Thursday 23 May 2019

Monklands Half Marathon and Miles in May

Sunday the 12th of May brought my first encounter with the Monklands Half Marathon.  Both my sister and I signed up after reading a post on Facebook about a few spaces being available.  I had remembered straight after signing up why I had avoided it previously, a 5 mile double loop in and around Drumpellier Park....nasty.

The weather had been great all week and the sun was shining on the Sunday morning.  Sarah seemed more relaxed this time around compared to our outing to Stirling the fortnight before.  We hadn't discussed an estimated time for the race but I knew her next milestone was sub 1 hour 55 minutes so my plan was to run in or around our pace at Stirling but I didn't want to put too much pressure on it, given the heat and brutal double loop which would create psychological warfare midrace.

The crowds gathered and we set off on the 13.1 mile route around the park.  The start was along a grass section which was heavy on the legs and a early reminder of what was ahead.  We soon found our pace and it wasn't long before Sarah was highlighting that I had went out faster than expected.  I had been ill the week leading up the the half.  I was due to run the Troon 10K that week and had to withdraw.  I hadn't ran all week except the day before the half to make sure I was feeling up to it.  I had felt like a bit of a caged animal so a combination of the good weather and the race day buzz was pushing me along at around 8.15 min/mile pace, just a touch too quick for what I'd planned.  The following few miles I managed to pull back and maintained a steady pace around 8.35 min/miles.

By the time we had completed the first loop we had got to grips with the course and could anticipate the hiller sections.  There were also a quite a few areas of public footpath along busy roads which were challenging.  The good thing about the route was there were plenty of short decents that we could pick the pace up again so overall our mile splits were fairly well paced with a few of the miles dropping down to nearer the 9 min/mile mark.  I was feeling the heat around the usual struggle miles at mile 10 and 11 and the mind games were beginning to kick in but by this point we were heading back into the park which made for better running rather than along the main roads.

We finished the race along the grass stretch again, crossing the line just over 1 hour 54 minutes and another PB finish for Sarah.  I managed another questionable 'photo finish'...

Following the half I've had a good spell of running.  I clocked up a 45 mile week and this continued into following week with a target of around 100 miles this month.  I've had a few niggles and some foot trouble that have forced a few rest days but all in all I'm running well at the moment.  Next race is the Men's 10K in Glasgow which is always an enjoyable run.

Thursday 2 May 2019

Flying start in 2019 and the Stirling Half Marathon

So I'm back, again.  I don't know if my commitment issues are with running or blogging at this point?

Since my last post I have continued to put one foot in front of the other at speed.  I completed the Glasgow half at the end of last year along with the Strathaven Run with the Wind 10k.  This year, I started off with another Strathaven run, this time the Run with the Wind Half Marathon.  Surprisingly this was the first time I had ran the route, despite having signed up to it several times previously.  The course was a wide loop from Strathaven, uphill to the windfarm and a gradual decent back into Strathaven.  The run brought another first time for me, running with my sister!  Sarah took up running last year and has completely caught the bug!

I've also made another comeback to Strathclyde parkrun.  I have been going to parkrun since 2010.  I was a first timer at event 14 at Strathclyde parkrun when a grand total of 80 runners made it around the 5k route.  The course is now attracting a regular crowd of 300 or more with an attendance record of over 500.  However, despite my on/off 9 year relationship with parkrun, which I can only described as complicated, I have yet to make it to the big 50!  Looking back on some of these previous blog entries I once described the club 50 as 'elite'.  Yet we are now seeing parkrunners regularly completing their 100, 150 and 250th. However, there is nothing worse in the world of running than comparing yourself to others and I am determined to get to 50 in the coming weeks (I'm at 48), and also improve on my time and hopefully get somewhere near that PB of 21.10.  My last run with my friend Stewart we kept a good steady pace and managed a respectable time of 24.05, not far outside Stewart's PB!

Strathcylde parkrun 20th April 2019

Last weekend I ventured up to the Stirling Half Marathon.  I had signed up to do the full marathon but I've had some injury troubles over the last few months so I transfered to the half after my wife talked some sense into me.  I also managed to convince my sister to sign up too, not that she needed much convincing.  We made our way up to Stirling for the early 8.30am start. After my sister, Sarah, got over some of her pre-race nerves which hilariously manifested itself into her debating with herself how many jelly babies she should run with, we made our way to the start line.  We hadn't really agreed a pace but I knew that Sarah was keen to get her first sub 2 hour finish.  This being only her second half marathon with her first finish around 2 hours 4 minutes I knew it was achievable on the fairly flat course.

The start was a bit chaotic with no clear marshaling  and most of the participants trying to get out of Kings Park through the gates and barriers around the park.  Those running the full marathon were directed to the left and those doing the half were directed to the right, also a bit of a free for all.  We got there in the end and off we went.

The first 8 miles or so were over fairly effortlessly, even the reported 'hill' at Stirling University was fairly painless.  Sarah was running well and we were about 2 minutes ahead of pace for a sub 2 hour finish.  Mile 9, 10 and 11 were a bit of a slog.  We were running back along the A91 and I think the lack of spectators and the reminder that 13.1 miles is actually quite long had zapped the legs.  I was also sick of the sight of the Wallace Monument at this point.

From mile 11 we were almost back in Stirling and the spectator support gave us the boost we were needing.  We were well within the sub 2 hour time so I knew we had a bit of room to ease the pace if we needed.  The last mile came quickly.  Sarah had a wobble moment and almost stopped but I knew that it was in the head as we were only about 400 metres from the finish.  We managed to keep going and we crossed the line with Sarah getting her PB in 1 hour 56 minutes.  Oh, and Sarah didn't eat the jelly babies until she finished, despite her dilemma before the race! 

I have lots of photos of the day but here is one of my favourites.

Flying high at the Stirling Half Marathon

So I'm back. I've got the Troon  10k later next week.  I haven't ran it since 2012, you can read about it here.  It is my PB course and always a great race, as long as the weather is kind.  I also have a few other races coming up and I'll try and kep this blog up-to-date.  Not because I think anyone is reading it, more for my own motivation and it's funny to read back on all the previous posts.

Anyway, keep on running!

Friday 20 July 2018

Welcome back... again!

I wondered how long it would take me to get back into running.  I'm scared to admit it but it may have happened?

