News and Thoughts

London Postponed

All the facts are in, and the decision has been made. I have deferred my entry until next year.

I have deferred my entry until next year.

I am obviously gutted but feel happy that this is the right decision for me right now. My physio has lined me up with some exercises which, if I carry them out over the next 6 weeks whilst I am not running, will help me to stop scuffing my foot when I run. This has been such an issue for me across recent years that could be a real game changer for next year and gets me really excited.

I need to use this as a chance to grow stronger, become lighter, and improve my running form, so next year I can come back to London and really lay it down there.

So a 6 week break is required first. As well as being out and about on my bike, I intend to have a spring clean here, and the plans I had for this blog for after London will be implemented.

Thank you for everyone’s support up to now- it has been hugely appreciated.

But I promise- this is only the start! BRING ON 2018!


Back to the Physio

My physio is pleased with the progress I am making. I have tried to push him a bit about when can I run, or when shall I defer my place in the marathon.

Simple answer- next week.

I have a timetable of things to do this week- stretches, strengthening exercises, turbo training and riding- and then- next Monday- I can have a trial run. A 5-minute walk to warm up and then a 30-minute normal effort to test the hip.

I am already nervous/ excited! I am back to see him next Tuesday and we will see how I go and make a decision then. I have not run (other than a rubbish 2 miles) for over 2 weeks; my longest run is still 14 miles, and I have not successfully run over 13 miles in one go for over a month.

However, the dream is still there and alive. Once again, I am surprised and bewildered that I am not having trouble with my heart- like I thought I would at the start- it is the rest of me that is falling to pieces. If he says to me ‘No!’ then no it is, and I will defer my place to next year- although I want to do this, I also want to walk afterwards.

It is still on the cards, though. There is a small slip of light creeping through the doorway- a glimmer that maybe, just maybe, I can go and have my own carnival around London. Yes, I may walk, and yes, the running I will do will be slow, but it will be me and honest and alive- something I never, ever thought I would do when I first had heart troubles.

Lets do this!

A different approach

With my hip sore at almost any given moment, I have felt a bit lost sat around. Whenever I do go out, there just seems to be hundreds of people running and riding. Frustrating! Combine this with a massive cooked breakfast, guilt has been setting in.

Bring on the turbo trainer. I did think about trying my bike, but I figured if my hip started hurting then statistically it would be at the furthest point away from home, and I would have to ride back again in pain and possible further damage.

It was a very gentle turbo session of 30 minutes, but I am pleased to say, it felt fine. The sore place on the front of my hip was still sore, but the side part- which is the major pain- was good. Who knows- it may have done it some good! (Although it has been a bit sore afterwards, but this could have been down to swinging my leg over the bike when I got off).

It must be said it was nice to sit on the bike again. Something I promised myself at the start of all of this was I would keep riding, and I have not done this. I can not change it now, but just to say, it was nice to be on the bike.

Physio Tuesday, and I will know what I need to do to be on the start line on April 23rd. It is interesting that I am now making plans for afterwards- things I want to do, places I want to run (and ride). I have some BIG plans for this blog as well; in fact, I started some training today in the use of a new-to-me piece of software to help make it happen.

It maybe a bit early for all of this, but right now, I am feeling positive.


I wanted to spend a few minutes to look at what exactly went wrong yesterday- why was it so tough? I am still feeling it today- it feels like I have done a marathon.

So here are a few unstructured thoughts.

  • Dehydrated- I don’t think I was hydrated enough to start with. I realised Friday evening I have barely drunk any fluids this week, by which time it was too late.
  • A sore throat- I woke up with a sore throat. Not sure if it is because I am coming down with something, or if I have over trained, or I am dehydrated. Combine this with –
  • High resting heart rate- I just checked and my waking heart rate for the day was 69- a 16% increase above my normal of 59. Not a good sign. (Incidentally, before I started running again, my waking was about 79- so this is overall a good news story). Online common sense tells you a 10% increase in waking heart rate means call it off, so I wish I spotted this yesterday instead of today.
  • Coat. As much as I love my new jacket, it just is not breathable- my base layer was like a wetsuit when I got home, and as I said yesterday, come mile 10 the sweet was running out my sleeves. Not nice- especially with the cold wind blowing it against my skin, making me cold.
  • Camelbak. Another sign could have been that the Camelbak felt like I was carrying someone on my back- surprising as I normally love wearing it as it makes me feel like an ultra runner. I clearly am not, but you know, image and everything.

