Notts 20 race

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Sunday 17 March, 09:01

The first running of this event. Planned to use it as a long slow training run for Paris. As usual, once the runners spread out I managed to set a faster than I’d intended pace.

I got wet feet in massive puddles in the first mile. Ran with Anthony from Mansfield for a few miles early on. Scott was running a much faster race ahead of me. Rachael was supporter and photographer, for many of the competitors.

A windy day with the odd shower. A lot of sunshine too. The course had flat sections, a couple of hills in the first half. Everyone seemed to measure it as 19.9 miles not 20.

Had 4 gels, bit of water from some water points.

I enjoyed it, did much better than I could have expected. A good confidence builder for Paris.

Distance: official 20 miles; Suunto 19.9 miles

Time: official 2:46:32; Suunto 2:46:44

Avg pace: 8:22 min/mile

Calories: 2279

Ascent: 393ft

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

training run #1436

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Sunday 1 April, Easter Sunday, 07:23

3C, overcast with a cold north-east wind. A 20 mile easy pace long run. As the Windermere Marathon is on tarmac I did this on my long road route, past Pebley then through Kiveton and Todwick, returning via Mosborough and Halfway.

I knew I had to start at a very comfortable pace I’d be able to keep up. Had a muesli bar just as I set off (no breakfast), had 3 gels on the run and drank about 800ml water.

Felt left adductor from about 13 miles. Carried on. In the last mile my right heel got a bit uncomfortable. Pleased that I didn’t slow significantly anywhere, just kept light on my feet and a good rhythm.

Listened to music throughout, on Spotify, with new ear pods. A good distraction at times from the horrible cold. Bit of drizzle at Kiveton and Swallownest but the forecast snow shower didn’t come.

Finished tired, expecting heel to stiffen, but not wrecked.

Distance: 20.03 miles

Time: 3:07:53

Avg pace: 9:20 min/mile

Calories: 2284

Ascent: 1271ft

Trainers: Brooks Ghost 10

Wildlife: 2 peacocks

training run #1412

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Saturday 27 January, 07:49

4C, overcast and windy, turning to rain with low cloud on the high parts of the run. A 20.3 mile run on the Exterminator course.

Started from another point in Totley and went up a gentler ascent towards Totley Trig. Adapted the route to avoid Carl Wark and the swamp. Kept a good steady pace. Lots of soggy ground.

Had a gel and a Clif Bar and 800ml water. Tired towards the end but walked strong when I had to. Loved it, chuffed to do 20 miles when I’m not at that point in a marathon (or ultra) training cycle. Heel niggled throughout. TomTom didn’t find GPS for the first half mile.


Distance: 19.8 miles

Time: 4:06:38

Avg pace: 12:08 min/mile

Calories: 2229

Ascent: 3094ft

Trainers: Inov-8 x-claw 275

Wildlife: 1 deer, cows and sheep

training run #1368

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Saturday 14 October, 07:08

17C, warm, sunny, windy.  Last long run of this marathon training schedule, 20 miles, to Chesterfield and back.

My aim was to warm up for 2 miles, then use TomTom watch to run around 8:25 min/mile for 16 miles, then cool down the last 2 miles home.

TomTom kept showing me slower live pace info, then the mile splits popped up showing I was running above target pace.  Felt OK though so carried on.

Mile splits, middle 16 miles above target pace

Had a Chia Charge flapjack and 500ml water.  Towards the end both adductors tightened and I lost a bit of form.  Think I’ll need to run the first 20 miles of marathon slower or the last 6 miles will be very slow.  Good for confidence though.  

Right heel niggled most, tightened up afterwards.

Distance:  20:08 miles

Time:  2:48:35

Avg pace:  8:24 min/mile

Calories:  2267

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  1 heron, saw it at same spot out and back

training run #1357

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Sunday 1 October, 07:05

15C, rain, grey, breezy.  A 20 mile run along the Trans Pennine Trail to Chesterfield and back.  Repeating the route I did 2 weeks ago.  

Had planned to warm up and run the middle 15/16 miles at a set pace, something comfortable.  But I found that my TomTom wasn’t giving me great pace data because of the trees along the TPT, so ran by feel and sort of just went for it.  Tried to see what I could do.  

Previously I’d been surprised by my time/pace and finished with a little bit left over.  This time I pushed on – seemed crazy fast on the outbound – and held on as long as I could.  Only the last mile was beyond my comfort zone, including the uphill bit returning home.  Finished on ‘empty’.

Had a Chia Charge flapjack and 500ml water.  Didn’t use other stuff I’d carried.  Only wore t-shirt and shorts, carried stuff in my trail backpack, and didn’t mind the rain which changed from light to moderate and back.

Pace chart from Strava

I don’t think I could maintain this pace for the full 26 miles, but who knows how I’ll feel on the day, and what condition my taper will leave me in. One more 20 miler planned in 2 weeks time.  

