Lucozade Sport Super Six: Andy (sub-4:00)

Follow the progress of Andy (aka AndyV) live in the forums as he prepares to run a sub-4:00 marathon under the guidance of mentor Steve Smythe

Posted: 17 December 2009

Goal: sub-4:00
Mentor: Steve Smythe
Sport scientist: Gareth Turner
Forum nickname: AndyV

Age: 34
Running for: 1 year
No. of marathons: 0

PB for 10K: 43:00 Half-Marathon: 1:42 Marathon n/a
Strengths: Tenacity, inner strength - and a sense of humour.
Weaknesses: Inexperience and not listening to my body enough.
Did you know? I can be a right klutz. After five years of marriage I've just managed tolose my wedding ring... My wife's going to kill me when she finds out!
Andy's Schedule | Andy's Training Thread | Andy's profile

Race day

Andy says: I totally stormed it! I beat my stretch target by 40 seconds – not bad for a sugar-fuelled crazy Mini-Me lookalike! I can barely walk now and I'm sunburnt but none of that matters - I'm a marathon runner! I've been a total sicknote, and the final setback in the last fortnight was shinsplints. By Friday I felt OK, completed the two miler and decided to give it a go.I had a very painful massage at the expo, and got to the start feeling great – not a niggle in sight!

I found myself in a group all going for 8:30 pace, and the first mile was bang on. This set the tone. The miles ticked by and the crowds got deeper. It really has to be experienced to be believed – I felt like I was in the Olympics! I was on target for 3:45 throughout, and from Mile 15 I was passing people left right and centre. I hit Buckingham Palace, realised it was in the bag and went absolutely mental screaming towards the finish. Medal round neck, job done!

So where do I go from here? Well, it’s clear I've got some biomechanical stuff to sort out - I can't pick up an injury every two weeks! It’s been an unbelievable prize. I’d never done a marathon and I didn’t have a clue. It’s really set me up – I’m already thinking about 3:30 for next year.

Steve says: As soon as I saw Andy run for the first time, I thought he was capable of a sub-4:00, and he duly delivered with some ease. Andy had the necessary basic speed that meant 3:45 was possible but in his first marathon and with little training background, it was never going to be an easy journey. After a great start, Andy had injury problems that meant little training in the latter weeks and put his race in doubt.

Luckily Andy is a very able runner and a great listener, and he raced and prepared intelligently. He held a sub-3:45 pace well through the first half and even ran a negative split to finish in a splendid 3:44:22. This was a brilliant first marathon off such interrupted preparation. I have no doubt with another year of training behind him and as long as he stays injury-free, Andy will break 3:30. He has been a great host to the sub-4 thread and was an excellent person to coach - with the exception of the injuries!

Gareth says: Andy openly admitted he was a nutritional novice when he started back in January but he was willing to give anything and everything a go. He soon found his perfect nutrition and hydration strategy which he attributes to his success. Other runners can learn a great deal from Andy’s open mind and willingness to learn.

Weeks 14 - 15

Andy says: I managed to clock up a great last couple of long runs. A new AndyV Distance Record of 20.2miles (three hours of which were in sideways rain!) and then a 15 mile long run in glorious conditions. I also experienced my first ever ice bath - total freezing nightmare! But it was worth every freezing second as I could walk properly afterwards, instead of the Quasimodo act I’d been doing. Not for the faint hearted!

My left shin is still grumbling. Hell, every other part of my body has given me grief over the last two months so it was about its turn. I don't think its serious but all my previous injury problems stem from the week after my longest ever run so I need to be careful. Number one priority is to get to the start line. The rest I can handle… I think! I would love 3:45 in London, but perhaps more realistically would happily settle for sub-4 considering how much of a ‘sicknote’ I've been.

Steve says: Everything went so well for Andy initially that he was looking like a potential sub 3:30 runner than a sub-4. But injuries have held him back, as they do for so many prospective marathoners. Two bouts of knee problems have slowed his progress and just when that appears to have cleared, he now has a shin problem. This has curtailed the last week’s training and meant the taper has been even more of a taper than planned. However, it may not be a serious problem and shouldn't affect his marathon.

