Tag Archives: Monthly Review

Monthly Review: April 2015

April was marathon month. Little to report from an effectivity of training point of view, given that I tapered, raced and then recovered from Manchester! But lets look at how training went compared to plan anyway.


Everything went to plan all until I went to Dubai for work. it was an amazing experience, but the timing of it was a bit wrong. I missed some sessions, and ended up on a treadmill a couple of times which I both hate, and have no idea how effectively calibrated it was… But that said, I did get in a lovely run around the marina.



Thankfully the week in Dubai was in taper, so I was only really doing some easy running, but the travel element did take its toll on the body a bit. But never mind ūüôā

Of course the big news this month was my result in Manchester, completing my second marathon. I set a nice PB though just about missed my target.

Writing this I have had a week of no running and have had 2 runs and an interval session. All three of which have been much harder work than they should have been, but I’m still recovering.

Lets have a look at the targets I’ve set myself, all of which I have failed!

  • Run a sub-20 minute 5k – We went to Reading parkrun where this was meant to happen. That’ll teach me to recce the route better first! This was all off road and I thought it was tarmac. So it was much tougher than i thought.
  • Reach a weight of 13st13lbs for Manchester – I got to within 2lbs, but a week away in Dubai on company expenses meant I drank and ate more than I would have done at home. With my recovery week this has now gone up further, so need to knuckle down this month and get it back under control.
  • Run a sub-3:20 Marathon – I was 33 seconds away. But still a good return and I am happy to have come that close.

Looking ahead to the next month, I have a variety of things going on, and no real structured training plan to follow. All I know is, I want to break that sodding 20 minute 5k barrier! Unfortunately, with a 24 hour relay race coming up, I’m not convinced I’ll be able to recover quickly enough to do it at the upcoming Yeovilton race this month so have come up with some alternatives.

  • Set a course best timeat Yeovil Montacute parkrun (Ideally, sub 21)
  • Get my weight back under control, so I’ll set myself a sensible 1lb per week target for that. Reach 14st2lbs
  • I have the Glastonbury 10k on Sunday so I think I’ll try and have a crack at a PB there, though I’m not convinced I’ve recovered enough for it.





Monthly Review: March 2015

Looking back on my February review,¬†it was the start of the “Race Preparation” mesocycle of my P&D 18/55 training plan, and I said…

The intention for the mesocycle is to increase base speed in conjunction with the base and threshold endurance. So these should see if the training is really working.

Now I am getting around to reviewing my March progress, I can’t quite believe how effective it actually was.

As always, lets look at my activities for the month. I don’t spend too much time reviewing these at the moment as my weekly update discuss these in depth.


marchpart2I ran all the days I said I would, and even had a double day as I hunted a Jantastic Badge down! Some of the days I’ve had to shift as we spent a lot of weekends in Basingstoke which meant Fridays were travel days, so I moved the runs to Thursday. It was an unusual month in that it actually stretched across 6 different calendar weeks!

I nailed my key Marathon Paced session, I nailed my Half Marathon practise race (with a PB) and also set a very good time on a tough parkrun course. Los to be proud of from those sessions.


This month, the progress summary is a little bit Skewed. The average run distance should be a little higher, but the last long run was split over 2 sessions to include the Yeovil half Marathon. Normally I’d have paused the watch, but as I was trying to pace a friend, I needed to make sure I knew exactly where we were. Additionally, I had one extra bonus short run of 0.5 miles for the Jantastic badge, so in real terms, my overall mileage was 225.7 miles across 22 runs which makes an average run length of 10.25 miles, so an increase!

This also means that in real terms my average elevation gain is skewed, so it should be even HIGHER than is shown there! Its a new record climbing in a month, which I’m pleased with and hope the strength shows in my legs come Manchester.


I have also set a new monthly volume best, but as mentioned, slightly skewed by the fact that the month started on a 20 mile Sunday, but still 225 miles in a month is not to be sniffed at, and comes at the peak of the training plan. Now my taper can consolidate some of the training effects this increased volume has hopefully brought me.

It’s also nice to see a slight increase in average run speed, but this is affected a bit by my half marathon PB, so in real terms its probably about on a par.

Here are the targets I set myself and how I got on with them.

  • Set a new 5k PB – Fail! – The 5k parkrun we did was on the tough Alice Holt course. Not a PB, but if it were a flat course it definitely would have been.
  • Set a new Half Marathon PBSuccess! Smashed it! 90:08, so close to sub-90, but maybe next time.
  • Set a new monthly mileage recordSuccess! 225 miles this month.

So now it comes to April, and I only have 2 goals.

  • Run a sub-20 minute 5k (I swear this is the fourth time Ive set this target)
  • Reach a weight of 13st13lbs for Manchester
  • Run a sub-3:20 Marathon

I’m tapering and recovering this month, so any other goals would be completely moot.

