Friday, 17 December 2010

It's been a while!

I often seem to start my posts with an apology for not updating the blog for so long but this time it really has been a while! although I won't apologize as such, as its just been crazy busy for me these last few weeks, but at least I do have lots to talk different things to talk about. Most of which is exciting and positive although there was sad news recently for me personally. Unfortunately my grand father passed away recently, he was a true Guern at little over 5 feet talk and a very hard working man, by far the hardest working person I have ever met. He was truely a very unique and likeable character and will be missed by a lot of people, it will not be the same without him. It does tend to be these sort of things that makes you put life in perspective as you never know when things will change.

Many things have are changing for me in other aspects of life too at the moment, i'm off to Kenya In January for a month of altitude training, however whilst I am away we will be selling our house and moving to another. Not the best timing but I guess there probably never is and I have a very understanding wife! Another exciting venture I have become involved with with these past few weeks is the Guernsey Sports Commission 'Rising Stars Programme' which is geared towards helping gifted young Guernsey Sports Star achieve their potential. Checkout there new website to find out more about that.

Training seems to be slotting into place quite nicely amongst a crazy few weeks, I am up at around 90 to 95 miles per week at the moment and sessions are starting to come a bit easier now after some early winter blues. I'm also feeling quite strong generally from my gym work at the moment too... i've even added a bit of muscle! not that you'd notice on my 'Mr Muscle' style frame! Fitness testing in Loughborough this week confirmed i'm in good shape considering I'm yet to add any faster pace work as yet so I'm really looking forward now to getting out to Kenya and building on that now. Before that however I do have my last race of the year and first race of next to fit in, i'm running a 10k in Poole on Boxing Day and I have also been selected for the GB team in the Edinburgh cross Country on 8th January which will be a team match team against teams from the USA and a Europe Select. It promises to be a very strong field and just the sort of thing i need to get back racing.

I will get some regular updates going in the new year when I'm out in Kenya but until next year I leave with a quote my wife wrote to me in a text 'remember the important things in life as you never know when a tram may come crashing off a viaduct', ok unless you watch Coronation Street that maybe lost on you! however I knew what she was saying.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

CWG 10k Result

It was a pretty brutal race on Monday, where i finished 14th in 30.18. Again much like the 5k the race was not one in which I was likely to run a fast time, the temparature was 29c at the start of the race and again fairly humid. It would have been easy to just say I didn't have a good race but actually on assessment there was were a number of positive points to take from my performance. For one it would have been the easy option for me to drop out, I was finding it tough going early one, from as early as 3k into the race, when udner normal circumstances I should felt in control until around half way. I remember the america accent from the loud speaker (the stadium commentator) announced 17 laps to go! it was hurting at this point and initially I thought 'crap' this isn't going to be pretty but then I just thought to myself I'm going to finish this race if it kills me. I remember dropping out of my one and only race many years ago in a local race in Guernsey, much like Monday night it was hurting from early on but I took the easy option and dropped out... ever since then I said to myself I would never drop out of a race again. Also on reflection whilst I didnt feel great and wasn't running espicially well nor were many other athletes (with perhaps exception of the first 4 or 5 athletes) with a number of the field running between 60-90seconds outside there best times. All in all it was certainly a learning experience and one I won't forget.

Now the plan is to take a rest for my remaining days in Delhi, I will also take some down time when i get home and enjoy some time with Thomas and Teresa, who I haven't see now for nearly 4 weeks. Going forward I will easy back in training and have yet to make any firm plans for racing between now and the end of the year. Next year will be another important year with a spring marathon on the cards with aim being to run the Olympic qualification time (as yet unknown), so I need to make sure the body rest up and recharges now so I can make this happen.

That's all for now.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Delhi update

Hi folks

I've been in Delhi now 5 days and no Delhi belly... so all good thus far with regular hand washing being the order of the day. The games village has been very good and well organised and the standard of the accomodation has also been much better than the media reports were making out, although I did of course arrive a week later than most of the team. The stadium for the athletics is an old structure but still an impressive building with a capacity of 60,000 people, unfortunately it nevers manages to fill up but still creates a good atmosphere, espicially when Indian athletes are involved.

Those who have been following the games results will have realised that I have raced already in the 5000m on Wednesday evening, finishing 15th in a field of 23 and in a time of 14.19. Not a particularly fast time but the race and the conditions were not conducive for fast times unfortunately. The race started fairly slowly with a 71second first lap, swiftly followed by a 61sec lap at the front and then slowed again. Whilst the pace settled a litte after this it still made things difficult for me to run even pace with such a big field. I must also must admit that I found the conditions more challenging that I expected. The weather reports that are printed at the bottom of every athletics result sheet didnt really tell the full story either... they claimed it was 32c and 60% humidity however this was printed on the bottom of every result on the day I raced suggesting that one reading had been taken earlier in the day and used for all results. I actually think that the temparature was cooler but the humidity was much higher than this. When I raced in Barcelona earlier in the summer the humidity was 70% and this felt much more uncomfortable than Barcelona. In terms of the race I was in contact with the lead group until just after halfway however when the pace moved on during the 4th km I had a bad patch and was quite aware of the humidity during this stage. I managed to find something over the closely stages and was involved in battle with two indian athletes and a guy from Guyana, I thought I'd done enough coming down the home straight to hold them all off but with 50m to go one of the indian athletes sneeked through on the inside.

