The Road to Paris - On a Plateau - Asics Target 26.2 Training

The highs, lows (and everything in between) of my 16 week Paris Marathon training plan.

161 to 180 of 1,530 messages
22/12/2012 at 15:35

Interesting points Hilly. I guess I believe that no matter how slowly you build up your overall mileage, there is always a break point beyond which you will get injured - and that it varies - wildly - from person to person. Usually we only discover it by inadvertently crossing it. So yes, you can keep raising it to find out where your boundaries lie, and it is necessary to do that sometimes, but I think the vast majority of non elite runners can make great improvements by addressing issues like nutrition, recovery, pacing, session selection - without needing to ramp up to high mileage. This has been my experience as a runner and as a coach...

Interesting about the shoe advice, Ady - I'm quite pleased to hear that as my shoe philosophy is to wear 'as little shoe' as possible. (Not literally a 'little shoe, before Ten steps in with his usual jokes! ) And with apologies for repeating myself from para above (!) but again, it varies vastly from person to person. For some people, an Asics DS Trainer would represent a lightweight shoe good for 10k racing - to others it's too heavy and built up for racing. What is appropriate for one is not necessarily true for another. But I do recommend using shoes that let the foot work as naturally  as possible as there is no scientific  evidence that all the motion-controlling features in shoes have an impact on injury risk/incidence. But PLEASE don't read this as covert advice to throw off your shoes or get a pair of 5 fingers! Wearing less shoe means your feet and legs have to do more of the work. But the payoff is a more efficient form which can have injury reduction and perfromance benefits.

Right! Got to get on with packing. Driving up to Scotland tomorrow with dog, bikes, presents, numeorus running shoes. Oh, and my OH, of course

22/12/2012 at 17:52

Yes Sam I won't disagree that runners won't make improvements with all the things you mention especially if coming from a sedentary background or one that didn't really focus on nutrition, pacing etc.  But as an experienced club runner my experience and that of many I know is that if you don't push the boundaries of increasing mileage you'll never know how good you could be!  Take Steve Way off the sub 3 thread, he went from a 17 stone runner to running 2.18 for the marathon, he would not have done that by not pushing the boundaries and sticking to running 30 miles a week!  Also out of a group of 9-10 in a training group I trained with for a marathon last year all aiming for between 3.37 and 2.35 none of them got injured and every single one of them trained above 50 miles a week.  These are just a couple of examples!  Personally I have had one injury in 6 years due to pulling a calf in a race, but before that when doing light mileage and more harder running I was constantly picking up injuries.  So for me and many I know injury proofing was building a good base of higher mileage so that my body could cope with the impact of training and racing and thanks to my husband being persuaded to wearing racing shoes rather than clumpy trainers (one thing we agree with)  But yes at the end of the day we are all an experiment of one and for those you say get injured running 'too many' miles there will be equally those who don't and benefit from the extra.  It's about training smart, not hard all the time im my book!

Ady - I haven't read all the way back, so sorry if you've already answered this question somewhere else - do you have any build up races in your training for Paris?


22/12/2012 at 19:06

Two examples of counter-intuitive arguments when it comes to running...

1. Wearing lighter shoes makes you less prone to injury (as well as a host of other benefits such as better style).

2.  Running more miles makes you less prone to injury (as well as a host of other benefits such as a more efficient fat burning - essential when realising marathon potential, and faster times).

Personally I have found both to be true for myself and many, many running colleagues over the years.  The folk at the sharp end of the marathon stakes in all the competitive clubs I have known are higher-mileage runners.

22/12/2012 at 19:10

Ady - interesting how your gait analysis gave different results to the previous one you had done.  Maybe as you say, you have become a more efficient runner.  Or perhaps the people giving the advice should advise runners to change their shoe to a lightweight one to get an improvement in style, rather than a shoe which tries to accomodate, but ultimately only reinforces, weaknesses in style?

