Running shoes aren’t cheap but they’re probably the most important piece of kit to keep your running on track and injuries at bay. They don’t last forever so when should you change your trainers?
On Friday night I ran my second Mile PB in 6 days and today I came second in a marathon. Running a sub 2:10 marathon would normally win you the race but I was up against younger opposition who edged the 26.2 mile race by just 40 seconds.
As any of you that know anything about me or running in general will realise, I’ve not quite shared all the details of my marathon exploits today so let me set the record straight.
With the frustration and fatigue of my London Marathon result fading, it was time to focus on the next chapter of my running career. Mixing it up, I’m concentrating on the short distances from a mile to 4 to get those legs going again.
The four-race series uses the Peace Mile around Oxford’s Cutteslowe Park and comprises of 2, 3 and 4 mile races.
Looking at last year’s results it appears to be a quiet series, with only 30 to 40 people at each race but a range of paces that I’d sit nicely within. The only drawback was that the first race was on my wedding anniversary and I was due to go out for a meal with my wife.
Fortunately I have an amazing wife (that’s why I married her) who could see that this 3 mile race could kick start me again following my marathon disappointment. And we could go out once I got home. Result!
There were some familiar faces from the local running scene but no-one that I knew to talk to and no-one from my own club, Witney Road Runners. There was a real mix of runners and a relaxed, low key feel with some of us opting to wear club vests with others just wearing plain shirts.
After a simple sign up and depositing the £3 entry fee (£5 if you’re not EA affiliated) I had a quick warm up before we assembled on the start line, with what felt like half of Abingdon Road Runners – they made up more than a third of the field! There was still a little congestion as we all tore off towards the grass but the field soon thinned.
The loop has a mix of grass, gravel and tarmac and is mostly flat, with a hill after half way, but that means you’ve got a downhill toward the finish line!
As you pass the start/finish line the organisers are counting out the race clock so you have an idea of your pace. I was positively surprised and slightly alarmed at a six-thirty-something given that I had no idea of what I was going to be capable of.
A controlled second lap followed where I was joined by a face I recognised who then helped to motivate me round the rest of the race. A very encouraging Andy Phelps of Headington Road Runners acted as a great pacer, a marker to hang on to.
Heading into the last few hundred metres my pacer instructed me to push on to the finish and I crossed the line in 19:46. Quicker than I expected, even taking into account that the course appears to be slightly short. And on reviewing the results, I was second Senior Man – admittedly, 2nd out of 2!
There are no medals but there was water and jaffa cakes to enjoy so I stayed to applaud the remaining runners home and found myself part of friendly impromptu running conversations with other runners. And then realised I had an anniversary dinner to get too so rushed back to the car!
Despite the small field and relaxed feel, the atmosphere was welcoming and supportive and I can’t believe more runners aren’t partaking in this very cheap accessible race series.
I shall definitely be taking on the 2 mile race on 22 May as well as the 3 mile race a week later (celebrating the 30th anniversary) and am gutted that I won’t be in the UK to complete the series with the 4 mile race in June. Hopefully I’ll see more clubmates join in at the future races.
I’m not sure it has anything to do with Sri or his principles but this race has really lifted me and provided a spark to my running again. I look forward to seeing what I can do at the future races.
“Running offers us the message of transcendence. In our running, every day we are aiming at a new goal….. … every day we are running towards a goal, but when we reach that goal, we want to go still farther. Either we want to improve our timing or increase our distance. There is no end. Running means continual transcendence, and that is also the message of our inner life.”
After a 2016 full of PBs at distances from the mile to half marathon, my 2017 has a much narrower focus. Securing a ballot place for the London Marathon means I’m training for my second marathon. And with my form on the up, I wonder what I can achieve? Well, training has started positively.
I had assistance from my coach mentor for my first marathon. I also has the privilege of a training session with Martin Yelling as well as hearing a seminar from Mara Yamauchi.
Since then my own coaching experience and knowledge has increased so I decided to put my theory into practice on my most awkward athlete: me!
My 2015 London Marathon was about taking me from never running more than 13.1 miles up to the full 26.2 and getting across the finish line in one piece. This year it’s about seeing what I can do.
So I’ve assembled a plan that’s fairly aggressive – for me. I won’t go into the details of how I pieced together in this post; that’s for another day.
Despite the cold and icy weather so far this winter I’m enjoying the training, perhaps enhanced by me helping a couple of the club and a couple of charity runners with their own training plans. I feel more enthused by setting a good example!
My first marathon ultimately ended in a 4:04 result which, despite being just outside where I’d hoped, I was pleased to set as my benchmark.
My 2016 performances, and a desire to be less conservative, I’m training towards a 3:30 marathon and so far things have been going well.
Helpfully, a 3:30 marathon means averaging 5 minute kilometres (or 8 minute miles for those who use old money!) which is convenient to keep track of and is nicely comfortable over a half marathon so I’m feeling confident.
My confidence has been boosted by clocking a 17 mile slow run at a nice, low heart rate and at a pace that’s faster than I was running long runs two years ago at the same heart rate.
This weekend saw me combine a 7.5 miles marathon pace run on Saturday with 18 miles slow with a few clubmates on Sunday. Nearly a whole marathon across the two days and, other than slightly tired legs this morning, I’m feeling good.
So 3 weeks down, 13 to go. And I’m loving it!
There’s still plenty of running to do in 2016 but with all my target races completed it’s time to relax and look back on my running year. And what a year it turned out to be!
Four years ago I was inspired to get more involved in running by London 2012. I’ve since become a British Athletics-qualified coach and I’m still loving being able to help people run, run further and run faster.
My Tuesday night Run England group attracts 8 to 12 people each week and people come and go as there lives dictate. Although some people have come and gone, for all sorts of reasons.
Some have tried running and decided it wasn’t for them, some have gained confidence to continue their running on their own or with a club like Witney Road Runners and some have maybe just fallen out of the habit (and forgotten how much fun my sessions are!) but might be lacking in confidence to get started again.
To add a bit of variety to the sessions, to provide more direct coaching for everyone, and to encourage people to come along without feeling they’ll have to run around Witney I’m going to do something a little special on the last Tuesday of every month. Continue reading Run England Cogges Summer Sessions
The year was 1954 – a different time. Queen Elizabeth II was just a year into her reign, post-war sugar rationing had not long come to an end, little more than 25% of families had a television and the human body was stubbornly refusing to run a mile in less than four minutes. Until a 25-year-old junior doctor named Roger Bannister returned to the Oxford University track at Iffley Road to record the first ever sub four minute mile. Continue reading Breaking The Barrier: The 4 Minute Mile
As runners, we run mile after mile but rarely challenge ourselves over the iconic distance of a mile. Be inspired by the first sub four minute mile and challenge yourself to run a single mile as fast as you can this summer with #RunYourMile. Continue reading #RunYourMile
Early in 2016 I devised a series of “Technique Taster” sessions to introduce members of Witney Road Runners to some basic running technique concepts and tips. Here’s what we got up to in the second session:
Session 2: Running ABC – adding agility and co-ordination to balance for a solid running technique foundation. Continue reading Running ABC