My 10k is now 2 days away and its good to have the chance to get back on the track (in previous games I've only competed in one event) and I'm sure the extra time should will enable me to adapt to the climate a little more. The race will be on at 3pm UK time I believe.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Delhi bound

This will have to be a quick post as I only have 40mins before we drive down to the lake for our last run in Font Romeu (although technically the lake is not in Font Romeu). As soon as we get back from the run it will pretty much be shower, change and then head off to Barcelona for the night. Our flight departs early tomorrow morning so we are staying in Barcelona so to get at least some sleep before we begin our travel to Delhi. I hear everything is pretty good in Delhi in terms of accomodation now, its just the odd stray 10 foot python you need to watch out for :)

In terms of the training camp the two weeks at altitude does seem to have gone very quickly, granted two weeks is only half the time I spent up here in July but it has flown by none-the-less. Its been a productive training trip too, which as I think as I mentioned in my last post... is now like a second home, although its been very quite around here as it's now between seasons. Even down the lake, where we have tended to do much of our running there have been fewer people about, although ironically on Friday when we went down for an easy run to shake out the previous days track workout, we see next to no one down but of the 2 of the people we do see down they are from Guernsey! It was infact a chap called Mike Rhodes and his wife Jenny, Mike used to be my manager at Barclays Bank back in day when I had real job... as wife tells me :). As it turns out Mike has been living out here for 6 years running a guest house in a small town called Les Angles, which is basically a small ski town adjacent to Lac de Matemale (where we do a lot of our running). We stopped for a quick catch up before continuing our run, but next time I'm back in Font Romeu I will be sure to look him up. My wife also used to work with Mike so perhaps I will bring the family out here next time.

I better finish up now but next time I post will likely be after the 5000m in Delhi, the race will be on at 3.25pm UK time (which is 7.55pm, Delhi time) on Wednesday 6th October. The 10k is 5 days later but I must admit I don't even know the start time as I'm not thinking that far ahead. You never know what the conditions will be like and how the race will unfold but from my training I am in shape to to run a personal best, which would for me would rap up a good season. Plus chances are i unlikely to get another chance to run a 5k in the future as my long term focus will switich back to the marathon.

Ok better dash now as leaving for that run soon, thanks for reading.


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Training camp update from Font Romeu

Well I've been at altitude now for just over a week and things have gone well since my arrival in Font Romeu. It feels more of a home from home now, although I am missing the family but this is something I will have to get used to as I'm planning to get to altitude much more regularly as part of my future plans. I certainly feel like the combination of having been on the previous UK Athletics altitude camp and having used my altitude tent for two weeks prior to coming this time has made the transition to real altitude somewhat smoother. I only arrived last Monday but by Wednesday I was getting my teeth into a session outside of the usual easy running (which tends to be on the menu for at least 4 or 5 days before a harder session is attempted). My first session was somewhat controlled however, which was... following a good warm up 4miles of tempo running plus 6 x 1min efforts plus another 3mile tempo. Tempo running needs to be adjusted slightly at altitude due to less oxgyen being available and I use a combination of adjusted target speeds as well as keeping one eye on heart rate values (i.e. compared to my normal sea level readings) alongside and like most of my tempo's runs a certain amount of run to 'feel'. I was running at very similar paces to those I was operating at the previous altitude camp back in July (for my tempo runs and when I was more acclimatized) so this early indicator bodes well. Since that session I have also been on the track and posted another solid session, although I feel that this may have gone better if not for an unsettled stomach (which I was carrying over the weekend). A couple of the lads had some symptoms of a mild stomach bug around the same time and I felt under the weather over the weekend but I'm pleased to say everyone is now recovered. Ironically it seems with all the talk of the athletes potentially getting Delhi belly at the Commonwealths games I pick up some pre-Delhi belly! on plus sider perhaps this will give me a cast iron stomach.

This camp generally has a slightly different feel to the one back in July as many of the athletes are hear to start their winter training, whereas myself, Chris Thompson and John Beattie are preparing for Delhi but it's been an enjoyable one with a good mix of focus and downtime. Our appartment which includes myself, Chris Thompson and Steve Vernon have joined forces in the evenings with our fellow athletes and taking turns with the cooking of the evening meals, which made for good social evenings. We then tend to spend the reminder of the evenings recovering from training with a few DVDs and the odd quiz to pass the time, if you're ever bored and you like quiz's checkout .

This trip is also somewhat shorter this time around for me (two weeks in all) and there is also little more than a week to my first race (the 5000m) and less than two weeks until the 10k (I'm doubling up) but I'm looking forward to getting on the track to race. It's been over 12months since I last raced 5000m, which was the National Champs In July last summer but I feel I'm in better shape now with the strength of marathon training under my belt and a bit of sharper work added to the mix recently. I feel I'm yet to put my full game face on but I have no doubt that when I arrive into the village that will change and the pre-race adrenaline will start flowing.

I will try post one more entry before I travel out to Delhi.

Until next time, that's all for now.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

New all comers record

Hi folks,

As per normal it's been a few weeks since I last posted but I head to Font Romeu this morning for two weeks altitude training tomorrow, before then heading to Delhi for the Commonwealth Games, so I should be able to stick some more regular posts up while there. It was certainly hard leaving home yesterday having not that long been away, I certainly appreciate my time at home with the family more these days.

Things have gone well this week with both training and racing and I feel I have turned a corner these past few days. Generally the first few weeks back after the marathon had been going ok but were yet to suggest that all cylinders were firing. The Great Yorkshire 10k in Sheffield was 2 weeks ago, I ran 30.13 for 9th place in course which finishes up a nasty climb over the last last 800m. A solid run considering I had only been back into full training 2 weeks but also difficult not to be disappointed from a competitive perspective. I was also involved in some of the promotion of race, alongside former Olympic Marathon Champion Stephano Baldini, who was running in his last race in the UK before retiring. It was quite noval for me to be involved with pre-race build up alongside athlete's of his pedigree and I would have liked to have been able to give a better account of myself but it at least showed me I wasn't a million miles away in terms of specific fitness.