Andy has done the bulk of the work now and luckily has talent such that even with reduced training sub-4 remains achievable. It will be harder with the missed training but at least Andy will be fresh and rested!

Gareth says: The taper has been the main aspect of everyone’s training the last couple of weeks. The nutritional debate has mainly focused on water vs sport drinks. The differences between sports drinks and water have been discussed with many different points of view. Most are in agreement that sports drinks are important as long as they are taken in the right context.

Weeks 12 - 13

Andy says: Talk about a bloomin’ rollercoaster! No-one said this marathon lark was going to be easy, but this fortnight has seen a repeat of the knee pain, brand new ITB troubles – and great racing too. My knee was causing trouble, so I had to return to my old recovery strategies. But I refused to get down about it, saw my recovery period as another PB to break, and break it I did - I narrowed it down from two weeks to a week! I was planning to race at Reading Half-Marathon, but I had to make the tough decision not to race. It just wasn't meant to be this year. But then the following week at Dorney, my race went really well! I ran at the right pace, it was very comfortable and I only felt the knee at mile seven.

I may not get to the start line in the shape or form desired, but get there I will. It takes more than a dodgy knee and a smidgen of ITB to get to AndyV. Bring on VLM!

Steve says: Andy hasn't had the best luck in the last few weeks, with a recurrence of his knee problem and also an ITB niggle. The knee prevented him from running the Reading Half-Marathon, which was a shame as Andy seemed certain to PB and he wanted to revisit his major race of 2009. But it was the right and sensible decision to err on the side of caution. Andy eased back to faster running with a solid run at Dorney, which indicated that while he may have lost a little bit of fitness the sub-4 dream lives on.

As long as he has a solid last few weeks and stays on top of the niggles, Andy is sure to run a great marathon debut. He has more than sub-4 potential and even though he has missed training, race day should still find him within his target time.

Gareth says: A successful run at the Lucozade Sport Pace Your Race event has boosted Andy’s confidence that he can achieve his sub-4 goal. Andy’s main worry was his knee but it held up and he finished the race feeling fresh and ready for another 13 miles! His nutritional preparation was again successful - one less thing to worry about on race day.

There have been plenty of nutritional questions on the thread - hydration status and worrying about going to the toilet seem to be on everyone’s mind. All the runners need to be prepared for anything that the elements throw at them on the day of the VLM; quite a few are now realizing they are sweating lots more running in hotter conditions.

Weeks 10 - 11

Andy says: This week, I set a new AndyV distance world record – 20 miles in 3.08:18. I even managed one of those ‘negative split’ things I keep hearing about! Overall the run felt good - I basically just ran out into the countryside and went where I pleased. My legs were a little sore afterwards, but hell - it was 20 miles! I iced my legs and then had a long bath and it seems to have worked.

I think time on feet is now critical if I’m to do well at VLM. I feel pretty relaxed about only running four times a week, on my physio’s advice. I've just got to make each remaining LSR count. I’m also running without knee supports for the first time in a month. I don’t want to jinx anything but… Happy days!

Steve says: Andy seems to have recovered well from his injury. He followed up his very long run in week 9 with a good marathon pace run at the weekend and a solid interval session. His longest run to date has been a 20 miler, which went very well. He completed it in 3:08, ran slightly quicker in the second half and finished it feeling strong -stamina is not a problem for Andy! Andy followed that up with some good midweek runs including a solid fartlek session.

He still needs to nurse his knee problem but all being well, Andy will aim to put all his good work to use with a half-marathon PB at Reading.

Gareth says: Andy has had a really promising week and seems to be back on track since his injury – he’s in pursuit of a personal best at the Reading Half-Marathon on Sunday. He has been practicing different nutritional strategies on his long runs in order to find the perfect plan for the VLM, and has currently settled on a strategy of 300ml Lucozade Fuel and a gel every hour, plus water. This strategy fuels his performance and also maintains his hydration.

Hydration has been discussed in greater detail on this thread, including the tricky question of how quickly to consume fluids. I advised that drinking slowly is a more effective method of hydration. Other forum users have discussed how they can take the complex science of sports nutrition and apply it to their races, the benefits of sports drinks over water and how runners of different weights have to prepare differently for races and long runs.

