Lucozade Sport Super Six: Dan (3:45)

Follow the progress of Dan, our 3:45 hopeful, as he receives expert advice from mentor Nick Anderson

Posted: 19 December 2008

At a Glance Profile

Nickname: Right Said Aouita
Age: 35
Running: 12 years
No. of marathons: 1

Half-Marathon 1:41
Marathon 4:00:10

Strengths: I'm quite slim (less weight to carry) and stubborn.

Hamstrings; finding enough time to train.

Most looking forward to: Seeing how fast I can run with professional coaching.

Most dreading: Discovering it's not that fast; lactic acid.

Favourite races: Henley Half-Marathon (despite the one-mile hill)

Did you know? I hold the world record for migrating from adolescence to middle age (overnight).

• My RW profile

Goal: 3:45
Finish Time: Didn't run for health reasons

Dan's Training Schedule | Dan's Food Diary Analysis | Dan's Training Thread | Dan's Race-Week Nutrition Strategy

Flora London Marathon: Race Day

Dan says: Deciding not to run was a tough decision, but the problems I had in March with my long runs (that is, running out of energy and finding the runs five times harder than ever before) meant I took too much time off overall. I haven’t yet got to the bottom of the causes and I’m just not fit enough to run a marathon.

I was totally gutted about not reaching the Lucozade Sport Super Six denouement - a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’ve learned a lot from everyone involved and it’s a real shame I won’t be able to reciprocate and close the narrative with a sparkly PB giftwrapped in stubborn emotion.

Dan's Video Diary

Weeks 13 - 14

Dan says: This fortnight, my old fatigue demons have returned. After some frustratingly slow and exhausting sessions, I knew something was up. I've been absolutely wiped and sleeping way more than usual but still feeling tired. So I've been to the doctors, had all kinds of blood tests and will hopefully find out soon whether it's a virus, anaemia or something else equally evil. Hopefully, I'll be able to get back to running over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

Despite this and the other "speedbumps" I've hit en route to London, I've put a lot of miles in the bank and the hard work is already done. If nothing else, running six half-marathon distance runs in seven weeks is more than I've ever done! Even if I have to throw my original target time out of the window, I'm happy to focus on enjoying myself and making sure I feel good for 26 miles.

Nick says: Dan has been struggling with energy issues over the last fortnight so has been to his GP for blood tests. He has suffered from fatigue in the past; we need to establish whether it is due to a virus or possibly anaemia.

Dan desperately wants to run the marathon, but so long as he’s feeling unwell and washed-out he needs to take care of himself first and foremost. The Bank Holiday weekend – an opportunity for Dan to take time out from work - will be crucial. Depending on Dan's health and well-being, we will make a decision as to whether he will run the marathon over the next three or four days.

Weeks 11 - 12

Dan says: After a low patch, things are picking up for my training. I was dithering over whether to do the Bath Half-Marathon (March 15) as I wasn't feeling 100% and had missed some training, but I went for it, and finished in under 1:40! I'm so glad I did it - after all, races are the reason I'm training.

I went with the intention of getting round rather than aiming for a PB - I think marathon runners do have to be philosophical about all the changes that can affect even the best-laid plans. But once I got there and got going, I surprised myself. My body felt good when running at 7:30 minute mile pace, and my splits for Miles 4 to 9 were all within 10 seconds of each other!

I'm really proud - and relieved - that I'm getting towards the top of the marathon-training "mountain" now, and will soon be heading downhill for taper time.

Nick says: Dan ran well in the Bath Half-Marathon, clocking a new PB and steadying the ship slightly at a difficult time. However, his long run last Saturday felt really hard even though he was running slowly. He couldn't understand the cause of this at the time but he's since come down with a nasty cold and sore throat.

To avoid prolonging the infection, he's been sensible and backed off his training a little this week. We've added a few extra rest days to his schedule and swapped in recovery runs to ease him back gently. Having focused on getting enough sleep and good nutrition too, hopefully he'll be able to enjoy another long run this weekend.

Weeks 9 - 10

Dan says: Part of the experience has been a nutritional analysis - let’s just say the truth hurts! I had no idea how little fruit and veg I eat. So I’ve turned over a new leaf, and have started making some changes: eating a proper breakfast, more white meat, fruit and vegetables – and a bit less chocolate.

This fortnight kicked off with a great long run – I even managed to crank it up to marathon pace for the last 45 minutes. Since then, I’ve just been trying to get stuck in and keep running. It has been hard - my other half’s been battling a cold, and I’ve been much busier and a little under the weather too.

