Tag Archives: advice

More advice about how to be an idiot…


I remember reading that if you are running with a time goal, you need to train at that time goal. If your goal is 9min miles there is apparently no point in running long distance runs at 10min miles when training… on race day there is no way you can “magic” that extra 1min/mile from somewhere.

Depressing eh! Adding on all those extra miles is no good if they’re not quick enough.

Of course, I don’t have a time goal, nooo, not me guv, promise. Actually, I’ve got three time goals! And I’ll narrow that down to just one based on my results in November (-:

I have two big aims at the moment though, I need to calm down and start planning each run better. One of the reasons is that you should only ever increase your weekly distances by 10% a week. Well, the week before last I ran 25miles and last week I ran 32!!! Ooops, increasing my chances of injury there. The other reason is that I don’t sleep the night before my big run and when I get ready for it I tend to charge around madly and then just shoot off out the door without any idea what I’m doing (and often I’m still nekkid).

For example this Sunday I had a private goal to run a half marathon in under two hours. But I also wanted to be back by 9:30am (yes, in the morning) so I could go to the Goodwood Supercar day. And also it was due to rain for the rest of the day and my nipples have only just grown back. So, this meant getting up at 7am, urgh, which meant no sleep, no planning, I forgot my energy gels, I didn’t know which route I was going and I started off at a sprint.

I’m a damned fool yes.

Anyway, the result was good 1hr 59mins and 34seconds woohoo! Maybe I need to try some yoga or something to calm down. Or drugs, they sound easier.

Stylish moves, I no haz dem

Broadway Cat

I bought a new pair of trainers last week as I’ve had my current pair over a year now and think they might be contributing to my ball pain (ball of foot, now behave). The terrifying thing about going to a proper shop to buy trainers is that they put you on a treadmill and video you in slow motionnnnn. Why terrifying? Well, you assume, logically, that running is running. You lift a foot up, you move it, you put it down somewhere else. That’s what it looks like when you look down at your feets during a run. However, the truth is far from that. In slow motion I’m making some sort of shape describing the mathematical nature of the universe with my leg movements. My left foot lands where my right foot should be, causing my right leg to detour outwards which then causes it to swing back in landing where my left foot should be – and repeat! The shop guy didn’t really have a great deal of advice about how to fix this other than “try to concentrate on your running technique”. But what the hell does that mean, it’s running, you just… run, it’s like walking, but faster and sweatier! I will have to do some googling tonight to try to get some good advice. Who knew moving your legs fast was as complicated as dancing.

Training Websites…


When it came to chosing a training programme I did what I always do when looking for advice on something… spent 3 hours looking around on the internet trusting complete strangers as experts, then made up my own solution.

This might sound mad, but the reality is there doesn’t seem a particularly perfect way of training for a marathon. My heart specialist has run something like 18 marathons… his training schedule was “run every single day of the week, never more than 13miles”. The marathon beginners book I’m using has a 16 week training programme that scales from 15 – 37 miles a week – and their starting point is someone who can jog for only 30minutes!

The most important questions for me were…

  • How many days a week did I want to train for? This is likely to be either 4 or 5. What was most important to me was that you need to seriously consider ‘recovery’ days… so I have one big run a week and need a free day before it and afterwards so immediately that uses three of the week days! In addition you will want to get your long runs in at the weekend when you have the most time free.
  • How much time do you have and what is your overall goal (just finishing, right?). It’s going to take you a minimum of 6 months and more realistically a year to prepare for the big day. If you’re going to do it you need to feel you at least did it to the best of your ability.