Its time to see this campaign out and get down to business. Bring it on!



Monthly Review: February 2015

February has been a month of ups and downs. Some weeks have been good, some bad, and whats clear is that I am pushing my body right to the edge. I think I am reaching my mileage limits, but I’m not pushing them far enough to make it a real problem. I am still being very consistent and I am still seeing signs of improvement – and best of all, still not injured!


I ran all the sessions I was meant to aside from the last week, where I was just too tired and missed some of my targets. I secured a new PB over 5k at Newbury parkrun (Though still not quite my sub-20 target!) and my marathon paced run was a success. So some of the real key sessions were just what was needed.

I set myself these goals for the month.

  • Score 100% in Jantastic for February – Success! Ran the quantity of runs I needed and nailed the distances I said I would.
  • Increase my average elevation gain vs. January – Success! A small increase, probably would have been a bit more if it weren’t for my abandoned run.
  • Get my weight down to 13st 10lbs (2lbs per week) – Failed – I haven’t even weighed myself for a few weeks, but I know I’m not near this target, and need to reassess my weight target pre-Manchester.


Distance wise it was over 200 miles again, but not an increase on January. However, the average run length was longer, the month was shorter (And therefore 4 runs less) and the time spent running was the same. So though the numbers match, they indicate improvement still.

The elevation gain was an increase again, more so than last years marathon campaign but not quite as much as September – though I’m sure it would have been if the month was longer.

So the final mesocycle of my training plan starts this week and lasts a month. So when looking at the targets I’m setting I should take this into account. The mesocycle is “Race Preparation” which means I have 2 5k time trials and a Half Marathon, both as practise races. The intention for the mesocycle is to increase base speed in conjunction with the base and threshold endurance. So these should see if the training is really working.

  • Set a new 5k PB
  • Set a new Half Marathon PB
  • Set a new monthly mileage record

I’m not setting specific time goals for these – I would be happy with PBs without setting the pressure of a TOO ambitious target. I do however, still need to choose a target for Jantastic!

By the end of March I’ll have started tapering for the big goal. Its a big month ahead!



Monthly Review: January 2015

January has been all about marathon training. Running long and building a base. Following christmas, my weight had gone up and I needed to focus on getting that back down and getting more miles through my legs. I have tried to remain consistent and so far, despite the big upturn in mileage compared to December, my body has fared pretty well!


A fantastic level of consistency, running 5 times per week (Except one, curse you Jantastic badge hunting!) with 2 days rest per week. I’ve found this to be a much better balance than the 6 days a week I was running before Christmas. I can now recognise that was silly, and long terms plans will involve only 5 training days per week.

I watched the weekly mileage build at a steady rate before havign a recovery week and a drop in volume, but managed a new record 60 mile week in the last week of Jan. writing this a couple of days after, I wouldn’t have known – I still feel pretty good.

I set myself these goals for the month.

  • Score 100% in JantasticAcheived! Jantastic has been a fantastic way to keep motivated and be consistent.
  • Increase the Average elevation gainAcheived! Through my long runs and easier runs I’ve tried to run more hills and build leg strength.
  • Get my weight down to my pre-christmas weight (14st 3lbs)Failed! By a lousy 1lb. But still pleased to have come so close.


Looking at the monthly progress chart brings up a few interesting points.

Firstly, compared with January last year, my elevation gain is significantly up, and is an increase from December too. My average elevation “PB”¬†was in August, which wasn’t long before my big PB at the Bristol Half Marathon. I’d like to increase my elevation gain to above this level over the next two months to peak in March, and then greatly reduce the elevation in the weeks leading up to the marathon. An “Elevation taper”!

Secondly, my average run mileage is unsurprisingly¬†a new high, given the volume heavy trainign plan i’m following, which I hope will pay dividends.

Thirdly, my average speed has been maintained (A very slight dip) in the face of a much more significant mileage increase. This is very pleasing! The next phase of my training plan seeks to increase my base speed, so if I can remain on track I hope it means good things will happen like they did last year – when I came off the back of a marathon and smashed my 5 and 10k PBs.

I just wanted to add a photo here to break up the text!
I just wanted to add a photo here to break up the text!

Finally, and looking at things over a much longer timeframe, is my average heartrate. its maintained a very consistent level recently, which shows a positive adaptation to training.

My February goals are again quite straightforward. I have no races planned and I’m 100% focussed on the marathon, so these have been designed with that in mind.