I have been running now for the last 8 months or so and I have even started going back to my beloved Strathclyde parkrun!  I've took part in a couple of races including; Run with the Wind 10k (November 2017) in my hometown of Strathaven, and the Glasgow Men's 10k in June this year.  

Glasgow Men's 10K 17th June 2018

As you can imagine my pace, speed and level of endurance is all over the place and I am carrying a few extra pounds stone in weight.  I do give myself some credit though, I am starting to maintain a consistent level of running and I have had a notable improvement over the last few weeks.

I have been going back to parkrun and this has really been a good indicator for me as to where I am and where I want to go.  The weather has been fantastic over the last couple of months so it's made it really easy to get up on a Saturday morning and make my way over to Strathclyde park for the event.  I have also had the company of my mum and mum-in-law, both taking part in the event alongside me.

Strathclyde parkrun 30th June 2018

I've also signed up to the Great Scottish Run half-marathon in September to try and get my distance back to something near what I was comfortable running before.  However, for the moment, I am trying to lose the extra weight and get the legs working again.  I've been pretty pleased with the quick progress at parkrun over the last few weeks.  My times have been coming down, albeit way off my 21.10 personal best for the 5KM distance.  Here are my times for the last few weeks:

23rd June 2018 - 25.33
30th June 2018 - 25.21
7th July 2018 - 24.37 
14th July 2018 - 23.19

As well as parkrun and a couple of runs through the week, I have been up Tinto Hill a couple of times.  The 2,333ft elevation has certainly tested the legs and I have felt the benefit of it in my running.  I am hoping to keep up the hill work as a way of mixing up my training.   It has also got me watching a lot of films on trail running and ultra marathons.....lets not go there quite yet!

Tinto Hill 15th July 2018 (06.45am!)

So with that, I'd like to think I am back on it and have it in me to keep it up.  The target this year is to get that parkrun time as close to 22 minutes as I can and get the half-marathon completed comfortably with no real target time in mind.  I am also coming close to my 50th parkrun so looking forward to getting my red t-shirt, finally.  It will have only took me 8 years! 

Sunday 22 July 2012

Clyde Stride Ultra relay 2012

Saturday brought only my second relay race in my few years of running. I had managed to pull off a long awaited parkrun personal best the Saturday before with a time of 21 minutes and 10 seconds, bringing me even closer to that sub 21 minute dream and leaving me feeling positive about the Clyde Stride!

I had been looking forward to the race all week, reflecting back on my memories of my only other relay race, the Three Lochs Way. I had great fun at this event, moving from checkpoint to checkpoint watching all my team mates coming in and completing their legs of the race before getting to run myself. But, as luck would have it, the day before race day and the cold had developed throughout the day while at work. I was expecting to wake up on Saturday morning and feel terrible. Things were not too bad and I managed to wake up before my alarm and get a good pre-race breakfast in. Its a strange feeling being up for a race before 7am and not actually running to around 2pm in the afternoon...the wonders of relay! I headed off to our usual weekend running meeting point, the infamous carpark 4 at Strathclyde park.

My team mates Pat, John, Neil all seemed just as excited as me on the morning of the race. We headed off to the registration area in Partick, Glasgow leaving Neil behind as he set up the Strathclyde parkrun signs. Neil was running the 3rd leg of the relay which starts just outside the park so he was able to give a hand at parkrun and even squeezed in the 5K run as a 'warm-up' (running it in 21.51, although much slower than is usual 18 minutes!). Pat, John and I reached Partick just in time to collect our numbers and head over to the pre-race briefing.

It was a great atmosphere at the start, my first experience of an Ultra Marathon. It was hard to understand that most of the runners were running the full 40 miles, and probably not much slower than it would take the 4 of us! After a few quick safety points and last minute directions we were led up to the start line and ready to say good luck to our first team runner Pat!
The horn was sounded and everyone was on their way in the heat of the sunny Saturday morning. It was a quick dash back to the car and with John's dodgy navigation skills we made our way to the first checkpoint in Cambuslang.

John was running this next leg, known to be the most difficult to navigate with a few patchy areas that runners could easily end up going the wrong way. John reassured me that he had an 'idea' of where he was going!

We arrived in plenty of time, enough time in fact to have a wonder around the local supermarket and purchase some compulsory Jelly Babies, no race is complete without them! Heading over to the first checkpoint John had a quick warm-up, thinking that he was running down the first 200m of his leg it became apparent that his navigation skills are questionable when he doesn't have Moira by his side. He had missed the first turn and was heading the wrong way...luckily it was just a warm-up! We waited in anticipation as the first few runners started coming through. This first leg was mainly urban and around 10 miles. Pat had gave himself around 1 hour 20 minutes to complete the leg and John and I both thought he was underestimating himself and would be in much quicker. With the heat of the day Pat wasn't far off his estimate and John was soon on his way to Strathclyde park!

Pat and I made our way back to the car and along to the next checkpoint. It wasn't long before Neil made an appearance and was ready to run. It was great to see a few regular parkrunners who had came up to support the team at the transition. John wasn't long in meeting us at Strathclyde park and managed to pass 37 runners along the way (not that he was counting!). This was great news for us as the next leg our secret weapon was running!

Neil was off like a rocket and it finally kicked in that I was next to run! The morning really had went in so quick, starting at 9am we were now around lunch time and the temperature had dropped with a slight breeze coming in. The convoy headed back to the water sports centre to get a quick bite to eat and off we went to Maudslie bridge in the clyde valley.

Neil made light work of his 10 mile trail leg and even managed to get us into 3rd place in the relay race! I didn't have much time to congratulate him as it was time for me to run.

I made my way along the hilly 12 mile route concious that I had the pressure of trying to hold on to 3rd place. Neil had a bit of steam left to let out as he ran behind me for the first 4 miles of my leg. This was going to be a hard run, the flat sections seemed to be short, the gradient increasing and hills becoming more and more frequent. There was the added challenge of the long grass, gates to contend with and my favourite...mud and puddles.

It wasn't long before I had caught up with a couple of the ultra runners who were tackling the whole distance. I did the polite thing and held back for a short distance before they gave me the all clear to pass safely, giving them a quick pat on the back and a well done. This wasn't the case for the whole leg, I was passed by 2 relay runners within the first 4 miles. I had surrendered to 5th place as they gradually disappeared ahead of me. The main aim now was to finish in a respectable time.

