt the longest run of my life wearing a litre of water sloshing around on my chest without trying it out first on a shorter run. Lessons learned and all that….but either way I need to find a solution for longer training runs, as when it gets to 20 miles I can’t not have access to some sort of fluids at some point. I may try it again of course, but don’t want that restrictive/tight chest feeling when I run – I said afterwards that it felt like I was being hugged by a demented gibbon! All alternative suggestions welcome………..:)

By the end of the 15 mile run (5 at easy pace, then 5 at tempo/race pace, then 5 at easy pace again) I was definitely finished. I don’t think I could have run another 20 paces. It was interesting (and not a little daunting) to reflect that earlier in the week I thought everything was going so well. The positives (some of them…..) are of course that so far I’m injury free (oh dear, should I have said that?!!!!) and that also I’ve completed every run on the programme so far. But, I’m/we’re only 25% of the way through, and the runs get longer and harder from here again, even if Week 5 itself doesn’t look as bad as Week 4.

The main positive for me though is my partner in crime Melanie. She’s the reason I’m doing this programme (culminating of course in the New York Marathon in November) in the first place, but most importantly we’ve committed to doing all of the long runs (and more where we can) together. There is however a massive difference from just doing runs together, to getting help, encouragement, motivation, inspiration and a voice of calm, which was shown yesterday. If I’d been out on my own yesterday I’m not at all sure I’d have got to complete 15 miles, or even half of it. So thank you Melanie, for getting me to this point, and of course for so much more than that. It’s an incredible feeling to have such encouragement and inspiration, something I’ve never had before. We are in this together, and it’s a really wonderful and amazing journey so far.

So, at the end of the week, 39 miles have been run. That’s now 131 miles in four weeks, of the total 599 training miles in the 16 week programme. There are a mere 38 miles this week, which sounds like almost respite at this point, but then next week it will be 43! Help!

I can’t leave this post without also mentioning/recording an incredible and otherwise unrelated thing, which happened literally a half mile into Sunday’s run. Melanie and I had just started out on our way into Cambridge, running along a pavement in a suburb called Trumpington, which I’d never even heard of let alone been to before, when a car pulls past us and stops about 50 yards away. A youngish man gets out of the passenger seat and looks towards us, and I exclaim immediately “oh my God” (or words to that effect). Can you believe it was my son? I couldn’t!! For context, my son lives in Nottingham (about 80 miles away) and I see him much less these days than I would love to, but it turns out that he and his girlfriend were on their way to touch rugby training, also in Cambridge! I had no idea of that fact, and neither did he know that I was there doing my run. And even if we had both known of each other’s whereabouts, the chances of us being on the same street in Trumpington at 8am on a Sunday morning, and then bumping into each other, are more than ridiculous!! It was as happy as it was unexpected too, and after a quick hello (sorry Dan and Sadi for the sweaty hug :)) we both had to get on to where we were headed. Fantastic or what!

Week 3 – bye bye Chamonix, it’s been a blast!

And so week 3 of marathon training came to an end with a mixture of unbridled joy and also some potential despair and trepidation. The joy came not from the running per se (there’s definitely another word other than joy to describe it at times!!) but from the time that Melanie and I had in our nine days in Chamonix, culminating in a paragliding adventure. The despair and trepidation came from a twisted ankle for Melanie, which happened on the penultimate day…..

Week 3 was all spent (on holiday 🙂 ) in Chamonix in the French Alps. To those who don’t know it, Chamonix is a small town/commune in the Haute-Savoie region of the Rhone-Alps. It has an incredible history in terms of mountaineering and skiing, and was the host of the very first Winter Olympics in 1924. Home to around 9,000 residents, it is a ‘proper’ French town (as opposed to a purpose built resort) and has a history of agriculture as well as tourism. It is situated in a glacial valley at 1,035m (3,400 feet), and is dominated by the incredibly majestic mountains which surround it, the highest in Western Europe, and they themselves topped by the highest of them all, the mighty Mont Blanc.

Very much visible from the town itself, Mont Blanc sits like a slumbering giant directly above it, and rises 4,808m (15,774 feet) above sea level. Straddling the border of France and Italy, it was first climbed in 1786 by local doctors and alpinists Michel Paccard and Jacques Balmat, following the offering of a prize by the local mayor, and this is acknowledged as the date of the beginning of modern mountaineering. A statue of the two gentlemen sits in the town square and is a very popular ‘Kodak moment’ spot, the finger of one of them pointing towards the mountain, it’s elusive summit often shrouded in clouds rolling in to top up the permanent snow and ice which sit on top.