22/12/2012 at 20:57

Wow, this is a great thread! I have just read from the start and I love the healthy debate and Ady's reports, especially the lycra one. Nice work Ady

As others have said, the low mileage looks a little scary, but you do say you have the endurance already from your previous marathons and ultra, so the speed is what you need to work on, and if you're going to concentrate on speed then I suppose you necessarily need to keep the mileage low. Personally I have tried the low mileage/lots of speedwork tack, and it didn't work for me at all. I respond to high mileage and will peak at around 85 miles this time round for VLM. 

I'm working my way towards lighter shoes. I usually run in Brooks Adrenalines but have worn Ravennas for my last two marathons and 3 or 4 halves. I wear ST3s for up to 10k. I recently purchased some Adidas Tempo, which seem super light to me. I've worn them once so far, but it probably wasn't the best time to try them. After a proper rest week in which I only ran 3 miles, I did a Body Combat class followed by Body Pump on Monday night, then did Circuits and immediately after that did 5 miles in the Tempos on the treadie on Tuesday. My legs were aching, but I couldn't tell you if that was because of the shoes or the classes and lack of running! I'll try them again when I'm back in the groove!

I'm currently still enjoying a nice rest period before I start full on training on 31st December. Just heading out whenever I feel like it for whatever distance or session takes my fancy, and enjoying the opportunity to get lots of rest inbetween. I may struggle to follow such a busy thread once I start my own training and am back at work, but for now at least I look forward to some more entertainment from this thread! 

23/12/2012 at 07:37

It is a moot point as to whether it is speed that Ady needs to work on.  It would be illuminating to see his splits from previous marathon attempts to see if there was a big fade in pace as the requirements for endurance kicked in.  From an initial reading it would appear from his shorter distance times that he has the basic speed to convert to a sub 3:30 and that it is endurance that would be the first area to work on.

Ady - do you have any pace / split information from recent marathons?


23/12/2012 at 08:37

Day 4 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training

Target: Cross-Training

Actual: Rest Day

After moving my Thursday run to Wednesday due to even more Xmas lunch and Xmas party commitments, today should have been a rest day, or a cross-training day.

Wherever I have the choice to cross-train or rest, I'll always be choosing to cross-train, leaving me just the one rest day a week. After having a poor night's sleep the night before though, Christmas lunch and then Christmas drinks in the evening, I felt it would be detrimental to try and fit cross-training in as I wouldn't be able to give the session the effort it deserved.

Instead, I swapped Friday's rest day to Thursday and spent the latter part of the evening catching up on posts on this forum page, which itself was a training exercise! 

23/12/2012 at 08:51

Day 5 - Asics Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training

Target: Rest Day

Actual: 17miles on Exercise Bike (1hr 01min)

Having already taken today's rest day yesterday. Today was now a cross-training day.There are several cross-training sessions I plan on doing throughout the duration of my marathon training: Exercise bike, pilates, core-strengthening and leg-strengthening. The more strenous of these I'll do on my cross-training days, but I'd also like to do pilates twice during the week when I have my shorter runs. 

To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how long the cross-training sessions should last. At the moment though I'm planning on these lasting around the 1 hour mark, but is it possible to increase this as my marathon training progresses up to the 2 hour mark? 

For today's session on the exercise bike,I choose the in-built stamina program, which was a combination of hills, on the basis of two steps forward, one step back. So each hill is slightly higher than the last and each recovery section is harder than the previous one. 

I found this pretty tough going, especially with the continually increasing effort needed. I managed this for 45 minutes, before reducing the effort needed so the last 15 minutes was all recovery at an effort that was still making me work, but wasn't tiring me to the point of exhaustion. Considering my 12 mile run the following day, I thought this to be a wise decision.

