Kim says: If it hadn't have been for the support of the thread, the RW crowds and Hash who ran part of the way with me, I think I would have just sat on the curb crying on Sunday. I'm still digesting what happened. I had done all the training, I was fit and healthy, had no injuries - this was going to be my day.Then at around 8 miles, my head went. I went from running to almost standing, hyperventilated and it all seemed to go wrong. Although I was absolutely slaughtering my PB, I was just so focused on sub-5:00 that one little problem became a mountain. It was a real struggle from then on.
I’ve learned so much over the last few months – about nutrition, about running to a plan, doing speedwork and hills and lots of other things I’d never done before. I love the London Marathon (although I swore never to run it again on Sunday!). I will definitely run more marathons, and no doubt I will run London again sometime.
Steve says: Kim did everything in her marathon training that could have been asked of her. She followed the schedules diligently, was a fantastic, enthusiastic, host and hit most of her pre-marathon targets. There weren’t too many set backs and Kim was in her best ever shape. However, the marathon didn’t go to plan. It rarely does!
The first six miles on race day were perfect – she ran a 5:00 pace with good pace judgment but, once the target slipped away Kim had an off-day, hyperventilating and struggling to run a pace that should have been comfortable. A sub-5 was always going to be very tough based on the speed Kim had shown in shorter races. I have no doubt Kim could have done a big PB had she aimed for 5:30, for example, but she rightly wanted to give sub-5 a go.
In the circumstances, and in such distress, she did brilliantly to finish but the performance isn’t a true reflection of her hard work or her ability. Most runners don’t reach their targets straightaway but if they persist, have a little luck along the way, and are ultimately being realistic then it will come. Kim will hopefully break 5 hours another day and even though she didn’t achieve her target, she was a fantastic host to the thread.
Emma says: It is likely that a combination of factors came together to influence Kim’s race, including the heat and humidity and lack of fluid and electrolyte replenishment. It is great that Kim can identify these factors and be aware of them in the future. Kim has been one of the most determined runners I have ever worked with, both in terms of discipline in her training and her attitude to nutrition and changing her eating habits to facilitate her running. I am confident that all the new practices Kim has learnt and adopted will stay with her and be put to good use in whatever challenge she embarks on next.
Weeks 14 - 15
Kim says: I am in ‘panic-just-want-to-get-to-the-start’ mode now. I had planned my 20 mile long run, but at 18.5 miles it turned out to be my worst run of the year. I walked loads, hated every minute and felt sick. I'm forgetting this run! My following long run was about confidence – the 18.5 mile run was so horrid I needed to prove I can still run long! It was better, especially as I refused to let my head take me places I didn't like going!
I now have a hamstring niggle which I’m really panicking about, but I know it's natural to be paranoid in taper time - in 2008 I was convinced my 2005 stress fracture was back! I can't believe that we are only a few days into the taper and my head is already total mush. I can't think of anything apart from London now – what to do, what to wear, what to pack!
Steve says: Kim is now almost there with her training. She hasn’t had a totally clear run in the final two weeks and seems to be imagining everything other than her hands have an injury problem! Not all her final key sessions went as well as earlier ones but she typically did them as well as she could. The warmer weather of later weeks means Kim has confirmed her fears that she isn’t comfortable running quickly in higher temperatures. However, she is methodical and sensible with her planning and I am confident she will cope with what the weather throws at her.
Kim will need everything to be fairly perfect in terms of conditions to have a realistic attempt at sub-5 and she may need a secondary goal of 5:30 if the weather’s not conducive to fast running - which will still be a big PB.
Emma says: Kim’s nutritional priorities are firstly to fuel the taper, by maintaining a high carbohydrate and protein diet. A slightly reduced volume of food should avoid weight gain in the build up to race day. Secondly, Kim is looking ahead to her meals - and carbohydrate consumption in particular - in the few days preceding race day, aiming to get the recommended 7g of carbohydrate per kg body weight to ensure saturated muscle glycogen stores.
Kim’s organised nature has ensured she is thoroughly prepared with a plan for taking snacks and foods on her travels to London, rather than solely relying on hotel food. She is continuing to perfect her on course hydration and fuel and has a comprehensive solution for all eventualities. With regard to sport nutrition to support her on race day, Kim is planning to use caffeine boost pre race as well as a combination of gels, jelly beans and body fuel during to provide some variety to her carbohydrate intake. She has planned regular intervals every few miles to drip feed her system with the energy it requires to enable her to achieve her sub-5 goal.
