Brighton Marathon

So after finishing Paris marathon in a new PB of 3:28:05, I was looking forward to getting back out and doing another Marathon – I guess it’s good that I actually look forward to this, as I’ve still got another one to do!

I’ve had this past week following Paris off work (except for a couple of days at college for study) as it was mine and my wife’s birthdays. We enjoyed a spa day on Friday to relax, recover and chill out some more.

Training wise I did a 1500m swim (bit of practice before a triathlon in May), and Dulwich parkrun on Saturday to celebrate it’s first birthday.

We travelled down to Brighton on Saturday, as with another expo and early start it was the best option. At the expo I chatted with Dave @compressport who was friendly at VLM last year when I first met him, and picked up a new pair of Trail Compression shorts.

I use their socks to run with and F-legs for post run recovery, but also have the ForQuads, which I haven’t got on with running wise. I find they slip down, and I lose too much time having to pull them up. But they work really well under a tri suit or cycling shorts. When chatting to Dave we think it might be because of my hairy legs and the silicon not gripping. So to get round this I am giving the new trail shorts a go. First impressions are that they offer very good compression of the quads and hamstrings, during today’s run I never got a feeling like my hamstring would cramp (I did feel like it might go in Paris, so kept to a pace which didn’t risk it).

With the forecast for Brighton being a scorcher but with a strong southerly breeze, it was difficult to gauge what impact this might have. Following running Paris at an average of 4:56/km I set my Garmin to 4:55/km. Given the course up to 15km is undulating, with hindsight, I feel that this was too optimistic. Even though I felt fresh at half marathon (1:43:43), 1 minute up on target. The extra effort at the start might have influenced my finish.

Getting back on the sea front, the wind didn’t seem to be having too much impact, and was acting as a nice cooling breeze. Heading up to the out and back loop in Hove I decided to do a watch reset to wipe the 1 minute gained so far and just settle into a 4:55/km pace and bank the minute and get through the next 10km or so at a steady pace. This bit of the course is one of the mentally challenging sections. There is a slight up hill to the turn around, and is through a residential area so no sights to aim for.

After the residential section it was back onto the seafront out to Portslade. The long straight road and the power station in the distance make this another challenging stretch. I got past the 20mile point and still felt relatively good, but at 35km the wheels fell off. This chart from Strava, shows it quite well:


I can’t really fathom what happened next, I think recording a > 5minute km and starting to feel a bit of stomach pain from the gels made me walk a small section. But walking is a marathon runners nemesis. Psychologically, when I know I am going to miss my target time then re-starting, plus knowing there is still about 30 minutes to race – I give up. I also think I under estimated what impact having a marathon from last weekend still in my legs would have.

The last 6km took was a mix of run/walk. The crowd really push you on, and give a little cheer if you start re-running in response to their shouts. But when you get out of their sight it is all too easy to walk again. During one of my walking stints I noticed another runner with Paris-Brighton-London on the back of their vests. I just had to catch them up to meet someone who has probably had their friends call them mad, just like mine have!

Crossing the finish line was a relief and putting it all into perspective a 3:38:33 is still an amazing time, off the back of a PB last weekend, and is my 3rd fastest marathon time. After crossing the line, you end up having to walk past all the baggage lorries which in Paris they let you exit before. This walk seemed to go on forever.

NACC one of the charities I am supporting had a tent on the beach, and it was good to meet the team and have a well earned sit down. So far between my own page and my shared work fundraising page I have raised over £700, so thank you once again to those who have sponsored me.


So with one marathon to go, I’m going to have a bit of a different recovery. Lots of pasta to refuel properly, and sitting at my desk as I’m back to work (this isn’t good for recovery). I will also try and do some swims and ride to work.

I am looking forward to London next week and will try to get back under 3:30 and add to this medal collection.


After getting home from the race it was sad to hear the tragic news of a fellow runner in the marathon today. It always puts life in to perspective, and to make the most of each day. RIP.

Posted in races | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Paris Marathon

So I am back from a weekend away in Paris with Katie for my first marathon in the #3marathons3weekends challenge.


We arrived mid-afternoon in, a slightly warmer than London, Paris. After a bit off a faff on the metro to get to the hotel, we were welcomed with a room with a view!

Then we headed off to the Expo to collect the race number and goodie bag. The Expo, like heading off to Excel for the London marathon, is a bit of an annoyance when you would rather be off your feet, but also adds to the excitement of race day. One nice touch at the Paris marathon is getting your name printed on the bib number. And it worked as I got a few shouts of “Super Chris” (in French accent) on race day which helped spur me on.


After a pasta meal for a bit of carb loading, it was time to get some sleep for race day.

On the morning of the race, I made sure I got a decent breakfast (2 slices of strawberry jam toast, chocolate curls cereal and a mini pain aux raisin) it was time to head off to the Champs Elysese for the start. I was in the yellow start for the 3h15 a 3h30 runners. So in this pen I didn’t want to push too close to the front. The mistake I have always made in my 3 previous marathons is setting off too fast 3h15 – 3h20 pace and then paying for it at mile 20.


At Paris they do something different to the start in London. After firing the cannon for the elite start, there was no movement from our pen. It took about 5 minutes for them to open the pen, and we then walked forward to the start line where we were held again for a few minutes before being released onto the 42.195km course. The Champs Elysese is nice and wide so you can set off at your desired pace straight away instead of fighting for position and being stuck behind runners who shouldn’t be that close to the start!