I don’t want to take any risks at this stage of my marathon preparation, so I’m going to take it easy for a couple of days and then get back out on the road again and see how it feels. I’m definitely a fighter and I’ve got six weeks on my side...

Nick says: Dan has had an interesting couple of weeks. On the whole, his training has gone well but he has had a couple of days where he completely lacked energy and his runs were a struggle. This isn't unusual at this stage in his marathon preparation - when his runs and sessions get longer. He has simply been over-tired and has suffered slightly from depleted glycogen stores. A couple of days of easy running, rest and better nutrition should help him get back on track.

Dan has the Bath Half-Marathon (March 15) this weekend and will be running how he feels. This could be marathon pace (or quicker) though if this doesn't feel right, he'll be treating it as a relaxed long run instead.

Generally speaking, Dan's making great progress. A couple of setbacks aside, he now needs to focus on how well the rest of his training has gone to build his confidence for the weeks ahead.

Weeks 7 - 8

Dan says: I'm back! After illness and holiday, I dived headlong back into running, full of energy and that very "RW" bullish spirit.

Running while I was away in South Africa was fantastic. Unfortunately, no part of Cape Town is flat, and that special word 'undulating' really came into its own! I used the trails that criss-cross Table Mountain, running along 'contour paths' under the pine trees and gawping at the view. I did need to plan the long runs to avoid the heat but managed to squeeze in a satisfying two-hour stint.

I've since experienced a very special marathon-running moment. Something has finally clicked. Not in my mind but in my body (which has been around the block a bit over the last few months). The brief was a 2:15 run, with the last 45 minutes at marathon pace. And it was fine. Well, more than that - it felt really straightforward. That in itself feels wonderful.

Nick says: Dan has returned from South Africa - with its wonderful sunshine - revitalised and ready to rock. He managed to shake his virus while in SA so was able to run there after all. The net result has seen a fabulous return to form and his recent long run with marathon pace went totally to plan.

Like Helen, life has been hectic this week but for Dan it has been long working hours and pressures. All part of the real running mix!

I am sure Dan will have a good long run this weekend and we look forward to the next couple of weeks.

Weeks 4 - 6

Dan says: Real life has taken over my schedule recently. My daughter was ill, then I caught her bug, was contagious and advised not to run; and now I'm going on holiday.

With conjunctivitis so soon after my toothache, my Achilles heel appears to be strange yet painful illnesses - what next?! I've always thought that what's difficult in marathon training is rarely the running itself - it's staying healthy. People rarely pull out of marathons because they're not fit enough. If I'm really tired, then its counterproductive to go running, so recently I've learnt to be more flexible.

On a good note, I'm seeing Threshold Tuesdays in a new light. It's re-assuring to know I'm not alone during a hard session - I now envisage runners all over the UK diving into their schedules, feeling the pain, using their willpower and going to bed tired but happy.

Nick says: Dan has had conjunctivitus and has been sensibly resting or running easy. He is then due to go to South Africa so we have planned his training to take into account travel, fatigue and recovery from this virus. Hopefully the warm weather will do him good and he will come back fighting fit and raring to go again.

Previously, Dan has continued to make fabulous progress - his threshold sessions and long runs have all gone to plan. His illness is a minor speed bump, not a brick wall.

I've asked Dan to chat to the team at Lucozade Sport again with regards to boosting his immune system after training too. As a dad with young children, he has been suffering from coming home tired and picking up germs while his immune system is still low. There are plenty of solutions (that don't involve locking the children away in a dark place) and we need to get that immune system stronger.

Weeks 1 - 3

Dan says: I’m doing lots of things differently – I need to stay confident, watch out for my hamstrings, make sure I stick with the right pace, do more sessions than I’ve ever done before, and make sure I eat properly. But I’ve also discovered how much stronger my body is than my mind – even after no sleep, and with awful toothache, if the body’s willing, I now know I can do the session.

Interval and threshold training has been a revelation – it’s confusing to speed up and slow down and it’s seriously hard work; but it’s so satisfying to finish, and it makes me feel so fit! I’m good, I’m happy – let’s crack on!

Nick says: Dan has been very busy at work and has had to plan his training carefully to fit around family, business and key lifestyle factors. He is doing a great job and learning to be flexible in his weekly approach. Sometimes, just because the schedule has this or says that doesn't matter. The key ingredients are what really counts and their order can be changed.

Dan is definitely getting used to the concepts of effort and pace, and is now mastering the art of when to push in key sessions and when to run easy. This will become crucial as his long runs build and sessions ask questions. Dan used to just run to cover distance - his pace would be dictated by how he felt that day. This works to a point but to hit target marathon pace, other weekly runs and sessions must be scaled to effort accordingly. All in all though, Dan is doing a great job. He just needs to continue with the plan and allow adjustments if required.