It is hard to know what I should have done yesterday, with all this hindsight. Should I have just called it all off when I saw my high waking heart rate? Should I have cut it short when I realised that I was feeling bad (about the first mile)? Was I right to crack on? I know that towards the end I was walking more than running, and I was doing myself no good what so ever, so in this sense, I am glad we never went on to 17 miles.

If I hard stopped it early/ not gone at all, then would I have been OK to go out today instead?

Either way, today I feel like poo, and could not even face putting my trainers on. It is too late to change anything from yesterday now. I just want to make sure that I learn from it, so something good comes from it.

A Night Off

Not running tonight. The blister on the inside of my foot is as big as it was on Saturday after my long run, and very bloody. My new shoes ( have not arrived yet so I would have had to strap it up, and I was worried it would just get wet which could aggravate it and make it a lot worse.

So, with 82 days to go, how do I think I am doing?

Overall, quite pleased. No matter how ugly it was, I ran a Half Marathon on Saturday, which has to be good. I have raced 10 miles. I have completed in 2 Park Runs. This is all good.

Areas I could try harder- perhaps an extra run a week? I now work on 3 runs to give myself time to recover- a 47-year-old slightly overweight man with Angina surely can’t do much more. However, am I being soft on myself?

I want to be faster, and I know that will come from speed sessions on a Thursday, and losing weight. My weight is being chipped off, and I am about where I would like to be- I would love to loose about 6ilbs before the big day, so that is less than a pound a week- surely achievable.

So going forwards, my schedule will be-
Tuesdays- Tempo run with Phil, zone 3.
Thursdays- Hill repeats/ Fartlek, no zones used.
Saturdays(optional)- Parkrun, zone 4
Sundays- Long run, with Ian- zone 2.

This is up to the Bideford Half Marathon on March 5th. After a gentle week, from then, it will be longer running in zone 2, to build up endurance and stamina. This with lashings of recovery in between.

All this is in conjunction with daily squats (currently up to 40), and some core work in the form of planking.

This should hopefully see me get to being able to get around and staying alive.

And damn, it is exciting!

A running evening

Time was tight for me tonight, so instead of my usual talking rubbish with Phil for an hour, I popped out for a gentle 5k.

I am really pleased that, even though I am sticking to my heart rate alarm of 146 bpm, my times are coming down- this is progress. When I started on this road I was on 11 mins 20 secs miles- no I am sub 11, and reducing each time- all within my base heart rate.

Afterwards, it was straight down to running club (North Devon Road Runners), who had a marathon seminar. This is an hour and a half of talking marathons- best practices, ideas, and thoughts. Lots of great inspirational people who live locally, mixed with lots of people who had questions and worries and concerns just like mine.

I have found it very inspiring indeed. Lots of ideas- I love the back to back long runs of 8 miles on a Saturday, 8 miles on a Sunday, I can see this doing me the world of good. I also know I need to spend some time working on my core, to stop me from leaning over towards the end.

It was lovely to talk and listen about running marathons for 90 minutes- I have come away with a clearer idea of what the next 95 days look like.

Run-Walk Strategy?

How a Run-Walk Strategy Might Help Your Marathon

This is a very interesting piece, mainly supporting by the comments on the bottom (at the time of me writing this, no-one had been called a Nazi yet in the comments).

The thing is- I can not help but feel it would take balls and a confidence which have been built beforehand over several events. I would be unsure about turning up to a marathon- which is, let’s face it, normally the biggest event in most people’s calendar- using this strategy without having tested it significantly before.