Weeks 12 - 13
Kim says: I’ve raced twice recently – and tasted success both times! The first race was Reading Half-Marathon, which I was planning to treat as a ‘mini VLM’. It worked – even down to waking up repeatedly in a panic! I bagged a PB of 2:27.25, but it wasn’t as big a PB as I’d hoped. Dorney also went fine - I was spookily relaxed compared to most races. Has it made me more confident for London? Not sure. I managed the pace at Dorney, so perhaps London after a taper will be easy… but this is me - I still need to work on the confidence!
Unbelievably (and I swear this is true) out on my run an empty double-decker bus drove past. It was plain and had one word on the side: CONFIDENCE. I’m taking it as a message! I really want this sub-5, but I have to remember that whether I go sub-5 or just miss out it’ll still be a massive PB.
Steve says: Kim has had a solid last two weeks’ training, during which she fitted in a PB at Reading Half-Marathon and then a marathon pace run at Dorney. She is currently fighting a cold before she embarks on her peak long run.
Overall it has gone well so far. Kim will need the race of her life and more to break five hours, but she couldn't have done any more in training and she has prepared diligently and given herself every chance. At the very least, the likelihood is that she will smash her PB and have a great run - as long as the last few weeks go as well as the early ones.
Emma says: Reading Half-Marathon saw Kim achieve another personal best - a real testament to her hard work and discipline over the last few months. She used this half-marathon as a full race-day rehearsal, practising her pre-race breakfast and fuelling routine, along with caffeine for an added mental boost. She does feel throughout the race she didn’t take on board quite enough fluid which could have led to her struggling more than anticipated over the last few miles – but she identified this problem herself and will learn from the mistake going forward.
Kim has already documented a very comprehensive race-day plan detailing all food and fluid intake at pre-, during and post-race. It is great for Kim’s confidence to have this planned out and will give her one less thing to think about. She will continue to practice and refine her strategy in her long runs – especially the impending 20 mile run this weekend.
Kim’s challenge over the next three weeks is to maintain the vigour of the last three months. To get the most out of every run, Kim will need to maintain quality in the remaining sessions whilst keeping her fuelling, hydration and general eating habits sound. Avoiding illness and injury is crucial at this stage, and a balanced and healthy diet, high in carbohydrate and protein, vitamins and minerals will help maintain an efficient immune function.
Weeks 10 - 11
Kim says: I'm one very happy pixie! I have been stacking up the long runs this fortnight and it feels good. I was most pleased to see my fastest long run pace on my longest run so far! I rewarded myself with baths, chocolate shakes and a lie in or two! It’s crazy to think that I was only seven or eight weeks ago that I was running six to seven mile long runs, it was snowy and hard work but look at us now - 16 mile runs!
I'm doing Reading Half-Marathon next week, which was my first ever half back in 2003. This time I’m treating it as a ‘mini VLM’, complete with the kit I’ll be modelling on the day and the same nutrition and fuelling strategy. Fingers crossed…
Steve says: Kim had had a superb fortnight. Her speed and endurance are continuing to improve week by week. Kim started week 9 with a great 16 mile run in which her pace was consistent (and faster than normal) and she finished strongly. She then followed that with a strong speed session and a good marathon pace run. Week 10 saw an excellent 18 mile run with the last mile easily the fastest, and a very good 10 mile run at marathon pace.
This weekend Kim is keen to put her fantastic training to use and run her fastest ever half-marathon at Reading.
Emma says: Kim has recently achieved a landmark 18 mile run, at a pace not too far of her target marathon pace - a great achievement. The fact she completed this alone is testament to her motivation and determination to achieve her sub-5 hour target on race day. She attributes good hydration and fuelling practices to part of this success, and continues to be a huge advocate for getting it right.
