|At a Glance Profile
Running: 2 months
Half- Marathon experience: None
Good base level of fitness thanks to a cycling background
Carrying a little extra weight around my middle
Most looking forward to: Getting a medal after completing my first half-marathon.
Most dreading: Letting RW, Lucozade and all the other competition entrants down because of a silly injury or something
Did you know? I have a metal plate in my left leg after a nasty break five years ago.
• My RW profile
View Guy's Training Schedule
Bupa Great North Run: Race Day
Guy says: Today was the first time I’d run 13.1 miles so it was totally new territory for me. And though I’d loved to have run 1:45 – like Steve suggested I could – I did find it tough. Also, I only had to finish, didn’t I? That’s all I said I was going to do.
I did have a pace band but I’d left it in my bag, so I had to borrow a 1:45 one from Sue. I tried to keep adjusting the paces in head on the way round, but it was all I could do to keep my pace on the hills – it certainly seemed like there was a lot more uphill than downhill! What’s more, at mile 2, both my calves started knotting – I just tried not to think about it and keep running.
The crowds were fantastic - especially all the kids holding out their hands for high-fives. I must have given them quite a shock though, as my hands were covered in Vaseline – St. John Ambulance had given me it to help with my chafed arms!
Reaching the sea was a definite highlight – I could feel the breeze on my face, and thankfully the downhill stretch wasn’t as severe as I had expected. I got to the last mile, and then the last 800m – it seemed like an age passed before I finally reached the 400m marker. I was looking at my watch constantly at this stage, hoping I’d make 1:50.
I know my forum thread hasn’t been as busy as some of the others, but I can see that people have been viewing my posts. That in itself has been hugely motivating in making sure I get the runs in and do my best. I feel honoured to have been part of this experience; I hope I’ve proved that I was worthy of this opportunity – I know I’ve pushed myself as hard as I could.
Running is something I’ve never been able to do, but today’s proven that I have got what it takes to run a half-marathon. I couldn’t have asked for better team mates - we’ve all put so much effort in and done so well. Looking back, it’s all been amazing.
What next? First I’m going to take a few weeks off, and maybe get Christmas out of the way. But then, who knows? I may even try a marathon…
Weeks 9 and 10
Guy says: I have just looked at my history total for the runs I've recorded and it stands at 144.5 miles in 21:40 - no wonder our bodies are rebelling a bit. I am determined to put up a good fight this last week though and finish my training schedule in style.
I feel quite sad to think that the experience is coming to an end, and it’s strange to think that a week on Monday I will once again be Guy Domville and only seven months from hitting the big 40.
But what an awesome ride I've had and I'm not finished yet. I think Steve is right in thinking that 2:15 is a better target for me given the size of the event - it will also be the furthest I've run to date. Come on Dump Truck!
Steve says: Guy's first session in Week 9 was a 300m-rep speed session where he achieved good pace but didn't have time to complete the full session. His 45-minute recovery run also went well but he didn't run over the weekend, instead completing his long run (9 miles) the following Monday.
Last week's speed session (3 x 2K) was Guy's best to date, and the rest of his runs have also gone well, especially his last long session where he covered well over 11 miles in 100 minutes with a faster second half.
Guy has made incredible progress in a very short space of time and based on his most recent run, should be able to break two hours with something in hand for his first half-marathon.
Tommy (LSPT) says: The contents of Guy's fridge are now completely different to when he first started training for the Bupa Great North Run. His fruit intake now includes a variety of colours and flavours - strawberries have become a particular favourite. He is also benefiting from the antioxidants found in green tea, with which he has replaced his usual tea and coffee.
Guy tried Lucozade Sport Caffeine Boost for the first time in training recently and found it gave him a real "spring in his step". The danger of trying caffeine on race day when you are not familiar with it is that you set off too fast. Caffeine takes around an hour to have an effect and decreases your rating of perceived exertion (i.e. how hard you feel you are working). I have thus recommended that if Guy wants to use it on race day, that he begins the race with a bottle in his hand (rather than drinking it before), so that he gets the benefits of the boost around an hour in. He also plans to use a carb gel at Miles 4 and Miles 8 which he has practised in training.
All the hard training is now complete - so long as Guy has his porridge in the morning and makes sure he is fuelled and hydrated, I truly believe he will surpass his own expectations.
Weeks 7 and 8
Guy says: The Great Yorkshire Run was my third race and I wanted a PB. I went off quickly while it was downhill and the spectators really gave me a lift. Then, 800m from the finish I put my head down and pushed as hard as I could to record my third fastest mile of the run. I sprinted to the line and must have passed quite a few people in the last 100m to be met at the finish by Sue. Job done – a new PB and really enjoyed every minute.
I don't know whether I was inspired after this experience but I did then run two hours (11.5 miles) non-stop - my longest session yet and a long way for a guy who has only been running for a few months. I feel confident that I'll complete the Great North Run now but as for a sub 2:00 finish, I will have to see on the day.