My other worry is my limit on my heart rate. If I can’t speed up on the run bits, then the overall effect will just be slow, with potentially 14-minute miles (equalling a marathon time over 6 hours). I would have to be running 8-minute miles (which I can’t yet) to offset the 2 minutes of walking. But by doing this, with walking being

I would have to be running 8-minute miles (which I can’t yet) to offset the 2 minutes of walking. But by doing this, with walking being 16-minute miles, I would end up sub 4 hours- which seems amazing. So in effect, I would do an 8-minute mile then walk for 2 minutes, and loop it until the end. Ludicrous thinking, as I can’t run one 8-minute mile yet.

So let us say 10-minute miles, then 2 minutes walking. This would mean for every 8 miles I run, I would have walked one- in 90 minutes. This would equate to sub 4 hours 30 minutes marathon- a PB.

What do you think? Worth a try? Or maybe you have experience of this running strategy? Let me know in the comments below!

Running by Heart Rate

In between yesterdays’ blog and today’s run I have started a new book. Search anywhere on the internet about Heart Rate training and before not very long someone will extol the virtuals of ‘Heart Monitor Training for the Compleat Idiot’ by John L. Parker Jr, so I have bought a copy and started to read it.

I am pleased to say that- more than likely coincidently- it talks about exactly what I was discussing yesterday. I am lucky enough to say I can almost ignore the top end of the training as I am not looking for speed- I am looking for strength and stamina. Using the sum in the book it says my maximum (using the Karvonen method) is 150- which is what I have my alarm set to. It also says that I should not be worried that sticking to it may mean walking- before long this should settle down and I should be able to run at this max.

So, how has it gone?

Mile 1

Good start. Legs feel good, heart rate soon up to…hold on a minute, where is the alarm? It is flashing at me, but I can’t see the flashing when I run. So I stop it at mile one and turn the alarm on. Moan a bit to myself.

Mile 2

Right, back at it now. It seems that 150 bpm is about 11min 15 sec per mile pace. So I- hold on- it is still not giving me the alarm. Stop it at the end of mile 2, and turn the Alerts on. Moan a bit more to myself.

Miles 3+4

It works! It nudges me when I am running too fast. I quickly learn this could be through elevation or just going too fast. The pace at about 148 bpm is gentle, and I feel fine. In fact, it allows me to concentrate on other things- my arms, my feet, my knees. I do find that this leads me to increase my heart several times, and I have to reign it back again. It is a slow pace, and I need to remember how to run like this. However, as a start, I am pleased with this!

I did not run with my earphones in today, so I could hear my alarm (shame- I missed my audiobook- but for the bigger cause etc). It is nice to have my Garmin 220 back in action again, although I did look a bit daft because I also had my Apple Watch on (I need to hit my rings!!!).

So my starting point with all of this is 150 bpm= approx 11m20s miles. This will come down with weight loss and training. In the end, I ran 4 miles and felt great at the end of it.

Heart Rate

I am a keen heart rate user when I cycle, and I have seen the benefits from zone 1/2 activity lots. My capability quickly increases when I spend time at the lower end of the zones; the hardest thing is holding back to stay there (especially when I get overtaken on the road!).

So with this in mind, I am keen to try it with running. However, with running I find there are a lot fewer options to reign your heart rate back other than walking. A quick glance over my running so far will show my average heart rate is about 165-168- that will put me in zone 4- which is no good for either the speed I am looking to go, or weight loss.

So I have pinched my Garmin 220 back off of my son (sorry Ethan!) and paired it with my heart rate strap. I will be using this now to monitor my training instead of my Apple Watch (the heart rate strap is more reliable for the heart rate, and plus on the Garmin I can set alarms for the zones).

Tomorrow I intend to run 4 miles, with my maximum set Heart Rate alarm set at 150. When it goes off, I shall walk until it is back down below, and try again. It will be a weird thing to do- training to run a marathon by potentially walking- but I have to believe in the benefits. The more I do this, I am hoping the less time I will spend walking.


What do you think? Will this work- or am I being daft? Let me know below!

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