More recently I ran in the Inter Trust Race night last Thursday in Guernsey what was my last race before heading off to complete my final preparations ahead of Delhi. I had arrange for GB junior Jonny Hay and his training partner Adam Clarke (who paced the race) to come over. Jonny has been running very well recently and I knew I would get a good race from him. Adam set a good pace early on with the aim of getting us to 2000m into the race at close to 8min pace, but at 1600m I was feel strong and went past Adam to ensure a strong pace was maintained. From here I stretched away from Adam & Jonny and maintaining fairly even lap splits and finishing in a time of 8.06, which I was more than happy with. Conditions were decent but there was a little bit of head wind which was noticeable the top bend of each lap so given that plus the fact I ran the second half of the race on my own, suggests I am close to PB shape (which is 8.00). So all in all a good position to be in going into Delhi.

It never fails to surprise me the lift you get from a solid race performance and since the race I have felt really good in training, I ran a session yesterday of 15min tempo, 16x100 back to backs off 15sec recovery, followed by another 15min tempo and it was arguably my best session since Barcelona. Paces averaged at 5.00 per miling for each of the 15min sectons which were also run progressively at approx 5.20,5.00,4.40 per mile pace for each 5min section, the 100metre back to backs were all in about 15 secs (so approx 4.00 min mile pace). I also ran the session on the coastals paths which are undulated so a strong session

Right better dash now as off to Gatwick to catch my flight to Barcelona.



Friday, 27 August 2010


Hi folks,

Last weekend saw me race for the first time since the European Marathon and I have to say it was a bit of a shock to the system! Having not run for 8 days following the marathon and then pretty much only jogging the remainder of the time, 3000m on the track felt somewhat alien to me. Infact it was more or less 12months since my last track race. Anyway you can probably sense me building up to an excuse :) as I didn't win. Joking aside I was 2nd in 8.23 in a somewhat tactic affair (and fairly windy conditions) in what was the first ever British Athletics League Match to be held in Guernsey. Whilst I would normally have not raced so close after a marathon, particular so short a distance I felt I got a lot from the race and played my part for the Channel Island Team. I felt great after during the cool down too and since then I have run my first track session which was surprisingly good all things considered.

In terms of racing now I will be running the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield on Sunday 5th September in predominately European start list, which will be show on Channel 5. The field will also I believe be a predominately European field with the only except being Australian Craig Mottram. The startlist currently includes Thommo (Chris Thompson) who won European silver over 10k last month, an ex-Olympic Marathon Champion in the form of Stephane Baldini, as well fellow Brit Andrew Lemoncello and also Cheba Martinez of Spain.

I will only likely race one more time before heading off Delhi for the Commonwealth Games now, in which I will be racing on the track over 5k & 10k. I decided after I was selected for Great Britain at the European Champs that a third marathon less than 6 months would not be a good idea longer term for my marathon plans, as I will be aiming for a fast spring marathon next year. It will be nice to have go at improving my best times on the track for the 5 & 10k and pull on a Guernsey vest although I guess it does mean I am sacrificing my chances of higher finishing place by missing the best event, this is just how it needs to be.

As part of my preparations I will also again be going to Font Romeu in France for 2 weeks of altitude exposure (I have a very understanding wife!). The altitude certainly seemed to work well for me in Barcelona and the longer term plan is for me to spend more time at altitude in the future in order give myself that extra edge.

That's pretty much me for now, although for those that followed by marathon in Barcelona and those who like a statistics, I worked out using my 5k split times taken during the race if I had not suffered with the effects of cramp I would possibly got up to 4th place. I started to feel the effects of cramp with 7km to go and this forced me to slow down despite the rest of the body feeling quite good. Of course part of racing the marathon in those types of conditions is about dealing with such problems but it does inspire me and give me the believe that I can go on to better things at the marathon in the future.

Until next time.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

8th Place in European Marathon Champs

I’m back at home now but still buzzing from Sunday’s race! 8th place seems a little bit surreal and the reaction back home has been incredible and I certainly didn’t expect all the attention I’ve got these past couple of days. I really enjoyed my few days in Barcelona and the general vibe in the team hotel has been good and it’s great to be able to say I was there.

Picture courtsey of Mark Sherman.

The marathon itself went pretty much went as well as I could have hoped with perhaps the only exception being a little scare at 2km to go (more on that in minute).Below is my race day as happened for those that are interested…


My day started at 6am (4hours before the race) with a quick shower to wake the body up before then heading down for some breakfast. After fueling on some muesli, fruits & yogurt (my usual food of choice, porridge, doesn’t seem be popular in Spain!), it was then back to the room to start drinking my high sodium drink, the idea being to retain as much water in the body as possible. Not especially nice tasting drink but if you like sea water you might like this! At 7.45am we left the room (I was sharing with Dan Robinson) briefly to hand our drinks bottles which we mixed up at the previous night. Then it was back to room to finish off the sea water! At 8.30am we took the bus to the course and headed to the designated athlete area which was located in a local leisure centre next to the start finish area, alongside the Barcelona Zoo. It was then just the waiting game… staying relaxed and most of all cool, which was helped by the wearing an ice jacket for part of this time. The idea is keeps your core temperature down as much as possible so to delay the inevitable process of over heating during the race. I kept my warm up shorter than normal today but I didn’t find temperatures at hot as I expected, I feel good and light on the warm up and I know I’m ready to race. I head back into the athlete area and pop the ice jacket back on for a few minutes. About 20mins before the start we go through to the final call room wear they place our timing chip into the back of our front Bib. A few of us spend the last 10mins to continue to keep the core temperature down by apply bags of ice to our body, then the call comes for the officials and we start lining up to be lead out on the course, it now that things can go pretty quiet and people stay to focus on any last minute race rehearsals in their mind. We have been taken out a little late so there barely time for a couple of strides to keep loose before they start lining us up.

The Race itself…

The plan was to start sensibly and not to run any faster than 2.16 pace for the first half of race and aim for around 3.15 per km. The race starts pretty steady so its means I am able to settle nicely into the back of the field and simply just let the race takes its course. We have to be careful on the tight bends as the first 2km of the race in around a 1km loop before heading out on 4 x 10k loops of the city. The first 10k or so goes off without any major problems, although I am slightly slower than planned but I feel comfortable and feel that the pace is about right. My only hiccup comes when I manage to pick up Ben Moreau drink bottle rather than my own at the first drinks station, fortunately Ben is right next to me so I am able to hand him his bottle. It means I miss out on my own drink which is not ideal with conditions as they are but Ben kindly provides me with some of his drink.