One of the statues in Chamonix looking up to the dominant features of the Mont Blanc massif

I’ve visited Chamonix on five previous occasions, twice to attempt (unsuccessfully, due to weather each time) to climb Mont Blanc, and the others just to enjoy the surrounding mountains and countryside (the latter word does it such an injustice). It is the ideal, and in my view best, base for mountain adventure, with around 200 miles or so of mountain paths and walks, many used in the Tour du Mont Blanc and the notorious Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc, widely regarded (perhaps ranking just behind the Marathon Des Sables) as the most prestigious ultra marathon on the planet. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-Trail_du_Mont-Blanc. The race itself is over 171km of arduous mountain trails spanning three countries (Italy and Switzerland as well as France), and has over 10,000m (33,000 feet) of climbing involved!

On one of our walks up to the Albert 1er Refuge by the Glacier du Tour, Mont Blanc and Chamonix itself in the valley far below in the distance.
Enjoying ourselves up on the Aiguille du Midi at 3,842m, views into Switzerland behind us.
Enjoying some of the local beer from a mountain restaurant at Brevent on the Balcony du Sud – it would be rude not to!
At the stunning Mer de Glace glacier, also known as Le Vallee Blanche, one of four main glaciers which flow into the Chamonix valley, this one 14 kilometres long……
…..which we got to go inside! Yes you can go into an ice grotto, tunnelled into a 14km long glacier – fabulous!
Melanie on the stunning Balcony du Sud, heading towards Lac Blanc above Argentiere, probably the prettiest walk I’ve ever done.
And part of Lac Blanc itself, a truly beautiful and amazing place of great tranquility and majestic views.
Life can’t get much better than moments like this – I cannot even describe to you how good this all tasted 🙂

Anyway – onto the week itself, it was all going so well! The mornings in Chamonix, even when the weather is a lovely 21/22C during the day, falls to around 7 or 8 degrees overnight. We thus did almost all of our runs early in the day, so that firstly they were bearable (especially after last week’s 37 degrees in the Uk we were looking for something much cooler, and it was wonderful), and also so that we had the rest of our days free to explore, or chill (although little chilling was actually done, as we didn’t want to waste a moment here).

We had four runs of 5 miles each before the final day, two at tempo pace (roughly 9m/mile for us) and two of intervals, one hills, one 90 second sprints. All were great, until the last tempo run on the Saturday, post paragliding. Early in the run, Melanie rolled over on her ankle trying to circumnavigate a lot of market stalls to get to our usual and beautiful route along the River Arve, which flows its glacial and glassy meltwater at sometimes alarming rates down the valley. She said it was ok at the time, and carried on the run just fine, but later that day she was limping and had to put ice on it to stop swelling and bruising. Not good with a half marathon scheduled for the next morning….

Flying high above Chamonix, having jumped from Plan Praz at 2,000m…..
And yes, those knuckles are quite white!!

And so to the Sunday morning, which as it was also the day we were due to fly home, and we wanted to have a nice indulgent lunch before we went, we’d aimed to get the run done at 7am. Upon getting up however (or actually as it turned out not getting up at all), Melanie was clearly not fit to run. She urged me to go, although I was in several minds as to whether I should or shouldn’t. In the end I did, and the run was cool, with stunning cloudless skies, and despite the fact that (due to Chamonix’s position in the valley that runs up and down) there was rather more uphill than I would ever have liked over such a distance (almost six miles continually uphill for example) it went great, and I felt good, even if I did spend almost the whole run worrying about whether her injury would have significant consequences for New York.

So with that 13 miles (I had to do the .1 too of course to make it a proper half marathon!) that made 34 miles for the week, another personal record for me. So far though (and Melanie within a day or so had recovered too which was the main worry for us both) all is good and on track, but it is only week 3 of 16, and it shows you how easily you can all of a sudden find yourself with an injury problem and out of action.

So this week I can only say has been an incredible adventure. A beautiful holiday, with fabulous weather, and full of fabulous memories in the most idyllic location. If I lived in Chamonix I’d be out running every morning just to experience the air, and the stupendous beauty of the finest playground that nature has to offer. Melanie loved it, her first time here, and it has also given her (and me) an appetite for trail running too. Maybe that’s for another time though………:)

Next week it is 39 miles, with a 15 mile run on the Sunday – and with no Chamonix to run in, that’s going to be hard. It is getting serious now…

Week 2 done – in the Alps!