23/12/2012 at 09:25

Day 6 - Ascis Target 26.2 Paris Marathon Training

Target: 12 miles @ 8:30 min/mile

Actual: 12.05 miles @ 8:27 min/mile in 1hr 41mins 45secs

It's amazing how much more focused I feel with the start of this marathon training compared to previous occassions. Getting up I looked out my window to see weather I expect to see in India during the monsoon season, rather than a  British Christmas.

Normally I'd postpone my run to the following day, go back to bed and cross-train instead later. But today was different. Not only do I have a new-drive and commitment to doing exactly what my schedule says, but I had the added delight of wearing my new lycra leggings and skin tight top for the first time!

Previously when doing my long runs at the weekend, I would get up, eat breakfast, wait two hours to allow it to digest and then head out. On this run (partly due to the fact I hadn't even started my Xmas shopping and didn't want to feel the full force of wrath from my wife by resorting to petrol station gifts!) I went without eating first. 

I'm tempted to do this more often on my long runs as I know this will be more beneficial in hitting my target weight. I actually didn't feel any difference either after completing my run compared to my normal routine.

Considering the weather, and an undulating course with several nice sized hills, I was extremely happy with how it went. It felt very, very comfortable. The only times I felt like I was having to put any effort in was when climbing the hills. I tried to listen to Sam's advice of not worrying about my speed when climbing these, instead concentrating on putting in the same level of effort. 

If looking at my Garmin Connect run report (see link below), it looks like I've added a few mid-run acceleration strides in to my run. I haven't. As a festive treat to their children, there seemed to be a lot of parents in passing cars playing that thoroughly enjoyable game of, 'splash the runner'. After getting caught out in the first five minutes of my run, I made sure to sprint past other areas where the road was flooded to stop the same happening again! 

One thing I did noticed after finishing my run, was that it took a good half hour for my body temperature to regulate itself and this only happened after eating. This has happened before, but this time around I think it was because I was saturated to the skin for the duration of my run.

Here's my run:

(If looking at the link above, the last two laps are accidental. I was attempting to press the stop button, but instead pressed the lap button. Now that I've finally got the time to learn how to use my new Garmin watch, I'm sure this will be the last time this happens!) 

23/12/2012 at 10:07

Morning after being successful in my 'do all my Xmas shopping in one frantic, manic afternoon' challenge, I now have time to catch up on my posts. Thanks for everyone who has been sharing their knowledge and's been excellent reading material so far.

Sam.......Noted about running with a head cold. I'm seriously thinking about reducing the number of marathons I run each year too, by either focusing on a Spring marathon or an autumn marathon. It might be good practice to then use the other time to work on my shorter distance PB's to keep my speed up. Once the marathon has finished, what would you recommend base mileage to be kept at? At the moment I keep it between 25-30 miles per week. Enjoy the drive to Scotland....hopefully the gales and floods won't get in your way!

Barry.......I was also surprised by the change of shoe. I really hope it's because my running technique has become more efficient, as my new Cumulus trainers seem much easier to run in. This could also be because my last pair of trainers I'd had for a good 500miles if not more.

Cheerful Dave.......thanks for your feedback on your cycling cross-training. I will definitely be doing it at least once a week during my marathon training, although I'm not sure I'll be going up to 100 miles! I'd like to get up to cycling for 2 hours at a time though.

Hilly.......really interesting what you are saying regarding mileage, especially as your fastest time has come from doing 80-90miles per week. How do you fit these miles into your weekly schedule? With the long hours of my job, I'd really struggle to do this amount of miles and also keep a good quality of family life as well. In the Summer, I could easily up my mileage to 50-70 by running home from work every evening and keep my speed to a comfortable level. But I do worry that once I start changing some of this mileage from a comfortable level to a steady level, then injuries would become a concern. I do believe though that if I am successful in breaking 3:30, then to see further significant improvements (especially if attempting to gain a Boston qualifying time), an increase in mileage would help.