Noticed right heel and calf, as usual. Left knee niggle but not bad. Really pleased with splits/time/pace.

Distance:  20.08 miles

Time:  2:45:34  (PB – nearly 9 mins better)

Avg pace:  8:15 min/mile

Calories:  2252

Ascent:  636ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Wildlife:  3 squirrels 

A great start to my #RunEveryDay

training run #1347

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Saturday 16 September, 07:26

12C, cool, grey and overcast.  A 20 mile long run was on the marathon schedule.  This has been a high mileage week, so planned to do a steady pace and just get to Chesterfield and back on the trails, alongside the Chesterfield Canal.

Thought I may have overdressed, swapping a t-shirt for thicker long sleeved NYC top.  Could have got away with a shirt, but it was OK.  Wore gloves too.  Slight drizzle and a bit of light rain on and off.

The mostly flat route was straightforward and I just kept it going. The previous evening I’d calculated to do about 3h10, 9:30 min/mile.  Just had the route and total mileage showing on TomTom, no pace or time data, so just ran by feel. Was shocked by the final total time/pace, which shows I’m on track for sub-4 in Indy 🙂

Took bites of a Chia Charge from mile 4 and finished it by mile 12.  Had a gel at 17 miles and drank 500ml water. Didn’t seem to suffer any energy drop, legs felt mostly good, bit of fatigue in last 2 miles but this was my strongest and fastest 20 miler I can remember.  With Indy being flat this was my first good test of marathon fitness.

Distance:  20.09 miles

Time:  2:54:09 (prev best run #668 in 2013:  3:01:17)

Avg pace:  8:40 min/mile

Calories:  2293

Ascent:  686ft

Trainers:  Brooks Cascadia

Weekly summary:  7.7+7.7+7.7+5.5+3+20.1=51.7 miles

training run #1234

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Sunday 19 February, 06:22

8C, mild, dry, mostly overcast. A 20 mile run.  The schedule called for 16 miles but I thought about doing 17.5 or 20. Want to push past 20 miles at some point and legs felt well rested so 20 miles was on.

Drank 1 litre of water and had 4 gels. At Todwick roundabout I turned into a cool headwind that stayed with me through Swallownest and along the Beighton bypass. 

Went through 13 miles in 2 hours (good for me) and feeling OK. In the last couple of miles kept an OK pace and wasn’t in any real difficulty.  At the finish I’d knocked a minute off last week’s time, but its more important to get round in good shape and avoiding injury.

Distance:  32.22km

Time:  3:04:19

Avg HR:  148bpm

Avg pace:  5:43 min/km

Calories:  2156

Brooks Ghost trainers #3

training run #1229

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Sunday 12 February, 06:29

1C, dark, cold, wintry showers. A 20 mile run.  Legs felt good and it seemed like I maintained a good pace/effort throughout. Had 4 gels and 1 litre of water. Was soaked through by the time I reached Harthill (12km) and was running into a stiff headwind with icy snow hurting my eyes.

Finished feeling relatively OK. Was keeping a good pace in the last few km and could have carried on a bit further. (Can’t always say that after a 20-miler!)

Fitbit screencap

Distance:  32.22km
Time:  3:05:27 (could only find one faster 20 miler, back in 2013)

Avg HR:  143 (seems low)

Avg pace:  5:45 min/km

Calories:  2097

Brooks Ghost trainers #3

training run #1177

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Sunday 13 October 06:45

8C, cool, breezy, high cloud. A 20 mile run. Legs felt OK and I just took it steady. Podcasts in ears again. Had 4 gels and 1 litre of water. 

I didn’t tire as badly as usual, felt like I had a bit more at 13 miles and towards the end. No big problems, just the usual foot soreness from pounding the pavement. 

Looked out for the usual ostentation of peacocks but there were none around today. (Learned that collective noun on a game show yesterday)

The day started out with high cloud and some mist. See photo of a moody sky taken at Rother Valley. By 13 miles the rain started and got quite heavy, lasted right through to the end. 

The taper begins now. Three weeks to New York marathon.

Distance:  32.22km

Time:  3:07:03

Avg HR:  no data

Avg pace:  5:48 min/km

Calories:  2678

Brooks Ghost trainers #3

training run #1167

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Sunday 2 October 06:54

8C, cold, clear skies. A 20 mile run.   Set off at an easy pace with podcasts in my ears. Had 4 gels and 1 litre of water. I obviously tired as the run progressed. First noticed quads tiring and later felt left adductor a bit. Pleased with the condition I finished in, tired but not broken. Five weeks to New York marathon. 

Distance:  32.21km

Time:  3:13:07

Avg HR:  162bpm (high again, belt error?)

Avg pace:  6:00 min/km

Calories:  1582 (low again, usually 2000)

Brooks Ghost trainers #2

Wildlife:  1 rabbit, 8 peacocks/peahens