I ensure I make use of every water & sponge station as well as the personal drink stations, conditions are starting to hot up and the humidity is pretty high at around 70% so I ensure to dowse the back of my head and vest with water to aid the cooling process. I get to half way in about 69mins, which is a little slower than planned but I’m feeling strong, at this point I think about pushing on but I decide to hold back for a little longer and it seems by maintaining my pace I am moving through the field anyway. Only 2 or 3 km later Dave Webb catches me and we then start to move the pace on a little, so I go with it and from this point we start picking a number of people off. Towards the later part of the third lap however I start to edge away form Dave after having worked with him for most of the lap.

Moving in the final lap I am gaining in confidence and feel strong. I’m moving past a number many experienced marathon runners (most of whom have much faster personal bests). The crowd support from the British fan has been fantastic through out the race and there are many people I know from the UK running scheme out on the course, during the early laps I acknowledge a few people but later into race I decide to conserve my energy, there was even a Guernsey flag out on the on the course. I hear this made the BBC coverage right at the point when the 2004 Olympic Champion Baldini dropped out of the race.

Going into the last 7km of the race everything seems to be going like a dream, I am moving through the field still and I’m getting good information from people out on the course. I hear some instructions from Bob Smith (our team manager at Newham & Essex Beagles) telling me I am 1min 30 behind Bronze! Later on the course he tells me I am only 1min 20 behind Bronze! However that evening he tells me he lied about that… I was still actually 1.30 behind but he thought that would do little to encourage me! To be honest I needed little encouragement as I can see I am catching others in the race and a top 6 finish is looking possible. Unfortunately though with 2km to go I get cramp in my left hamstring and have to stop!! My first reaction is shit this could really mess things up! There are British supports right next to wear I stop and I sense there disappoint for me. I had been aware that this could happen and with around 6km I took the decision to slow the pace down even though I feel good otherwise, as I sense that cramp could kick in at any minute. I feel strangely carm when as I stop and stretch though, it’s no more than 10seconds before I get going again, all be it at a slower pace to ensure the cramp stays away. It does mean though that I drop one place from 7th to 8th but my main focus now is to hold onto this position. The cramp does fortunately give me no further problems and as I turn into the final bend any pain that I had felt disappears and a huge smile comes across my face, as I cross the line I subtly clench my fist in satisfaction and then enjoy the pleasurable sensation of a cold wet towel place across my shoulders…right at this moment this is bliss.


After polishing off a sports drink in seconds and congratulating my team mates we head into the medical tents, it’s like a seen out of E.R. with athletes laid out on medical beds with drips in their arms and other sprawled across the floor through fatigue. My body feels in bits, I’m exhausted and I’m glad it over but the feeling is fantastic. As soon as we get back into the athlete zone in the leisure centre I locate my phone and call Teresa my wife, I feel pretty emotional at this point and just about manage to hold back the tears, it’s been a long time away from home but the reward has been worth it.

Later once I have got myself some food and I feel a little less dehydrated all I can think about is getting home to see Teresa and Thomas.

Incedently the Guernsey flag that appeared in the BBC courage was a guy called Tim, he approached me in Barcelona aiport as he was on the same flight home. He has family in Guernsey and they sent him the flag to wave at during the race.

Below is UK Athletics race report...


Now however I am enjoying doing nothing... well as little as possible at least. No running this week for me and I'm also making an effort to indulge on the food and drink front for a change. The Commonwealth Games are the next big one for me but right now I'm just enjoying my time off.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Chasing bikes

Training is continuing to go well since my last post, yesterday I ran my last significant track session and it went very well. It was the same session that I did two weeks (which at the time was my first on the track in Font Romeu) and in terms of my rep times yesterday they were significantly better this time around. My body has also started to adapt physiologically to the altitude, which a blood test a few days earlier has confirmed. One main factor that you hope to achieve is an increase in blood cells which are what carry the oxygen to the working muscles and an essential biological factor for endurance athletes.

I think taking the day of Monday helped also helped my session as I went into the session feeling quite fresh. I felt ok Monday morning but the following night I had disrupted sleep due to an upset stomach, so I decide to take the day off as a precaution. I went into the track session Tuesday morning very positive and felt before hand that it would be a good session; I did also have a little help in the form of a pacemaker leading me out on a push bike though. My pacemaker was Gary Lough, Gary will be the team manager for the GB Marathon Teams in Barcelona (he is husband to Paula Radcliffe). Gary was a very good athlete himself in the 1990’s, with a personal best of 3.34 for 1500m.

Talking of bikes last Sunday a few of us took advantage of the having the afternoon off training and went to watch stage 14 of the Tour de France which was passing through the nearby Village of Rouze in the Pyrenees, which was only 45mins drive away. I have never seen the Tour before and was suitably impressed with the whole thing. We arrived about 1pm (our time) and enjoyed a bit of prepared lunch on the roadside before getting into the spirit of the event with the parade of sponsor vehicles passing through ahead of the cyclists. I wasn’t sure what this would involve at first but essentially it’s like a fast moving carnival of bizarrely designed vehicles which throw out lots of free stuff, to be fair most of it isn’t much use afterwards but everyone gets into it! Despite my best efforts I didn’t manage to get hold of the better looking t-shirts that were being tossed out, where-as a certain Chris Thompson managed to have one land on his shoulder despite not even looking! Following the parade we didn’t have to wait too long before the peleton itself passed through. We were part of the way up a long climb up through the Pyrenees near the end of the stage but the speed they were moving at was impressive. One of the US athletes Ben, who I travelled down with was determined to run alongside the peleton, I believe he managed about 45secs before he had to drop off.

Being sterotypically french, watching the TdF eating a fresh baguette....