Today is 28th July and it consisted of an 11 mile run this morning in what started out as pretty wet conditions and a temperature of 8 degrees, although it never felt that cold. To be fair, I could be running in -3 degrees or + 35 degrees and I may not notice the difference. Chamonix is that beautiful, that dramatic, that amazing.

So here we are in the Alps, or more particularly Chamonix, one of my favourite places on planet earth. And I’ve, or we’ve (Melanie and I), just completed week two of our New York Marathon training. What a place to do it!

Looking towards Chamonix and Mont Blanc from Le Tour

The week has consisted of 5 runs, as is the case of every week in the training programme. Tuesday was 5 miles, with 3 miles @ 8:15 pace. Wednesday was 5 miles at marathon pace, which for me is around 9 minutes a mile ( we are aiming all being well to finish in a time of approximately 3 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds!).

Mentioning temperature above, this last week (prior to arriving in Chamonix) has been a real challenge as far as weather is concerned. The records will show that the UK recorded its all time highest temperature of Thursday, of 38.7 degrees, which in my book is very much not very conducive to any sort of running. Much less when on this day you’ve been at a Strategy Day from work in a hotel without air conditioning! Thus all of the runs have taken place at around 6 am in the morning, a time not usually known to me, least of all me being out pounding the pavements.

So having arrived on Saturday morning in Chamonix, after a very early start, it was almost straight out to complete the week’s running. Chamonix sits at 1,030m ( or 3,400 feet) above sea level, so whilst this isn’t exactly high altitude, it does take a day or so to adjust to very slightly thinner air.

The town square in Chamonix with its stunning backdrop of Mont Blanc.

This also being (obviously!) very much a mountain resort, each side of the valley slopes extremely steeply, and so there is fairly limited scope for running, unless you are a trail runner, in which case this is your nirvana! The road up and down the valley connecting the various ski areas slopes not too steeply though, and we discovered that running by the river is both stunningly beautiful, and also not too taxing. Frankly, despite the slight inclines, if you can’t run here and enjoy it you really should give up – consider that a week ago I was running on the outskirts of Slough!!

So the week finished with the earlier mentioned 11 mile run on a slightly wet start to the day, but the weather was otherwise quite cool and perfectly suited to what we were doing. I absolutely loved it, and just wish I could run here every day, or just live here in fact. I could never ever tire of this scenery, it is mesmerising.

Week two then finished with a total exactly on schedule with 31 miles completed for the week. That’s a new weekly high for me – and so far so good. Next week ramps up to 34 miles with a half marathon to finish on the Sunday, but every one of those runs will also be in Chamonix, so I have no doubt that every one will be cherished and the distance won’t be a problem. The only problem will be having to leave at the end of it all!

Bring on week 3…….

Marathon Training – Week One Done!

So finally week one is done! The tale of the tape for the week is 27 miles, which by my reckoning is the furthest I think I’ve ever run in a single week in my life. And maybe that’s a good thing in itself, but on the other end of the scale, and in the context of what is ahead, it is practically nothing.

Week One, in fact, is the shortest week of the entire programme. Yesterday’s so called ‘long run’, done every Sunday, was 9 miles, and that is the shortest run that we will do between now and the middle of November, or more precisely speaking until after the marathon is finished! So in other words, I’d better get used to this, and a lot more!

I also started last week’s blog post by saying that I was going to follow this programme to the absolute letter, but I inevitably didn’t! For starters, work got in the way (but only slightly), and so I swapped over Thursday’s 5 miler with Wednesday’s four miler (but otherwise did the same runs as the programme said, one a tempo run and the other hill repeats.

But secondly I also had a trip this weekend for a reunion. The reunion was with very special friends, whom I met around 5 years ago when climbing Europe’s highest mountain, Mount Elbrus in Russia. It was a monumental trip in so many ways, defined by awful weather when trying to summit, and a bout of pretty bad altitude sickness for yours truly, commemorated in this blog post below:

https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/aquavista.me/2853

The group of us try to have at least one reunion every year, and this year it was in The Lakes and had been organised for quite some time, so there was no way I was missing it. We had a totally amazing time as we always do, and went on some great walks and generally just enjoyed each other’s company in and around Ambleside over three days. It did however involve a 600 mile drive, three walks (one of around 14 miles), and a day off work just to get there, plus (I’m very happy to say!) copious amounts of socialising. I also had then to try to fit in a 5 mile run on the Saturday and a 9 mile one on the Sunday, so something had to give!