Weeks 8 - 9

Andy says: Happy days – I'm back running! I was a bit tired at the end of my first run back, so I've clearly lost a bit of fitness but even when the heavens opened and I got absolutely soaked I still had a smile on my face. Running really does improve the mood doesn't it?! I'm not 100% (more like 80-ish) but I can run as long as I follow a few ground rules: three to four runs a week maximum (on alternate days), with light cross-training as an alternative. Physio Phil suggested 75% of max effort for a while, so the speed and hill sessions might be off the agenda in the short-term. The knee problem has been my first ever running-related injury and on reflection, in some ways I'm glad it's happened - and happened at this stage of the process.

Steve says: Andy's injury cost him training and fitness and he started Week 8 gently. He gradually resumed training with a six-mile run, a faster two-mile session, the Training Day track session and a long run. The injury held up well so in Week 9 he has stepped up a level with some speedwork and his longest run to date.

Andy has potentially lost a little endurance but such is his ability, the effect should be minimal. His pacing for his long run was superb and his speed was fine. He was very patient and sensible when dealing with his injury and his measured return to training and attention to detail (in terms of nutrition and preparation) have been remarkable. Now he has to be careful not to try and make up for lost time by squeezing in too many harder sessions in the time remaining. If he stays healthy and maintains his drive and enthusiasm, then a sub-4:00 finish should be a certainty.

Gareth says: Andy has his pre-race routine pretty much perfected. He has a large bowl of porridge three hours before running and then drinks a Caffeine Boost an hour before he sets off. There was some great debate on his training thread this week about the perfect bowl of porridge - the fine art of how long to "nuke" it in the microwave, various toppings and portion sizes.

On-the-go fuelling strategies are now a priority and a particularly hot topic is how to use a combination of Body Fuel, carbo gels and water. All are available on course at the Virgin London Marathon but different runners have different preferences on how best to use them. Andy is currently practising a strategy that involves him taking on 350ml Lucozade Body Fuel and a gel every hour, as well as sipping water.

Weeks 6 - 7

Andy says: This week, I've been unlucky enough to join the others on the injury bench. I've got Supra Patella Bursitis – aka Housemaid's Knee. Trust me to get a real "manly" injury! This is the first setback in my running career (a whopping 18 months) and I just feel cross. I'm the fittest I've ever been, yet here I am debating whether I can do a snail-paced jog or two.

I like to deal with problems head on, but I've got to wait and see the doctor and physio. So, frustratingly it's out of my hands. My general philosophy on things when things are bad is "have a bag of Minstrels, deal with the problem, move on". I can do the first bit, but I'm having trouble waiting for the next part…

Steve says: Everything was going so well for Andy, He did a great long run two weeks ago and then followed that up with a superb 400m session (where he ran faster for each rep) and a solid six-miler. However, the next day he felt something wrong in his knee and his marathon training came to a halt. Andy was quick to ice the injury initially and saw a physio who diagnosed Supra Patella Bursitus. Andy has been remarkably patient, has carried out his strengthening exercises and is hopeful of now testing out his injury.

It's almost inevitable that anyone preparing for a marathon will pick up some sort of niggle during their training. Experienced runners can sometimes run through niggles (or ease back slightly) unless they feel something is particularly bad. But beginners (or those with little marathon background) need to be more careful until they know their body (and its limits) better. It is more important to reach the startline having missed some training than not get there at all. As Andy has been sensible, I am confident that he will be back on track soon and as he was in such good shape prior to this injury, he should still be ahead of where he needs to be at this stage.

Gareth says: An injury to Andy's knee has prevented any further progress over the last week or so. He has therefore had to alter his nutrition as he is exercising less. Andy had provided me with a week-long food diary - from this, I was able to split Andy's diet into the three most important food categories: carbohydrate, protein and fat. I then compared Andy's diet to the recommendations of an athlete at his level of activity. On the whole, his diet was good and well-balanced and his post-run recovery strategy was excellent. Porridge with raisins, together with a recovery product, contain the carbs and protein your body needs to help recovery. Also, by having five small meals throughout the day, Andy has been able to eat enough calories while avoiding that bloated feeling you can often get with three large meals. Andy runs early in the morning so consuming a large amount of carbs in the evening will help fuel these sessions - by doing this, he won't have to get up earlier to eat. Andy has also been consuming around two litres of fluid per day to ensure he is adequately hydrated.