The carnival starts passing through.....

Here comes the peleton...

Anyway with only 11days to go until the men’s European Marathon, I’m feeling pretty good overall and starting to get that freshness and excitement that is often dampened by heavy training and subsequent tiredness. This feeling itself always gets me buzzing a bit more as it’s a sign that things are coming together at the right time. My taper into the race is underway now with only really one hard (although still fairly controlled) shorter tempo run left to do before easing right off into the last week of the race.

A tough race lies ahead with potentially very hot temperatures, as the race finishing at midday, but exciting times none the less.

Friday, 16 July 2010

The ups and downs of altitude

As ever I don't seem to get online to write blogs posts as regularly as I would have liked, although I have been online quite regularly between training sessions... I have been productive in that I have started putting together a new website which isn't finished but it's getting there.

Anyway training seems to have turned a corner this week, I got solid session in on the track on Tuesday despite a having a minor dizzy spell when I woke up that morning. I ran a controlled session, 3 sets of ( 2 x 1k + 5 x 400m) with my marathon roomies. I forgot to mention them in my last post...I'm rooming and training with Ben Moreau & Martin 'Tantastic' Williams, Martin runs for Tipton! (it's all about the tan there apparently:). Times for the track session were nothing spectacular but good enough to achieve the abjective, 1k reps were around 2.55 and 400m reps were from 68-66 mostly. We had some great weather than morning too which helped, although the weather has been strange at times...on Sunday we ran our long run in temp's in the high 20's, only for the weather to change to heavy rain all afternoon with hail stones, which were like golf balls at times!
The other key this session this week was a some marathon paced workout, with we did yesterday morning. Ben & Martin were doing 45mins at M/pace within a long run while i was doing 90mins at M/pace so we managed to worked it so were all together for 45mins at race effort. Also when I say M/pace, it is more marathon intensity, I have been tracking heart rates during these types of sessions as the altitude plays a big factor. I didnt quite get this right last week and subsequently struggle a little on my marathon workout but this week was much better. The lake route (which we used for the marathon paced work) is the fairly flat compared with the other trails we have been using but it is still has a few hills and of course it is at 1500m altitude so I was happy to average just over 5.20 min miling for my 90mins and feel quite controlled.

I've attached a few photo's below of our accommodation and some of the places we have been training...
Early stages of our track session this week. The track is approx 2000m above level.
The View from our accommodatio complex...
Looking across the Lake (approx 1500m altitude) were we have done our marathon pace sessions and long runs.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Calf Problems in Font Romeu

It’s not quite how it sounds, the evening before last we went for a group run on a trail called the Pyrennes 2000 and encounter a large heard of cattle blocking our path, taking a slight detour off track and thinking we had got round them we rejoined the path only to be met but two baby calfs. Unfortunately they got a bit twitchy and instead of letting us run around them they bolted and ran in front of us for about mile before we finally managed to overtake!

I’ve now been in Font Romeu for 5 days having driven up from Barcelona on Tuesday afternoon and I feel I’m settling well with the altitude up here. Our accommodation is at approx 1850m above sea level but we are doing much of our running down at the lake which is a little lower at 1500m. The Pyrennes 2000 trail is around 1600m, the track is close to the accommodation and another good running area on the plateau at around 2100m or so, although we are yet to run there. Below is a picture from our first harder workout since arriving which we did yesterday, we were wearing our GB kit that day as there was media filming being done for coverage on the Aviva training camp. This is on the bank of lake…

Incidentally it’s approx 5.5miles around, although there are tons great trails
The session went pretty well that day, I was doing 4 x 6minutes at marathon pace followed by 5 x 1minutes efforts a little faster, despite the altitude I was still able to hold the same paces I would have at sea level with my heart rates only a few beats above normal. This is to be expected but a few more days from now my body should start to feel acclimatised to the altitude. Other than my long run tomorrow my next key session is not until Tuesday when I will step on the track for the first time since arriving, so looking forward to that.

I am have really enjoyed my first few days here in Font Romeu and I am making the most of the opportunity, getting extra rest between twice daily training sessions as well as getting some regular treatment from the medical staff to help keep the body in one piece. I must admit though I am missing my family but at least I get to see and speak to Teresa and Thomas via video chat on skype fairly regularly.

Here’s what I’ve been doing training wise these past few days…

Monday am 6miles easy pm 6miles easy + core work, then flight to UK
Tuesday am 8miles in Gatwick pm travelling arrived Font Romeu 8pm.
Wednesday am 70mins easy (10miles) pm Strength work + 40mins easy (6.5miles)
Thursdays am 70mins easy (10miles) pm 50mins -hilly route (7miles)
Friday am 11miles total (session as mentioned) pm 50mins easy (7.3miles)
Saturday am 9miles easy pm 45mins (7miles)

Tomorrow will be a long run of 2hr 15mins, which will likely be around 22miles+ will also be using a new sodium based drinks mix which I tried this evening to see how I found it, settle ok but tastes like sea water!

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Race report, plus training camp fast approaching.

On Sunday I ran in the Spearpoint Guernsey Half Marathon, winning in time of 64.54, in what was basically a sole run. Ben Moreau & Fraser Thompson finished 2nd & 3rd respectiviely in times of 67.41 & 68.21. Ben would have likely given me a closer race however he had taken the decision to run as a marathon paced workout. I'm pretty happy with how I ran though given that I had no one to push me and that training is currently geared towards the European Marathon Champs which is now only 6 weeks away.

full results of the race can be found here on the guernsey athletics club website homepage...

I only actually have 1 week left in Guernsey now before I head out to Font Romeu for 4 1/2 week training camp, It's something I am looking forward to from an athletics perspective however I think I am going to find it hard being away from home for what will actually be 5 weeks in all. I have made sure that we have skype set up on the home computer so I can catch to Teresa & Thomas regular while I am away. This will be my longest time away from home since he was born and he so much more aware of things now so might find it difficult at first.

