Tag Archives: Basingstoke

Greater Manchester Marathon 2016: Week 17 of 18

So the 2nd taper week and to be perfectly honest its not been the recovery week I would have liked. Struck down by a cold and my legs not recovered from Cardiff on Saturday, By Friday I was feeling particularly low on confidence…


Tuesday was a 7 mile general aerobic run with some strides. This wasn’t actually too bad. The weather was absolutely horrendous as I left my hotel room, I ended up having to run through a knee deep flood, but by the time I got back to the hotel, glorious sunshine! The pace was OK considering the weekends exploits.

Wednesday was a day off! First Wednesday with no running for months and months. But this is when the cold struck. A small sniffle but I knew one was coming.

Thursday was 3 x 1 mile Intervals. It was a bit of a failure. The first mile was OK, but the 2nd rep was pretty broken up, I think I had to pause 3 times. The third rep I just tried to stay faster than MP. Looking back on last year, I did struggle a bit with this last session on the last rep, but not this bad. My legs just felt totally empty. Part cold, part no recovery, and partly probably a carb free Wednesday won’t have helped. All things that with hindsight make me think this session wasn’t too bad.


On Friday though, the cold peaked. I had a roll of toilet roll on my desk and I was sniffing, sneezing and my eyes were watering all day. Not the best prep for next week…


On Saturday I felt marginally better. We had to stay local (well, Basingstoke local) as we had some properties to view and a surprise party to organise/attend so we were time limited. I targetted an easy paced sub 8 minute miles for it as I wanted to check my heart rate to see how the cold was affecting me… It helps when you turn the HRM on though… So no data from that but still it felt OK.

Yep, this is the best photo of me from Saturday!
Yep, this is the best photo of me from Saturday!


Sunday saw my final “long run”. I had been at an all day party on Saturday so I wasn’t exactly feeling fresh. I ate a lot of junk and drank several beers so I wasn’t fully up for this 12 miles. Legs felt very weary and I couldn’t work out of that was party fatigue, cold or general running fatigue. My heart rate was OK all the way around so thats a good thing and I kept a consistent pace. This was no time for heroics.


I think this Runners World photo sums up this week.


Everything has felt laboured this week. As I write this on Monday, I’ve seen the worst of the cold but I’m getting phantom niggles in my ankle, my legs feel tired still and I feel like I’m the weight of a sperm whale. But I have to trust that the training will get me through and that things will come right come race day.

I have settled on a race strategy now. My current plan is to run 7.20s for the first half then if I feel better increase that to 7.15s and in the unlikely event that after 23 miles I still have some to give, go to 7.10s. My goal is 3.12.30 and I think this strategy will deliver that. I think going for 3.09 is too ambitious, and I think this strategy gives me ample margin of error for not taking the racing line, GPS inaccuracy etc.

B goal is 3.15 and C goal is 3.19.

Of course, I reserve the right to change these in the next 6 days!

Times to rest, recover, carb up and get hydrated. Its squeaky bum time!

Manchester Marathon Training: Week 2 of 18

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my readers and followers! Needless to say as someone who struggles with weight, its been an indulgent festive season. I’ve eaten far too much, but thankfully my training has continued uninterrupted. So whilst I no doubt have gained weight (And I shan’t be finding out how much for a couple of weeks) the running has been consistent.



This is the most disjointed week of planned training, and doesn’t follow P&D too much at all. It was always going to be though – with it being Christmas week, there is always so much going on family visits etc I was pleased to get these all in.

Tuesdays General Aerobic run was splendid, and Introduced me to Strides. Bursts of acceleration to 5k pace (I actually just accelerated to top speed). I felt strong and comfortable and it also involved a lot more climbing than I thought – and didn’t really feel it to much.

Wednesday was meant to be a recovery run, but as Thursday was Christmas Day and I was intending to do the parkrun Chrustmas special, I switched it with Thursday, so it was a 10 mile General Aerobic run in my second home of Basingstoke. I’ve found some really nice routes around there now, and the run felt comfortable.

Thursday was Christmas! Yay! At Basingstoke parkrun they host a Christmas run and it was always my intention to run this if timing allowed it. So although I SHOULD have been recovering, I wanted to run it hard. Furthermore, I wanted to run a sub-20 minute 5k by the end of the year. Unfortunately off the back of 18 miles on the previous 2 days, I didn’t make the sub-20, but I DID set an ALL TIME 5k PB by 5 seconds. On that course, off of 2 long training days, I was very pleased. Jodie also managed to smash her PB at Basingstoke and rather nicely they presented finishers with a christmas medal!