I had great support along the route as my team mates Pat, John, Neil and Moira had stopped at key points along the way, updating me on our position and how strong I was looking (I didn't feel it, I was exhausted). It must have been around the 7-8 mile mark of my leg when I was told 'your 3rd relay'. Part of this race is about running, the other part is about navigation. There are quite a few twists and turns along the way and you can easily take a wrong turn, adding miles onto your run. I could think of at least 3 points where I nearly went the wrong way, guessing this is where the two runners had ended up going and giving us the advantage of moving back up to 3rd.

I made my way into New Lanark just at the right time, a wedding making its way into the hotel so I was running to bagpipes. My average pace definitely sped up at this point. A quick loop of the falls of clyde path and I was heading for the finish!

I crossed the finish line and it was confirmed that we had held on the 3rd place in the relay race, I was delighted! It wasn't long before the rest of my team made an appearance, I must have ran faster than expected!

This race has to be up there with my favourites. The route, the set-up, the setting and the pleasure of sharing the experience with our team makes this one of those must do races of the year. There is something about a relay race that makes it just that little bit more enjoyable than your regular solo run. Knowing that your team mates are relaying on you gives you that edge to really push yourself and when its all over you are sharing that runners high with your team.

Taking 3rd place was brilliant but the real prize was in the sharing the experience with friends. I can't wait to next year!

Friday 25 May 2012

Troon 10K

Sorry I have took over 2 weeks to post this, the joys of night shift. Wednesday 9th brought the Troon Tortoise 10K, my favourite race of 2011! I arrived at the registration area at around 6.45pm, evening runs are always interesting! I had not long finished a roast chicken dinner so running fast was not in the plan. My wife Rachael came along to give me some support, as did the rest of my family although, they travelled separate and I didn't actually get to see them as they left early at the end but I am told they were there, cheering. I met a few fellow parkrunners Ally, Jon and Jim. We headed down to the promenade to line up for the start of the race just before 7.30pm. The organisers had zones for people to gather in in relation to their predicted time. My last 10K race was in January and I ran in around 46 - 47 mimuntes so I was aiming for around that time. This was my first race since the marathon last month so it felt good to be in an event, this 10K actually attracting 1100 runners. That's almost double the Lochaber marathon numbers! The predicted time zones appeared to be very tight, I was sandwiched between the 50 minutes and the 45 minute posts but as we were directed to walk forward I found myself in the 40 minute zone, no chance! The horn was sounded and we were on our way, the weather was perfect again with the sun shining and a light sea breeze. I ran the first KM in about 4 minutes 10 seconds, way faster than I had planned...but I felt good. I maintained the pace, with the idea that I could slow down as I felt tired as I wasn't too bothered about time. I made my way around the relatively flat course hovering between 4.10 and 4.30 for each KM. I had reached the half way point in exactly 22 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised with this, my 5KM PB is 21.31 so I was running quick. I kept going, I knew that if I could maintain this then I was on target for a big PB. At around the 6KM point I found myself running behind a female Bellahouston Harrier, I noticed that she was keeping a good pace for the first half of the race so I thought that if I tagged along I would overcome any mental fatigue. It wasn't until about the 8KM mark that she noticed although by this time I think it had turned to me pacing for her. She told me that I was 'pulling her through', I laughed and told her that I wasn't pulling anyone and she was pushing me. The friendly banter was enough to get me through the next couple of KM maintaining my pace. I asked her if she had a target time and she told me she was aiming for anything under 44 minutes. This was a good sign that I was in line for a massive PB! I had got to the final KM and I told myself not to look at my garmin and just go for it. The last 800m felt so long, it was a long stretch along the promenade with runners darting passed me. I could see the finish line and just gave it everything and went for it. I heard Rachael shouting and looked over to see her on the side lines. I felt as though I was running as fast as I could, my legs felt heavy and my breathing just as heavy. I pushed to the line and crossed in a new PB of 44.01. I couldn't believe it, I hadn't ran in 2 weeks and this was my longest run since the marathon over a month ago! I smashed my last PB by well over 2 minutes. I have learned a lot from this race, it has gave me the determination to really stick in at my training as who knows what results I could be getting with the right effort! I have the Loch Ness Marathon in September, I am going to be running mainly middle miles through the summer (between 12 - 16 miles) with lots of 5K recovery runs. I expect my 10K time to come down even further through the summer, so watch this space!

Monday 16 April 2012

Lochaber marathon

After the success and surprise of the Inverness half marathon last month, running a comfortable 1hr 46min I told myself that I was just going to head up to Lochaber the following month and see what happens....

So, I have had little to no training at all for the last 10 weeks after a diagnosis of 'runners knee'. A common injury which was caused by the ITB muscle becoming very tight and pulling my knee cap out of position. This caused severe pain when running and forced me to slow down and eventually stop running for many weeks. I did keep up my weekly jog leader duties with my jogscotland group, consisting of around 2 hours of running every Tuesday night, but no real hard or long running.

We headed up to Fort William on Saturday morning to meet my parents who had arrived the day before. The weather was very changeable on the road up; hot, cold, sunny and it was even snowing on the drive through Glencoe.

Once we checked in at the Ben Nevis Hotel I was surprised when my 2 year old niece knocked on the hotel room door, more family making a surprise trip up to support me on this, my first marathon!

I was feeling confident the night before, I knew in myself that I would finish and I had come to terms with myself that time was not going to be a factor in this race. The aim was to finish and enjoy the experience. We had a lovely dinner the night before in the hotel followed by an early night!

Race day! I managed to get a great night sleep and felt ready for the race. We had our breakfast at the hotel. My dad force fed me rolls and toast until I was about ready to pop. I don't think I actually ate that much but for me, its hard to eat before a race and at this point I began to feel a little nervous about the event.

After heading back up to the hotel room there wasn't much time for lazing about, time had crept up on me and it was a bit of a rush to get my running gear on before the 11am start. I checked and double checked that I had everything before leaving for the start line.

We had a pre-race briefing in the Nevis Centre, being pleasantly informed that 'there will be first aiders and ambulance services out on the course....they just haven't arrived yet'. Not that I was expecting to be using the services, I just would have felt a little reassured to know they were going to be there...eventually.

We were piped out to the start line and after a few quick waves to all my family who came to support I was on my way.