The early start meant that it wasn’t that warm at the start, but also meant that the first 5km were I’m shade so pretty chilly. But as the road wound its way through the city and out to the first parkland it soon warmed up. I needed to ditch the extra top I was wearing at 12km as I worried it might cause over-sweating and hence cramping later on.
Following mis-pacing previous marathons I was concentrating on following the pace guide on my Garmin and sticking closely to the 4:59min/km target pace. I stuck with this fairly well upto the 16km point, gaining only a minute, so re-adjusted my target pace to 4:56, and hence zeroing the one minute gain. I saw Katie at the 27km point and was feeling good and well on for my target, but at the back of my mind knew there was still a long way to go, and another few km to the magical 20 mile point.

Getting to the 20mile point I knew I could do it, and it added to it when I was passing people at this point who were probably feeling like I have before and succumbed to walking. But I was sensible not to up my pace and just bring it home, otherwise I could have been just like them in 500m!

Going through the park by Long Champ race course was a different experience to London, as there weren’t that many spectators, unlike the stretch from the Tower of London to the finish which is 3+ deep.

Getting to the 37km point I knew it was just a parkrun to go. I could easily visualise this as just 3 laps of Dulwich Park, but a 25 minute run instead of the 19 minutes I usually do it in.

I saw Katie again just before the 42km mark, and picked up the pace from here as by looking at my watch I knew I would run under 3h30 and even if I was to cramp I would have enough time to walk/hobble in.


I did it!!

So 1 marathon down and 2 to go. Over all I think I have got the right mileage in the bank and Paris marathon’s pace wasn’t too difficult, so I just need to recover correctly this week (helped by my compression leggings) to be ready for Brighton.

My Garmin recorded the course as 42.4km but that is expected with the tunnels and having to do a bit of weaving so not following the blue line exactly. Therefore I have an average pace of 4:54/km to set my Garmin to in Brighton, with the plan to stick to this pace to the 20 mile point then see what happens…

Also a massive thank you to everyone who has sponsored me so far, I’ve broken through the £500 mark. All your support has not only motivated me throughout the long training runs but also helps my chosen charities.

Posted in races | Tagged | Leave a comment

3 marathons in 3 weekends in April all in sub3h30??

Ok so where do I start? After finishing London marathon last year, and just missing out on my target time of 3h30m, I got a message from Fullers London Pride (one of the sponsors), that I had won their Facebook competition and got a free place in the 2013 VLM.

Most people would be happy with that, but with a bit of a wish to one day do an ultra marathon (anything at least 1 mile more than a marathon, but I would personally class it as 50miles+) I decided on a slightly bonkers challenge. Knowing that both Paris and Brighton marathons have a first come, first served entry procedure, so I knew following confirmation of London doing 3 marathons in 3 consecutive weekends was feasibly possible. To add a bit of challenge to it, I want to try and do them all I’m sub 3h30.

I am using the twitter hash tag #3marathons3weekends to update my progress.

Posted in races | Tagged | Leave a comment

First 8 weeks o…

First 8 weeks of marathon training

w/c           Runs Distance (km) Time      Ave Speed (km/h) Ave HR (bmp) 
20/02/2012 6      62.08             5:27:20  11.4                    148 
13/02/2012 4      49.63             4:08:43  12.0                    152 
06/02/2012 5      53.57             4:44:50  11.3                    150 
30/01/2012 5      33.88             2:53:51  11.7                    150
23/01/2012 6      42.03             3:43:12  11.3                    146 
16/01/2012 5      40.33             3:31:31  11.4                    150 
09/01/2012 5      48.35             4:25:39  10.9                    145 
02/01/2012 6      42.75             3:56:43  10.8                    145 

Total        42    372.62           32:51:50  11.3                    148 




Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Marathon training run 26 / Brockwell Parkrun

Originally I hadn’t planned on doing Brockwell parkrun as today I was supposed to do Watford Half Marathon, however with the over night forecast as it was I decided to do the Parkrun just to maintain my 5 runs per week. Not sure how it happened but I missed the start by approximately 2 minutes, which had an effect on my run, as I definitely run quicker when there are similar placed runners around. I finished in 20:18 ‘ish. And then ran a bit past the finish so the Garmin would actually record 5km instead of 4.96km, but Strava still didn’t record it as a 5km best effort 😦
But given all that I was pleased with my time, as I shouldn’t have raced that fast just in case the snow didn’t come and I’d have been able to race Watford.
So I might head out in a bit to try and get a 13 mile run in, but the snow hasn’t melted.

Here’s a photo from the brockwell Flickr photo stream.


Posted in training | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

2012 marathon training

Well last year I managed 33 pre-injury runs in the lead up to the marathon, which took me almost up to the day. I then got a stress fracture in my left leg just above the ankle, so had to defer my place to this year.

In the 33 runs I managed to clock up 371km and 34h11mins of training. That’s an average of 10.85km/h (garmin connect)

I now use strava and have since 01/01/2012 logged 25 runs, 203km and 18h06mins of training. That’s an average of 11.22km/h (3.4% faster!)

I’m also doing the marathon talk spring motivation challenge Jantastic and scored 100% for January.

So all in all training is going well, now time to use the foam roller!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Link | Posted on by | Leave a comment