Weeks 4 - 5

Andy says: My 10K build-up race this fortnight turned out to be more dramatic than expected. I wanted the day to go like clockwork - I even had a nutrition plan – but a family emergency struck on the morning of race day. Thankfully everything turned out fine, but I wasn't exactly in the best frame of mind when I hared off to the race. Despite this, and Lord knows why, I got to the start line and felt totally calm. I then went and beat my 10K PB by 1 minute and 45 seconds!

It's taught me that I'm mentally tougher than I thought, that I really want this and that nutrition (timing and quality) can turn a mediocre performance into an excellent one. Lesson well and truly learned - now I'm hoping to take it easy and avoid any more drama!

Steve says: Andy started the fortnight in style with a fantastic 10K PB despite a family crisis. The time confirmed that Andy has more than enough speed to break four hours, and his sub-7-minute-mile effort probably suggests he could easily break 3:30 and even possibly 3:15! However, while the speed is there, his stamina and endurance are still an unknown at this early stage. He has coped well with everything so far but the real long runs are still some way ahead.

Andy's pacing has improved though he still occasionally runs too quick - he ran a suggested marathon-pace session at a level more akin to a sub-3:15 runner. One area where Andy is improving greatly is his nutritional knowledge and this should keep him strong for his coming long runs. He certainly thought it helped in his 10K. At the moment Andy remains on target for a substantial sub-4:00 performance but he must stay healthy, build his endurance and keep his pacing in check.

Gareth says: I am currently in the process of analysing Andy's weekly food diary - lots of the athletes on his thread are looking forward to the results! He recently ran a 10K PB and though he said he would usually never choose to race at that time (1.30pm) as he tends to feel lethagic, he's sure the timing and quality of his fluid and fuel intake played a signficant role.

Andy seems to have found his performance partner with our Caffeine Boost - normally when he runs, his concentration can wane (followed by a deterioration in pace) but having tried Caffeine Boost, he felt focused and "in the zone".

Weeks 2 - 3

Andy says: Committing to five runs a week isn't easy. The bad weather and snow hasn't helped but clearly I need to adapt and have Plan Bs and Cs to juggle family, work and running commitments. I'm still running far too fast – I blame it on having to rush back to work after lunch! I know I'm terrible at pacing as well as a self-confessed treaddie demon (my times outdoors are nowhere near that good). But I'm anticipating that as the mileage really starts to jump up my excess speed will melt away…

Now I'm finding that even though I'm only mid-way through week 3, I'm always hungry. My late night bowl of Shreddies is starting to resemble the leaning tower of Pisa! Is anyone else getting the munchies? That aside, I'm feeling fresh, healthy and more informed. Happy days!

Steve says: Andy has done everything and more so far, fitting it all the training with ease over the first three weeks as well as work and family commitments. His one fault in the early weeks has probably been his habit of doing everything a little too quickly. Andy's speed is much more developed than either his endurance or pace judgement - but he's learning fast. Now that Andy's far more comfortable with his Garmin he has adjusted to a much better pace. He is still slightly faster than the advised paces, but within reasonable bounds considering his 10K speed, and this speeding is unlikely to adversely affect his longer runs.

His body may take a while to adjust to the heavier training weeks ahead and the longer races but he is very strong - his weight training should stand him in good stead. However, the success of his marathon campaign will only become apparent when he starts on the longer runs and races.

Gareth says: So far, Andy has mainly focused on how to ensure he is adequately hydrated, both before a run and throughout the day. His hydration status is definitely a work in progress but he is quickly gaining an understanding of various solutions to help determine your level of hydration, whether that's checking the colour of your urine, running with a hydration backpack or stashing drinks on his regular running loop.Andy and I have agreed that he will keep a food diary for a week - I will then analyse this and report back in the forums. I'll be looking at what he is eating for his main meals and also what he is eating in and around his training sessions. That way, I'll be able to provide some information for the "Average Joe" runner. Andy summed up his progress last week by saying that he now has a better understanding of hydration but just needs to put it into practice!