Once you’ve answered those questions, you can come up with a plan that suits your timescale and available time. I ended up with (so far) the following…

  • Monday : Recovery day
  • Tuesday : Fast short run
  • Wednesday : Medium hill run
  • Thursday : Recovery day
  • Friday : Just a good decent medium length run
  • Saturday : Recovery day ready for…
  • Sunday : Long run

One of my big downers was that my initial training plan ideas never gave me ANY time to consolidate. Every single week was harder than the last. When the hell was I going to get time to improve my speed rather than distance??? So in terms of schedules, I’m following a training plan that ‘sort of’ looks like this…

  • Stage 1 : 6 week beginners stage, going from 5 to 10 miles a week.
  • Stage 2 : 6 week intermediate stage, going from 10 to 16 miles a week. (this should get you to a good 5K race time)
  • Stage 3 : 10 week quality stage, going from 13 to 20 miles a week (this should result in good 10K race times)
  • Stage 4 : 16 week advanced stage, going from 18 to 27 miles a week (this gets you ready for half marathons)
  • Stage 5 : 16 week superman stage, going from 25 to 43 miles a week (then you’re ready for marathon!)

Do I know if this plan is any good? Well I’ve found very similar versions around on the net… I will be verifying it with brainiacs when I get a bit more confident as well. But what I liked about it was that each stage gives me the opportunity to go back and improve on what I could do before. Mentally that’s really positive for me as I’ll be able to look back and say “a month ago I did exactly this run and it took me 5minutes longer” – which will be a real boost.

Here are some links to get you going…. brianmac.co.uk, runnersworld.ltd.uk, runnersworld.co.uk and the one I built my schedule from… city-runs.co.uk

p.s. the awesome photo is from the Great Wall Marathon. No.Bloody.Way.

Back of the Net !

Overdoing it...

Quick bit of advice now, which I don’t agree with 100%!

One of the big things in my excellent running book is about setting yourself a goal… fastest marathoneer ever? Sexiest? Most ambulances called to your rescue? Got most lost?

No, their advice on the only goal you should ever have for your first marathon is ‘To Finish’.

The reason does make a lot of sense actually. If you do set yourself a goal, say something possible but very ambitious like ‘Finish under 4hours” then it means you have to average 9 minutes a mile. And if you make that for 20 miles then great… but then if you slow down a bit for the next 2 miles, not much, but enough to make it pretty much impossible to catch up for the final 4 miles… then they say there is a very good chance you might find that so crushing that you either completely mess up your time or at worst, not finish the marathon at all – those last few miles are mentally tough.

What’s worse though, is that you’ll feel like a failure. Even though you’ve just run 26.2 unbelievable miles! You failed to reach your goal.

So that’s why the authors of the book have the great advice of just bloody well finish it!

However, setting ourselves challenging goals, pushing ourselves beyond what we think we can do, is one of the characteristics of human beings that’s made us so successful. So secretly I do have a goal, shhhh.

Of course, pushing yourself a bit too far doesn’t always end up in success and I may end up proving that only the fittest survive (-:

The pic is related, trust me


There is no going back now…….unless I break a leg, have a heart attack, run myself over repeatedly with my car or become allergic to Americans.

Yep, this is it, I’ve booked my race entry for the New York Marathon 2009. I was planning on running for a designated charity but that didn’t quite work out…

If you want to take part in the New York Marathon (and this is true for many others) you have a few choices…

  • You can buy a place through a company. There seem to be two main companies – 2:09 Events and Sports Tours International. They both offer either “Race Ticket + Flight” or “Race Ticket + Flight + Hotel” options. And don’t expect either of these to be cheap. This option is good if you want to organise your own hotel and don’t want the pressure of having to raise a lot of money for a charity. I paid £949 for my place including flights. As of today BA flights to New York on the marathon dates are approx £400 so I’ve paid £549 for my marathon place. i.e. I’ll be paying around 20quid for every single horrible mile.
  • You can get a guaranteed place with a charity. Just google for “new york marathon charity places” and you’ll see a huge list of charities that have purchased race entries. Some charities make you raise a minimum amount then give you a marathon place, some make you raise money then buy one of their flight or flight+hotel packages. If you don’t raise the minimum amount then they “may” try to block you from getting tickets to a marathon again (and of course you’ll go to hell). If you know you’re going to be able to raise a lot of money then this route can be quite attractive as sometimes they subsidise the cost of the flight or the hotel… but in my experience this isn’t by much! When I was looking recently, a charity place typically had a minimum charity pledge of £1600-£1800. If there were charity places available for “Stroke the Squirrel” then I’d be prepared to dress up in that squirrel outfit at work to raise money… but bad luck for you there aren’t any. How much would you pledge to see that by the way?
  • If you have run lots of races before you can get a guaranteed place if you can prove your times are very fast. And I mean *very fast*.
  • You can enter the ticket lottery. I don’t know what the odds are for this but I imagine they’re pretty poor. For New York if you don’t get a ticket from the lottery three years in a row then you get in automatically.