As you also mentioned, I expect to see improvements from my training plan as I have never before focused on my nutrition - eating basically anything going and not worrying or thinking about it. If there was ever free food on offer, I would always take full advantage of this. I'm really focusing on this area of training now (not only because I'm a little 'chubby' to be a true marathon runner, but also because I'm now aware of the added benefits the right types of fuel bring to training).

Regarding build-up races before Paris, at the moment I only have the Race Your Pace Dorney Lake Half Marathon. I will also work in several Park Runs to asses my speed improvements. Schedule and coach agreement permitting, I'd also like to do one of my 20 miler practice runs in a race, to hone my pacing, as I always go off too fast in race situations. 

23/12/2012 at 10:23

Barnsley you think high mileage is as important though for a recreational runner, which is where I currently am? Personally I'm in agreement with Sam that for a person like me to improve and run under 3:30, then heavy mileage isn't necessary. But if I want to go further or quicker than this, then I can make increases (as long as it doesn't push me over that breaking point).  Further along in my running career, I not only hope to join a running club, but also run more ultras. There is no way I can achieve running such ultras on my current mileage alone.

Regarding has only been in the past year, where I have been finishing my marathons without hitting the wall and having to walk for brief periods in the latter stages. This has been due to better fuelling techniques, better mental capabilities and also better mileage. I have never come close to running a negative split, or even come near to an equal split in the second half of my marathon. My second half of marathons are on average, between 10-15 minutes slower than my first half.

This has been my biggest problem. In Boston when I ran my PB, I ran 1:45 for the first half and 1:69 for the second half. I was feeling very comfortable for the first half, but as I was only looking at going quicker than 3:45, I then purposefully slowed down for the second half, where in reality I don't think I needed to have done this. It's definitely a mental thing as well, as once I pass halfway. I automatically think about conserving energy for the latter stages. when I do this, I always find myself slowing the pace without even thinking about it.

CC2....thanks for joining the forum page! I'm impressed you read from the very beginning....plenty of excellent debate....enough words though to write a novel! I do feel my base mileage has been good this year, but I know that I need to keep this topped up and not just concentrate now on speed. It seems you do a lot of cross-training alongside your running as well? What is your training schedule like that you start on 31st December? Will you be heading up to 85mpw again?

23/12/2012 at 10:30

Ady -  Good start to the campaign and good pacing on your first longish one, you're right to do some of your long ones unfueled as well as helping weight loss it will get your body used to using stored reserves of energy, but be careful it is a fine balance and anything longer than 2 hours I would recommend taking some form of energy with you. Always important to get some fuel inside a soon as you have finished the run to help recovery, my choice is chocolate milk, does the trick and not as expensive as some of the recovery drinks. 

I only do 2 marathons a year normally spring and autumn, this year was different as I was injured in spring, so did Abingdon and Florence in the autumn and it worked out pretty well.

Edited: 23/12/2012 at 10:32
23/12/2012 at 10:56

Well done on sticking to the programme so far, Ady.

Interesting perspective on recreational running.  I guess it's the semantics of what we mean by that.  For me a recreational runner is someone who runs for general health, fitness and well-being.  You have a clear target in mind, a structured training plan and a coach / mentor.  I would think that would put you in the `competitive' bracket as you're competing to break a personal time barrier.  In that context I would say high mileage would give a runner the best chance of hitting their targets.  I don't tend to think `how much do I need to do to hit xx time', but `how much training can I do without breaking down' and then see what result that brings.

You have identified pacing issues in previous marathons and from this it would seem that with a good consistent training block, a change in nutrition and sensible pacing that 3:30 is well within your reach, even on this minimal Asics plan.  One of the hidden ingredients with you could be that cross-training.  Other people may think differently, but if you can knock out 90 mins plus on the bike then you're getting some great aerobic benefit.  It would be good if, in addition, you could get a few longer runs in on the road as leg toughness is certainly necessary as you pound the streets of Paris.

So my summation of what I see is that you have an excellent chance of hitting your 3:30 goal with the plan as laid out, particularly with the other elements mentioned above.