Week 1

Andy says: As a novice marathon runner, I've got three aims for VLM 2010: finish, go sub-4:00, and learn how to train effectively for years to come. I've got a lot to learn, and pace management is my biggest issue. I'm fast over short distances, and I know I have potential but there's no way I'll be going off quickly in London - I've no idea how my body will react at the dreaded 20 mile point.

Because of the wintry weather, I'm stuck on a treadmill – a necessary evil but it's starting to bug me now. The main lesson I've learned so far is that with a family, work and this weather you need to be flexible, think ahead and have a plan B, C and maybe D. Now, I wonder if I can incorporate nappy-changing into my dynamic stretching routine...

Steve says: With just a year's running behind him, Andy faces a huge challenge, largely into the unknown. There is no way of knowing yet how Andy will cope with the significant increase in mileage and the grind of a four-month build-up but he is extremely keen and has good, natural speed.That said, he does need to slow down some of his training runs as he has a tendency to run more like sub-3:00 than sub-4:00 marathoner, and with the extra miles required for a marathon, it's important he paces himself correctly so he doesn't burn out or get injured before April.

Andy doesn't really have a history of following a schedule or doing organised speedwork so this too will be a big learning curve and he will need to be discliplined. The key to him reaching his target will be doing the long runs at the right pace and staying fit and healthy through the winter - I have every confidence that if he manages this, he will sail under the four-hour barrier.

Gareth says: Andy has been very active on his training thread, posting information about his latest runs and how he has felt while completing them. Although his nutritional knowledge isn't very advanced - something he is happy to admit - he is always keen to ask questions in order to learn more. Most recently, he has been asking how the consumption of caffeine might affect his performance and was interested to learn that the average cup of coffee has less caffeine than a bottle of Lucozade Sport Caffeine Boost.

In addition, Andy's hydration has affected one or two of his runs so far. As many runners are aware, the colour of your urine can indicate how hydrated you are but ensuring you are fully hydrated before a run isn't always easy.

About Andy

Andy says: I remember the exact date I started running – it was Christmas Eve last year. I realised I'd got fat and couldn't carry on as I was. I signed up for the Reading Half-Marathon there and then, even though I used to hate running.

Now running means a lot of things to me – it makes me feel good about myself, and helps keep the weight off. I've got two children and a busy work life, so running is my time. I go out at the crack of dawn (partly to avoid changing nappies) and just leave it all behind. Usually I run with no science or strategy, but I want to do my first marathonproperly. I'm hoping to use all the support and advice I get over the next few months as a springboard, and apply what I learn to my running for the next five, ten, even twenty years. Steve has a no-nonsense, straight talking approach that I really like – he's already told me off for going too fast!

I'm looking forward to getting involved with the forums more, and sharing what I learn too. I love the fact that no matter what I ask on there, within a couple of hours I'll have advice from least four different forumites!

Steve says: Andy has no marathon experience and hasn't much running background. However he has bags of talent and more than sufficient speed to comfortably break four hours. That said, at this stage there is no way of knowing how he will cope with the increased mileage required in marathon training or how he will cope when he gets past 20 miles.

Andy is clearly going to have to step his training up significantly, which will increase his risk of injury. He seems to have plenty of motivation and enthusiasm but admits he can get carried away and not listen to his body. This will be crucial over the months ahead - even when you are following a schedule, you need to know when to ease back and when the best option is actually rest.

His half-marathon time of 1:42 shows he already has the basic speed and as he achieved this so early in his running career, I suspect that he can take many minutes off this time, especially when his endurance improves with the marathon training.

Gareth says: Andy is very keen to learn how he can improve his performance through nutrition. He started running originally to lose weight but is now looking to beat his PBs through maintaining a healthy diet and drinking the right products.

One of the key areas we need to work on is how he can take on fluid when training - a common problem for a lot of runners. Proper hydration before, during and after your runs is crucial for a successful performance and can really make a difference when competing.

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Lucozade Sport Super Six

Discuss this article

Introducing the third member of our Lucozade Sport Super Six… Andy (aka AndyV).

Andy's only been running a year but is now gearing up for his first attempt at the big one, and hoping to go sub-4:00 to boot.