About Dan

Dan says: The first time I went running for fun – as opposed to because I had to – was in my early 20s. I simply wanted to keep fit so was only training on and off, at a low-intensity level.

I decided early on that I wanted to run a marathon, so entered the Flora London Marathon a couple of times via the ballot. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful and then when I did get a place, I got injured halfway during my training so was forced to pull out.

I persevered though, and eventually secured a place in the Flora London Marathon 2005. It was an amazing experience and I knew straight away that I’d do another, not least because I missed going sub-four hours by 10 seconds.

It’s a long road ahead, but I’m excited to be working with Nick. With his help, I’m looking forward to becoming a stronger, faster runner and learning a lot more about running in general. Hopefully, Nick’s input will also help prevent me from getting injured during such a long period of training.

I’ll be happy with anything under four hours, though with the wind at my back I think I may well have 3:45 in me!

Nick says: Dan has 12 years of running experience and his goal for this year's Flora London London is to run 3:45. He also wants to run a sub-1:40 half-marathon along the way.

When he's not training for a race, Dan will usually run once or twice a week for three to four miles, but when he is preparing for a marathon, he adds in a longer run and sometimes increases the runs already described.

Dan has to balance his working life with that of being a father and currently, is very busy with his business. He loves to run off-road and his greatest strength is his enjoyment of the physical process of running. He dislikes running on the treadmill, the road and repeated loops.

He is currently building a simple endurance base, which will enable him to run up to four times a week by the beginning of January (when the schedule starts). He is building his long runs up to 60-90 minutes of easy running; his other runs have been 30-45 minutes at a relaxed effort. Dan has also been encouraged to include some threshold blocks in one of his weekly runs.

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marathon misc, marathon schedule, marathon goal

Discuss this article

Introducing the third member of our Lucozade Sport Super Six… Dan (aka Right Said Aouita).

Dan ran his first marathon three years ago, and missed going sub-4:00 by just ten seconds. This time around, he’s hoping to run sub-3:45 and learn how to train smarter to reduce his risk of injury.

Dan will be using our sub-3:45 Garmin-ready schedule (devised by former London Marathon winner Mike Gratton) as a basis for his training and will be mentored by Nick Anderson directly on this thread (starting January 5).

He’ll be posting his training progress on a regular basis, and feedback the fuel and hydration advice given to him by the team at Lucozade Sport so make sure you check back regularly to find out how he gets on.

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

Good luck Dan!

Posted: 22/12/2008 at 17:28

Congrats on winning the prize Dan!

I found the coaching and advice of huge benefit to me and I'm sure you will too. I look forward to following your progress and reports in this thread.

The very best of luck!

Posted: 22/12/2008 at 18:12

Go Dan. Go Dan. Go Dan!

Breathing, yes.  Calm, no.

Posted: 22/12/2008 at 20:14

Good luck Dan

Wonders if Wotsit is ever calm?...........

Posted: 22/12/2008 at 21:25

Hey!  It has been known to happen, but I'll admit, its not that frequent.  Along with being quiet...
Posted: 22/12/2008 at 21:32

I am anxious about Dan's hamstrings. Please make sure he looks after them properly people
Posted: 23/12/2008 at 12:13

Has anyone told Dan he won?

Posted: 23/12/2008 at 15:26

Hi dan

how are u mate

all the best dan

Posted: 23/12/2008 at 15:56

giggles at Fat Face

Posted: 23/12/2008 at 17:17

I demand this person gives 150%, posts a blog every day and makes me laugh. 

After all, he did take my 3.45 slot.....

Posted: 23/12/2008 at 17:54

Dear all,

thanks for the good luck and positive energy, may i send it back to you all in double measures.

rex gibbons you are right, i do need to look after the hamstrings, and i look forward to updating the world on their every twitch and synapse daily for four months. 

coops10 i apologise for taking your 3.45 slot, it was luck you see and for some reason the lucozade/RW politburo decided to choose someone less deserving than yourself. 

 fat face, this launching is like winning all over again, now that i've broken up from school for the holidays I can get all tempo-threshold-tastic during the holidays


Posted: 24/12/2008 at 10:06

Right Said Aouita wrote (see

coops10 i apologise for taking your 3.45 slot, it was luck you see and for some reason the lucozade/RW politburo decided to choose someone less deserving than yourself. 