Kim continues to practice every long run as if it were marathon day itself, even down to the timing of the run, ensuring she goes out at approx 9.30am. She is very disciplined with her use of gels and body fuel, taking it at intervals designed to simulate on course availability. This helps avoid of fatigue and enables her to maintain pace. In addition to the use of products and supplements, Kim’s diet is increasingly comprised of carbohydrate to help sustain the energy levels required. Prior to long runs Kim is ensuring at least 60% of her daily calorie intake comes from carbohydrate in order to saturate her muscle glycogen stores in preparation for a long slow run.
She is looking forward to the Reading Half-Marathon for which has a well-practiced nutrition plan. It will test her ability to maintain disciplined fuel and fluid intake in a race day situation. Kim’s focus now is to perfect and refine her race day nutrition and fuelling strategy, whilst continuing to complete the mileage of her training schedule. I’m confident she will do this.
Weeks 8 - 9
Kim says: Last week I caught a nasty bug and spent a week eating very little and running even less. Thankfully I was back up and running just in time for the Training Day though, and was pleased to find that my legs held out for the track session. The next day, I continued my recovery by heading to the Goring 10K. I decided to use it as a training run, which soon proved the right tactic – I swiftly realised that the route was undulating and my legs were empty!
We were reminded at the Training Day that every run should have a purpose. The purpose of my 10K was "how to keep running well in the last 10K of the marathon when my legs are drained". On Steve’s instructions, I’ve slipped straight back into the plan, and it feels like normal service has resumed – I even enjoyed a speedwork session!
Steve says: Kim fell ill at the start of Week 8 and lost some important training, but she seems to have recovered well. She was unsure how she would feel when she returned to training, but she had an excellent session at the Training Day and then put in a better than expected performance in the Goring 10K. The positive vibes continued through Week 9 with her best speed session to date and a good steady run at close to marathon pace.
While her first week back may have been near her limits, Kim has made up for her missed sessions in style and may actually have benefited from the enforced break. We are now reaching the business-end of the schedule and I remain convinced that Kim is well on course for her greatest ever marathon. How fast she will be able to run will depend on her staying fit and healthy and continuing to work on her speed so she can run comfortably at 11-minute-mile pace for the distance.
Emma says: Kim's short-term goal is the Reading Half-Marathon for which she has a well-practiced nutrition plan. She is also going to run a 5K race the day after to practice the challenge of running on tired legs and how to adapt her diet to support this.
Kim is a great example of how a good fuelling and hydration strategy on your long runs can be a mental as well as a physical boost. Her disciplined and regular intake of carbo gels and/or jelly beans provides focus when she is struggling. It also gives her something to look forward to which definitely helps the miles go by. Catching up with her at the Training Day last Saturday it was clear she is beginning to think more and more about the specifics of marathon day, and wants to do absolutely everything she can to set herself up well.
Weeks 6 - 7
Kim says: This fortnight, I've managed my fastest run of 2010! I'm pleased, but a little annoyed that I didn't manage to make it a PB. Following a training plan has been great - I was expecting to find sticking to a plan hard work and to have rebellious feelings like a naughty school kid but it's made me realise how much better it is to have structured training. The only problem I've had is the strange feeling of running less often. When I did FLM08 people at work laughed at me because I went out every lunchtime. I was running lots of miles (a lot more than now) but they were all short and I didn't have enough long runs.
After London, once I am "recovered", I will be looking at the RW plans again and targeting a few more PBs!
Steve says: Although Kim has had a few minor aches, everything has been going really well. She has followed her training plan to the letter (and with great enthusiasm), running a good race, clocking up her long runs and reaching her speedwork targets. She appears to be stronger and faster than she has ever been before.
That said, there is still a long way to go and Kim has the hardest part of the training schedule ahead. It's not going to be easy to take around 50 minutes off her PB in one leap, but so far she is on course for a great marathon. She is relishing the challenge and is enjoying leading her forum thread.
Emma says: Kim's nutritional preparation is going from strength to strength. She maintains a high-carb diet day to day (especially before long runs) and pays special attention to timing her breakfast right. Her confidence in her ability to manipulate her nutritional strategy (depending on the type and intensity of each training session) is becoming one of her strengths - she has really learnt a lot since Day One. It's also great to see she still has so many questions and is eager to apply as much knowledge and science to her strategy as possible. She continues to use her long runs as race rehearsals and is now experimenting with Caffeine Boost. Our focus over the next few weeks will be to continue in this vein as her training enters its hardest phase.