However I would still hold the line of the more miles the better.  This has been the advice and experience of every competitive runner I have known over the years, two Level 4 coaches in clubs I have trained with and many online coaches I have observed on these threads over the years.  So your programme has a great chance of hitting the desired goal, and with the time constraints you have due to work may be the best fit.  That is different to saying that minimial mileage is optimal for ALL runners trying to improve. 

23/12/2012 at 11:13

Ady - very good posts and good to see you're feeling strong and positive with the training,  As BR pointed out the extra x-training on the bike will hold you in good stead for giving added endurance.

Personally for me running 80-90 and even 100 miles a week did take a lot of obsessive planning which involved a lifestyle change.  I also worked full time, but did have school holidays and finished work at 3.15 then, I also had a family of teenagers to look after, but I would do my running very early in the morning 5.30am and again in the evening or as you say to and home from work.   I found it hard to build mileage at first because I was trying to do it all at the pace I could manage when doing fewer miles, but then I slowed down the pace and when my body adapted the pace came back and got faster and the mileage was easier to sustain.  If done sensisbly there is  no reason why a runner should get injured doing more miles. 

It's seems you have a lot of things to improve on to help you towards your Paris goal and as you say maybe mileage increase is something for the future for you when your goals change.  Keep up the good work

Edited: 23/12/2012 at 11:14
23/12/2012 at 12:42

Shady - Thought I'd just check in and see how the start of your journey is shaping up. I see some others from other sub3:30 threads on here also. Just a quick question. You mentioned on another thread about picking up a PF prob when you walked LEJOG, but I can't remember how you got rid of it, is that now history?

23/12/2012 at 12:57

Thanks for the welcome Ady. I haven't actually finished writing my schedule yet, but have it pencilled out and will finalise it during the holidays. I always write my own as I know my own capabilities and can fit it around my life and races. A typical week would be:

Monday - two recovery runs (total miles max 11) plus a strength conditioning class at the gym.

Tuesday is intervals with a local club, shortest reps are 850m ish, longest are 1.75 miles. I start with 4 miles of effort and build to 6 within a run of up to 10 miles.

Wednesday is the MLR with my own club, usually about 90 secs slower than MP and will build up to 16 miles.

Thursday is a rest day, or I may do something like Body Balance or Pilates. 

Friday is either a tempo (HM pace) effort of up to 6 miles or an MP effort of up to 12 miles within a run of up to 14 miles in total.

Saturday is another two recovery runs, possibly also Body Balance or Pilates if I took Thursday off completely. 

Sunday is the long run, 16 - 24 miles. Three of those will include MP sections and the rest of the week jiggled around accordingly.

There aren't many typical weeks though, due to XC races, build up 10k and HM races and other 'real life' committments. Mileage will be 60 - 80 most weeks. I'm lucky in that I live alone, so if I want to go out running I can do so. I don't have to consider anybody else in the equation. I can't run at lunchtime though as we don't have showers and only get 45 mins anyway, and running home from work (14 miles) is only an option if I can get a lift in, which isn't easy. Most nights I'm out training until quite late, and by the time I've eaten and bathed it's bed time, hence me not having much time to read the thread once I start full on training. I need to learn to get up early like Hilly, but I'm really rubbish first thing in the morning. 

Your cross training will help with aerobic capacity and minimise road pounding, but as the mileage and intensity of the schedule increases you may find you need to cut back, rather than increase the amout of time you spend on the bike I'd imagine. Obviously Sam will be able to advise properly.

23/12/2012 at 15:22

Barry......thanks for the advice regarding fuelling. I was planning on going up to 16 miles (so just a tiny bit longer than 2 hours!) without eating beforehand and like you said, it will not only help with weight loss, but also teach my body to use my reserves of energy. For 16 miles though, I will probably take 1 gel around the 10 mile mark (also for added practice for race day).

