OK, so I'll start by admitting I was planning on writing my first Blog post back in January 2015 and regularly updating on my progress towards VLM 2015, on what I was referring to in my title as 'Dream big'! However this was not the case!
After a very successful London Marathon 2014 with a new PB of 2:34:59 I decided to race London 2015 and Berlin 2015 with a goal of trying to go #sub2:30 in Berlin.
So to start with I didn't write my monthly Blog as planned, mainly down to the fact I was feeling the pressure of my target time and the idea of recording my progress and thoughts for all to see and then to possibly fail at hitting my target did not sit easy with me so I decided to keep my progress updates to Strava and Fetcheveryone with help from the very amusing and motivational Fetcheveryone sub 2.45 marathon thread.
Dream Big - London Marathon 2015
I will start by going back to the draft Blog I was writing in January. What I was planning.......
In 2015 I will be turning 38. With a young family, an amazingly supportive partner and demanding job, I will be attempting to train for and run a PB at the VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON 26 April 2015 and attempt sub 2:30 at the 42nd BMW BERLIN MARATHON on 27 September 2015. I am planning to keep a monthly account Blog (log) of my progress, thinking that sharing is hopefully going to be my way of motivation and encouragement to stick to the goals.
My plan was set-up to follow a slightly modified P&D training plan with core 'BAC' Marathon endurance session designed by club-mate Steve Way, with an increasing weekly mileage to max @ 115 mile per week.
You can see my full training log on Fetcheveryone.
Build Up Race Plan
My normal strategy is to build in a few warm up races as pre 'A Race' target races over a few distances to see how I progress for London. These will be the same races I completed in 2014
Targeted Pre London Races
15 Feb - Bramley 20
01 Mar - Bath Half Marathon
22 Mar - Eastleigh 10k
Diet & Nutrition
Whilst looking at my 2014 plan and build up I was also looking for other ways I could improve my preparation. The main changes I have made are to my diet, with the introduction of 5 main eating times to control my food intake and to ensure I fuel correct for key sessions;
- Snack (1)
- Snack (2)
- + Drinks
As part of this process I also cut out all alcohol from December 31st to race day, removed any junk from my diet, crisps etc. Removed bread and highly processed carbs replacing them with alternative sources such as whole wheat pasta, bugler wheat and quinoa. Some of my recipes can be seen here
The Build Up
Training review - September - December 2014
Following the birth of my daughter and second child in May 2014 and a couple of failed attempts to race during the summer off-road I had slowly increased my weekly mileage to average 70 miles per week, running 6-7 days a week with weekend racing. My key focus for this period was to build a base of consistent monthly mileage and reduce weight from 72kgs (159lbs - 11st 3) to 66kgs (147lbs - 10st 5). A couple of highlights were a 10 mile race win in my local race, Wimborne 10 and 3 marathons completed over this period all used as training runs (apart from Bournemouth Marathon where even though I hadn't done the build up training I realised on the start line I could get a decent result so went off hard and held on for dear life)
Purbeck Marathon (3rd place) 03:08:56
Bournemouth Marathon (5th) 02:40:50
Wimborne 10 (1st) 55:06
Portsmouth Coastal Marathon (1st) 2:41:33
Training review - January - April 2015
Training went very well during this period with only 2 days of no running between 1st January and race day, no injuries to report and all sessions hit as planned; a total of 1,489 miles run. Full training log on Fetcheveryone. Build up races went well considering a few hiccups. On the 10 Feb, a week before Bramley I started the day with my planned easy 8 miles then headed to work, by 10:00 I was starting to feel unwell with stomach cramps so headed home. I only just made it before the cramps started to get worse and I ended up being rushed to hospital in an ambulance. 30mg morphine, 4 bags of saline, chest and abdominal X-rays and an over-night-stay later the results came back inconclusive and was sent home with the all clear - 1 day no running. The only other hiccup was a cold in the build up to Bath Half that affected my breathing but all in all results went well and I recorded PB's in all races.
15 Feb - Bramley 20 - 1:57:29 (5:52)
01 Mar - Bath Half Marathon - 1:14:04 (5:39)
22 Mar - Eastleigh 10k - 33:35 (5:24)
Planned target race weight 67kgs
A big thanks needs to go out to my training partners and club mates who completed many a long run and tough session, to name a only a few Jon Sharkey, Jez Bragg, Al Pickburn, Manol Dimitrov and Steve Way
RACE DAY - London Marathon 2015
Not really sure how to sum the race up apart from it went perfectly. I had been worrying up until the night before if I was able to hold my planned 5:44 mm average over 26.2 miles. I had decided to go with the same strategy I followed for 2014 - 'RUN MY OWN RACE'. In the past I had spent far too much effort worrying where other people were, and keeping in a group, so this year my focus was to keep it steady and only check my watch on miles splits with targets of hitting half way at 01:15:00 and 21 miles 02:00:00.
So following meeting up with a number of people at the 'Champs Start' including to name a few 'Jock, Si and James' from Fetcheveryone sub 2.45 marathon thread, Lev, Al Picking & Lewis Chalk and club mates Graham. Simon, Steve + many more. We were called to the start and with chants of 'Paula Paula...' the amazing Paula Radcliffe was introduced to the crowd, joined us in the Champs start before the boom and we were off....
I quickly settled onto my pace a little faster than planned over the first 3 miles, as they are slightly downhill. It took me this long to catch 'Paula's group' as she was well ahead of 02:30 pace and causing massive amounts of noise from the crowds lining the streets. Also at this stage Paul Martelletti (@marders) (Paul's blog) came past dressed as Spiderman on his World Record attempt with muted 02:28 targets. I was happy to let him go.
The next few miles went to plan, felt comfortable and I counted down landmarks. The Cutty Sark is always a high point for me with its wall of noise, then steady through 10 miles before Tower Bridge, that was immense, and onto half way just ahead of my 01:15 target. Next, 17 miles where normally my partner Nicki would be but as she was attempting London Marathon supporting with both children she was planning to be at Big Ben. Then, onto the 'City'. Still feeling strong, my focus was to get through Canary Wharf and onto 20 miles with easy miles and hit my 21 mile target time.
Through Limehouse and onto the Embankment, where I was greeted by more fantastic support from the local Dorset clubs. At this stage I was contemplating pushing on as I was still feeling strong but at 21 / 22 miles I felt this was too early in the race so I tried to keep it together until I emerged from the final underpass (Lucozade Underpass) where I tried to relax and push for the final 3 miles.
Big Ben approaching and the thoughts of seeing my family and good friend Craig was nearly too much for my emotions but I managed to hold it together before hitting Bird Cage Walk. A thumbs up for the followers from Wimborne AC, in their normal position, and to focus on the new target of Paul Martelletti (@marders) aka Spiderman who appeared to be now 500 metres in front. With a strong mile 26 (5:31/m) I caught Marders on the turn onto the Mall and milked the TV coverage.
Amazing to hit my target bang on 02:30:06 - (5:44) and felt strong all the way. More in the tank????
Will 'Blog' again with build-up and plans for Berlin.
Please feel free to comment, I am by no means an expert and am looking for advice and encouragement like any other runner. I hope you enjoyed my journey and found it somewhat interesting.
Anthony is part of the XMiles team, with a marathon PB of 02:30:06. He represents Bournemouth AC. Currently recovering from injury Anthony is planning an Autumn target marathon.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @fragilerunner and Power of 10