Weeks 4 - 5
Kim says: Drum roll… we're 25% done! There's only one way to go from here, and that's up! Well, until we taper anyway… I've been busy building up a nice steady increase in miles and pace - it's my first double figure run this weekend, and my first 20-mile week next week. The good thing is I don't feel any worse for the extra miles, and having looked at my heart rate over the last few runs it does look like my fitness is improving. My speedwork sessions still feel tough – doing them outside feels totally different to using the treadmill. I had to concentrate on my pace and keep checking my Garmin because I have terrible distance judgement!
Overall though, I'm really pleased. I'm getting better at pace judgement, and my long runs are getting faster and feeling easier too – I'm on the right track.
Steve says: Kim is doing brilliantly in keeping to the schedule and her fitness is definitely improving. She has carried out all her sessions diligently and sensibly and her pacing is good. The key to her reaching her target (apart from staying fit and healthy and training hard) is for her to gradually work at her speed. It's an area she has found hard in the past but if she is to run 26.2 miles at just over 11-minute-mile pace, then she needs to feel comfortable running some of her sessions at 10-minute miles. I'm confident this will come if she keeps training with the same intensity that she has so far.
To date, Kim has done all that has been asked of her and is certainly on target for a major revision of her marathon PB.
Emma says: Over the last couple of weeks, Kim has become a lot more confident in her ability to address the nutritional demands of her training and race schedule. She has shown amazing pro-activity in thinking about the specifics of her race-day strategy already - we will work together to perfect this through trial and error in her long runs.
Kim is now well-practised in the use of carbo gels, Body Fuel and Hydro Active – all of which she puts to good use. Having reduced her daily intake of caffeine over the last two weeks, she is now planning to introduce Caffeine Boost to see how this might potentially boost her training even more. She is also managing her expectations with regard to weight-loss during her marathon preparations.
Weeks 2 - 3
Kim says: Running in all that snow was hard – I slipped and slided, got lost and overall I'm pleased it's gone! I haven't really done speed work before, so staying focused throughout my speedwork sessions has been really hard work. Definitely a session I'll see improvement on though, and all the support I've had on the forum and from Steve was running through my head! I've always run at one pace before, and found it hard to pace races consistently, so for me the schedule's variety is a very good thing. I'm really pleased with the pace I've been hitting recently but my legs are complaining! Plenty of swimming and my compression socks seem to see off the aches though.
I've been looking over my 2008 training, and although I was doing a lot more mileage then I did very few long runs. No wonder I was brilliant up until about mile 11 and then conked out! I'm feeling a lot happier and more confident now!
Steve says: Kim is now into the third week of her schedule and it's going very well indeed - her recent 5 mile race was a success and she is getting to grips with the speedwork well. Kim has approached the training with her usual enthusiasm and has even been able to add the odd extra run. There are still improvements needed in the speedwork though – the 3 x 1M session in Week 3 wasn't as fast as she had hoped, probably caused by starting too tired or too fast but Kim showed great commitment by completing the session when she was finding it hard work.
Hopefully with regular faster sessions Kim will become more relaxed with speedwork - and greatly improve her speed.
Emma says: Kim continues to meet each day with energy and enthusiasm and always has a different question to ask me! This weekend, I supported a five-mile race Kim was running - it was great to see her put her good nutritional practices into action and see how they really made a difference to her running.
Following her food-diary analysis, the main objectives for Kim are to increase her intake of quality carbohydrates to sustain her training and to pay more attention to hydration during long runs. Her dual goal of completing a sub-5:00 marathon and losing weight will be a challenge: the balance between fuelling sufficiently and maintaining a negative-energy balance for weight loss is a fine one. While this may be more achievable now, as her training increases I have advised Kim that her focus must move to weight-management and quality training in the later stages of her race preparation.
One of Kim's strengths is finding a variety of sources of fuel and combining these with good use of Lucozade Sport products. This will become important to keep her engaged and motivated, rather than nutrition becoming a chore. Kim is also interested in exploring the potential benefits to her training that caffeine could bring. She has quite a lot of caffeine in her daily diet at present so is going to cut down at first (by drinking de-caffeinated tea) and then gradually introduce the Caffeine Boost to her training. If Kim continues to lose a few bad nutritional habits, she will become a great example of how a challenging goal can be tackled with passion.
