Marathon training: love/hate

I love the rigid routine that my life has at the moment, with a 6-day-a-week training plan there isn’t a lot of room for much apart from work, running, eating and sleeping. Which is fine by me…at the moment.

However it does leave me tired, grumpy, hungry and can turn running into a complete numbers game. I want to run x time so I need to run this amount of miles, at this pace, this regularly, blah blah blah. It can be a bit joyless. It also completely and utterly takes over your life.

But then, I chose to do this and if I can run the time I’ve been aiming for for the last 5 months then it’ll be worth it.

What’s the saying? Train hard, race easy…or something

26.2 miles is a long way

did the longest run of my training plan yesterday – a shade over 20 miles. bloody hell it was hard, i completely ran out of all energy at about 17 miles (possibly hitting the wall?) and the last 3 miles took me almost 40 minutes to complete – ridiculous when you consider the previous 17 had taken less than 3 hours.

oh well, at least i did it – although my knees and ankles now ache in a new and never-before-experienced way. also need to work on taking on some fuel during the race, consuming nothing apart from water isn’t a winning tactic.

Time flies

I’m getting a bit crap at this blogging malarky, time to buck my ideas up methinks.
The last few weeks have been incredibly busy with Big Things & little things work, I’ve been doing work for Run For All, The Sunshine Bakery, The Jane Tomlinson Appeal, TwoDucksDisco and Tristan Mann. I’ve also been discussing possible work with a few more really interesting clients. Hence the lack of blogging.

I’ve finally started to delve properly into the world of JQuery, which thus far seems very useful and I’ve also almost (ish) perfected bread-making, now to try and work out how to make jam.

My marathon training suffered a bit with the return of the cold weather but I’m battling on (even managed to convince myself to get out for a pre-dawn 5 miles yesterday), and with the marathon now only something like 2 months and 13 days away I really need to carry on putting in the miles. I’m having a bit of a mini trainer crisis (not a crisis about mini trainers). I need new trainers, do I get them now or closer to the day of the marathon – don’t want to leave it too long though as I imagine newish shoes+26.2 miles isn’t a happy combination.

Have also started taking cod liver oil to try and sooth my aching joints, everything starts falling apart when you hit 24 obviously.

Anyways, am off doon sooth to see the folks this evening, then have got a holiday in the south of France to look forward to in March. Aces

Mid-season stumble

Righty dokie doke, an update, in diary form. I hope to post something of worth later in the week.

Marathon-training has been going especially badly this year, I’ll blame it partly on the snow but I’ve not been getting out and about on a regular enough basis. Although the runs I have been doing have all been 8+ miles I really need to get back into the swing of things, haven’t cycled to work since December…lazy bastard.

I had a brilliantly productive week last week, took time off from work (at Leeds Met) and did my very best to get my house ship-shape again. Luckily my limited flirting with DIY was a resounding success and not a disaster-causing catastrophy.

I also managed to put some serious hours into web work (with my ‘big things and little things’ hat on and as a result have pretty much finished the redesign of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal site (hopefully it will go live this week or next), finished the site for the brilliant Sunshine Bakery (, wrote a preposal for the redesign and development of the Northern Dales Farmers Markets website and have also been working with Run For All on their digital marketing campaign.

If you are, or know anyone, who needs some web work doing then I am undertaking work at reduced rates until the summer to build my personal portfolio. Hopefully I’ll also be doing some work with/for the fab people at Oxygen (

I plan to write a bit of a post on my bread-making experiments (vastly improved thanks to a paving slab) and my plans for foraging. I bet you can’t wait…

Jack Frost nipping at your bloody hands!

The first really, really cold morning of the winter and (luckily?) i was walking rather than cycling into work. The last time i cycled when it was really cold my hands went numb, despite the fact i was wearing gloves – possible due to my awful circulation, my shins went bright red and my cheeks felt like they’d frozen. Probably just me being a huge wuss though.

I’ve realised that it is time for me to ‘up the mileage’ if i want to stand any chance of meeting my current target of completing the marathon in under 4 hours 15 minutes. The slightly scary thing about all this is, i’ve never (knowingly) run further than 8 miles yet i need to be regularly running that, at a minimum, on a nigh daily basis by the end of the winter.

My first mental block is to work out how far that actually is, i want to be doing two 10 mile runs, a 5 mile and a ‘long slow’ run per week by the end of january. I’m currently happily doing a couple of 6.5 milers mixed in with a 4 miler and a longer run when i can find the time at a weekend but the ease of that schedule is that i have pre-planned routes for these runs, i’m going to need to work out something new to meet my new targets as i don’t fancy just doing circuits of a route i already do. i sometimes find the monotony of running the hardest thing to overcome and new routes should hopefully help compensate for the fact i’m going to be running for hours at a time.

i’ve also been pondering the prospect of doing some speedwork but in all honesty i don’t think i’d be able to motivate myself to actually do any, it’s hard, boring and i’d be doing it on my own – no thanks!

if anyone has a decent running route that i could do from horsforth in leeds please pipe up! i contemplated retracing part of some of my bike rides but they’re all pavement-free roads and i think i’d get squished fairly quickly.

Music – i had a rediscovering of Jimmy Eat World the other day, fab.

The terror of Black Hill

The weekend was spent training for my various follies. While I was running around Horsforth and cycling up massive hills (more on that later) Bex was away doing the coast-to-coast (a lot quicker than I’m planning on doing it). Unfortunately nature and bad luck conspired to inflict 60 mile an hour winds, driving rain and a bad crash on her. Her hand has swollen up to about 5 times its normal size, we spent a long time at the hospital getting x-rays and the like but apparently nothing is broken, the doctor did say that it was the biggest hand she had ever seen though, so that’s something.

I tried to organise my weekend on my own so that I could get on with following my ‘training plan’ for the marathon. This plan instructed me to do 30 minutes running on Saturday and 65 minutes running on Sunday which seemed reasonable enough. However I also wanted to go for a bike ride at some point so the Sunday run was dropped fairly quickly in favour of that. I headed out on Sunday morning to absolutely glorious weather, my route followed more-or-less the same path as my previous medium-length cycle (with a detour through Weardley village and then back again – saw lots of pheasants and not much else) however I was keen to avoid Pool Bank and try to find a slightly more forgiving hill to head up. This would prove to be impossible. I turned off just before reaching Pool to cycle up ‘Black Hill Road’, I should’ve realised then that places called ‘Black Hill’ are rarely nice gentle meanders and soon found myself struggling up a 20% beastie. A nice lady cyclist hurtled down past me and cheerily shouted “it gets worse”, at which point I got off and pushed.

Here’s the route (the angry purple bit is the big hill):