My mother-in-law gave me a good tip to try and talk to a few runners around you near the start as when you start to struggle in the big miles they will be there to give you support. I started talking to a lady I was running next to. She told me that this was her first marathon in over 10 years and, with very little training was just hoping to finish. I mentioned to her that this was my first marathon and had also managed to avoid training due to injury. I could swear that was all we said to each other and before I knew it I ran passed the first mile marker. I remembered saying into myself 'slow down!' but I looked at my garmin and we ran it in just under 10 minutes...slow enough.

After a few quick turns left and right we were onto the main road and my only target in mind now was the half way point. The route is a straight 13.1 miles out along the main road, turn, and head 13.1 back. The weather was ideal for running. Clear blue skies, nice cool temperature with only a slight head wind on the way out. My dad told me from his marathon experience that the first 16 miles will fly by. I found myself running alone for most of the route and I think this made the miles last a little longer. I drew strength from the stunning surroundings, looking out along the waters and the towering hills around us. The sun was bright enough to make it feel like a perfect summers day but we had the shade of the trees to protect us. If this wasn't such a scenic marathon I don't think I would have kept the mental strength to run all that distance alone.

Between mile 10 and 11 the front runners began to pass me. I thought it would have been sooner than this and was looking forward to seeing some of the elite club runners. A lot of runners are put off with 'out and back' courses and can find it disheartening to see how far behind you are but for me, I love running. I love watching people run and you often miss watching the elite or fast club runners when you are taking part in the event. So the 'out and back' gives me an opportunity to watch others running, and running well.

I had reached the turning point, a small collection of marshals standing in the middle of the road shouting 'just run around us and head back'....easier said than done! I had ran the first half of the marathon in a comfortable 2 hours and 2 minutes. Faster than I had planned but I was happy with the thought of 'I just need to run that distance again'. I knew from that point that my knee would probably begin to play up as this was my longest run since the Inverness half marathon 4 weeks earlier. But, so far so good!

I had passed fellow parkrunner Ian Devoy in the early miles. Again, with the hope that as I began to struggle in the big miles he would scoop me up with some words of encouragement. It was around mile 15 or 16 that I began to hear Ian's voice in the distance behind me. I knew that I had been running around 9.10 per mile and had now slowed to a more comfortable 9.45. Ian was running with a fellow Strathaven Strider and knew they would have maintained a slower but steadier pace for the first half. As Ian got closer I realised he had a small crowd with him. I spoke to Ian for a while, he reported feeling good and he looked and sounded like he was coping well with the experience. I reminded him that not too long ago when I first met him at Strathclyde parkrun he told me that 'running a marathon is just stupid'. Yet here he was, running strong and keeping a good pace.

I couldn't maintain the pace with Ian and it wasn't long before a good gap had found its way between us, I did notice that some of the other folks that were running alongside Ian had also slowed down. For the next couple of miles we all passed each other back and forth as we struggled with our pace.

People often talk about hitting 'the wall'. It has been described to me in various forms. Some people have told me its like all the energy in your body just falling away from you, others talk about your legs just turning to jelly or being as heavy as lead. Well at mile 19 I was preparing myself for 'the wall'. It never came.

I told myself before the race that the aim was to finish it, the only outcome that would disappoint me was not finishing. Time was not a factor in this race. At mile 19 my legs started to cramp up. This was the first time that I began to think that I might not finish. My mind was in the right place for this run, I had a positive mental attitude and was determined to finish. But, when your legs begin to cramp up at the same time its difficult to just keep running. Two fellow runners had stopped just ahead of me, they too appeared to be trying to stretch off some bad leg cramps. I held on to a tree to try and stretch my left quad and as I did this my hamstring when straight into cramp and I felt a large knot at the back of my leg. I slowly tried to straighten my leg and as I done so my thigh went back into cramp. I began to panic as I couldn't put my foot on the ground and had to keep my leg up and slightly bend in order to stop the pain. I hobbled a little and gave a few deep breathes before walking off the pain.

From here on in I had a struggling walk jog to the finish. The next 7 miles would be the slowest miles I have ever ran, the most painful and yet I enjoyed these 7 miles the most. I had used all the water stops on the route, running passed and grabbing a bottle of water at each of them. The last few water stops were time to replace all those lost fluids and I just kept hope that these cramps would pass.

It was a slow battle with cramp coming and going yet mentally I felt strong. Mile 20 I told myself 'I've just ran 20 miles' at mile 21 I repeated the process and again at 22. I used mile 22 to send a quick text to my wife Rachael to let her know that I was safe and was going to finish. I had a long jog and a short walk between miles 19 to 22 but on mile 23, 24 and 25 I managed to jog the whole way. I knew that I was going to finish and no amount of cramping was going to cause me to stop now.

The last mile was the only point on the whole course that is even worth mentioning a hill. It was a small incline that in any other run you would probably not even remember. It was located on a footpath and at the top were the houses I remember running through at the start. The organisers saw the funny side of this and had took the time to spray paint on the path 'great place for a hill' however at the top they had painted some words of encouragement. I would love to say that I powered up that hill but I can't. My thighs were burning and my calf felt as though they were ready to rip at any moment. I struggled up the hill and made my way through the streets of houses. It was a strange feeling to have people just getting on with things, washing the car, in the garden and here was me, fighting a physical battle with myself. Maybe this is 'the wall', although I am not convinced. I think with the right training this pain would have been avoided. But strangely, it was all adding to my experience. I ran passed an elderly gentleman who was pottering about in his garden. He gave me the biggest of smiles and asked, 'was it a full marathon?' I replied with pride 'yep, a full marathon'. This gave me a little moral boost and I pushed on. In the distance I could see my sisters partner. He was waving and started to walk towards me. This was the first time in the whole race I felt physically exhausted. I think mentally I began to think I was finished. He started to run along side me pushing me on around the corner were I saw my dad. The cramps in my legs began to return and I had to stop and walk despite being a few hundred yards from the finish. I think I must have started to run too fast when I saw my dad and it caused my legs to go again. He ran up along side me and started to tell me 'you've done it, you are there'. I pushed on and picked up the pace.

The last 100m were emotional, tears came to my eyes and I felt totally exhausted. I was on the home straight and I had a large support shouting and cheering for me. All my family had come all this way and stood in the freezing cold to watch me cross the line. I gave it my all and started to run as fast as I could crossing the line in 4 hours 37 minutes.

I often hear people say 'never again' when they talk about marathons. I myself said it as soon as I crossed the line, hugging all my family. Its a strange experience. The pain and torture to run on agony and empty seems to just add to the experience of it all. Its only been 24 hours since I completed my first marathon and yet I find myself looking online at marathons in the autumn.