Andy will be using our sub-4:00 Garmin-ready schedule (devised by former London Marathon winner Mike Gratton) as a basis for his training and will be mentored by Steve Smythe directly on this thread (starting January 4).

He’ll be posting his training progress and be receiving fuel and hydration advice directly from the Lucozade Sport sports scientists live on this thread so make sure you check back regularly to find out how he gets on.

You can read more about Andy's running background and goals by clicking on the article link at the top of the thread.

Good luck Andy!

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 11:02

Yeah good luck, I ducked under 4 hours in my first London, it was fantastic, I'm sure you'll do it!!
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 11:11

Cheers Mr P. Still on a high at being selected. Looking forward to your imput over the next four or so months. I'm gonna need it!
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 11:19

Well if I don't do it in 2010 then I'm giving up marathon running.

Good luck Andy. No pressure

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 13:03

fat face wrote (see)

Well if I don't do it in 2010 then I'm giving up marathon running.

Oi, none of that  or you get a Paddington Extra Hard Stare, you'll both storm over that finish line together.  Good luck both of you

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 13:25

Hi everyone

I have every confidence in Andy as long as he doesn't do a fatface and get injured weeks before while in great shape! Hopefully both Andy and fatface will sail inside 4 together in April.

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 15:11

Damn right VLM 2010 Bring it on

See you at the finish line Fatface    (or more likely...get me a beer in for when i finally catch you up)

Isn't it easy being confident when you've just had your lardy work xmas lunch two weeks before the hard work really starts!

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 15:51

What do you mean 2 weeks before the work really starts? Where's your pre-schedule schedule?
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 15:57

Beer and mince pies

Running wise I'm used to doing three runs a week of varying length up to 10k. Have done more (and longer distances in the past up to HM) but am not taking part in an event until March (Reading HM).  I have tried to increase this to 4 this week (in prep for the schedule) but the snow and ice have prevented me doing the 4th this morning grrrrrr.  Might try and fit in a cheeky 5k in the gym now before getting kids to bed.

I'll fill in more tonight (or over the weekend) peeps

Cheers for now 

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 17:24

Agreed a lardy lunch (or two) are allowed until December 25 and then the pre schedule could start in the style of a former Today's Runner-type schedule of a 26 mile run at 8:45 miling on Boxing Day...or maybe that can wait until April...

 Am thinking it would be an idea to find some more races before Reading to see your racing shape is progressing - they don't have to be big races or taken too seriously but I think it breaks the training up a little and reveals more than training does.

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 17:32

Good luck with it Andy,i  ran London last year my 1st marathon got round in 3 .57 ,its not easy mate but you will find everyone on the forums will support you loads over the next few hard mths!

Just enjoy it mate you will be amazed hoe much it changes your perspective on stuff !!

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 17:39

Good luck Andy...I'll be training along side you for the Paris marathon and probably lurking on your thread a bit.  I'm really envious of your being selected for this....your memories of your first VLM will be amazing.

As fat face said, no pressure.

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 18:20

Listen here mini-me, like I said the other week, you're going to come round the corner by the Palace, see the 26 mile marker (cunningly disguised as "385 yds to go") and then you'll see the clock over the finish line starting with 3h4xmxxs........
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 19:56

Lincoln Gooner: 3:57 this year in the heat. Awesome buddy must have felt great when you finished. That is my goal exactly for VLM 2010. Anyway welcome to the thread look forward to sharing the experience with you.
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 21:14

Lake: Welcome and thanks for contributing on this thread. i know I'm very fortunate and am really going to make the most of this opportunity. Looking forward to your contributions over the next few months. Doing Paris is pretty cool. How many marathons have you done?. I'm guessing (but not assuming) that your not a newbee like me
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 21:17

Steve (Coach): Thanks for your input already. Means alot fella. I think your right about entering more events. I'll do abit of research and try and find some local small ones.

Additionally i'm already thinking about March time and thinking with Reading and Dorney on consecutive sundays (both HM's) I may need to tweak the official schedule to bring forward some longer runs. Anyway plenty of time to worry about that later i guess. For I say... thanks for getting involved already .