If you choose a company or a charity you usually get pretty good support, like buses to the marathon start, practice runs, meet ups, parties before and after the race etc.

I was going to run for Macmillan cancer care as they initially thought they’d have a “ticket only” option. But now they’ve been told they have to have ticket+flight at the minimum then I can’t really afford the minimum of £2300 I’d have to get together (£1600 pledge + £700 travel+ticket deposit). I will of course still raise money for them as they were extremely helpful with my many questions.

So, basically if you absolutely must get a place in a specific marathon then be prepared to wait or pay. Of course there are much cheaper marathons available around the world… I’ll be in New York with probably every supermodel from Victoria Secret cheering me on while you could be enjoying 26.2miles in downtown Baghdad.

By the way, I thought you’d want to know, whenever I write “marathon” my fingers actually write “marathong”. So if in the process of reading my blog you find that word… then I apologise in advance.

The wrong type of speed


Not that I’m an expert on methamphetamines, but I tried some Lucozade Energy tablet things for my long run on Sunday. Jesus, rather than giving me speed it made me feel like I was on it! I obviously need to do more research, by the way, you only need these sort of energy suppliments for runs over one hour… so stop eyeing up those creme eggs bratty. Had a great run today though, outside with a river and 4 swans and a castle and some ducks… and loads and loads of mud.
Update: I have recently tried the Lucozade Energy Gel… this seemd pretty good actually, it was definitely more paletable (if still bloody icky) and felt like it gave me a boost on this weeks long run. Sure it might have been a placebo, but it counts as sweets to me!

Wii Fit Can Wii Off

Yes, I know I was a fool to buy Wii Fit. I only bought it because I didn’t have it. And it *was* good fun for about 30 minutes. But then it went away neverrrr to be seeeeeen againnnnnnnn, cof, sorry went a bit dramatic then.

But recently Wii Fit has returned… to help me with my New York assignment… and it let me down big time.

Why? Because it’s bloody rubbish! And *infuriating*. It says the same bloody things every time you use it. SHUTUP SHUTUP SHUTUP JUST WEIGH ME. I don’t care about your stupid opinions on the Weather or Sundays or How Great A Work Out I Just Did. Arghghg, it just completely manages to take any enjoyment (if there ever was any) out of the experience.

As for the exercises, they seem pointless to me. I’ve managed to use the Step exercise for 30 minutes now and because the balance board is only a couple of inchs off the ground it’s just like walking on the spot! 30 minutes of total boredom, naff visuals and crap dialogue. Arghghg. (I have now balanced the balance board on four books so don’t be surprised if you see a photo of me in hospital with my head stuck in my TV). One of the exercises is *actually* running on the spot. Seriously, running on the spot on your carpet in your house for 30minutes?!!? Are you serious? You’d burn a fricking hole in the carpet!

I am using it to weigh myself on a daily basis. I do this at about 8:30am… naked. If you fancy checking me out? Well OK it’s a bit early so just ask and I’ll mail you a photo anyway.

Click on this cartoon from the excellent Penny Arcade to sum it up… “Sweat, It’s like my body is crying”, it’s just a shame Wii Fit is a gimic so far.