I agree, but nevertheless, I wish you all the best!
Posted: 24/12/2008 at 12:04

Dan, have a fab Christmas.  Here's to a fabulous start of training in January!

Posted: 24/12/2008 at 21:28

Dan, just wanted to say before the kick off - good luck & best wishes on this great opportunity.

Not having done a full marathon before (maybe in 2010) I am looking forward to reading yours posts regarding the physical, mental & (esp) the nutrition sides of training.

Good luck again...

(I may see finish as I may be helping out in the finishing area this year - finding out soon)

Posted: 04/01/2009 at 19:40

Mr K, thanks for the good vibes, I hope any posts I add can make the whole thing interesting and do it justice.

So today, 5th January is officially the big launch, the kick-off, the starting gun of our London Marathon training schedules. That is exactly 16 weeks of training, about 100 days until D-Day on 26 April.

I'll write more on the actual training schedule later, but here are the thoughts in my head at 8.45am on my first day back at work after 10 days off:

 - Excitement  - after the initial sensory blitzkrieg of being chosen for the Lucozade Super Six in November, there was a slight lull in activity. But it is very real: the marathon is in the same calendar year; we have a schedule to follow in the (friendly) glare of the RW forumites; any gaps, illness or injury with start making psychological dents in the confidence.

- Slightly behind - confidence is a huge part of this running thing and is easily dented. I missed half of December's running due to antibiotics (advised not to run on them, but I know there are divisions on this one) and tedious flu which took out about 1/3 of our office here in Oxford.

 - Shock of 5 - when the 3.45 Garmin ready schedules was put up on the site, with 5 runs a day, the initial reaction was shock. I have never run 5 times a week, mainly due to a) laziness, b) the feeling I could reach my (fairly low) goals only running 3 times a week. However an email from Nick the Coach cleared things up, and I'll be on a 4 times a week schedule - the main pressure being time. I'll put the first two weeks schedule up here later today or tomorrow, along with the rationale of going from 5 to 4.  

- Slight concern - about myself. I arrived home after 10 days away yesterday and opened a parcel with a smile on my face. It held a sort of fluorescent running top for the dark mornings. I felt happy and put it on. My wife was watching. On realising that I had not only bought, but was actually excited about a fluro vest, she gently sighed, no doubt pondered life attached to someone with more rock star tendencies, and then inwardly resigned herself to living with a running geek for 4 months (or 4 decades)

 As i said, i'll put up the first two weeks of my schedule later on after i've spoken to Nick the Coach.


Posted: 05/01/2009 at 08:58

Dan, you can't beat a bit of rock on the ipod while training. Whole lotta Rosie while running.......magic! All the best with the training (In your  fluro vest, LOL).

Posted: 05/01/2009 at 17:23

there'll be bluebirds over......,, you've got a point, the ipod can help access the inner rock star, which is fairly well hidden for me. that said, i did venture out the other day accompanied by Jane's Addiction's Ritual de lo Habitual (spelling?!) and i would highly recommend it. 

Posted: 05/01/2009 at 17:45

Dan, if it makes you feel better, there was massive excitement in our house on Christmas morning when my husband opened a parcel containing a swimming stopwatch, to be worn on your finger so that you don't lose precious nanoseconds reaching all the way to your wrist when timing a length.

First run tonight?  Its freeeeeeeezing here.  If it wasn't the first night of my fabulously sparkly professionally prepared training schedule there is not a chance I'd be going out tonight!

Posted: 05/01/2009 at 17:59


wotsit, my thoughts too.  Not sure i would want to start a schedule for anything at the moment.  It's too damn cold and slippy out there. 

Have you started yet Dan (friendly glare of scrutinty etc etc)   I for one will be fascinated in watching progress of yyou and ours and Fat Face on his thread as i think (in the spirit of absolute self delusion) that I could do a sub 4, but by how much - who knows? 

Posted: 06/01/2009 at 18:15

psc, wotsit, those were my thoughts entirely as I set out last night at 7pm around the streets of Oxford. It is absolutely freezing, slippery, but if I start missing runs at the beginning what chance do I have? And the collective disapproval of Nick the ooach and all RW members is a powerful motivator.

so, yes, i've started psc, but perhaps first I should put up the training schedule. To clarify - and if i've got this wrong then please Nick or anyone from RW or Lucozade correct me - the Garmin schedules are designed for the 'average' or median 3.45 runner.

Nick's role as experienced, expert coach is to take the schedules and orient them to the individual and their personality / ability / experience / injury history / life outside running / etc, etc, just as any good coach would do.