Kim says: I'm excited to get going – my legs are twitchy which is a good sign. I've been running for seven years and I always thought that sports nutrition and worrying about the carbs, protein and fat is what "proper"runners do. But recently I've realised there's a definite difference between calories and fuel. After some thought, I'm forgoing wine, chocolate, biscuits and calorific puddings until April 26. I've never had an opportunity like this before so I want to make the most of it. After all, sixteen weeks isn't long, is it?!
I am so determined to go sub-5:00. It'll be a PB by 49 minutes but I know I can do it. I have a brilliant coach and so much support, all I need to do is follow the plan and develop the self belief that I can and will do it. I've always said I have "completed" three marathons rather than run them because I've walked. This year, I want to run a marathon, and I want to run it in sub-5:00 to boot!
Steve says: With so many forum posts, it's amazing that Kim ever finds time to actually run! Her first week has gone really well despite the appalling weather and she has even found time to fit in secret extra training.
The early weeks of schedules can be miseadingly easy as they need to welcome in a wide range of people, including those starting from a fairly empty base. At this stage, I don't foresee a problem in doing more than the schedule suggests if you feel you are a long way ahead of what is prescribed - there is little point in taking a backward step unless absolutely necessary.
We've also been working on pace judgement and how to manage her training schedule. The priority in the first month is to use the plan as a starting point to get into a routine - then, over the coming weeks, we'll assess how Kim is getting on with ever longer runs and speedwork.
Emma says: For the last two weeks Kim has been keeping a comprehensive food diary (although slightly deviant from normal through Christmas) which she has now sent to me for analysis. I am currently in the process of formulating some adjustments to ensure her diet supports her training - while also contributing to her weight-loss objectives - and will share these with Kim shortly.
The main questions on Kim's training thread have concerned trying new products at races (gels and energy drink). There's also been some debate about taking on fluids and the importance of starting a run well-hydrated - Kim finds this difficult as she doesn't enjoy drinking water. I've recommended some alternatives, and plan to meet her soon to review the results of her food diary and discuss her race and long run hydration strategy.
Kim says: I took up running in 2002, after spending three weeks researching before I even bought a pair of trainers! I entered a 5K - and that was all I was planning to do - but when I crossed the line, I was itching to do another race. I then ran the Reading Half-Marathon and finished desperate to do a marathon!
My runnersworld.co.uk forum friends ran my first marathon with me – after that, I was addicted. I'm looking forward to everything about this project – I love talking about running, and I want to tell everybody what I'm up to and throw training ideas around. Having Steve as my coach will be great – I've never followed a schedule, I've only ever tried to run further than before and usually, I avoid speedwork and hills like the plague.
But, I'm determined to finish the challenge I've set myself, and it'll really help me being accountable to Steve and everybody on my thread.
Steve says: Kim does have quite a task ahead of her - last week, she took an hour to run 5 miles. She wasn't at her best after a few weeks layoff but only managed to maintain her marathon goal pace for the first two miles before slowing, so she needs to build the fitness to maintain this pace for another 24 miles over the next few months. She is very keen though and has some marathon experience - a 49-minute-plus PB is only going to happen with a lot of hard work.
That said, Kim's never really followed a schedule with conviction before and being part of the Lucozade Sport Super Six means she will get fantastic support from everyone involved. Kim has been getting to grips with her Garmin Forerunner 405 over the past few weeks and is now starting to prepare herself for the schedule in the New Year.
Hopefully, in addition to working towards her sub-5:00 marathon target, she can also do serious damage on her 5K, 10K and half-marathon PBs which are in need of major revision too.
Emma says: Kim hopes her running and dietary plan will help her to lose weight and is prepared to put in the hard work this will take to achieve. A great starting point is keeping a food diary for several weeks to monitor your nutrient intake. Our plan is to review Kim's food diary in early January and make any modifications needed to support her training plan. We will need to achieve a balance between lowering her calorie and fat intake while still ensuring she is adequately fuelled to support her running.
Kim is also experimenting with various products during her shorter runs and using gels and energy drink for longer sessions. So far her reaction to these products - even the gels - has been positive which is really encouraging!