MK Marathon – Week 8 Training – Nearly but not quite

Week 8 of 17
Plan this week was capitalise on the running in Tenerife and make the most of the cooler weather. It sort of happened.  
Monday – 6m loop of Caldecotte Lake at 7:39 average pace – Fresh back from holidays and nice to run without dissolving into a sweat pool within minutes. 

Tuesday – 6:40 session. 6:50 pace for 4 miles – Third attempt at this club session. Should be one mile at 7min pace and three at 6:40min pace. Slowed at the end but managed fastest average of three attempts at 6:50 overall.

Wednesday – 9mile Tempo at 7:44 average – Felt fresh despite speed work the night before and managed best overall pace and longest distance (9.5miles) in a long while. 

Thursday – Spin Class – 45 mins cross training to knacker the legs.

3x10min paced sections with 3 min recovery – 11miles at 8:11 average. Sluggish at first from the spin class but managed to get progressively quicker on the paced sections and held a decent overall pace. Good confidence builder as legs felt like jelly immediately after the bike.  Have increasing sympathy for those triathlon people.  

Friday – Failed gentle 10k attempt. 2.4m at 9:58 average. Ergh! Plan was a gentle early morning lap of Caldecotte with Bella. Pretty sure I overdid the training this week as I bonked horribly. Was sweating way too much after only a mile at a sedate pace, and after less than two miles felt awful and completely lacking in energy. Tried to push on a bit longer at a run/walk hoping it would pass before eventually binning it off and walking back with a confused dog in tow. Never felt so rough after so few miles before. 

Photo borrowed form the parkrun group thanks to whoever took it!

Saturday – Parkrun with Bella -3.1 miles at 7:11 pace – With a lot of DIY planned for the weekend I managed to sneak in a parkrun at Milton Keynes. Bella was raring to go and pulling on the lead, I was hoping to avoid a repeat of the previous day’s disaster.

 At the countdown we set off and I experienced impressive levels of grip and acceleration on the muddy grass, entirely due to a four legged friend dragging me up the slope past all the better runners on the path. This was looking good if I could just keep up with her.

We were well up near the front and on for a great time. Then she decided to answer a call of nature. It’s fine, we’ve still got this. Up the zig zags and down the slope and we’re gaining lost places. Under the road and around the South lake and we’re running strong until a really exciting puddle comes into view and I get to stand and watch the flow of runners go past (again) as she explores every inch of the puddle. And the one next to it. They were really quite amazing puddles it seems. When we eventually get going we’re well back and despite the new improved MK route and flat finish can only manage a 22:30, over 30 seconds slower than last attempt. Will have words with the dog about getting her game face on!  

Sunday – A ‘rest’ day digging up and relaying kitchen floor. My poor knees ache more than after an ultra.

Weekly total mileage – 36 miles. Picking up from the last two recovery weeks but need to concentrate on getting some weekend miles in.

MK Marathon – Week 7 Training – It ain’t half hot!

Continuing the globe trotting theme of week 6, a week of hot weather training (or family holiday in Tenerife). 
Didn’t get too many miles in but enough to keep active and remind myself what running in double digit temps feels like! 

Monday – cerveza and tapas

Tuesday – 6 miles along the beach – even prettier than the MK marathon route.

Wednesday – tapas and beer

Thursday – 9 miles and a lot of hills – running in MK you struggle to find a hill.  Along Tenerife you struggle to find a flat bit.

Friday – more tapas and rode a camel

Saturday – 10 miles to get the last of the hills and heat 

Sunday – nowt

Weekly total mileage – 25 miles. Two low weeks after Quadzilla, best get bum into gear once back home. 

MK Marathon – Week 6 Training – Bonjour!


After a heavy mileage week previously this one has been more about recovery and getting miles in where able.

Monday – 2 mile recovery ‘run’ – wasn’t pretty but freed the legs off.

Tuesday – rest day although a lot of travelling with work.  Started in MK, day in Edinburgh, and to Paris for bed.

Wednesday – After full day of conference and being trapped at desk I went for a random and often misdirected run around Paris.  Found a free to use public track adjacent to the Eiffel Tower and started laps.  Legs felt surprisingly light after the marathons and managed a 5k PB, held on for a 10k PB, amazed to break 40 minutes for first time.  May well have been some inaccuracy around a small track but either way it’s a boost and now fancy a crack at a 10k race.


Thursday – final random run around Paris in morning.  Legs were reassuringly heavy from previous day.