I plan to post a bit more regularly while I am there so will keep you posted on how training is going out their. So until then, bye for now.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I'd be lying if I said it was easy...

Been a tough week this week, mileage has been creeping up as planned, with some harder key sessions being re-introduced again so the body has been feeling the effects a little bit. There are some weeks (usually when the mileage starts climbing up) that just feel like one of those weeks, and this is one of those. To be fair I have felt better during the course of this weekend but was pretty tired during the middle of the week, particularly getting up the morning after my hill session on Wednesday to go out for a long run. I recall reading some quote from a GB International runner of the 80's, although for the life of me I can't remember who it was or where I read it... anyway he said the thing about marathon running is you are always tired. It's not quite as bad as that but it kind of sums up how you can feel at times.

You keep things in perspective though and although I needed no reminder of what I am working towards I got an email from UK Athletics this week re putting GB kit order in, this is always kinda cool.

Anyway here's what left me a little tired this week....

Mon am 10miles + strength exercises pm 6miles
Tues am 6miles pm (13miles) Intervals uphill 4 x 3' 2' 1'
Wed am 13miles pm rest
Thur am 7miles pm 7miles + core exercises
Fri am 5miles pm 10miles w/10k tempo in, @5.10 min mile
Sat am 11miles easy pm rest
Sun am 20miles

Another big week ahead and then a slightly easy week will follow in the lead up to the Guernsey Half Marathon on Fathers Day.

Until next time.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Barcelona plan in place

I never seem to update my blog as much as I intend to, however here's the lastest installment...

Training has been steadily building up following my Virgin London Marathon run and my short break immediately following. Whilst the muscle soreness took only a matter of days to settle down it took a little longer for my legs to start to feel fresh and bouncey again. The session I ran last weekend was possible the best I'd felt since the race and was a welcome feeling!

As the heading suggests I now have my plan in place following discusions with my coach (John Nuttall), a relationship that works essentially as a partnership. Generally John sets the specific areas within my training such as the key workouts (usually 3 per week), a weekly mileage guide and a general framework to the periodisation. The day to day stuff such as the actual run lengths, strength work and other daily training routines are essentially my reasonability. It's worked pretty well given the logistics though, being that John is based in Loughborough and myself in Guernsey. This is something I am fairly used to though as other than my 2 years when I was at the University of Bath I have always been based in Guernsey. People always ask me if has made life more difficult for me but other than the obvious travel issues and the lack of training partners from time to time I believe being based in Guernsey has been a hugh part in aiding me in getting to where I am. For a start if i was a runner living in the UK I don't think I would have picked up a such a great sponsor as Cannon, many UK based athletes quit the sport due to the lack of support. There are plenty of other bonuses to being in Guernsey too, such as great training locations and very good facilities all within a stone through of home and not forgetting the fantastic local support generally. Anyway back to the plan... basically the key framework is all in place now with just over 9 weeks to go to race day (Sunday 1st August). Final Preparations also include a 4 1/2 week altitude stay at the UK Athletics training camp in Font Romeu. Font Romeu is a small location in the Pyrennes right on the French/Spanish boarder and its at 1800m altitude and probably better known to some as Paula Radcliffe's preferred training base. I am really looking forward to this as it will ensure my final preparations are as good as they can be in the lead up to what will be my most important race to date. I think I will find it difficult initially though, as it will be the longest time I have been away from home since Thomas was born. To be fair though it will be harder for my wife Teresa having to work fulltime and still look after Thomas on her own. Another thing that I am really looking forward to is Guernsey Spearpoint Fathers Day Half Marathon on 20th June, as I plan to run this event as part of my preparations. It will be the first time I have run the event but it fits perfectly within my schedule, furthermore there will be good competition in the to race too. As Ben Moreau (who is also selected to run for GB in the European Marathon Champs) and Fraser Thompson (an aussie based in London) will be coming over for the event. I would have normally had to look for a race away around the same time so to be able to race in a strong competitive race on home soil (or tarmac in this case) is perfect for me as it means more time at home with the Font Romeu trip around the corner.

Anyway thats all for now. When I get round to my next update I will start putting up some training details so people can see what my 120mile plus weeks look like in general. If people have any questions or thoughts on future blog posts please let me know.

Until next time.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Holidays over,time to prepare for Barcelona

Hi everyone,

Im back in Guernsey now after a 10 day family break in sunny Turkey, I must admit it was kinda nice having my days evolve around things other than running for a change. However after a week of no running and the body feeling much better for it I did start to miss the routine!

Whilst away I had my selection for the Great Britain team confirmed for European Champs/European Marathon Cup event, which will be in Barcelona from 27th July until 1st August, the mens Marathon is on the 1st August. The Guernsey Commonwealth Games Association also confirmed my selection for the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games which are in October later this year, so plenty of big races to train for and look forward to.

Barcelona and Delhi will not only provide a very competitive stage to compete on but both will provide a challanging climate to cope with too, Barcelona inparticular could potentially be very tough. Running a marathon is hardwork enough but with temparatures likely to be in and about the mid 30's this will be a whole new ball game. This sort of thing can make races more open though so I see this as a excellent opportunity to surpase expectations and to make a name for myself. I plan to run on the track in Delhi in either the 5k or the 10k (yet to be decided) as I don't want to race three marathons in such a short period of time, it would also be nice to finally record a fast track time that i know I am capable of doing.

So with 12 weeks to Barcelona my recovery seems to be coming along ok. I am just steady running at the minute and probably will do this for at least another week to ensure that London is completely out of my legs.

One other I would I like to mentioned is the overwelming feedback and messages I had following London. I had a tons of messages (i tried to reply to most of them although I did lose track of which ones I actually replied too!) I also had a lot of people just simply coming up to me to congratulate me. I think this is one of the reasons why Guernsey has so many people doing well in sport for a small place, as the recognition and support from local people makes it all the more rewarding.