Thanks to Liz and Martin Yelling both for your advice and taking time to talk to a plodder like me on the training day. It was great to meet Steve at last too. I thought he was going to put me in detention for messing around on my thread, but he is a really nice bloke and genuinely concerned about helping his team improve. The whole day was fabulous.
Steve says: At the start of the fortnight, Guy lost a day’s training to the heavy rain but returned to run a wet 4 x 1K session. Running each rep getting faster, he finished strongly, completing the last rep in 4:48. A short run with a burst of speed at 10K pace came next followed by the Great Yorkshire 10K. There he improved his week-old PB with a well-paced run and a 53:31 finish.
The next session was hard for him after the race but again, after a gentle start to his 600 session, he really ran strongly and averaged sub-eight minute miles for his last five reps.
A bad stomach meant an enforced rest into the weekend, but he showed great speed at the Lucozade training day session, if not pace judgment. By even heading Sue and Catherine on the final pace rep, he looked strong and sharp.
The next day, despite the session and eight hours of driving, he successfully carried out a two-hour run, running more than 11 miles. This has been his longest run yet and he finished full of running again.
While he isn’t 100% free of niggles and injuries, Guy is in great shape and should not only finish his half –marathon in style, but he could even break two hours on his debut.
Tommy (LSPT) says:
Guy has taken my advice since we last spoke and has added a bit more variety into his diet, especially with regard to his fruit intake - he now eats mixed berries as a regular treat. Guy is still allowing treats such as cookies to sneak into his diet, but the timing of these high GI, fast carbohydrate-releasing foods is key: great as a recovery snack!
One of Guy’s aims of taking up running was to lose a bit of weight, and having now achieved this, he is happy with his weight. This is ideal - with less than three weeks to go, calorie intake really needs to match calorie expenditure to ensure that your body is fully fuelled for the final stages of training.
Guy's Video Diary
We caught up with Guy at the training day with Liz Yelling (Week 8). Here's what he had to say about his experience so far..
Weeks 5 and 6
Guy says: The running is going well but I still feel some way off the back of the pack. The trouble is it's addictive. I want to go faster and further but completely messed it up during a 40-minute steady session.
I had to include two 10-minute reps at half-marathon pace but
found it hard once I'd slowed right down to pick up the pace again. It was as if the body had got stuck in cruise mode. I was expecting to have a quicker second rep and was hoping to get a sub-8:00 mile but I must do what I am told and build slowly or I'll only face more injury.
I have still got a couple of aches and pains mostly around my left Achilles and knee so I’ve been to see my physio for some acupuncture. I've also decided to use the GNR as an opportunity to raise funds for The Rainbow Trust. Five weeks ago I would not have dreamt I could go out and run over 9 miles.
Steve says: Guy began his fortnight with 2 x 10 minutes at half-marathon pace, which he managed well though didn’t record the stretches individually to confirm just how well he had done them.
The Thursday run also went well – five miles inside 9-minute miles. The weekend run – fairly easy over 90 minutes – showed just how natural a distance runner Guy is as he averaged sub-10-minute miles without a problem.
Such was the progress Guy made over his first five weeks, it seemed time to introduce him to more formal speedwork and his first session went well – 3 x 1M averaging 8:10, and again confirming his great potential.
He returned with a 45 minute run with the middle section at half marathon pace, which he achieved despite running the “warm up” at almost the same pace!
Guy ended his fortnight with the Nike+ Human Race 10K. The first impression is that a 56 minute 10K is good in such a big race but maybe not that impressive until you realise that unable to leave his rucksack with all his clothes anywhere, he ran with it for the whole 10K!
Guy has a few niggles that he is just about staying on top of, and clearly, if fit, finishing his first half isn’t going to be a problem, and a respectable time is also on the cards if he maintains his progress.
Tommy (LSPT) says: Guy has a very balanced, healthy diet but we do have two areas to work on. Guy still has to increase his food intake to cope with the demands of training. Secondly, we would like to add some variation, especially around the fruit and veg intake. Apples and bananas are great, but by adding variation such as berries and fresh salad, Guy would increase his antioxidant intake and have some variation in his food choice.
Guy also had an upset stomach (due to some seafood buns) last week. The key here is that if your body is telling you that it doesn’t want to run, then take a few days off, let your body recover and you will come back even stronger than before.
Weeks 3 and 4
Guy says: After I completed the first two weeks I missed the following Thursday’s and Saturday’s run through injury. Does everyone that starts running have as much trouble? As it stands the 10K race at Ulverston may have been a dubious decision but in for a penny in for a pound! Plus the experience will be good.
Five miles in 43 minutes – I felt great and had to pull on the reins at the end thinking about not going too crazy. The fact that I know now what the problems are really helped.
When I started running two months ago I had managed to do five miles in 45 minutes (9 minutes per mile) so to take a minute off the time is an achievement. I don't think for an instant I can sustain that pace for over an hour, but a constant 9:00 mile pace would be great.
The programme says 80 minutes at 11:00 mile pace so I was going to use that as a tester for the Ulverston 10K on Wednesday. Hopefully I will be back on track with the programme by next weekend. I am conscious of not pushing too hard and staying injury free. Those 13.1 miles are starting to look a little better.