In the end I left the rest of the gang to it on the Sunday morning to climb Helvellyn, and came back to do my Sunday run in my home town. Melanie came over from Cambridge to meet me and do it with me too, and we will all being well be able to do all of our long runs together. That’s tremendously motivational for me, especially as she is the reason I’m doing New York in the first place :).

Here are a few pictures from the weekend in the Lakes, the first one of us on the last morning before I left. A finer and more lovely group of people I will never ever meet :).

Me getting a friendly look (or I hope it was friendly!) from one of the local residents
The view over Lake Windermere from Ambleside YHA.

So onwards into week 2, and 31 miles of what looks like some very hot conditions with the forecast to hit 36 degrees C on Thursday. That’s too hot for practically anything in my book, other than a nice gin and tonic or three! Wish me luck………..

And so it begins….

It’s here, finally, after some time waiting for it to be here. It being of course Marathon Training!

It is about a month and a half now since I knew I was going to be doing the TCS New York Marathon in November, and there have been a series of weeks whereby I’ve effectively been biding time for it to start. ‘Biding time’ of course, still has to involve doing around 20 miles a week, on the simple basis that you can’t (or really really shouldn’t!) go from nothing to 27 miles in your first week of a training programme. I know that from very bitter experience having overtrained for the Great North Run a few years ago with very unfortunate consequences…..

My Great North Run injury….

But now, as of this very day (15th July 2019) begins Day One of a 16 Week Training Programme which culminates on the 3rd November in the New York Marathon. Week One, of ‘just’ 27 miles, is the shortest week of the whole programme, and it goes up to around 50 miles by Week 11. It will also be up to 40 miles by Week 4, so there is a steep ramp in fact. The programme was recommended to me by a five time marathon runner, and is from Runner’s World, so it is a tried and tested routine.

I am intending on sticking to it to the absolute letter if I can, injuries and unforeseen circumstances notwithstanding. There is for me otherwise no excuse, as I simply wouldn’t forgive myself if I got to the starting line or half way round in New York and couldn’t run the race because I hadn’t completed the programme. This remember is unchartered territory for me, and I didn’t (and in fact still don’t) know if my body will carry me around 26.2 miles. It is getting therefore my full attention.

My Training Programme (downloaded from Runner’s World):