Friday – Rest day as I failed to make time to run

Saturday – Options of meeting friends at 5am or 6am for a long run.  So I took the cowards option and ran parkrun with the dog.  She flew around and avoided any calls of nature.  First dog home and first time sub 22 for her.

She loves running, not good at smiling…

Sunday – Couldn’t be bother to run, so rest day!

Weekly total mileage – 20 miles.  One hell of a drop from last week…

MK Marathon – Week 5 Training and a few practice marathons…..

Week 5 of 17

Some say the best practice for running a marathon is to run a marathon.  So this week I’ve done four more just to get a handle on this 26.2 mile thing.

Monday – Rest day after long(ish) run Sunday

Tuesday – 6:40 session.  In preparation for upcoming Quadzilla (four marathons in four days) I decided to try a speed session to try and assess fitness and maybe avoid going off too fast in the marathons.  Managed 4 miles at 6:58 average.  It felt like effort and could still feel the ultra from 10 days ago in the legs.

Wednesday – Rest day

Thursday – Quadzilla Day 1 – my third entry to Quadzilla so game plan was to take it easy for first day.  The event is now in it’s 7th year and organised by Enigma Running.  Over the course of 4 days competitors run marathons around Caldecotte lake in Milton Keynes. Anyone managing to complete all four gets a hoodie.  With the bulk of the 60-70 runners each day attempting the full Quadzilla there is great support amongst the runners as you each take on your own personal challenge.  Whether you’re a running god or a mere mortal, attempting 4 marathons is a big ask.

In single marathons you can finish in a fairly calorie deprived and (mildly) dehydrated state and not be concerned since you have weeks or months to recover.  With multi-day events you’e always thinking about tomorrow so need to concentrate on drinking and eating whilst running and making sure you get the right recovery foods back in you after. Despite being February I still tucked away 500ml of sports drink, 1l of water, an energy shot bottle and a small Coke every day as a minimum during the event.

Goal for day 1 is to avoid going off too quickly and suffering for the rest of the event.  I felt strong and held off racing anyone, finished in 3:40 and one of the most relaxed marathons I’ve run in a long while.  Right quad was feeling a little stiff though.  Normally would ignore this but given three more races to go I broke habit of a lifetime and tried to foam roller it.  My god that hurts.

Friday – Quadzilla Day 2 – Second day and it seemed the foam roller of pain had not worked.  I couldn’t get a forward extension on right leg and after a while right calf joined right quad in aching, and then right hip started to join in the cacophony of complaint. This was very much a grin and bear it day, and first time in a long while I’ve had to battle to go sub 4hr and hobbled over in 3:54, not helped by a headwind on the exposed sections. Aim at start was 3:45-50 for all four days. Blown that on day 2 an having doubts on keeping below sub 4hr for subsequent days.

Focus on the important stuff – this was marathon number 90. Now in countdown mode to the 100th.

Saturday – Quadzilla Day 3 – Like Bon Jovi I’m halfway there and also my right leg is living on a prayer. By luck I tagged onto the Portuguese contingent of runners and they dragged me around at 8min pace until halfway. Brain was disengaged, I just followed them, ignoring the memories of a dodgy leg and the thoughts that I was probably burning through energy reserves I didn’t have. Inevitably they lost me but had enough banked to allow steady 9s to get home in 3:45. 9 minutes quicker than day 2. Maybe my leg would hold out after all?  Marathon 91 done. One more left for my hoodie.

Sunday – Quadzilla Day 4 -As we set off for day 4 there were more ‘ooh arghs’ than a field of Norfolk farmers.  Legs seemed to be linked to the mouth, bypassing the brain and were objecting to another day of this nonsense.  After some stuttering false starts we broadly set off ‘running’ ready for a final 7 laps.  Home straight and just a little further to go.

Initially legs were stiff but loosened up and first three laps went well.  Halfway passed and I could start to do the maths.  Luxury of 10 minute miles would get me in just over 4hrs but wanted more so pushed as much as able even gaining on some runners on lap 5.  3:45 looked possible.  Briefly.  Then knee decided it had been overlooked and made even the gentle slopes of Caldecotte hard work.  Too much speed on the down sections and felt like it was struggling to hold my weight.  After each aid station it also took a few steps to start playing ball and bend to allow running.  Not ideal.

Decided I could afford to drop a few minutes and walked when needed, losing a few positions on the final lap but finishing in 3:51.  Final day of my third Quadzilla done and dusted, hoodie collected and home for a shower.

Weekly total mileage – 110 miles.  About the same as proper professional runners do every week.