Shades Marathon Training

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22/04/2013 at 10:55


i did really enjoy my early training though. doing speed work, building up HR thresholds and all that. and it would be foolish to have got to this level of fitness and just let it all go by spending too much time on the sofa. so i think i might do a few local 5 and 10km races. i've got PBs of 21 and just over 45 mins, so going sub 20 and sub 45 looks like a good couple of hard but attainable targets.

i'd like to thank everyone who's been really helpful and friendly on here. especially the lady shades herself. it has been a pleasure and an honour to be a small part of such a great little community, and i'm going to stop before i well up totally.


p.s -KingKenny, yes, that sounds like me in the white compression socks.




22/04/2013 at 11:02

sofaboy well done!!

22/04/2013 at 12:52

After getting only 2 hours sleep before the Brighton HM, was pleased to manage 6 hours sleep on Sat night (although did swap beds twice, felt like Goldilocks!). My parents gave me a lift to the start and amazingly were able to park on the heath. My dad has marshalled at the green start for years & his mate said I could start from there, despite having a blue number. This was all fine, but I did keep another top over my number until 5 mins before the start to avoid disapproving glares from other runners. Also meant I didn't want to risk leaving the green area to meet the other Shadies, in case I didn't get let back in. Saw lots of celebs like Katherine Jenkins, Iwan Thomas and Harry from McFly (the only eye candy) but was too nervous to take pics & wanted to save my phone battery. Think I was wise to refuse the offer to start in pen 1 when I saw the 3;15 pacer in pen 2 so made sure I was behind him! Felt v emotional during 30s silence for Boston and proud to be a runner. The start didn't feel real but felt easy and the first mile seemed short (probably as it's downhill, which Shades had told us). Went a tad fast in miles 2-4 as felt easyish but kept hearing Shades' warning in my ears so tried to reign this in. Felt quite teary eyed (glad I was wearing Shades) going past the Cutty Sark as I've seen this so many times on TV. Did the first 10k in 48:58. Feel very proud to think that I ran this time as a PB in the BUPA 10K less than a year ago. Next 10K was 49:02. Felt so pleased when it got to halfway. The strong sun made me very nervous as my last LSR on Easter day was sub zero temperatures and I never usually drink water on runs. Realised I would need to hyrate so tried to grab a bottle every 3 miles or so and just take a sip or even just to swill (and spit!) Took a gel every 5 miles although none after 20 miles as they made me feel sick. Saw my OH at 15 miles and felt quite strong. But when he saw me again at 18 miles he could tell that I looked weaker. Third 10k was 48;07 but fifth was 50:49. Felt quite exciting getting past mile 22 as that is the furthest I have ever run. By mile 24 I was starting to calculate whether I could walk the final 2 miles and still get a GFA time but managed to keep going. By mile 25, my Garmin was telling me my average pace was 7:59 so I just battled on to try and stop it going over 8. At the finishing line the clock showed 3:30 and a few seconds, but I knew it had taken me a minute or so to pass the start line, so I trusted my Garmin and gave it all I had. Finished in 3:29:18 and felt very tearful. I look so miserable in my finishing photo, probably because I was holding in the tears! Annoyingly, I had left my overnight bag in the baggage truck and it felt so heavy carrying it to the meet and greet area where I saw my family. I had a good lie down and a drink but had no appetite. My OH put me and two of my kids to get one of those bike taxis to Pizza Express on Victoria Street where we met some friends. Legs felt OK but when I got home I discovered two yukky blood blisters on each foot (one was HUGE and my son was almost sick).

Highlights for me:

1. The whole training journey and all the advise from Jedi Shades and everyone on this thread.

2. Hearing the London Marathon music at the start - it always makes me cry but felt much more poignant as a runner this year.

3. Seeing Iain with the Shadies banner and seeing members of my running club at the water station in Canary Wharf (although they all missed me!)

4. Seeing my OH at mile 15

5. Seeing David Weir again, but this time spectating at around mile 20.

6. Beating Harry, the drummer from McFly by 2 mins!

Will I do it again? I'm not sure today. I should get a GFA place but would only do it

Edited: 22/04/2013 at 12:55
22/04/2013 at 12:58

...if I could have a proper bash at getting a PB (Do you have a Level 3 plan, Shades?!)

I do feel like I need another goal so would love to shave some time off my 10K PB...just need to let those blisters heals first...

PS - Khani, saw 2 runners on the route with your Rolf charity vest on and couldn't hear any comments from the crowds!


22/04/2013 at 13:21

bootsie -maybe time to get a 2nd opinion, must be so frustrating.

Big G - I suppose VLM have to be strict otherwise they would be hounded all night by late arrivals.

Sofaboy - a great report and thank you for your kind words.   If you do decide to run another marathon maybe it would be better to aim for an autumn one and then the long runs can be done in warmer weather, this makes it more likely to get a PB too as you'll train in warm weather but race in cooler temperatures.

