On a Plateau
Adrian (aka Shady_Ady in the forum)
Target: Under 3:30 would be a dream come true and a lifelong ambition.
Marathon PB: 3:44:29 (Boston Marathon, 2009)
See Adrian's training schedule here.
My strengths: Focus, enthusiasm, will-power and the continuing desire to keep improving and succeed. Running gives me a feel good factor that I'm addicted to (imagine a dog with its head stuck out of a car window - that's me running!)
My weaknesses: Diet; namely real ale and a sweet tooth. I believe this is the root cause of my stagnant PB. Others may argue my lack of speed work in training could be the answer.
About me: The first few marathons I ran, I was beaten by athletes dressed as giant condoms, telephone boxes and half the Mr Men cast. Since then I've dramatically improved, but many friends still view me as a 'fun-runner'. My wife stands at every finish line, rain or shine. There's not a better feeling than seeing her proud face. Although she'd be happy if I came home after a sloth, I owe it to her AND myself to give a performance to be truly proud of, before the hours spent training are exchanged for nappy changing. Determination, enthusiasm and motivation to reach my goal won't be a problem. After losing several family members to cancer, with minimal training I walked 1,160 miles from Lands End to John o'Groats for charity. My 15 marathons will provide a solid foundation for this experience and I'll share every high and low of this amazing opportunity.
Follow Adrian on social media: Twitter: @Ady_Livingstone | Shady_Ady in the RW forum.
Follow Adrian's forum thread - remember to post your advice or training tips and join the debate!
More about Adrian...
At 31 years old, I have been running for eight years. I've drastically improved since my first marathon, where I was beaten by half of the Mr Men cast. I now have a PB of 3:44 and more than 15 marathons under my belt.
I know I can go faster than this, and my 3:30 target has been the dream since I fell in love with long distance running. I've never been blessed with the perfect body. Everything I've accomplished has been through hard work and graft. Running keeps me sane. It gives me a feel-good factor I've become addicted to. Target 26.2 is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I will give everything to finally make my dream come true.
How do you feel about making the final five?
When I received the phone call to say I'd made the final five, I kept waiting for the words, "I'm sorry to say you haven't been successful this year." When I heard the opposite, it still didn't sink in for a good hour. I was up against very strong candidates and although I had given my best, I wasn't sure if this would be enough.
Now it has sunk in, I'm still going through a whole range of feelings. I'm daunted that I now have so much to prove. I'm excited about receiving wisdom from some of the best running experts in the business. Most importantly, I'm confident that I'll remain dedicated and focused to all that I'm asked to do. This should bring me home in Paris in sub-3:30.
How do your training plans differ from the training you've done before?
The training I have done before wasn't structured at all. I often worked my running around my lifestyle and work. I never focused on speedwork. When I ran, I just ran, without a thought of pacing myself properly. I never thought about the importance of variety. I would run at the same speed on virtually every run.
My training now is completely different. The mileage is lower than what I would normally do in marathon training (30-40miles, compared to 40-50 miles per week) and I also run on fewer days (four or five compared to six). Saying this, it's structured and varied and I'm quickly realising it's about quality rather than quantity.
The biggest change though is that my work and lifestyle is now planned around my running. Apart from having a happy wife, running is my priority now. I give it the respect it deserves.
What are you most looking forward to?
I'm most looking forward to working with Sam Murphy. It's not often you get the chance to work with such an esteemed coach. What I learn from Sam won't only help with reaching my goal time in Paris, but it'll be knowledge I'll take away and use throughout the rest of my long-distance running career.
I'm still seen as a 'fun-runner' by many, and I hope this experience will help change that perception and push me to a whole new level - a level I never thought possible before.
It's not just the running side that excites me. It's learning from other members of the ASICS team, especially on nutrition. With pork pies and real ale amongst my favourite treats, I'm aiming to completely overhaul my diet. I have a target of losing 16lbs in the 16 week training program. If I achieve this, my sub-3:30 goal will become far more achievable.
What will be your biggest challenge?
Some would say my biggest challenge is my target time itself. It's a big jump from 3:44 and is pushing me towards the top end of my current ability.
I'm not afraid of challenges though. In 2011, my wife and I walked 1160 miles from Lands End to John O'Groats for a cancer charity in memory of close relatives that had recently lost their battle to this disease. We did this with minimal training.
In the past, I haven't always focused on good quality speed work. I think this is currently my weakest area and needs the highest levels of improvement. This could well be my biggest challenge. I'd like to think with focused efforts on speed work this time around, I'll not only get a new marathon PB, but also PBs in shorter distances before race day comes.
I'm not blessed with ripped abs and dancing pecs. Changing my diet to eat more of the correct food groups and to exterminate my sweet tooth might also take a lot of will power. So far though, this has been far easier than I expected it would be.