In my case this means the big decision has been to move the schedule from 5 runs a week to 4. This is not based on anything to do with me as a runner, but due to real life obligations. I'll no doubt write more on this later after checking carefully with the wife - since most runners have work obligations and I am sure the majority have a family whose needs they must fit running around - but suffice to say we had our first child 6 months ago, marathon training takes up loads of time and, well, yes.....the maths are easy to do from there.

So here is the Week 1 of 16 schedule:  

Sun  - 90 relaxed easy conversational pace. Dont get tempted to push. Mon – Rest Tues – 45 including 5 easy/5 threshold (controlled discomfort 3-4 word answer pace) all repeated x 4 Wed – Rest or a Pilates class if possible Thurs – 45 mins and build the pace as the run progresses. Therefore – 15 easy/15 steady/15 @ threshold. I call this a 15/15/15 run. Fri – 30 min recovery run. Use the Garmin to make sure the pace an heart rate are really easy. Remember, the aim of this run is to refresh the body not add to tiredness. Sat – Rest & family time

So the philosophy is similar to the garmin schedules:

- 1 x long run for mileage, 1 x easy run for recovery, and then 2 x runs which start playing around with pace to move the body out of its fitness comfort zone. Nick's view is that the latter 2 runs will get more testing later on.

I am on course - he says after just two runs - having done Sunday and Tuesday and I'll write more about my introduction to the mysterious and intense Threshold World later on, hopefully today if I get time.



Posted: 07/01/2009 at 09:03

good one Dan.  Have you guys done Max HR tests and all that malarky, or are you basing the working scale on percieved effort (hence your commentary on conversational pace through to gasping a few words at at time)?
Posted: 07/01/2009 at 11:32

Hi psc,

We haven't done any Max HR tests, although the wonderful RW/lucozade people have given us the garmin 405 which is a heart rate monitor as well. So i'm going by a mixture of Nick's advice re. perceived effort + the different speeds on the garmin 3.45 schedule and they seem to match up well. I'm doing this training alone so I end up gauging '3 or 4 word answers' by asking myself questions out loud...

This makes me think about Threshold World as i wrote earlier.

Despite having read countless RW articles about training at race pace and at higher speeds, I have never entered the universe of pace and threshold running, mainly due to a) apathy, b) not knowing exactly what kind of threshold runs to run, c) thinking "I'm not a good enough athlete to do that"

But through the wonder sof the Lucozade Super Six I have the structure/support to do so, and my initial reaction to running at Threshold is:

a) It is bloody hard work. I have only ever run at a default setting (around 6.5 mph for me) a bit like a lobotomised robot, and probably only ever got up to 8.5 mph at the end of the half marathons. Even though I've been training at my target marathon pace a bit (7mph or 08:30), suddenly trying to crank it up to 'controlled discomfort' of 8-8.5mph makes a huge difference. Goodbye comfort zone.

b) its confusing. Doing 5 mins at slow then 5 mins threshold, my body gets confused. it wants to speed up in the slow bits and slow down in the fast bits. I think i've got it cracked then my mind wonders to something critical like who has stolen my stapler at work or which of Gordon Brown's eye is the working one, and I suddently realise I am completely the wrong pace. And yes, I am spending a lot of time staring at my Garmin on my wrist.

c) it gets the adrenaline going. These threshold runs up the ante on a cold, lonely Tuesday night. They get the blood going and act as a challenge. And my god, they are satisfying when you finish.

d) it makes me feel fitter. This could just be a psychological effect, but we are so driven by cause and effect thinking that you can't help but think: 'I'm knackered, it must be doing me good'

And on that note there's another one tomorrow.


Posted: 07/01/2009 at 17:18

Hi Dan, how far are you running  at 8-8.5mph pace? sounds a fair increase from your usual pace.

Sounds painful to me. This must be the first competition where the prize is pain, LOL. Keep up the hard work, it'll be worth it in the end.

Posted: 07/01/2009 at 18:07


Dan, does the 405 have audible alarms for different HR zones. I'm sure the 305 does (although I may be getting it muddled with an old polar I used a few years ago.  I do know someone who ran striaght into a lamp-post because he was so concerned to know what his technology was doing.  I won't say who to protect his blushes!!  I must confess to being one of those sad sods who is fascinated by training in dif zones, although to be honest i probably don't understand them fully.  It seems that simply owning a copy of the Lore of Running as i do doesn't make you a living expert in the physiology of running!  well it wasn't a complete waste of money as (a) i've read it, and (b) it raises my monitor 3" to exactly the right hieght!!!  LOL

Looking at your paces, I've picked the right virtual shoulder to peer over as they are not disimilar to mine.  Hope you dont mind me tagging along for the ride!  My goals are totally diferent (Ironman) but the logic of training shouldn't be something I can learn from even if I don't apply it this year.... that probably doesn't make sense, but I think I know what I mean!!