I learned from this that the saying is true that you can achieve anything you put your mind too. If I wasn't so confident mentally that I was going to finish this then I know I would have pulled out. I also learned that running isn't about PB's and how fast or how long you can run. Its about enjoying yourself, taking in the whole experience and everything around you. Its about listening to your body and knowing when you can push yourself just that little bit further when you think you haven't got it in you and when to hang back and take it easy. My time of 4.37 isn't any record breaker and, if I had trained properly I probably would have managed those bigger miles a little better. But I wouldn't change anything about this marathon, I loved every minute of it and its been a totally unforgettable experience.

Special thanks to all the organisers of the event!

Tuesday 24 January 2012

Buchlyvie 10K and beyond

Saturday found me in the small town of Buchlyvie, which is just outside Stirling, apparently.  Thank goodness for satnav because my running calendar would be pretty bare otherwise.

I had been to parkrun in the morning to carry out marshalling duties so walking to one of the further away marshal points and back was my only real warm up as the weather was terrible once we reached Buchlyvie.  I was accompanied by Strathclyde parkrun event director and fellow Sunday squadder Ally Robb who used the heating system in the registration hall has her warm up.  This would be her first race since the New York marathon.

I asked myself a number of times on the way to Buchlyvie, 'why am I doing this' as the rain and wind hit the car on the long journey but as soon as we reached the starting line I remembered why.  As the 225 runners all huddled together at the starting line and celebrity chef Nick Nairn sounded horn, I remembered why.  The camaraderie of the run, exploring the back and beyond of tiny little towns that you have never heard of, recognising those runners that you often find yourself running along side in more than one race and the will and determination of moving up the field rather than slipping down it.

I was originally not going to run at race pace with this run but before I knew it I had completed the first KM in  4.34 and felt comfortable.  The run started off on the faithful tarmac roads, firm underfoot and minimum risk of going over on an ankle, but that quickly changed.  With a sharp turn off the main road after a slight incline the route followed a disused railway line.  This had conveniently been covered in a clay substance which when wet, turned into thick, deep mud.

The weather was completely against us on the day, strong side winds which was forcing the horizontal rain right into my face and making it difficult to look ahead.  This along with trying to avoid the deep mud puddles made the next 8 KM more than difficult.  The trail underfoot was heavy and hard to run on.  If the mud and puddles were not as bad it made it even more difficult as there seemed to be more rocks and boulders to contend with, I went over on my ankle twice as did most of the runners around me throughout the race.

I had reached the turning point which was a sharp turn around a traffic cone and the long road back along the same path, if you can call it that, that we had just run along.  The wind had now turned also and it was a complete head wind for the next 4KM, thankfully the rain had calmed down.  I had found myself maintaining my pace through the whole race, completing the 6 KM in 4.37 and 7KM in 4.34.  This was my fist race since the Strathaven 10K which I paced pretty poorly so I felt strong and confident that I had managed to maintain a steady, consistent pace throughout the race.

Finally coming off the trail path and back onto good solid tarmac I found I was pushing myself up the field, in fact this is the first race that I never actually had anyone pass me and managed to crawl up the field quite well.  There was a small incline on the way back and I took this as an opportunity to make my break from the 3 - 4 runners that I had been running along for the last few KM or so.  This worked well and before I knew it I was turning passed the school and onto the home stretch.  I hadn't even glanced at the official timer as I passed it and I had even forgot to stop my Garmin so was unsure of my time.

I stood at the sidelines and cheered all the runners coming in with a special well done to Ally as she crossed the line.

The official time was 46 min 27 sec and came 68th out of a field of 225 runners.  That makes a new PB for the 10K distance, shaving 30 seconds off my time, not bad in the conditions.

Monday 9 January 2012

just a little update

So I haven't quite given up on running!  The Marcothon challenge for me failed miserably, giving up on day 7 and pointing the finger of blame at 'hurricane bawbag'.  I did however take something invaluable from the whole 7 days of experiences, learning to run while on night shift.  It was also my first real experience of running in some serious snow.  I will give it a go again this December, I'm also hoping to try it before then in one of the more weather welcoming summer months.  December was a major set-back for my marathon training, running very little but I am determined to get back on track with things.

Cross-training has stepped up in my training plan, I've set up a small home gym with some weights, cross-trainer and kettlebells.  I'm trying to cross train at least 3 times a week on top of my running, so far so good and it seems to be helping out with my regular injury prone spots.  Really enjoying the kettlebells, only just started working with them but it is a great workout and you can squeeze a lot in, in just 20 minutes.

I had a enjoyable run at Strathclyde parkrun this Saturday, no pacing and no pressures of trying to set PB's.  I had an easy 6KM warm-up before the event with a flat lap of the loch.  The weather was wet and windy but it didn't bother me, it is good to just be back out running.  The main event kicked off and I quickly got into a comfortable pace.  It was strange not running in a pacer vest, I didn't have half a dozen people around me the whole way round.  It did feel like a bit of a race and it wasn't until the last 2KM that I realised that I had actually been running at a reasonable pace.  I recognised a few of the regulars running in front of me and could judge that I was in the 22 minute bracket.  I pushed a bit on the last 1KM and fended of the 3 or 4 runners that I was conscious of coming up on me at the 400M point.  I managed a top 20 finish, coming in 18th with a time of 22.08, no record breakers but it was a morale boost for me knowing that I hadn't lost all the speed in my legs.

photo by Fraser Connal

Sunday was a run with Moira, Ally, Neil and Tony or the 'Sunday Squad', missing of course John, who unfortunately had to work.  It was a hard intervals session with a 5KM warm-up followed by another 5KM but with 3x1KM efforts.  The pain didn't stop there, we had 6x200M sprints with recovery, this included me making my usual mistake if giving too much effort in the first 200M and really struggling with the other 5!  Then to finish it all off an easy lap of Strathclyde park, about 11 miles in total covered on Sunday and bringing me up to nearly 30 miles for the week.

Today I made a long overdue trip to the sports therapist for a much needed sports massage, my usual tight hamstrings and quads made the session a little 'uncomfortable'.

So things seem to be getting back on track, no more room for hiccups and 100% effort needed to see this plan of a completed marathon being achieved..... 

