Italian Tune Up for Marathon 99!


More by accident than design the two weeks prior to the penultimate marathon were spent with family and friends at a villa in Pulia, Italy.  An Italian Tune Up for your car is ruthlessly caning your car on the way to the MOT to try and burn off the crud and scrape the emissions test.  My Italian tune up was more indulging in some vital ‘P’s; Peroni, Prosecco, prosciutto, pasta and pizza.

The searing temps meant runs were kept relatively short and the remote location, whilst ideal for a restful break made runs very repetitive and prone to getting lost (“was it left after the 5th or 6th Olive farm?”). The farmers preference for guard dogs and disdain for adequate fencing meant on more than one occasion my steady long run was cut short by some unplanned max efforts as I sought safety or just to outrun hounds in 35degC heat. The first week I managed to scrape 35 miles, the second was more like 12.

The heat had imposed a proper taper so I resolved to approach the 99th marathon well rested and adequately hydrated (more Peroni and Prosecco).

The flight back home was delayed and was nearly 1am when we rolled into bed at home, setting my alarm for six hours hence to allow time to get up and find some trainers and gear to wear, all tasks I’d neglected prior to the holiday.

Number 99 was either going to be amazing or awful.

Sunday morning arrived and I bid farewell to family, hello to the McDonalds staff for a pre-race ritual and turned up ready for another seven and a bit laps of Caldecotte lake.

Plan was to ignore watch and run to feel.  This kept me in first place for over a lap before losing a spot, and then a couple of laps later I lost a further place as the temps climbed.  It wasn’t as bad as Italy but more than predicted.  I’d forgotten a hat (bad planning) and my sunglasses collapsed somewhere around mile 16, either by the sheer G-force imposed by my early pace or because they squashed in the suitcase on the flight back.

By 18 miles I was struggling to keep sub8 so knew it was just a hold on and bare it for third place and 3:28.

You know the RD is a good chap when he sorts you am appropriate bib for your 99th marathon!
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Another week of training and a 5k

With marathon 99 looming it’s been a week of trying to get some decent speed in.

Monday 5k at Enigma Clueless Event – went off too fast as usual and held first place for about a mile. Finished 2nd place in 20:17.  With the exception of the two slightly downhill Rocket 5k it’s the fastest I’ve managed and a shock after a HM PB the day before. 


Tuesday – 640 session, 5 mile option at 6:53 pace, and pyramid session after 8 miles at 7:42 pace.

Wednesday – Bow Brickhill – 9 miles at 7:39, felt bad on the hills but OK overall. 

Thursday – Bow Brickhill again, 10 miles at 7:37 pace

Friday – after a lot of speed runs this was a sucky amble with the dog, 3.7 at 9:21 and felt hard word…..

Saturday – same running companion for the MK Parkrun.  After barking all over the RD announcement she set off like a rat up a drainpipe and pulled me briefly to the front block of runners.  Stop for a poop and two paddles meant the rest caught us and managed 5k at 7:48 pace.  Slow for dog face.

Sunday – picturesque run around the olive farms of Italy.  Hot and flat, 10 miles at 7:25 pace.  Then a cool off in the pool.


Weekly mileage total 52 miles

Next week – some more hot miles before a taper for marathon 99.

Marathon Recovery Week after no98

Odd week as I tried something new, Pilates. Also tried steady pacing.  Keep this up and I might even start eating properly.


Monday – Recovery run with dog – Short run to loosen legs and burn off some excess energy from the dog. 2.5 miles at 9:22 pace.

Monday evening – Pilates – Not something I’d done before but went along with the wife to her pilates class as a form of marathon recovery. It was certainly an experience and showed just how inflexible I am. Mileage and lack of cross training means everything is tight so I struggle to straighten legs, touch toes or even sit up straight. Or bend.  Basically I’m a crushed up crisp packet…

Tuesday – 6:40 Session with Redway – 4 miles at 6:55 average, definitely feeling marathon legs slowing the pace.

Also Tuesday – 12x2min intervals, 1 min recovery. 7.6 miles at 7:43 pace, intervals from 6:28 to 7:01. Hard work as second run of the evening.

Wednesday – Bow Brickhill run – Mixture of taking it easy and tired marathon legs gave a 7:58 average for 9.7 miles. Saw a deer metres from us on the verge which was pretty cool and replaced the rabbit as the most interesting wildlife of the run.

Thursday – Bow Brickhill – started with a warmup around Caldecotte then Loop of the hill with some intervals.  12 miles at 7:58 pace.

Friday – gentle run with dog and legs felt dead.  2.9 miles at 9:32.  It was so pants I didn’t even round up.

Saturday – rest day, ate loads, drank beer

Sunday – after a warmup attempted to do 13 miles at 7min pace with some other runners.  Hard work but managed 13.1 at 7:04, and a HM PB.  For the food obsessed this was off a coffee and a Tribe energy bar, no breakie, and 500ml squash.  No gels or fancy sports drinks.

For me that is amazingly steady pacing, helped by Matt dragging me around

Weekly total – 51 miles, pretty high for recovey week.