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
Week 1 Rest or 4M easy 4M steady with a few strides 4M easy 5M – run to a hill, then 8 x 30 secs uphill, jog down Rest 5M steady, cross-country or parkrun 9M slow
(27-31M)
Week 2 (31-35M) Rest or 4M easy 5M – warm up, then 3M at a brisk pace, timed. Warm down. 5M steady 5M – warm up, then 8 x 90 secs fast, 90 secs slow Rest 5M steady, cross-country or parkrun 11M slow
Week 3 (34-38M) Rest or 4M easy 5M – run to a hill, then 8 x 30 secs uphill, jogging back down 6M easy 5M – warm up, then 5 x 3 mins fast, 2 mins slow (or 5 x 800m on track, with 400m jog recoveries) Rest 5M steady, cross-country or parkrun 13M slow
Week 4 (39-43M) Rest or 4M easy 6M – warm up, then 3M at a brisk pace, timed. Warm down. 7M steady. 6M – warm up, then 3 x 6 mins (or mile on track) with 2 min recoveries. Rest 5M easy 15M slow with 5M in middle at marathon pace
Week 5 (38-42M) Rest or 4M easy 6M – run to a hill, then 10 x 30 secs uphill, jogging back down 8M easy 6M – warm up, then 9 x 90 secs fast (or 400m) with 90 secs (or 200m) slow Rest 4M jog with strides Half-marathon or 10k race or timetrial
Week 6 (43-47M) Rest or 4M easy 6M easy 9M steady 6M – warm up, then 6 x 3 mins fast, 2 mins slow (or 6 x 800m on track, with 400m jog recoveries) Rest 5M easy 17M slow with 5M in middle at marathon pace
Week 7 (43-47M) Rest or 4M easy 6M – hill running: 11 x 30 secs, or fartlek with 12-15 30-sec bursts 6M easy 7M – warm up, then 4 x 6 mins (or mile) with 2 mins rest between each. Time them. Rest 4M slow 20M slow
Week 8 (37-41M) Rest or 4M easy 6M easy 7M steady 6M fartlek, inc bursts of 200-400m Rest 4M jog with strides Half-marathon race or timetrial
Week 9 (44-48M) Rest or 4M easy 6M fartlek, inc sustained bursts of up to 400m 8M steady – start slowly, finish fast 6M – warm up, then 10 x 90 secs fast (or 400m) with 90 secs (or 200m) slow Rest 4M easy with strides or parkrun 20M slow
Week 10 (42-46M) Rest or 4M easy 7M steady, starting slowly 9M steady 7M – warm up, then 7 x 3 mins fast, 2 mins slow (or 7 x 800m on track, with 400m jog recoveries) Rest 4M easy 15M steady, including 5M at marathon pace
Week 11 (47-51M) Rest or 4M easy 6M – hill running, 12 x 30 secs 10M steady – start slowly, finish fast 7M – warm up, then 5 x 6 mins (or mile) with 2 mins rest between each. Rest 4M easy, with a few strides or parkrun 20M slow
Week 12 (43-47M) Rest or 4M easy 6M fartlek, inc sustained bursts of up to 400m 9M steady 7M – warm up, then 18 x 45 secs fast (or 200m), with 60 secs (or 200m) slow Rest 4M easy, with a few strides or parkrun 17M easy with 5M at marathon pace
Week 13 (46-50M) Rest or 4M easy 6M – hill running, 12 x 30 secs 8M steady 6M – warm up, then 12 x 90 secs fast (or 400m), with 90 secs (or 200m) slow) Rest 4M easy 21M slow
Week 14 (38-42M) Rest or 4M easy 6M fartlek, inc sustained bursts of up to 400m 7M easy 6M – warm up, then 5 x 3 mins fast, 2 mins slow (or 5 x 800m on track, with 400m jog recoveries) Rest 4M easy, with a few strides or parkrun 15M steady, or half-marathon race
Week 15 (30-34M) Rest or 4M easy 5M – hill running, 10 x 30 secs 6M steady 5M with middle 3M at marathon pace Rest 4M easy, with a few strides or parkrun 10M steady
Week 16 (39M) Rest 4M – warm up, then 1M at race pace plus 5 x 200m. Warm down 4M easy, with a few strides 3M easy Rest 2M easy, with easy strides RACE DAY

The full programme is around 625 miles over the period, so around 40 miles a week on average. The schedule is up on the wall of my kitchen as a daily reminder of what is in front of me. And today being Day One it is actually a Rest Day (as although there is an option above of Rest or 4 miles, I’m taking the former every time!).

My partner in crime (or partner in running!), Melanie, who I’m doing the run with, is doing the exact same programme as me too. More on her, and my, progress as we go along, and a weekly update will appear right here – watch this space……..

It’s real, it really is!!

So I don’t even know how to begin putting this news down in print, but, in simple terms, the best way to sum it up is in this phrase: ‘She said yes!!’. Now before anyone gets carried away with the permutations or connotations of that statement, we are talking marathons here, and specifically the TCS New York Marathon 2019!

As per two posts ago, I have had this burning (in fact it was in flames 100 feet high!!) desire to do the New York Marathon later this year. This in turn was prompted by me being inspired by a certain someone who has done a few marathons herself, and also my belief that I could perhaps do one too. So, having asked her if she would join me in New York in November, and you now knowing the answer to the question like I do, then it is on!!

Image result for snoopy happy pictures

So this is how it made me feel 🙂

So having got the nod :), I’ve been in touch with (the so far amazingly great) 209 Events, who hold an ITO (International Tour Operator) licence to get people into the run. The condition of this is that you buy (as a minimum) flights through them too. The actual entry for the run itself is a pretty hefty £420 per person, but at this point I’m really not focussed on the cost at all. This is after all a trip of a lifetime, an adventure perhaps to top them all, and that means I just want it to happen really badly.

209 Events are run by a guy called Mike Gratton, who it turns out won the London Marathon in 1983, in a then British record of 2 hours and 9 minutes. They’ve been really helpful, responsive and informative so far, and so they got my vote when it came to booking. So yesterday was a day of booking flights and hotels and getting entries done etc. The result of all that is that we are in! Whilst the 3rd November feels still a long way away (168 days away in fact :O) I know it will fly by. I intend to make the most of the whole thing from start to finish.

More to follow in due course, but I needed to record this for posterity and for all time, so I can remember this time and this day!!