Until next time.

Monday, 26 April 2010

12th at the Virgin London Marathon

Hi folks

I'm writing this up from a guest house, myself Teresa and Thomas head off to Turkey tomorrow for a well earnt family holiday so I wanted to get a race report up before I headed out as I probably won't get online while I'm away...

So, I finished in 12th place as the title suggests in a time of 2.16.47 inside the qualifying time for the European Championships which are in Barcelona later this summer. Qualification will be confirmed tomorow (tuesday 27th April) on the UK Athletics website

I must admit I'm not completely satisfied with the time as I believe I was capable of running 2.15, possibly faster, however all things considered it was a solid debut, perhaps if I hadn't missed the couple of weeks of training at the start of March the time may have been quicker but still much to be pleased with and a good starting point to build on for the future.

London was a fantastic experience and has taught me a lot for future marathons, the crowd support was awesume and I could hear lots of familar voices cheering me along the course. Thanks to all who sent through well done message over the past 24 hours too.

Before I sign off here are a couple of piccies courtesy of Mark Shearman from Sunday...

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Last weekend race & looking ahead to London

I'm a little bit slow in getting this post out but on Easter Friday I raced in the Guernsey 10k, well I say raced, technically it was training. Having missed a bit of training a few weeks back we decided (that's John, my coach & I) that it was better to get a key marathon paced session in... the session planned was a 20k split up run, which was 10k at race pace and 10k faster but rather than run this completely on my own I ran the first 10k at race pace before the race, iterally finishing a minute before, threw my vest on and then turned round and ran the 10k race. The route that I have been using for my marathon paced sessions has been along the west coast of the island anyway which is same stretch of road used for the race so it made sense to combine things. It was nice to have some company too on the second 10k and the pace that the guys around me were running (at least the first 5k) was pretty much what I was aiming for. Unfortunately the second 5k slowed down a bit, it got a bit tactical and was also into a strong wind. In hindsight I should have just pushed on as after all it was training session, however I got a sniff of victory so I sat in for a couple of km's while running into wind. With 1km to go though I did pushed on (in what turned out to be a nasty stretch into the wind), this broke up the group of 5 runners, all except a young lad called Jonny Hay, who sat in for the ride and then took advance of the 19.5km in my legs and out kicked me. Overall though I was pleased with the workout, generally I felt pretty good within myself, although strangely my heart rates were a bit higher than I would have expected. As it turns out this may have been an early warning sign as the following evening I came down with stomach bug! unfortunately missing my sunday run. Luckily it was just a 24hour thing and I was out running again on the following day, it wasn't pleasant being in the same room as though on Sunday though!

It's only just over 2 weeks to London now and I'm starting to get that excited and nervous feeling that comes with the build up to an important race. This is definately one of the best bits about racing and knowing that I'm feeling this way is always a good sign for me. When I starting to feel like this I know that i'm starting to get both body and mind ready to race. When I feel nothing it usually means one of two things... either the race doesn't mean anything to me and I'm unlikely to raise my game or I'm simply to tired from training to get excited, which I tend to feel sometimes during heavy periods of training. Funnily enough I was listening to radio one yesterday on the way to do my last marathon session and a song came on which kind reminded me why I like racing, its song called Everybody's Free (to wear sunsreen) by Baz Luhrmann, the lyrics are apparently from a essay which was publish in US newspaper in 1997 (thanks to wikipedia for that the info :@) the lyrics are basically all spoken and is essentially advice but one particular line says 'do something everyday which scares you', racing feels a bit like this, I guess a bit like riding a roller coaster, the anticipation can be scary and gets the adrenaline pumping but afterwards you are buzzing and you want to do it all over again. Perhaps not straight away in the case of the marathon mind you!

Saturday, 27 March 2010

The last 3 weeks

Hi folks,

It always seems to be too long since my last post but I though I better provide an update of what have been going on these past 3 weeks, its been a bit of a rollercoaster but thankfully finishing on a positive on note. I also thought I better reassure a few running friends who might have been to scared to ask me how I was :-)

After a key workout a couple of weeks ago (A 20k tempo), which was run as 10k at race pace then 10k faster, the second 10k was actually the one of fastest 10ks I have run locally. I unfortunately a couple of days later picked up a niggle around my left ankle/achilles area which prevented me finishing my long run. A problem which subsquently prevented me for training for the following week and disrupting the a further week after that. This meant I had to pull out of the Reading Half Marathon, disappointing as I felt I was ready to run a fast time and improve on my PB of 64.27.

I'm pleased to say that things are now looking good again after a solid week of running this week and an ultra sound scan which showed nothing to be worried about. This was music to my ears and good timing seeing as I went to see Cannon (my main sponsors) later that day. I was invited to the first noon day gun of the year at Castle Cornet (Cannon also aptly sponsor this). So it was good to be able to talk about positive stuff and my plans for London.

London is now only 4 weeks away so I'm hitting the training again with a vengeance. After being in such good shape after the interuption I feel confident that the small amount of fitness lost will be recovered over the next few days or so.

Will keep you update later next week with training and possible racing... its the Guernsey Easter Festival over the holidays but I am yet to commit to racing as I need to see how this next few days of training go before deciding what will serve me best as part of the marathon preparations.

Also good luck to the Guernsey team who travel over to our neighbors Jersey today to race in the annual XC inter-insular event. We should dominate the mens agains ( i think we've won it the last 15 years or something daft like that), the womens will be a much closer affair.

Anyway I better get myself ready to get out and run, just a couple of easy runs todays to recover from last times tempo workout then a long run tomorrow of 2hr 30 (which equates to around 24miles or so), until next week.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Training report.