Steve says: Guy started with a fairly easy run, but had some injury problems which required a few days off. He returned with an excellent run and had to work hard to slow himself down. The weekend run went well as he did his longest ever session – an 85-minute run. His next run was his first ever 10K race and it couldn’t have gone much better as he was well inside his target time with a fine 54:07.
The final run in the period was another long run, and again was his longest ever as he covered 10 miles in just under 1:40. The progress he is making as a beginner is quite remarkable.
Overall, while missing a few runs, he did all the key distance runs and showed great improvement in his endurance. He’s on course for a good time and now looks ready to move up a level in his training to include more regimented speed work.
Tommy (LSPT) says: Guy is upbeat and positive, describing himself as approaching the crest of the hill with regard to his running speed and endurance. As a beginner runner, he is on a steep learning curve. His legs are putting in the mileage, which is great, but he is still nursing a calf injury. Last week, he completed a 10K in 54 minutes and is hoping to break 50 minutes at his next race at the beginning of September.
Guy is conscious about his carbohydrate intake and is drinking Lucozade Sport body fuel before his training runs to ensure he is well fuelled before he sets off. He is having trouble carrying fluid to wash down his gels but is planning to try running with fluid bottles or a hydration pack and possibly hiding bottles and gels on route along his training course. Guy will need to attend to his increased energy requirements as his training sessions increase in duration, so it is worthwhile trying to consider mid-run fuelling at this stage.
Weeks 1 and 2
Guy says: I have had some real trouble with my calves and knees so have had a couple of visits to a sports physio in Kendal. I half expected them to tell me to rest but he has given me some calf-strengthening exercises and said to start back gently.
I was eager to do something so I stuck to the programme and did 6.2K in around 9:30-min/mile pace. I don't want to tempt fate but my legs are getting better - the rest days have really paid off.
I know that its still early days, but 13.1 miles seem like a very long way to run. I am pleased with my running last week apart from yesterday’s effort. The legs were starting to get used to the constant pounding and I have enjoyed the exercise and fresh air.
Steve’s programme is working well with the gradual increase in time running and the pace is ideal for me.
Steve says: Guy is new to running and although he is struggling a little with injuries, has huge potential. A good build-up prior to starting the schedule showed he was obviously fit.
During Week One, he managed his longest run yet - a 55:00 9K - but paid the price with a recurrence of a calf problem. The return to running on Tuesday saw more niggles, and Guy is now resting up.
If Guy can do the training, then finishing - and even a sub-2:15 time - won't be a problem. However, he will have to be careful and only run when it is sensible to do so. Schedules are great for guidelines, but there is no point following one for the first half and being too injured to do the second half or even miss the race entirely. It's best to miss a few sessions and get to the start line having done some of the schedule.
Overall it’s been a frustrating opening fortnight with glimpses of potential.
Tommy (LSPT) says: Due to Guy's hectic lifestyle, is it not uncommon for Guy to skip meals. Considering the body's carbohydrate stores are diminished by more than half in the morning, it would benefit Guy's training to have a more substantial, carbohydrate-dense breakfast to set him up for the day ahead.
Guy has taken a lot on from his initial consultation and has been ensuring he is fuelled and hydrated for each training session. He has increased his reliance on Lucozade Sport Recovery to aid his muscle tissue recovery between sessions, and - since he has been dieting quite a lot recently - has been enjoying the sweetness of the occasional Lucozade Sport Energy bar in preparation for his training sessions.
Guy says: I’ve only been running a few weeks - in a moment of sheer self-delusion (and because I’ve only nine months until I hit 40) I purchased some shoes, a vest and some shorts and set off on a five-mile round trip of a local village. I thought I was fairly fit as I do a lot of mountain-biking but
It’s taken a while to realise people don’t point and laugh at a middle-aged bloke in his running gear walking - I've had to swallow my pride and start again from scratch.
As a total beginner, anything I achieve is going to be a bonus. I’ve got no PB to beat and have never run the distance before, but that’s not to say I’m not going to push myself. I’m the guy who’s going to get his head down and put in the best time I can on the day.
I’m flying the flag for the beginners, for people my age who maybe feel a bit tied down, to show them to just put their trainers on and get out there.
Though he has little running experience, Guy was in the army, has done lots of sports (such as mountain-biking and snowboarding) and was a good 400m runner at school.
Within weeks of rediscovering running, he developed a nasty calf strain, but has since sought treatment and is recovering well. His few attempts at running prior to injury (five miles in 45 minutes) suggest he has the talent to run a good time - the key is staying healthy as he builds up his training.
Tommy (LSPT) says:
Guy's nutritional plan will be based around timing and the use of carbohydrates to assist with recovery. Guy's diet is already healthy enough to maintain the level of sporting activity he carries out on a day-to-day basis.
I will be working with Guy to ensure that his fondness for "stealing the kids' cookies" is used to his advantage by having them at a time when a high glycemic index can aid recovery. I will also be focusing on ensuring that Guy keeps up his carbohydrates and calories to sustain a high level of training.