Anything longer than 16 miles, I normally use these distances as practice race days. So everything I do would be identical to race day - running time, what I choose for breakfast, and using the same amount of gels during the run (tweaking this of necessary). The only thing different is the amount of jelly babies I eat before the race and the day before!

I'm more than happy as well to hear from someone else that chocolate milk is a great recovery drink. I do try and have some in for after my long runs, and as I have a soft spot for this, I find it helps motivate me in the last couple of miles knowing I have this to look forward to when I get back.

If you do 2 marathons, how long is your rest period after the Spring marathon before picking up training again for the Autumn marathon? Was your injury serious? I definitely think that 2 marathons maximum is what I should look at doing in the future if I was to maximise my chances of improvement.

Barnsley Runner.........Thanks! Maybe it's a confidence thing why I see myself more of a recreational runner rather than a competitive runner. Because I'm not the shape of your typical marathon or long distance runner (i.e. things bounce around where they shouldn't bounce around!), I feel to call myself a competitive, bona fide marathon runner, is a stretch of the imagination. I need to be slimmer and also have a PB around 3:30, if not under it. From your last message, this just seems to be lack of self-confidence (definitely not self-belief though!) of my ability, where I'm more likely to play my running down, rather than 'big' myself up.

I also agree, that my quality of cross-training could play an integral part in succeeding in my 3:30 goal. That's why I'm putting as much effort into these training sessions as my runs, and not seeing them as an easy, recovery session between my runs.

P.S. In my last post, I meant to say 1:59 in the 2nd half of my PB marathon, not 1:69!

23/12/2012 at 16:01

Hilly........Thanks also for your positive words. It's been a good first week, but I want to see improvements, not only in my performances, but also in my diet and weight loss, week on week. I'm very happy with how my first week has gone as I've hit all my targets and completed all training sessions given.

When you slowed down your pace, how much slower did you need to go than your normal pace when you were doing fewer miles? How much slower than MR pace was this?

I'm definitely not a morning person, so I doubt I'd ever be able to get up early for a run before work! It doesn't help that my job currently involves daily dialogue with The Phillipines, meaning I have to be in work between 7-7:30am every morning.

Simon.......Those foul, despicable, disgusting and most of all, terrifying two words! Plantar Fasciitis!  I'm happy to say it is now history! I had it very bad after walking LEJOG in 2011. It was excruciating. Not only first thing in the morning, but I would feel it whenever we stopped walking, even for a few minutes. I only started to feel this in the last 4 weeks (out of 14) of our LEJOG walk. By that time I was strong enough mentally to block out some of the pain when we stopping/ starting our walk.

I didn't feel it when I was walking though, only after stopping. I don't think it helped that I was walking an average of 14-15 miles every 6 out of 7 days. There was no time for it to recover and I didn't want to stop and fail in my challenge, especially after some of the foot issues my wife went through at the start of LEJOG.

Once I finished this walk, I took about 6 weeks off from strenuous activity, before starting to run again. I originally had PF in both feet, but the pain in my right foot cleared up very quickly with no treatment. I needed a cortisone shot in my left foot. It was sore for a few days after, but I was told to rest for a week by the doctor and then see how it felt. After a week, the pain had cleared up and it hasn't bothered me since. I was a little worried it would come back during my marathons and ultra this year, but I was able to run hassle and pain free throughout.  

CC2.......I have to say your schedule sounds intimidating, and I can now fully see why you won't have that much time to be checking the forums once you start it.

I see that for most of the days you run, you have broken your runs out into two runs instead of one. Is this just so you can get the mileage in around your work, or because you see added benefits of splitting them up as two separate runs?

I'm still trying to figure out how you also fit a gym session in on those days as well! This is a different level of dedication and quantity to anything I've ever considered when running before! Very impressive indeed.

You say you know your own you know what these are because you have pushed yourself too far in the past, and pushed yourself to injury by trying too much?