Cheers AndyV 

Posted: 18/12/2009 at 21:21

yeah I'll give it some thought EP. I need to work out things in line with schedule and check in with Steve. Thanks for the heads up though. 
Posted: 18/12/2009 at 21:53

Welcome to the Sub 4 Hr Thread! . I kind of wanted to start with this but hey "better late than never!"

If, like me, you want to "do it in 4" this is the place to be. I also want to welcome any marathon newbees (not just London) or wannabes (2010 and beyond). In truth I have no idea what I've let myself in for, or what I'm capable of, but doesn't that apply to all first timers right?

My RW profile and the Super Six links will hopefully tell you abit about me and what I'm about. I will know doubt fill in the blanks as this journey continues. For now all you need to know is that I appeciate  i'm really lucky to win this prize and will make the very most of this opportunity. I'm gonna share all i learn and want as many of you to get involved as possible. Don't be shy get involvedt!

Pre schedule I'll keep you informed of what I get up to running wise. I envisage this covering the basics such as how to warm up properly (I thought I knew but boy was I wrong) and  what I've learnt from the Lucozade science dudes already. Schedule proper kicks off on Mon 4th Jan and ,well, I guess i'll tell you about my plans in advance for that also.

Oh by the way running is my escape from a busy hectic life. My mind tends to wander when clocking up the miles. Expect the odd random thought of the day comment or just plain rambling at times. Today's thought::

 We've had the eighties, nineties and noughties. Are we really going to look back at the next decade as the "teenies"? Doesn't sound right does it? Sounds like a CBeebies programme my little boy Jack is keen on.  

 PS: Check out the video on the Super Six link. Watch the warm ups without sound. It's like a Monty Python "Ministry of Silly Walks Sketch". You have no idea how nervous us so called "supersixers" have been about the dreaded vid bit!

 Lastly let me know your out there Sub 4 dudes,newbees and wannabies. Get in contact

Bye for now


Posted: 18/12/2009 at 22:35

Hi Andy

Good luck with the training, I ran my first marathon, London this year in 4:15, so I'll be lurking on here as I was lucky enough to get in through the ballot and I'd love to dip under 4 hours in 2010.

Believe it or not, I am finding this year a bit more daunting cos I actually know what I am letting myself in for, this year was blissful ignorance ... thats not to say that I didn't put the training in!

Anyway I'll be following your thread and hope to pick up some tips!


Posted: 18/12/2009 at 23:38

Hello Andy,

Best wishes with this one.

I am also hoping for a sub 4 in my 1st '26.2' marathon - how much of a sub four is an unknown at the moment.

Good luck again.
Posted: 19/12/2009 at 06:56

Morning Andy - just wanted to wish you all the best of luck with your training!

'ello Mr K - I'm not stalking you honest

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 07:36

Morning Andy - just popping in to see what the speedy sub 4 ers were up to.

It's looking good.

I have to say this Super Six things feels like the biggest and best Christmas pressie ever!! It's like being 9 again!!!

Have a good day y'all

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 07:41

spinkletoes wrote (see)

I have to say this Super Six things feels like the biggest and best Christmas pressie ever!! I

Doesn't it just?

Morning all

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 07:45

Ang12: Welcome to the thread. 4:15 this year in the heat. Sounds to me like 2010 is your year to go Sub 4

Anyway looking forward to your input over the next few months.

Cheers AndyV

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 16:50

Thanks Andy, just back from the annual club cup run ... 6 mile cross country .... and I mean CROSS COUNTRY!  I am sure it was tougher than the marathon  

Club party tonight so will feel like I have earned my glass of Vino or 2 or 3 ........

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 16:54

Mr Krimbo: Sounds like we're in the same boat. Speaking to people who have done it (not least coach Steve) I've got the potential to "do it in 4"  based on smaller distance times (best hm 1h42). Still we've no idea really have we. I hear hitting mile 20 is the shocker!

I'm gonna recieve a load of advice from the experts and the forumites so keep checking in and contributing. Prior to the schedule officially kicking off (4th Jan) I will post a few bloggs about info gained in the last few weeks. This will cover strethching techniques and nutrition info already received from Lucozade advisors. These have already radically improved my post run recovery. Hopefully you'll find some of interesting and useful.  