Next race is the Buchlyvie 10K

Saturday 3 December 2011

Marcothon and parkrun event 84

So the beginning of December introduced me to the 'Marcothon' challenge.  This involves running every day in December.  Easy you may shout, just throw the jacket and scarf on and do a quick loop of the street and back in and park myself on the couch....wrong.  The only rules of the challenge are that you must run at least 3 miles or 25 minutes every day, which ever comes first.  Now I could just go out an run at a slow pace until I reach my 25 minute target then and head back home but I want to try and benefit as much as I can from this challenge, hoping that some strong base miles and learning to run on tired legs will improve my chances in the Lochaber Marathon.  You can also complete the miles on the treadmill but I want to try and do as much of my running outdoors as possible, weather permitting!

Day 3 of my Marcothon challenge included a familiar route wearing a familiar vest, pacing 24 minutes at Strathclyde parkrun.

This was a special week at parkrun as all the pacer vests were out on the field today, hoping that we could bring a few of our regular runners home in a PB time.  I personally knew that one of my running buddies, Stewart Cutler was relying on me to come in as close to that 24 minute target as possible as he was hoping to beat that 24 minute barrier.

We had our regular warm-up led by John Allan who I pre-warned to cut out all the less dynamic stretching and get us all moving as it was FREEZING!  The wind had changed direction this week which meant that we had the wind against us on the way out, this of course was a slight advantage as we would have it behind us on the home stretch!  The runners made there way to the starting line through the soggy grass where race director Iain Macaulay gave us our usual safety briefing.  I got a special mention this week as I was nominated as this months Sweatshop prize winner, sporting a new pair of Asics Cumulus running shoes (thanks guys!).

Jon Edge was on timer who gave the signal and we were on our way.  Normally when I pace at 24 I run the first KM about 10-15 seconds slower than the rest but with the head wind and the wet conditions I knew that round at the puddles things may slow down a bit so I stuck to a strict pace.  I immediately had about 4 or 5 runners around me with one runner right by my side.  Conditions were not too bad despite the wind and we all soon warmed up to beat the cold.  Before I knew it we were crossing the 1 KM mark, bang on target at 4.48 minutes.  I wasn't sure if I had already lost Stewart by this point, the 1 parkrunner that I wanted by my side for this event.  Before we reached the first marshal point I had a quick look around my shoulder and there he was, right on my tail.  We made our way through the trees, crossing the 1 mile point in 7.41minutes.  Here comes the fun and games!  The weather had been terrible the last few days with rain fall high.  It doesn't take much for the puddles to appear at Strathclyde park but with the recent bad weather I don't think the word 'puddle' really cuts it.  I was half expecting a couple of life guards to come in after me as I made my way through the middle of the first 'puddle'.  The runner by my side made comment on how my new trainers would no longer be so 'new'.  Not something that I was too bothered about, I find something quite embarrassing  about parading new white shiny shoes.  Soggy feet on the other hand, not something I welcome with open arms.

We crossed the 2KM point in 9.30 minutes, just under our target pace and ideal for the course.  The 'puddles' seemed to go on forever and was glad when we reached the bend as my feet were soaked and toes frozen with the cold water.  I still had my group around me and we were scooping up runner as we went along who found their pace slowing down coming up to the 3 KM point.  14.20 minutes and almost perfect splits at this point in the run.  I turned to make sure I still had Stewart on my tail who informed me that he was starting to struggle.  I encouraged him to keep going and that the hardest part was done.  I was glad to find that he upped his pace to join my side as we headed down through the trees and along to the home stretch.  I knew that I was going to be pretty close to the 24 minute mark at this point and with all the pacer vests out today, I was determined to try and get as close to my target pace as possible.  We reached the 4 KM mark in 19.10 minutes and assured all the runners around me that they were all going to do it.  At this point Sarah Joyce came powering through and off she went leaving the rest of us behind.  My concentration at this point turned to Stewart, knowing that he was going to get his PB as long as he finished!  We kept a steady pace and with 200m to go I gave him the signal to go for it!  Off he went along with everyone else around me, I continued to shout words of encouragement as they passed the 100m mark and was glad to see that everyone upped the pace and pushed that little bit harder.

I enjoyed this week at parkrun more than any other weeks I have ran, knowing that an army of pacer were out on the course trying to bring everyone in for a PB, before the snow arrives!  My Garmin signalled that I crossed the line in 24.00.58, or in other words 24 MINUTES!  I knew that the official time would be a second either way of the 24 minutes but was pleased to know that I carried out the task of pacing to almost perfection!

The runners around me came in at:

Sarah Joyce         - 23.48 minutes
Dwayne Marshall - 23.50 minutes
Stewart Cutler     - 23.50 minutes (NEW PB)
Gordon Cowie    - 23.51 minutes
Ronnie Brown     - 23.52 minutes
Martin Kelly        - 24.11 minutes (NEW PB)
Martin Stirling      - 24.20 minutes (NEW PB)

My Garmin recorded the spilt's for each KM at 4.48, 4.48, 4.45, 4.48, 4.51....

Today's event welcomed a total of 88 runners, 9 first timers and 16 PB's!  Also, well done to John Smith who completed his 50th parkrun to join that 'elite' (his words not mine) group of runners!

Saturday 12 November 2011

Strathclyde parkrun Event 81, pacing!

This would be only my 10th parkrun event that I was turning up to run.  So I want to just start by saying thanks to all the regular runners who have taken the step forward to give volunteering a go!  I ran 4 parkrun’s before deciding to volunteer and for me, I got hooked!  I have volunteered countless times now and I have made a great bunch of new friends.  My running has improved with all the helpful advice and training that I have received from some of the core team and regulars at Strathclyde parkrun.  It’s strange to think that coming to a parkrun event and not running has actually improved my overall running....with all the invaluable support, advice, training tips and encouragement from all the team.  So if you have been thinking about volunteering then please do put your name forward.  Not only are you contributing to the event and ensuring that it’s a success but you are giving someone else the opportunity to run that week.  Thanks to everyone who has volunteered!

The run its self was going to be a challenge for me, not only had I just completed a hard 1 hour circuit session with John Allan (the warm-up guy) but I was to pace.  My PB at parkrun is 21.31 so you may think that wearing the 24 minute pacer vest should be easy for me, it’s not.  Trying to run with a consistent pace, not speeding up and slowing down is hard. 