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Saturday was, again, supposed to be a recovery run. But still being in Hampshire, the opportunity for parkrun tourism was rife, and it would have been my last chance to go sub-20. We went to Woodley parkrun, as Kerri, who interviewed me for the parkrun show, is the Event Director there. She wasn’t present, instead touring in Southampton. She told me Woodley was very flat, so thought sub-20 was more likely. But alas, it was not to be. I knew the opportunity had gone after the first kilometre, and instead treated it as a threshold run. The course WAS flat, but there was a lot of muddy field I didn’t have much grip on, my legs were tired and it was absolutely FREEZING. C’est la vie!

Finally, Sunday was the Gutbuster. P&D would have had me doing a traditional long run, but Jodie bought me this race entry for my birthday. And what fun it was! It was cold, hilly and muddy 10 miler. There was a ford which few people ran through (Though me and Jodie did) and a brilliant medal at the end. No way a PB course but certainly a lot of fun and great motivator to keep you focussed over christmas and stop you indulging TOO much. I ran a creditable 1:18:57, and could have gotten a little quicker but had a seriously bad tummy and was praying for a portaloo for the second half of the race which, alas, didn’t arrive! As you can see from the photos below, Jodie also ran and did incredibly well. The race was brilliantly organised, has a fun, friendly atmosphere, superb medal and mulled wine and mince pies at the finish – first class event!

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So Week 3 starts tomorrow and is back to the proper structure of the plan with minimal of my own mods. Though we are doing a New Years Day parkrun double – so will need to fit those in as part of another session.

parkrun turns ten!

What a few weeks in parkrun world.

Firstly, they launch a brand, spanking new range of merchandise through global partner Wiggle. Many questioned why this wasn’t launched through their UK partner Sweatshop. The answer being, that Sweatshop can only distribute to the UK, whereas Wiggle, much ike parkrun, has a global reach. parkrun still maintain a great relationship with founding partner Sweatshop and I’m sure they understand the need to work with Wiggle too.

Then, they go and launch a parkrun wristband through the barcode scanner provider, ERS. These wristbands get printed with your runner barcode, so you can wear it on the run and you won;t lose it, nor will you get it so sweaty that its unscannable!

parkrun is and always will be free, but the fact of the matter is there are so many fans and people that WANT to contribute and “give something back” that something like this was, in my opinion inevitable. Founder Paul Sinton-Hewitt and the team at HQ will have gone to great lengths to preserve the ethos of parkrun for both of these arrangements. parkrun is growing at an astounding rate and being able to generate some revenue (though ALL proceeds go back directly to the events – parkrun will forever remain not-for-profit) these products are a fantastic way to support parkrun and contribute to the further growth and sustainability to your free, weekly, timed 5ks.

AND they went and turned 10 years old, and featured on the BBC! There were over 1700 runners at the “home” of parkrun, Bushy Park.

So where were you?

Due to a family party, I had to spend the weekend away from my home parkrun and instead attend my second home, Basingstoke. I’d not run at Basingstone for many months and knew I was in for a big PB. But that was turned to a nervous anxiety abut it when, due to the Basingstoke Half Marathon the following day, the run was switched to its alternate course at Crabtree Plantation. Crabtree is more than a little “Undulating” with an absolute beast of a hill, which needed to be run twice! Jodie was also looking for a big PB and upon learning of the switch to Crabtree had written off the possibility…. but more on that later!

It was however, walkable to the start for us. We made it in time for the run brief, but as we started moving from the brief to the start line the heavens opened. it was like a scene from Noah. Jodie and I were eve tempted to walk home! But we stuck at it and we made a start with the rest of the field.

Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)
Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)

These photos were taken near the start. Thankfully, the rain stopped about 2 minutes after the start and eased into a fine drizzle. Still not brilliant conditions, but they weren’t as horrendous as we feared.

Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)
Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)

I’m not sure why, but the run seemed to fly by for me. Before I knew it I’d done one lap and I was heading up the hill for a second time! I even managed to (Shamefully) lap someone, which is a first in my entire running career. However the poor lady I lapped DID have not only a pushchair, but also a small child who she was running with. I have to applaud her for her commitment and dedication, If I was ED at Basingstoke she’d be the winner of the monthly prize for that achievement alone! An goes to show just what parkrun is all about and what it stands for.

Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)
Credit: Martin Cranshaw (kittensoft_run)

I managed to get the PB that was long overdue and finish in a creditable 21st (top 10%!) which is an overall parkrun PB and my first parkun with a 60% WAVA in 21.36. But the biggest surprise was Jodie! She ALSO set an overall PB! She was just dead chuffed!

Credit: Caz Partner (loveparkrun)
Credit: Caz Partner (loveparkrun)

Though needless to say we are both itching to get back to the main course – we have scores to settle!