Training like a proper runner! April – Where have all the races gone….

April is normally the peak of the running calendar. Brighton Marathon, London Marathon, Boston Marathon, Manchester (nearly) Marathon. Instead for 2020 it’s devoid of races or focus and much like life under lockdown, fairly unsettled and strange feeling.

1st – April fools day and like a fool I don’t get up for the planned 8 miler. I’ll do it later after core class (where dog helps with resistance on wall sits). I do go out later with the boy, for a couple of miles with intention of dropping him home and rounding up. In the end I struggle with energy after a busy day. Poor show.


2nd – Should be a rest day but after such a sucky run yesterday I go out with dog for just over 7 to enjoy the sun and make up for previous missed miles.

img_55723rd – Should be a 6 miler, but take it as rest day as busy with work again and DIY. Knocked up a desk for the daughter given home schooling is here for a while.

4th – Back to plan, a steady 5 so I do a steady 5.

5th – 12 mile medium run on plan, I love the woods this time of year so run there and back for a slightly overly long 13 miles including the death defying rail crossing. The line gets about 1 train an hour but always feel dangerous using the old fashioned crossing.

Week 14 done, 45 miles in the sun. Burning through my podcast at the minute!


6th – Gorgeous dusk 7 miler around lake. Going late avoids people.

7th – Back to proper intervals. 5x2k. Sounds easy until you realise that’s 10k of effort. Always harder on your own so stick on some fast music and enjoy turning the legs over.

8th – Long day at desk, work through core class and manage a poor 3 mile with dog in the dark at 9pm. Given so many people are struggling work wise it’s churlish to complain about having too much.

9th – Nothing. Should have been an easy 5 but need to attend site for critical works. Leave home at 5am, back at 9pm so it’s dinner and bed.

10th – Easy 5 with dog rolled over from previous day. It’s Good Friday and weather is perfect. Everyone is locked in and the weather is rubbing it in.

11th – Should be 7 miles at 6:52 (HM pace). I sleep in. I go out when it’s too hot. I don’t drink first. I manage 5 then fade horribly. Yep I literally make every mistake possible. Poor focus on my part. Then back to DIY and a bonfire!

12th – Easter Sunday. Should be a steady 10 miles. Once again I go out too late, on a breakfast of Yorkie Easter eggs and manage 6 miles before deciding I’m about to vomit up chocolate and come back.

img_5661Week 15 done, 41 miles, messed up or cut short a lot of sessions – poor focus and probably for the best London is cancelled. 

13th – Easter Monday. After a disappointing week of running it’s me and dog again for an early run before it gets warm. Turns out we needn’t have bothered as the weather has jumped from Summer to Autumn and I’m cold. After a mid-run discussion with dog we agree the planned short run is not enough and we both need to chase squirrels in the woods so do a 14 mile loop to start the week right and atone for abject failure last week.

14th – Back to work, pah. Also back to intervals. I diligently set up 8x800m with 90s recovery. First interval is great, then I realise I messed up the timings AGAIN and have put 3 minutes recovery. It sounds minor but it annoys me and means I’d have too much break between efforts, take longer and end up finishing in the dark without a headtorch so have to bodge a new intervals session in of 0.5m runs. All the faff and wasted time play on mind a bit and the overall result is less pace than I expected.

15th – An easy 40 minutes with dog and then core class online again. Loving running with dog in the sun.

16th – Another easy session with the dog, gradually getting her used to doing doggy paddle in the lake.

17th – Rest. So I do. Well actually I get a skip and work my arse off filling it.


18th – 3 mile warmup with dog then drop her and 3 miles at 6m50 pace like a parkrun effort for Saturday. Felt good but can’t deny I was glad to finish. Probably my favourite session of the month. Then like everyone in lockdown, back to DIY and pressure washing the drive for hours.

19th – Sunday run and a reminder that you should double check your programme. 90 minute, 11 miles became 9 miles in my head and I only realised the error when uploading.

Week 16 done – 46 miles and better

20th – 8 easy miles. Did the 8 then raced one of the Starship Delivery robots for a final one. It’s an evening run and the increased daylight means a new route out to Woburn Sands and back before dusk.


21st – A bit of pushing the leg speed. 10 sets of 2 min on and 2 min off. Went well and I got a little faster for the final few. Felt more like a lack of coordination rather than fitness that stopped me going faster. Training is working!

On the same day Germany announces a ban on all public gatherings over 5000 until the end of October. With Berlin marathon scheduled for September that means yet another marathon major biting the dust and doesn’t bode well for London.

22nd – A further reminder that you should double check your programme. Normally says 8 for a Wednesday so I cheated a little and did my 9 mile loop that I missed for the past few weeks. Clocked my fastest time since May 2019. Got back to see it had 5 miles on the programme.  Oops.

23rd & 24th – Should have 6 miles easy on Thursday and rest Friday. Work was manic so switched the days.


25th – Keeping miles down before long run so just an easy 5k with dog. Felt quite coiled and ready to go. The upside of London being postponed is I didn’t have to waste one of the sunniest days of the year in an expo hall collecting a bib.



26th – Not The London Marathon. Like a fair few people I feel the need to run the marathon I’ve trained for, albeit not at hard effort. Last year I ran the actual route, in reverse as part of the amazing but odd “The reverse London marathon – nohtaram eht“. This year I’m running it in MK and planned a route of roughly 26 miles allowing a little round up at the end to get the full distance. The route loops petrol stations, corner shops and mates houses so I’m never far from aid if I need any, but carry everything with me. There’s various views in the public and social media on whether people should be doing long runs in the current climate. Concerns cover social contact, strain on runners and any detrimental strain on NHS should something happen. Oddly a charity marathon around your kitchen running on slippery tiles, with lots of hard surfaces to hit your head off is lauded as amazing. Running on footpaths with soft grass and a relaxed pace is viewed by a few as despicable. Personally given the marathons I’ve run before, choice of route and that a 30 mile training run would be relatively usual I’m satisfied in my choice.

I set off early in the cool and to avoid crowds. Plan is to keep around 8 min/miles for a finish around 3h30. Although not the PB attempt I had planned way back in January it would still be a big improvement on the fight I had late last year to get sub4.

40e4b2e0-7571-42a7-96f7-a87d5329201aHalfway comes in 1h45 and at 20 miles I stop to refill bottles. The miles are getting a little harder but nothing too major. In a race I’d probably dig in and push to get the 3h30. I feel good enough to push hard and go under but given it’s a training run I elect to back off and keep it comfortable, finishing in 3h32 feeling relatively fresh.

3h30 had been a comfortable pace for a couple of years, but the Lakeland 100 in July last year took a toll. It’s good to see the sports massage by Rudi at The Treatment Lab  and plans by Clean Coach Katie have got me back to where I was. A shame that there’s no real event to see what I could really do.

Weekly 17 done, 52 miles and should have been the end of the London training.

27th – Rest day. Walked the dog.


28th – Rest day. Took the opportunity to try and calibrate the treadmill. 3 and a bit miles of swearing at the Garmin site to try and coordinate.

29th – With clarification that we can drive a reasonable distance to exercise I went back to Bow Brickhill for my usual Wednesday 9 miler.


30th – 4 miles at sub7 pace after 1 warmup. Not easy maintaining pace and dodging pedestrians and dog walkers but broadly there. Cool down after with doggie.


April miles – 193. So far for 2020 the monthly has been 178, 191, 225, and now 193 for April. 

Next month – Training for London, whenever that is……

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