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Race Report: International Marathon - Robert Downs - 2016

Race Report: International Marathon - Robert Downs - 2016

Monday: 5-10M tempo/fartlek trail

Tuesday: Club intervals e.g., 16x 400 or 32x 200 or 7x 1km or hill reps

Wednesday: 12M steady / progressive

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5-10M tempo/fartlek trail

Saturday: parkrun 5km (or rest if racing Sunday)

Sunday: 2h30 (14-20M) on hilly trails (or race)

I train off road, when possible, mainly on rough trails through woods, hills, tow paths etc. with some tarmac in winter. I try to train with a fairly hard level of effort only easing off for recovery runs after races or if really tired. I run plenty of mainly local races.

Like many runners I have to fit training around work, family and races. I try to make this a positive as I’m forced to swap things around and concentrate on quality over quantity.


My focus races for 2016 were:

  • London Marathon (2:35:39 161st 2nd V50)
  • Wilmslow Half Marathon (1:15:33 35th 1st V50)

In preparation I raced the Stockport Trail HM (1:17), Salford 10k (34:20) and Liverpool HM (1:14).


I try to eat a healthy but regular diet. I avoid sugar, salt and processed foods as far as possible without making a fuss.

Breakfast: muesli, banana, coffee

Snack: Peanut Butter (PB) bagel or nuts, coffee

Lunch: sardines or avocado or egg on wholemeal toast

Dinner: salmon, roast veg. (sweet potatoes, peppers, red onions etc.), brown whole rice. Greek yoghurt with muesli and nuts.

I drink plenty of water and coffee. I don't drink much alcohol, typically 3 glasses wine and one beer per week. I don't use any supplements or nutrition products. But, I am partial to Chia Charge and Meridian peanut butter (PB).


Same as usual diet but larger portions day before and plenty of water.

Race breakfast: PB bagel, banana, coffee, Trek energy bar (dates, cacao)

During race: 3 x Dextro glucose sweets, occasional water swigs when thirsty. (No gels, no Lucozade)

Post-race: Water, banana, Chia Charge bar, PB bagel, pint of London Pride, mushroom pizza


Build up gradually to making your long runs hard - off road, hills, bad weather, fast finishes, fast surges, no food, no water, parkrun or XC day before - you're training for a hard race! Do some steady-paced tempo runs at HM pace effort building up from 5M to 10-12M. Try to run all races at maximum effort. Back off with niggles and rest if injured or constantly tired. Mix it up a bit and don't be slave to a plan.

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