We had our usual dynamic warm-up led by John Allan before being marched up to the starting line by race director Moira Nicol.  It was ideal conditions for running at Strathclyde Park, the wind from the night before had died down and the sky was clear and blue, temperatures perfect.  The safety brief was given and the wheelchair event started.  After a short wait, the runners were let loose.  I tried to take the first 1K just that little bit slower than my others, hoping that some of the runners around me would be encouraged to stick with me knowing that the pace was somewhat comfortable.  At the 1K mark I was dead on 5 minutes, I was conscious of a couple of runners at my back and was hoping to have them on my tail the whole way round.  I knocked a couple of seconds off the pace and coming up to the 2K mark I was at 9 minutes 40 seconds, almost perfect for a 24 minute parkrun, still with a few runners around me.  I hit the puddle after the 2K mark, running right through the middle of it, great fun!  Running passed Ella Edge who was hoping to get as near to a 24 minute time as possible.  Some quick words of encouragement and I continued with my run.  I had made it to the turn and was back on target for the road back.  By this point I only had a single runner who was right behind me the whole way on the home stretch.  I manage to shout a few words of support before encouraging him to take the lead and go for it on the long stretch back.  At the 4K point I was on 19 minutes 11 seconds, all I had to do was keep the pace and I would be in on time.  I enjoyed the last few hundred metres as all the runners who were beginning to slow down clocked me in the pacer vest and began to push it again, 3 or 4 runners managed to keep up the pace and finish in front of me.  The last 100 metres felt strange, trying to come in as close to 24 minutes as I could this eliminated my usual sprint finish.  Crossing the line at 23 minutes and 59 seconds, I was delighted, an enjoyable, controlled run.  It was nice to get some words of encouragement from Thomas Wilson of Strathaven Striders who noted my steady pace throughout the race.  The experience of pacing made this one of my most enjoyable parkrun’s.
The race wasn’t over for everyone so I headed up to the 100m marker and gave cheering and shouting a go.  It was great to see runners’ faces lighting up and giving it there all for a sprint finish.  Well done everyone!

This week we had a total of 117 runners, 15 first timers and a massive 35 personal bests, a couple of which I hope I helped people achieve!

See you all next week!

Strathaven Striders Run With the Wind 10K

This would be my first 10K in over 4 months, and with a well known PB potential on this course I had high hopes!

My previous 10K PB was set on my last 10K race at the Men's Health race at Bellahouston Park back in June, with a time of 51 minutes 23 seconds.  With my 5K time now down to 21 minutes 31 seconds I knew that the PB was set to fall over the longer distance.  My longer distance races have been consistent and I have even managed to run sub 50 minutes for the first 10K of my last two half-marathon's.  I didn't want to get over confident as I knew the route well and Strathaven is well known for its hills and undulating roads, making it popular amongst runners and cyclists from around Scotland.

I met up with training buddies John and Moira and had a few friendly chats with some familiar faces in the running circuit.  We were all bused out to the start line at Whitelee wind farm, a convoy of around 8 coaches. I felt as though I was sitting up the back of the school bus on my way to a field trip!

I had heard about the mass exit of the buses and the line of runners taking the opporunity to have one last toilet stop, but nothing prepares you for seeing hundreds of male runners all facing the trees, equal numbers of female runners heading out in front of the 'firing line' and deep into the trees for some warm up 'squating'.

I took my position at the start line and we were set on our way.  It was a bit of a squeeze at the start with the narrow road trying to accommodate the 400+ runners who turned up for the event.  After a few minutes of weaving and dodging both John and I managed to find a clear patch and quickly found our tempo.  I ran the first kilometre in around 5 minutes 12 seconds, not a bad start considering the packed start.  I shouted to John that we were on target.  The plan was to run the first 5KM in 25 minutes then the next 5KM in 20 minutes, bring me in around the 45 minute mark.  This would be a huge PB and a time that I never thought I would achieve thinking back to my first ever race, a 10K in October 2009 when I was happy to complete the race in 1 hour.

I think the problem for me started when I could feel myself increasing my pace, trying to claw back the 12 seconds that we had lost in the first kilometre.  We sailed passed David Arthur, a regular at my jogscotland group.  I felt good and was comfortable with the 4.15 per kilometre pace that I found myself running for the next 2K.  It was good to see fellow parkrunner and Motherwell AC member Andrew Scott out on the route taking a few photo's of the event.

photo by Andrew Scott

John was running strong and had soon took a lead with a gap steadily increasing.  I knew that he was no longer sticking to the plan and as we had just had a conversation about his 10K PB I guessed he must have been giving up his pacing duties for a PB attempt.  I let him go on but tried to keep the pace.  The route had been mainly downhill from the start but coming up to the 5KM mark that soon changed and everything was uphill from here.  These were the roads I trained on when I first started running, driving out to a rural starting point, running out for a single mile then running back to the car.  It was great to be back out here and running solo in the race it gave me time to reflect back on how far my running has came in the last couple of years, more so in the last 6 months.

It was a long and endless hill, seeming to go on a lot longer than I remember.  Plenty of undulation within the incline my pace was beginning to fluctuate and on a couple of occasions looking at my Garmin my pace was dropping to 5.15 per kilometre.  Making a hard effort to try and keep the speed up I was soon overtaken by David Arthur who gave away his secret to a successful run, less layers!  I had came out on the cold November morning with my base layer on under my running T-shirt along with my running leggings, gloves and hat.  This was all comfortable about 7KM ago when we were back up at the ice cold heights of the wind farm but 30 minutes into a race, I just wanted to burst out of all these layers!

I had tackled the long hill and knew there was a short incline before heading back down Lethame Road and into Kirkland Park for the finishing straight.  Gillian Scott managed to capture me once again looking a little bit tired to say the least!
photo by Gillian Scott

The final kilometre was all downhill before a slippery stretch on the path leading into Kirkland Park for a cross country finish.  John was already at the sidelines shouting his words of encouragement.  My mother and father in law had also came out the cheer me across the line.  I finished with a time of 46 minutes 57 seconds, smashing my previous PB by around 4 minutes yet still feeling disappointed.  

This is the first time I have ever felt disappointed after a race.  Even though I got a huge PB and really enjoyed the run, I know that if I had approached things a bit differently during the race I may have performed better.  The Striders 10K has been a learning curve for me, its taught me that pace is everything in a race.  It doesn't matter how many hours or miles training you put in, if you don't get your pace right on the day it can all go out the window!  I have took more out of this race than any other, I am realising now just how technical running really is, it can be mentally as well as physically draining.  Trying to hold your body back in those first few kilometres is very hard when you have that spring in your step.  