Even with all your mileage, I can see that you still have a good variety of speeds and sessions. I take it your body has adapted to only needing the one rest day per week. Do you ever feel like you need to have 2 rest days a week?

Good luck with your training....will you eat healthily over Xmas so you're in a better position come December 31st, or will you allow yourself to over-indulge slightly?

Seeing how much time it would take to dedicate myself to 90-100 miles a week, I would worry it might cost me an expensive divorce, but if you I was in your position, then it would be a completely different story. 

23/12/2012 at 16:55

LOL. I only do doubles twice a week. On a Monday it's because Body Pump class is at 7pm, so I run 7 slow miles before it and up to 4 afterwards. I'm not sure that even counts as a double. On a Saturday it's because otherwise I'd be doing 3 fairly long runs in a row with the long Tempo/MP and LSR either side, and that would be too much I think. I've not yet exceeded my capabilities, and as I increase my mileage only gradually with each marathon campaign, there's a fair chance I never will. My first marathon I peaked at 50 miles. That was back in 2009. VLM this year will be my 8th marathon. I probably only need a full rest day every 2 weeks, but for the time being I have one most weeks. When I next increase the mileage I will no doubt need to run a few easy miles on the 'rest' day.

I eat fairly healthily all the time I think, but I'm currently allowing myself to eat things I can't eat during marathon training (dairy produce plus heavy training  = unpleasant consequences so no chocolate milk for me!). I'm enjoying the opportunity to eat a few choccies while I still can, and I think a last supper of pizza and cheesecake will be called for before the schedule starts. I'm just typing it up now. 

I can't believe you walked Lejog. How did you get time off work for that?! Does your Mrs run too, or was that walk enough to put her off endurance sport?

23/12/2012 at 17:50
CC2 - Speedy Goth wrote (see)

I eat fairly healthily all the time I think, but I'm currently allowing myself to eat things I can't eat during marathon training (dairy produce plus heavy training  = unpleasant consequences so no chocolate milk for me!).

CC2.......It's almost worth giving up marathon running for good if you can't have chocolate milk. I've never considered giving anything up before during marathon training. This time around I will do.....mainly fast-food, processed food and anything that comes encrusted in a pastry (this will be the hardest part of all!).

I don't think it will be possible for me to give up alcohol for the duration either, but I'll cut out the needless pints. I've tested this out this week with the endless Xmas drinks and it's been very successful.......slow down my drinking speed (harder than slowing down my running speed, especially if buying in rounds) and alternating alcoholic pints with pints of water or diet coke. Obviously I've received a bit of grief from friends for doing this, but this seems a compromise that I'm happy with.

Regarding taking time off work for LEJOG, I wasn't working at the time. In the summer of 2009 I lost my job, so my wife and I decided it was the perfect opportunity to do our last spot of long-term travelling before settling down. We caught the train from London to Singapore, spending 15 months in China teaching English and then a few months seeing other parts of Asia after reaching Singapore. 

It was during this time that my wife lost several family members to cancer. She was gutted to not make their funerals, so we got talking and one thing led to another and we decided to walk LEJOG to raise money for AICR, a cancer research charity based in St. Andrews, Scotland. 

It's not the normal direction conversations go in, but with my wife being American she'd not seen much of Great Britain before. We were looking at the best areas for walking so she could get a good snapshot of what this GB offered. It was while doing this we came across other people that had walked LEJOG and as we looked at the places we going to walk, we realised we could link them all together.....and this is where the challenge started.

Mrs. Shady Ady is a running widow unfortunately. She had a bad experience when runnig a half marathon several years ago and received some abuse from passing students. This has kind of put her off ever since. She has talked about maybe trying to train for a 5km next year and come to a Park Run with me. Fingers crossed!  She works for a cancer charity now and may have to walk a marathon next year as part of her job, so she might be forced to participate in the marathon distance whether she likes it or not! It'll be nice to support her in this goal, rather than it always being the opposite way around.

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