Slowkoala - and a lovely report from you too.   What amazing splits, almost textbook!    I don't have a Level 3 plan, I am considering writing one soon but I would expect you to PB on the current plan as marathon training does build up with experience.    Hope those blisters heal soon, at least you didn't feel them on the day.  Do a recovery run when you feel able to.  A walk will help if your feet aren't too sore.

Once you've recovered this is a good time to aim for a PB at shorter distances, the endurance you've gained from your marathon will help you to maintain race pace physically and mentally.

22/04/2013 at 13:23

Amazing writeups FastKoala (change your name!) and Sofaboy - I forgot to add one important thing. I was never in doubt of where Sofaboy was! There were hundereds of Richs, steves and johns. However, every time i heard that shout of 'go on sofaboy' i knew good old Sofaboy was somewhere close to me

22/04/2013 at 13:23

Well, well, well, it was a great experience, but sooo tough. Firstly many thanks to Shades for the plan, guidance, coaching and encouragement, I couldn’t, wouldn’t, have done as well without you, so thank you very much.

I can’t really remember the reason I really wanted to run the Marathon, I have a friend who ran it in 2012 and decided wanted to run it I 2013 – that’s it. Not one of my life’s great ambitions initially, but it grew and grew and became a strong and important motivator for me. I’d not run any races before Sep 2012, just jogged for bike racing fitness really. But having missed the 2013 Marathon Ballot (closed really quickly), I successfully went for a Charity Bond spot, so was in!! Before the race yesterday, and since Sep ’12,  I’d run 5 half Marathons and a Grim, followed Shade’s plan as close as possible and was about as ready as I could be for the sub 4 hour plan.

My view was to break 4 hours, for me, just completing wouldn’t be enough (but I now realise how great a feat that is on its own!!) and so I’d aimed for 9 min/miles to allow a cushion of time. I knew it was going to be tough for a sub4, but I was only going to do this once, and I’m very target driven, so a sub4 it was. I wanted to give this my best effort, so gave up alcohol in 2013, stopped playing golf (which I love) and dedicated my leisure time to preparing for the Marathon.  Come April 21st 2013, I was good to go.

Race Day; We’d trained in cold weather, but the day started warm and looked to be ideal for the race, I’d added extra water into my hydration strategy to accommodate, but this was going to be a bit hit-and-miss, as all my long runs had been in the cold with many layers on, but hey ho!!

Met Amir (Khanivore) and Rich (SofaBoy) at the Red start area and nervously discussed the plans and planning, some great banter too. In the start pen we started near to the 3.56 pacers and looked to stick with them for the race, that was the plan at least!!

We crossed the start line around 10.07, and it was pretty good space wise, we were in one of the forward pens and so it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected for space, the first hour went by pretty quickly and I was tracking with Amir and Rich for our target times. There were a few busy places and got slowed down, the Cutty Sark meant we’d got separated a bit from the pacers, but I felt we should just not waste energy dodging everyone to keep up, just relax and pick up the pace once we had more space. I then picked up the pace to ensure I was under 2 hours at the halfway point, not sure if Khani and Sofa were with me, but felt great across Tower Bridge as was overtaking a lot of people. and by half way, my time was 1.58, so all OK.

I felt OK, I knew I was in a race, but the weather was great, was fueling well and the crowds were fantastic. Could I keep the pace up I wasn’t sure, no real niggles or pains at this point to speak of, just the usual calf tightness and the tops of my feet were aching. My Wife was watching from the 13 mile / 22 mile point and I looked out for her as we went by, but as I looked across from the 13 mile to mile 22 marker I could see some really quick runners and some of the last wheelchair athletes, that was an uphill bit and in my head I wasn’t looking forward to mile 22 at all!! – I knew I’d be suffering by then on an uphill bit.

22/04/2013 at 13:24

Docklands was a tough bit for me, some nice downhill stretches, and the tighter roads and packed crowds created a loud, hot atmosphere, more water!! – I wanted to push on to mile 20 at 9mm pace and see what my time was, but found this tough. I checked my Garmin many times to check this, but the big buildings meant GPS was poor and some of the splits / current pace weren’t showing correctly – coming out of Docklands, was tough I knew I was eating into my small cushion of time and by the time I’d reached around 20 miles, I was outside my target time. I felt I couldn’t sustain sufficient pace to make sub4 and would need to go faster than before.

I kept going, but realising I wasn’t going to make sub4 I backed off, physically and mentally it still hurt a lot now, but high-fiving the crowds and getting cheered on was great. I soaked up the atmosphere, as much as the painful legs would allow. Rich and Amir came past me at around 22 miles and this helped me push on a bit. They both looked strong at this point, but my timings showed that we’d all fall outside the 4 hour target – unless they were going to put sub-8 min miles in – if they could then great, but I knew I couldn’t. I then stopped to hug my Wife who told me off for stopping!!, but I soon had to stop again to stretch out the calves, most of my body ached but was OK really, but my calves really hurt. But its just pain.