Thanks to all the Strathaven Striders, volunteers, organisers and sponsors who made this event happen!  See you all next year....

Thursday 3 November 2011

The Southside Six and marathon training begins!

Sunday 30th October, the first year of the epic Southside Six race.  16 miles around the south side of Glasgow taking in 6 parks.  I arrived early as always for registration and to find a good parking spot!  The weather was ideal for a nice long run, although it has been raining in the lead up to the weekend which was going to mean some muddy sections along the route, good fun!

I met up with John and Moira accompanied by Andrew Jeske for support and to take a few photographs!  Andrew won jogscotland's jog leader of the year award at their annual conference the night before so was good to be able to say my congratulations to him!  Well done Andrew, well deserved!

After we all collected our race numbers and finished fighting with the safety pins we stopped for a quick photo by Gillian Scott of

photo by Gillian Scott 

We headed up to the start at the flagpole in Queen's Park for a pre-race briefing before our walk down to the start line.  The race director finished his brief by saying 'hopefully see you all back here in a couple of hours' was a thought! 

It was a good turnout for the first year of this race with about 220 runners taking part.  It was 11am and the race began.  We went out a bit quick but soon found our pace in the first few miles.  It was a hilly start heading up to Kings Park.  The open road's added an element to the race that I wasn't used to.  The busy roads of Glasgow proved to be a bit harder to cross than those of my quiet home town of Stonehouse.  We made it to Kings Park in one piece and got our first sticker on our race number along with some water and wine gums!  We had some cheers and support from Ian Gouldie who was pursuing on his bike.

The next park we hit was Lynn Park after a short 3km stretch, again collecting our stickers and sweeties!  I was then beginning to focus on the wine gums rather than the race!

Next stop was Rouken Glen Park, the highest point of the race.  We headed out to Nethervale Avenue and up to Clarkston Toll.  I was looking forward to getting into Rouken Glen as it is my favourite of the six parks. Running along Davieland Road we entered the park.  Running past the waterfall in the park, which was in full flow, I was really enjoying the run at this point.  We left Rouken Glen park with a spring in our step.

Reaching Pollok Park next this is were the fun begins!  Entering at the Pollokshaws Bowling Club we found ourself on a slippery, muddy and narrow trail path.  A few of the runners up ahead had slowed down to a walk while I tried to keep some sort of pace.  Moira re-enforced at this point that I would make a terrible cross country runner, worrying more about the mud on my shoes than my pace.  I didn't really recognise any of this area of Pollok Park, we left the park passing a rugby club.  I was glad that Pollok Park was out of the way as I often relate it to hills hills hills but it was a fairly flat section of the run.

Next stop was Bellahouston park and familiar ground as I had ran the roads leading into it and around it for the MHFS 10K earlier this year.  Someone with a sense of humour included the steep climbing stairs up to the monument as part of the route, very difficult after the 11-12 miles we had covered at this point.

The mood lifted soon after leaving Bellahouston park and we began to talk about the short distance left.  'It's only a parkrun (5k) to go'.  As we headed back to Queen's park the crowds began to grow and the cheering kept us going.  We entered the park and ran up a scenic path lined with autumn tree's.  These scenes were overcast with what seemed to be an never ending stretch of stairs.  It felt as though I was running forever up those stairs!  But once I reached the top a few encouraging words from some finishers of the race told me that I ran strong all the way up them.  This gave me the boost I needed as I felt as though I had left my legs at the bottom of the stairs and I crawled up them.  Gillian Scott was perched at the top taking photo's, she always seems to find the perfect spot after the hardest section of races!  I posed for a quick snap before heading to the finish line.

Once at the top of the stairs and on the home stretch I took in the strong line of spectators and finishers cheering us on.  I looked back for Moira and John who were just behind.  I shouted some cheers of encouragement and Moira soon joined me to cross the finish line.  John was a wee bit further behind helping a fellow runner by giving some encouragement as she was struggling after the stairs.  We crossed the finish line in 2 hours 26 minutes 33 seconds.

Heading back to the registration area there was a great spread on with soup, rolls, cakes, baking and banana's!  This really was the icing on the cake! A great race, excellent company and support.  The race has to be one of the best road races of the year and all for £5.  We hadn't even got back to the car and John was already talking about beating his time in next years Southside Six!  

There was just one last thing, a bit of home-baking back at the car before heading home.  The chocolate brownie's hit the spot!

I would highly recommend this race to fellow runners.  Its a great distance if you are looking to take a step up from the half-marathon.  The route is perfect and the parks really break up the run.  I think its going to be even more popular next year so keep an eye open for for registration!

Thursday 27 October 2011

Training begins for Lochaber Marathon...

So here it is! Finally going for the big one! Lochaber Marathon.....26.2miles of running!

I have posted below my running schedule for the weeks leading up to the marathon.  The schedule was very kindly made up by my friends John and Moira, who I have managed to convince to run the marathon as well.  The plan includes a number of races throughout the session and I hope to keep you up to date with out I get on with each of them.  As well as the occasional parkrun...

On top of this schedule I will be doing my usual cross training, yoga and weight classes.....let the games begin!

Week Beginning
Southside six 16 miles
Normal runs / jogscotland groups
Run with The Wind 10k
Normal runs / jogscotland groups
Jimmy Irvine 10k
10 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 7 mile run
12 miles (tempo)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
Hugh Wilson 10k(entry on day)
10 miles (race pace)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 7 mile run
14 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 7 mile run
10 miles (tempo)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
14 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
Fit in at least two runs, one about 5 miles and one about 8 miles
Fit in at least two runs, one about 5 miles and one about 8 miles
12 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 7 mile run
14 miles (tempo)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
Buchlyvie 10k
15 miles (race pace)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 9 mile run
16 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 10 mile run
18 miles (tempo)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
20 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 9 mile run
19 miles (10 race pace)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 10 mile run
16 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 9 mile run
18 miles (tempo)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 9 mile run
Inverness Half (Race)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 10 mile run
21 - 22 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 9 mile run
19 miles (10 at race pace)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
16 miles (easy)
Normal runs / jogscotland groups to include one 8 mile run
Tom Scott (Race)
Taper week, only do two/three 3 mile runs easy
Lochaber Marathon