  • Score 100% in Jantastic for February
  • Increase my average elevation gain vs. January
  • Get my weight down to 13st 10lbs (2lbs per week)

To be honest, I think the first two are definitely going to be achieved just through my natural training curve. The big challenge will be to maintain the weight loss. If I can get achieve that or a bit more, I may be able to reach my target weight in time for the Reading Half Marathon. I’ve set the aggressive target of 2lbs per week, and luckily I’ve been able to hit it so far, but I think it’s going to be even tougher this month which means I need to remain more disciplined than ever. However, looking pragmatically at the goal, i should be pleased with (And still on track for Manchester) with an end of month weight of 13st 13lbs or less – Which is my next significant weight milestone – the eighth stone.

Monthly Review: December 2014

When I wrote my November review I discussed that I didn’t think I was over training. With the benefit of an additional months hindsight, the abject failure to¬†achieve any of my December goals, and 3 weeks properly structured training with rest and recovery days, I now recognise that that’s EXACTLY what i did. I’ve never been more convinced by the principles in the P&D Advanced Marathoning book, and Daniels Running formula about the importance of a balanced training regime (Which I didn’t really have in November), and have learned some important lessons.

I think I’ve cleared the worst of the overtraining side effects now. My running in December, despite race times not reaching the heights I hoped, finished with a flourish. a 5k PB (By a measly 6 seconds, though¬†Basingstoke isn’t exactly a fast course¬†course) was a nice Christmas present. I even found myself, by sticking with my marathon training plan, really excited to be running again and motivated to get out. This has been a great boost!


You can see in the above calendar my abysmal Street 5k performance. I just had nothing in the tank, and it didn’t help that I was unwell (Not that I was prepared to admit pre race or immediately post race, instead preferring a stroppy cool down walk). I¬†took a clear 3 days off and skipped a long run – which was the first time thats happened for a while! This clearly helped me, and if nothing else I have a score to settle on the course – I think I’ll target the last race in the series!

Usually here I’ll analyse the goals I set for the month. Simple analysis: I hit none of them.

  • Sub-42 at the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k – I managed 42:44. Conditions WERE tough though, very windy.
  • Sub-20 at the Street 5k OR Basingstoke parkrun – Street was the peak of my crisis. Basingstoke I did manage to set a PB on a not so easy course.
  • Reach a weight of 13st 13lbs – Ha! It was Christmas, not sure why I deluded myself!


In positive news the progress report showed an increase in average speed, a decrease in distance and a constant in average elevation gain. This means despite the shorter distance I did the same climbs – which indicates steeper/more frequent inclines! I firmly believe that the elevation gained last year helped me massively in Paris, so I’ll be looking to build that back up again in this campaign.

My goals for January are simple. Its base building for the Marathon, my “Endurance” mesocycle, and of course it’s Jantastic!

  • Score 100% in Jantastic
  • Increase the Average elevation gain
  • Get my weight down to my pre-christmas weight (14st 3lbs)

Keep it simple and achievable. You’d have thought I could design a decent set of SMART objectives after getting my MBA but apparently not!

(I know these are really superceded by my weekly marathon training posts, but its good to look back at the bigger picture too – not to mention these will need to continue after the marathon!)

Monthly Review: November 2014

November started high and took a gargantuan dip in the middle of it before starting to peak again towards the end.

Early in the month I felt amazing, smashing my times, hitting my splits and felt on top of the world. in the first week of November I topped my first ever Strava segment leaderboard!


Rather stupidly perhaps, i followed this up with the toughest tempo run I’ve ever attempted. I finished it feeling fantastic. But the day after I was much the worse for wear. My planned 13 mile LSR was cut back to 11 as my legs just couldn’t take it any more. My foot hurt along the bridge for some reason and I generally felt like I’d been hit by a bus. I resorted to almost exclusively easy running for 2 weeks with only a couple of “Progression” sessions to try and get some speed back.


I’m not convinced I fell victim to over-training – but I’m pretty sure I was walking the fine line. The easy runs recovered me well, and I’m finishing the month doing much better, at a new lowest ever weight. I’ve rethought about my training and am now sticking to the rules of easy, tough days and I’ve adjusted my marathon training plan to compensate for this.

With this in mind, I look back on the goals I set and have to question if they were realistic or sensible. Lets look at them in turn.

  • Complete 25 runs – Achieved.¬†This was still sensible, it was the intensity and volume I was struggling with.
  • Increase average speed to 6.6mph+ – Not Achieved. This is one of the less sensible targets. Basic running dictates that your easy runs should be the bulk of your mileage and your sessions should be where you do the faster stuff. So averaging a whole months worth of speed across including easy runs is only going to cause an increase in the pace of the easy runs – and whats the point in that? They won;t have the desired recovery effect and just end up fatiguing the body more. Lesson learned.
  • Increase elevation gain to > 90 – Achieved. Running hills is still the best way to improve leg strength, even at easy pace. Looking back on some of my marathon training, this was really important and will continue to try and improve this.
  • Go sub 21 at Yeovil Montacute parkrun OR Sub 20 at Poole parkrun (Depending where I decide to go on 30th November – Not Achieved – My wobble in the middle of the month hit me for 6 and I couldn’t have a good enough crack at it.