Posted: 07/01/2009 at 19:05

there'll be bluebirds, hi there, you could be right that 8-8.5mph is too fast for my threshold runs, it certainly pushes me pretty hard, so maybe i need to take it down a peg or two. At the moment the threshold parts are for 4 x 5 minutes, with 3-4 minutes slow in between. Although tonight I need to run 15 slow, 15 steady, 15 threshold, and there's no way i can run 15 minutes at 8.5mph, so it'll probably be 7.5-8 at a guess.

 psc, i have real empathy with mr lampost, its easily done. you do get stares from people looking at that guy running while staring at his wrist, and i am going to come a cropper - right, focus on the road ahead. as far as the garmin goes, i haven't strapped on the heart rate band and got stuck into that side of things yet, i am sure i will. one of my old bosses used to absolutely swear by HR training and said he made everything more interesting. and of course its great to have people along for the ride, even if the very idea of an iron man is a distant country for me,


Posted: 08/01/2009 at 09:28

Hi Dan

Could you give an update on nutrition and what you are mainly eating thru  out the day

Posted: 08/01/2009 at 19:53

Hi Dan, how did the run go tonight? particularly the threshold part of the run.I'm running Paris in April & will be aiming for 3:45. I've run this time several times & tend to be stuck on 7.5mph pace.I know that if i could put some speed work into my running times would improve, but i'm also out of my comfort zone at 8.5mph pace. All the best with the training. As for all these gadgets, bit to technical for me!

Posted: 08/01/2009 at 23:15

yaddi, hi there, my nutrition ain't great currently. I dont eat much during the day. I dont eat breakfast (thought that will soon change) and just a healthy sandwich for lunch. As part of this competition we wrote out a fairly comprehensive 'food diary' of 7 days and handed it to a nutritionist who's worked with the Olympic team and I think the Lucozade team.

 She's doing the analysis and I think next week she'll be back in touch with some recommendations. Should be interesting...

 there'll be bluebirds, had a nightmare re. the 15/15/15 run last night. It was meant to be 15 slow, 15 steady, 15 threshold.

As soon as I started I knew that my body just wasn't in the mood. The slow felt steady, the steady felt threshold, and the threshold....well, I could only manage half the 15 and had to take a break and come home at slow/steady. Hmmmm.

What makes you really struggle some days?

I am open to ideas, I don't know. I think the main issue was lack of decent food on Wed night and Thurs daytime, which meant I had no energy, coupled with bad nights sleep on Wed night. Not sure. Or maybe there are other reasons swimming around in my sub-conscious.

Anyway, a bit of a wake-up call, and I'm going to ratchet down the speeds slightly for the next week.

Stay well, dan

Posted: 09/01/2009 at 08:49

Hi Dan,

Good to read the posts on your training and thoughts. Apologies for not replying sooner but I have been away coaching for a few days.

 I think you have raised some really important points regarding nutrition for training and recovery here. I know you were concerned and the nutritionalist from Lucozade will help massively in this area. I am sure that the right focus in this key area will lead to better training. The comments on threshold running are also really interesting and definitely linked to the food topic.

When running at threshold, your body is working with lots of stored carbohydrate (glycogen) and burning this pretty quickly. At slower paces the body will use more stored our problem is that the lack of a good balanced breakfast and healthy carbohydrate snacks throughout the day has a real impact on evening sessions.This is particularly so when nearer the end of a training week and the body has already used lots of glycogen in previous runs/sessions. So running faster requires more energy and we need to make sure the body has this daily.

Running is a very simple sport that can be over complicated or undermined by simple mistakes. The brilliant bit about your posts and our chats is that you have identified this as a key area to progress yourself. From here we will sort it and you will take control.

Remember, eat within 20 mins of finishing a run/sessions and use lucozade sports drinks to initially re hydrate and re fuel. A banana, energy bar or bagel would be fine in the first 20 mins. Then eat a main meal or full snack a little later.

The nutritionalist will advise on lots of good breakfast options, daily snacks and easy to use fuel options.

I am sure the threshold work will then start to feel more achievable. Regarding effort and pace - don't worry to much at this stage. If the run said 15 easy, 15 steady and 15 @ threshold, just try to make the last 15 mins at controlled discomfort and 3/4 word answer pace/effort. The key may be to make the first 15 mins very very easy as though you are only warming up. The middle 15 mins is then at your usual steady pace and so on..........