Posted: 19/12/2009 at 17:02

Ang12: Blimy it must have been freezing. Being a wuss I did 8 miles (but on a gym treadmill). It was even more boring than usual as the telly wasn't working!

Enjoy your evening. Nowt wrong with a cheeky vino or three ....tis the season and all that

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 17:06

Was very cold, but once you get going it's ok .. hardest step is the first one out the door etc .

Well done on the 8m, I have a treadmill at home and use that a lot as I try to fit training around kids and work.  

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 17:16

Hi Andy

Thought i'd tap into your thread... so not too miss out on all the excitement! Been keeping in touch with a couple of the other supersix and i'm glad to see your thread is just as lively as the next one. I suspect this should be the most appropriate thread to keep tabs on timewise though as the following would suggest...1st Marathon, similar pb's, similar age etc.

Would be good to share a bit of conversation so as to get some tips over the next few months. Like you say... the big unknown is how we'll cope from 20 miles onwards. Hopefully they'll be a trade off of hard graft in training vs return. Fingers crossed!

Bye for now.


Posted: 19/12/2009 at 17:32

Vicki: Great to see you on the thread. Didn't you do a marathon recently?
Posted: 19/12/2009 at 20:35

Lamkjo: sounds like you've found your thread buddy. Look forward to your input mate
Posted: 19/12/2009 at 20:36

Ang12: Yeah i find treadmills a necessary evil. They seem easier on the joints and I use them to combine short runs with a gym weights session. That said you can't be a long outside weekend run for progressing the training. Don't know where your based but here in Newbury its just been too icy. No good for running outside or even building proper snowmen with the kids. Total rubbish weather!

Anyway I suspect your not reading this now. Hope your enjoying the club night and the vino is flowing

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 20:40

Mr Krimbo:  Steve the coach has rightly suggested i pencil in some race events. By chance I've looked up the Goring 10k in Jan (10th i think) and seen your name reviewing it for Jan 2009. Sounds like the second half is tough but this journey was never going to be a picnic i guess. Your review seemed pretty upbeat. Basically in your opinion is this one worth doing? Is it all on road?

All Forumites: Anyone done/doing the Jan Goring 10k? 

Posted: 19/12/2009 at 20:58

Andy - I plan to stick around.

Yes I ran Goring 10Km last year but cannot make it this year as it clashes with Stubbington 10Km. Goring is an interesting one - a 'V' shaped course...I think I beat my 5Km pb in the 1st half but then the second half of the course came along.

Saying that I thought it was a faily good all road event and certainly got you warm on a cold Sunday morning.

Posted: 20/12/2009 at 10:46

Hi Andy

It's a bit of a trot for you to get to, but the Watford half in February is fantastic.  The atmosphere's great, loads of forumites do it, and despite the name it's my number one race of the year for picture postcard scenery

Posted: 20/12/2009 at 12:38

Edit because I am a an idiot
Posted: 20/12/2009 at 12:40

Watford Half probably doesn't fit into schedule as well as a 10k would but can see doing it in terms of assessing fitness could make it attractive.

 I don't like treadmills but today could see the attractions as it was treachorous on road and paths in places and meant lots of stops, but was ok on grass obviously.

It ended up being my slowest ever long run and also my most expensive as somehow my keys fell out and I needed to get a locksmith to get back in as my neighbour with spare key was out. Still frozen from being outside so long.

Was entered for Telford 10k today but that was called off overnight though decided yesterday it wasn't worth the trip so pleased I did a cross-country in the afternoon.

Posted: 20/12/2009 at 14:49

Blimy Steve sounds like a crap morning! Having a day off running today but did 8m (albeit on a treadmill) yesterday. Planning on running Mon, Tues and Thurs this week (all up to 10k) unless it thaws out abit.

Posted: 20/12/2009 at 15:31

Hash: cheers for the suggestion but I think Watford would be abit of trek for me to get to. Sounds like a good event though.

Posted: 20/12/2009 at 15:33

Mr Krimbo: Think I'll do Goring 10k in Jan. The second "testing" half would be a good indicator of fitness one week into the schedule. Week 1 calls for a 7m easy run so a 6m race is a fair substitution.
Posted: 20/12/2009 at 15:37

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