So though I didn’t achieve all I wanted, I learned a lot from the month. As I move into December and my marathon training starts, I have been warned not to push the body too much, and the training plan I’ve chosen (I will be posting separately about my marathon training plan) will have me resting 2 days a week instead of one and adheres to the basic principles very well.

As December rolls around, its a quiet enough month, and as mentioned, Marathon Training begins. That said, I have some time goals I’d like to break in the races I do have planned as well as a weight target.

  • Sub-42 at the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k
  • Sub-20 at the Street 5k OR Basingstoke parkrun
  • Reach a weight of 13st 13lbs



Monthly Review: September 2014

Well, that sure flew by. What an incredibly fast month. For me it was dominated by tapering and racing with seemingly little actual training. Certainly when it come to “Quality Sessions” they were distinctly lacking, but the race results were just delightful.


I missed one planned training session. Truth be told, I was abslutely exhausted after a long work week. It was just an easy run and it was the week before the Bristol half, so I justified it b the fact I was tapering! The things we tell ourselves to get out of a run!

So lets take a look at the goals I set for the month.

  • Run Sub 1h40mins at the Bristol Half Marathon
  • Run Sub 21min at the Yeovilton 5k
  • Complete 22 runs in September

I am delighted to have set two very big PBs this month. Yeovilton was always part of my strategy – I knew if I could go fast at Yeovilton I’d go fast at Bristol. I knew I’d put the training in and if I’m honest I would have liked to have gone a little quicker –¬†but I can’t have it all! The time was 20.46 which, if you’d have told me I’d get by the end of the year, I’d have laughed in your face at. So now is it realistic to get to sub 20 this year? I hope so.

Bristol was more of a surprise. I went out at a comfortable pace for the first 8 miles and then just managed to hang on. On effort it was about right, and was a good example of when to ignore our Garmin. It just felt good. 1.35.57 was beyond my wildest dreams! And it’s made a sub 3.30 marathon in spring, which I thought would be a stretch for me, look much more achievable. Hopefully I can go sub 90 minutes at some point next year, one of my major lifetime targets.

I didn’t complete my 22 runs – but then again, my other acheivements were so satisfying I don’t really mind! Though in October I’ll be shooting for “100% Attendance”!

Here’s the progress report.


So, what are my goals for October? Well, I have my first 10 mile race, the Great South Run. It’s another mass participation race organised by Bupa. These are great fun and I have a target time in mind for that. However that said, I’ll also be looking to have a mini taper for it too.

I’d like to get my average elevation back up as its always good training, and I’d also like to ensure I remain consistent in my training frequency.

This week, I have started running in my new training zones too. I thought they would be a lot tougher than they have been (Though that’s easy to say, I’ve only done two of them, and neither have been real “Sessions”) So I’m going to try and focus on hitting my splits at consistent paces, within the right training zones. This is more difficult to analyse, but I’m keen to get them right.

Goals For October

  • Run the Great South Run in Sub 1:13
  • Run 24 times in the month
  • Achieve an average elevation gain of over¬†100m
  • Run consistent paces in line with training zones


Monthly Review: July 2014

One of my reasons for blogging is so I can keep track of the running I’ve done, how its gone, and see if¬†I’ve been improving. Much like a training diary. This is the first monthly review I hope to post at the end of each calendar month.july

Garmin Connect makes this really easy to analyse with the “Progress Summary” report!julystats

Total mileage for the month was 175.96mi! (Yes, I am cursing that 0.04 miles!!) A new record for “Most miles in a month” for me – even more so than my “Peak” month when I was marathon training. This increased volume has mainly come from having an additional run per week, but I have also had a slight increase on my average run distance (Excluding long runs, where there is much more mileage from the Mara training). So a good, sensible increase in volume.

I’ve also set a new “PB” for meters of elevation gained in a month. Running hills is the best way to build leg strength so I am now using this stat to actively ensure I go up more hills. I’m planning to try and increase the¬†“Average Elevation Gain” in August.

Average speed has increased which is good, but I should be wary of May and June’s numbers there. It’s only been in July that I’ve been carefully sticking to my training zones. The previous two months I spent a lot of time running with Jodie – Her times are improving immensely though so thats good coaching on my part!!

I’m doubly pleased as April and May was spent doing specific speed training, so to see an improvement comparing July with that period is quite satisfying.

One interesting stat I can see if that my average heart rate is reduced! When you compare that with the spring months (Another comparable period where I was doing hard training) my speed has increased and my heart rate has decreased – which is a clear improvement of fitness! Very happy with that.

Goals for August

  • Further increase in Month-on-Month Mileage¬†to > 200mi
  • Increase the Average Elevation Gain