 This definitely gets easier as the weeks pass Dan. You are doing a great job and lets focus on keeping the effort levels realistic and your nutrition over the next couple of weeks. The fitness will then look after itself.

 Well done and take care,


Posted: 09/01/2009 at 11:03


Nick - interesting comment on recovery nutrition.  i thought that the nutrition required in the golden 20-30 minutes post training should have a higher concentration of protein as well as carbs in it than normal sports drink/gels.  Also important to drink water to help flush out lactic acid/rehydrate and to help absorb the nutrients eaten.  Your comment would indicate that there is no need to take a "recovery" type drink.  Without getting into a discussion about the merits or otherwise of any specific brand, all of the recovery drinks I've ever used are quite diferent from the isotonic or carb mixtures used during exercise.  Am I missing the point or is all the hype we read just that, hype!!??

Posted: 09/01/2009 at 16:34

Good work Dan! Glad you are addressing your nutrition problems. You cannot expect to push the envelope on marmite and toast. Incidentally, what it the optimum time to eat - or not eat - before taking exercise/training? 

Posted: 10/01/2009 at 13:32

Keep up the good work. I am following a RW 16 week programme. And these cold, very cold days and evenings are hard, but the reward is worth it. Keep us all posted on your progress and keep up the good work.
Posted: 10/01/2009 at 22:23

hi all,

nick, thanks for the post and the advice, much appreciated. As i go through this schedule I am keen to learn more about the different types of running, different speeds and what my body needs for each process.

psc - I'll see if Wendy the nutrionist has any views about fluid and solid intake immediately post-run, and if there is any general advice. I tend to just drink water afterwards, but my knowledge on these things is limited at best.

rex - you are prescient in your views. marmite and toast is my nutrional spine, and it will need to be curtailed. again, i will have to ask someone with more expertise re. optimum time to eat pre-exercise.

So, this training diary thing.

I've started eating breakfast, fruit - god forbid - and generally more food during the day. The nutritionist Wendy has been in touch with some more questions and I think we're going to hear her views (moral judgement?) later this week. I think all the Super Six are dreading her saying "cut out the booze please". We'll see.

So the confidence was dented by struggling on Thursday. Communal peer pressure kicked me out of the door for the 30 Easy recovery run on Friday, and due to the minus 2 temperatures I went to the gym.

Question: why is running on a treadmill so dramatically different to running outside? Going saying 6mph on a treadmill feels like 7.5mph outside. It doesn't help that I once fell off a treadmill mid-run in Los Angeles, and all these beautiful toned gym goddesses found it quite amusing. Don't worry, i kept my British stiff upper lip and hopped back on the damn thing.

Saturday = no running, we went on wife's birthday outing to Chipping Camden (1 hr from Oxford) which is, er, very pretty with 1 pub for about every 10 houses. A tourist trap in summer, it is relatively peaceful in winter although for the ignorant male (me) its appeal is a bit limited. 

Today, Sunday = 100 minutes slow. Went very well.

Had a lovely morning. Warmer day and did a crafty loop around the centre of Oxford, and saw canals frozen solid, birds looking hungry and a variety of runners looking very happy. This was a day when running is a total pleasure, a luxury really.

Without sounding too pretentious about things, I stuck a couple of BBC programs about Darwin on the ipod and the 100 minutes raced by. Normally Melvyn Bragg is too solemn for me, but Darwin's story is exceptional and not without huge blaring paralells for those of a running persuasion. This is a bit mature I know, so back to raging techno next week.

Did about 11 miles, found it quite hard to keep even pace. About half of the miles were at 09:20, then other miles fluctated from 08:30 to 10:00 (and yes, i have a garmin rather than a very good memory). Hamstrings ache a bit and the legs feel a bit heavy, but otherwise I feel good, I feel happy, lets crack onto the next week.

Tomorrow i'll put up the week 2 schedule, hope you're having / have had a good weekend.


Posted: 11/01/2009 at 13:34

Dan - I feel the same about the treadmill.  It feels like an instrument of torture now, though it is where I started my running days.  My brother in law just phoned to tell us he'd completed 10k on the treadmill - an impressive challenge indeed.

Have you had more questions from Wendy?  I suspect that the fact that I'm currently doing food diaries with one of my groups of students has made my diary make me look a bit OCD.

Bring on week 2!

Posted: 11/01/2009 at 21:19

Hi Dan,

First off - good luck with the schedule and hoping you have as great a day as possible at FLM. 