The last few miles were tough, really tough, the crowd were great though, having TIM on my vest is a great idea, don’t think most did this, but makes a lot of sense. Going slower meant I was able to thank those shouting out my name and savour my only Marathon. Up to Buck Palace and down the Mall was equally fanatastic, and for the last 100 yards, I felt I’d sprinted, but it was likely just an amble. I crossed the line in 4.09.47 and felt exhausted. Soon met up with Amir and his toilet issues he is well capable of way below 4hrs, and with experience will no doubt achieve his goals.  Didn’t see Rich afterwards, but was surprised he wasn’t closer to 4 hrs, he also looked strong and “Sofaboy” definitely got the crowds attention. He too can get under 4 hours easily if he gives up the ale

It’s the hardest activity I’ve ever undertaken, to those of you on here, who do many marathons, Shades, Valley Runner, Emmy, Bootsie, Iain, Marathon Molly, S200H, SlowKoala (great time yesterday) etc, etc… my hat’s off to you, only those who have will know how tough they are…

So that’s it, 8 months after signing up I’d run the VLM, my 4hr target may have been too ambitious, I’m not sure, but I know I gave it my best shot and that’s all I ever ask of myself and my kids. My 5 and 6 year olds now want to go running, so that’s a great bonus and hopefully a positive experience for them too. My Wife is cycling 60 miles for charity in June and so it’s time for me to support her and her efforts for a change.. Thanks to Rich and Amir for sharing this experience, great to share this with you guys. Thanks for all of the support from the Shadies on here, and especially Shades herself.  I will run 10ks and maybe a half later in the year, but not for a while…

My next sporting goal is to qualify for the Open Golf Championships as an amateur – I can dream J

It’s been a journey for sure. Tim 

22/04/2013 at 13:47

Tim - wonderful post mate. Really touching. I hope you and Sofaboy both do another marathon with me. I really do! 

22/04/2013 at 13:48

ps. I assume you will still be up for 5-10 mile plods around Frimley

22/04/2013 at 13:51

Just read through your vlm reports and it has given me goosebumps. If i could ever only do one marathon again it would be london. the comradery is unsurpassed and a fantastic first marathon..again very well done to all of you who ran this weekend..

Time for me to pull my finger out and make use of the 4 weeks remaining to put in a few extra miles. 

22/04/2013 at 14:41

I booked an appointment with the podiatrist for tonight so will see what she says .. good to have another view point

22/04/2013 at 15:12

Shades I have three questions I hope you can help me with.

1) when should i start 'as normal' regular running again? Someone at work told me i need to take a month off to let my muscles heal from microtears (whatever they are). This seems excessive to me!

2) when not training for a specific event what should my weekly plan look like?

3) when i pick an event where in the training plan should i start. Let's say i am doing 25-35 miles per week, where would you start in your marathon plan?



Edited: 22/04/2013 at 15:13
22/04/2013 at 15:16

slowkoala - i dont seem to have a photo of me crossing the finishing line on my set Does this mean they didn't take one? I shaved my armpits especially for that picture

22/04/2013 at 16:38

there must be a lot of burnt runners today. i usually don't catch the sun but i have a proper comedy imprint of my vest and phone armband today. only a little pink, but if i caught the sun some people must have ended up like lobsters.

22/04/2013 at 16:42
I'm burnt too, but its my legs that are suffering more. Massage booked for tomorrow
22/04/2013 at 16:58

i'm actually pretty limber again now. i was even considering joining the guys for the weekly squash session, buti think that may be pushing it a bit.

22/04/2013 at 21:18

Khani - I don't have a finishing line photo either, just the one they took just after the finish. But I think they may still add more. At least you are smiling in all of yours!

Had to go into a trot/jog today to keep up with my 6 year old and his friends and felt so much better for it. So then decided to go for short 'recovery' jog/shuffle with my 11 year old. Just a mile, but it felt OK. Then feeling inspired, thought I would give my legs a cold bath but only lasted a minute! Still struggling with stairs and am certainly not 'limber' like Sofaboy.

Now eaten the two prunes in the goody bag plus the gum, pistachios and cruncy bar.

A BIG thanks to Shades again for all your patience. You really are a legend and should definitely write a book.


22/04/2013 at 21:52
No recovery jog for me. Maybe tomorrow. Feel really sleepy! Early night for me I think. Had a chat with Rattler earlier. He went from being adamant this would be his only marathon to saying that he would enter the ballot and see what happens. A slippery slope my friend
22/04/2013 at 21:54
I have my eyes closed in the two photos from the mall in the finishing straight when I had removed my hat for the photo. Grrrrrr
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