Hi folks, sorry its been so long again since my last post, as now seems the norm for me these days. Training has been going well as I start to enter the key preparation weeks in the lead up to the Virgin London Marathon. After the European Club XC Champs I went into 2 weeks build up in terms of mileage, running 110 and just short 120 of these weeks, this basically meant all i was doing was steady running alongside my none running activities such as stretching, core & other conditioning exercises, foam rolling and so on. My long run is now up to 2hr 30mins, and i'm covering just over 24miles in that time feeling pretty comfortable too, I must admit I'm enjoying these runs more than I thought I would and feeling nice and strong on them too, with little in the way of any after effects.

Last week I went up to Loughborough to see John (Nuttal) my coach, to get a session in with the training group(s) up there (loughborough is now UK Athletics home for Endurance) and also to do some fitness testing to check how things are going. I was only there from the Monday to the Friday, but I got a good hill session done on the Tuesday night and then a more specific session done Friday morning. This consisted of a part Physiology test (part because I only did the first section of a the usual full test) this was used to just check my first lactate turn point, this point usually tells you a lot above your possible marathon shape as marathon pace tends to occur just above this point. It was good news as looking at the initial data it suggests that this turn point have improved since last time, ( i should get full data later this week back from the physiologist). Other results and feedback were good too, with my blood lactate readings being very low generally (essentially this means I am using mainly fat as a fuel source which key for the marathon). After a only a few minutes of doing the test in the lab I was out on the road for a marathon pace workout which consisted of just over 12miles of running over a 3mile circuit (as we again took a blood sample after each circuit), unfortably it was very windy that day so the pace was all over the place (slow into the wind) and fast with the wind so I used my heart rate readings to make sure i didn't work too hard when the pace got slowed down by the conditions. It was good session in the end though, I felt good and blood reading stayed constant which suggests I has holding the pace well and not getting tired as the session went on.

Overall a good few days in Loughborough and another step forward. I have another couple of weeks of heavy training planned now before a slightly easier week leading into the Reading Half Marathon on Sunday 21st March.

Until next time.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

17th in Bilbao

I'm a bit late in getting this report up and sorry it's been so long generally since my last post but things have a been a bit hectic with training, racing, work etc, generally all good though.

First things first... last weekend I was away racing in Bilbao for the European Club Cross Country Championships, I was running for my UK club Newham & Essex Beagles, the team finished a respectable 8th place it what was a strong field and tricky, challanging course. I was our first runner home in 17th place which on reflexion was solid run, particularly bearing in mind the course. It was short lap of approx 1800m on a small area of very muddy ground right bang in the middle of city (I think literally the only piece of grass in a built up city). As the area used for the race was so small it ment the course had many sharp turns, and truth be told I found the very muddy conditions hard going with my training geared more towards the road than the country, although I think most of the 90+ field found it hard going! checkout the results on this is cool website for those running buffs out their, as you can pretty much find results of every athlete and race across the world of certain standard. To get full access you need to sign up though.

It can be quite difficult to assess your performance in a cross country races when you don't know the opposition around you very well looking at the standard of those around me after the race I'm satified with my run. The race was won by the recent European Champion Alemayehu Bezabeh of Spain and the field contained a number of the top 20 from the December's European Champs.

Generally since Edinburgh my training has been going really well, consistant mileage of around 100 per week and intervals sessions and tempo runs have been much better than than before xmas. Edinburgh felt like a turning point and has come at a good time with my main preparation for the marathon now getting under way, the weekend before the Bilbao I ran a local 10mile road race as tempo run, winning in 50.41, feeling very in control on what isn't the fastest course with the first mile up a steep climb. Currently I'm taking the mileage up at the moment with 110+ scheduled this week, things are going ok although I have had more parent duties this week with Teresa away for a few days for work so that's been a challenge in itself!

Will try and get some more regular posts up over the next few weeks, I'm tend to keep my twitter updated a bit more often though so checkout that out for some more regular updates.

Until next time.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Edinburgh XC Report

Hi Folks

Well I didn't think I was going to get there but after being rescheduled onto a later flight Friday afternoon, i did get away after all. I had to get my train into a racing mind set as I had kind of resided myself that I would get away. I must say my arrangement were a walk in the park compared with the Mexican athlete Barrios (who finished 5th in the end) he flew into Heathrow from Mexico two days before, had this flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh cancelled so had to get the train, the train then terminated at Newcastle due to weather and he had to get the bus from Newcastle to Edinburgh which got him to the hotel at 3am the day of the race! hats to him for racing as well as he did.

I was fairly pleased with my race in the end, as i've been quite tired in training recently and was unsure as to what I might produce on the day. 10th overall was a good enough result and I believe I will only get better over the coming weeks with training changing a little bit now. Conditions during the race were quite pleasant with the sun coming out and there being no wind, its was still fairly cold in terms of the temparature and i wore only a vest! which was fine to begin with but the sun disappeared behind the hills midway into the race and my body started to feel the effects of the cold later into the race. I went straight to the foil wraps they were handing out at the end of the race and then straight to the athletes tent for a hot drink! not usually my first thoughts after a race. Overall I really enjoyed the race though, which I think is my first in the snow (from start to finish), I had a good battle with the Eritrean athletes (now based in Scotland) althought they need to learn to run in a straight line as they kept cutting across me in the race, nothing a good elbow didnt fix though :@), was nice to beat them both too. Also in the race was Bekele (the current World and Olympic Champ over 10,000m and 11 time World XC Champion) he who suffered only his second ever defeat in a xc race and although clearly not in his best shape, still a shock defeat none the less.

1st Ebyua (kenya) 28.41
2nd Mbishei 28.42
3rdKipchoge 29.04
4th Bekele (Ethiopia) 29.17
5th Barrios (Mexico) 29.25
6th Lebid (UKraine) 29.51
7th Thompson (GB) 29.52
8th Skinner (GB) 30.01
9th McLeod (GB) 30.20
10th Merrien 30.22
11th Tewelde (Eritrean) 30.24
12th Mengisteab (Eritean) 30.26)
It looking likely that my next race off island won't be until February, this will the European Club Cross Country Champs in Bilbao,Spain where i will be racing my UK club Newham.
Until next time.