I am doing Edinburgh Marathon one month after your FLM on 31 May 2009 and so I am going to try to follow your schedule starting this week and I will see how it goes from there.

I was really pleased when I saw that your schedule would be modified to 4 days per week as I also have work and family commitments - two kids at 8 and 10 and a couple of nights a week when I have to "referee" for them while my wife works - so looking forward to see[ng how the rest of your schedule will look. Sounds like I will have to get used to running on Fridays after work and cutting out a few beers also.

Today I did the 90 min relaxed. Could not have been more different to your condition/experience today. We had rain/high winds here in Central Scotland, so really difficult to keep a consistent pace with half wind assisted and half wind hindered and its pretty hilly around here. However I was trying to keep it to around 9:15/mi and had about the same variance as you had today. 

Also looking forward to  seeing what your neutritional regieme will be as I don't really give it that much thought either. Sounds like you won't have to change too much - just start eating!

Good luck with the rest of the week, Dan.

Posted: 11/01/2009 at 23:12

Eeeeeeeek. Treadmills. Bleurgh!!!!

I'm not sure the nutritionist was over impressed with my diary efforts. I forgot to put down amounts. It was the question saying "what does a full english consist of?" that got me the most .

Posted: 12/01/2009 at 07:25

john lowe 3 - i was at uni in scotland and if I close my eyes i can feel the North Sea wind cutting my face to ribbons, not to mention the weak McEwans lager. Running into the wind is not fun, although I always think its easier than cycling into the wind (not much consolation) but I hope this schedule helps you.

fat face, i'm glad you are allergic to treadmills to. they do suck and they are just hard work. the questions of 'what a full english consists of' is a good nutrional point - are hash browns now part of the UK fried breakfast? mushrooms, yes, think so. what kind of eggs? and so on. ultimately they are fats, carbs and protein, you can't go wrong.

Week 2 schedule

A day late, here is the schedule. The week starts on Sunday, not Monday in this schedule, so here is what I have:

Sun - 100 mins easy relaxed conversational pace.

Mon – Rest

Tues – 3 x 10 mins @ threshold with a 5 min jog between. Try to run with controlled discomfort but don’t push so hard that you have to slow during the 10 mins.

Wed – Rest or a Pilates class if possible

Thurs – 45 mins with middle 20 mins at marathon pace (MP) this session will build over the weeks and become key for us. Aim to run the 20 mins @ 3.45 marathon pace. This should feel a little easier than threshold but faster than relaxed running pace.

Fri – 30 min recovery run. Remember, the aim of this run is to refresh the body not add to tiredness.

Sat – Rest

I always tend to think of what the long run is at the end of the week, so I am in suspense now.

Its the greyest, wettest, most depressing day here in Oxford - hope its better with you
Posted: 12/01/2009 at 08:38

Dan - Enjoying the posts / comments & good effort for the week. Good luck for the coming week.

Posted: 12/01/2009 at 09:15

HI Dan,

 A great first week completed in very tough conditions Dan. Well done. Week 2 should feel fine as we continue to build up in this base phase of training.

The long run sounded beautiful and well done for avoiding the ice. Always good to feel controlled, relaxed and full of running in your long run.

Re a full english breakfast (Yep very funny!) - reward yourself with wholegrain/meal toast and scrambled eggs. Just wonderful and easy after any long run or session. A good balance also of carbs, protein and quick to prepare.

Lets keep working on the healthy snacks, breakfast theme and eating quickly after training. That 20-30 min window really does work. The rec meal/snack must include good carbs and protein although this can be tough to digest immediately after a session/run. The recovery lucozade drink is designed to make that easy and get something good inside you very early. You then should eat something more substantial asap.

PSC - read my earlier email again. I think you have missed a few points but yes you are totally right, protein and carbs must appear in the recovery meal/snack along with electrolytes etc.

So a great start Dan. The weather should be kinder this week. Have fun and listen to your body. These are early days and you are doing a fab job. Any signs of tiredness and lets talk as we can always replace a session with a recovery run or additional rest.

Have a great week,


Posted: 12/01/2009 at 12:47

Nick, thanks for the encouraging words. There's something about the start of January (bad weather, bad bank balance) that makes your 2009 plans seem miles off, and the London Marathon is a case in point. That said I am sure the 15 weeks are going to hit us fast than we know.

wotsit - the detail demanded in the food diary was really quite impressive. I had visions of your Olympic Redgraves / Pinsents of this world weighing out 4.37 kilos of pasta for dinner and then drinking 1.537 litres of recovery fluid. Its quite revealing though. Look forward to the results...

Posted: 12/01/2009 at 19:31

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