The Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 training : Week 1

Week 1 and I start a road to a big challenge with an even bigger challenge.

I have put together a 16-week training plan to get me through my first marathon.  Well, at the time of writing I have put together the first 8 weeks of it, anyway, and will be thinking about the detail to be included in the final 8 weeks once I get through 6 or 7 weeks of the first part.  I have based my training plan around the Advanced training plan in Marathon News, the official magazine of the Virgin Money London Marathon, the Spartan Soldier (Intermediate Level) Programme in the Para Fitness Guide by Major Sam McGrath, and a running plan provided by Joseph Brigham, personal trainer and coach of Team Bright Hammer OCR 2015.  I have been making some good progress with my running over the last few months so I see this as a way of keeping that progress going and also giving it a bit of a push, so I have mixed together the three running plans by picking the hardest aspect from each for every run.  Speaking of pushes, watch out for the weekend at the end of this training blog – it is not exactly how most first weeks of a training plan come to an end.

This week’s blog is brought to you by the lead piping, because I kept hitting Pbs !

PlumBum

PlumBum

Monday 05 January 2015

The Marathon News Advanced training plan suggested this first run be 30 minutes at an easy pace, but I wanted to get in one of Joe Brigham’s interval runs.  He has suggested they be for 5km during the first 8 weeks, and as he was doing it on the basis of 2 minutes at resting pace and 1 minute at fast pace, I decided to follow that.  I wanted my resting pace to be no worse than 10 minutes per mile and my fast pace to be somewhere between 8 and 9 minutes per mile.  I ate a tub of porridge before going out into the dry, not too cold, overcast conditions.  I began with 3 minutes at resting pace and then launched into the first interval, first a 1 minute fast pace and then a 2 minute resting pace, repeating the intervals until I got past the 5km mark.  I felt good doing it and was pleased that my second mile was faster than my first (yes, my I have my Garmin Fenix 2 set up for miles, and I still find it easier to think in those terms), although Strava seems to have swapped them round.  More than that I was pleased that it was my fastest 5k to date, at 25 minutes and 36 seconds, which is as good a way to start my training programme as I could have wished for.

I got back into the office and did some wall squats before taking my shower.

  1. Run (Northampton) – 3.1 miles – 25 minutes 38 seconds
  2. Wall squats – 15

Tuesday 06 January 2015

The Marathon News Advanced training plan set out the interval run I would be running this lunchtime – 12 minutes easy run, then 5 minutes steady run followed by 1 minute tempo run repeated 5 times, and finish with 12 minutes easy run.  So, in total, 54 minutes of running.  They say that easy runs are at 60%, steady runs at 60-70%, tempo runs at 70-75% and threshold runs at 80%.  I suspect my easy pace is faster than that, my steady pace probably just faster than that, my tempo pace at around that mark, and I probably never hit the threshold pace.  That is something I will need to be thinking about as this running programme progresses.  It had stopped raining and was not too cold, but I still wore my hat, gloves and waterproof jacket just in case, and the run felt very good over the first 3 or 4 miles before I started to feel the pace slowing, although, as it turned out, it did not slow that much.  I passed 6 miles at 54 minutes, and decided to keep going to get to 10k.  I ran every mile in under 9 minutes and 30 seconds, and although Strava took a little while to finally give me a little trophy for it, I posted a PB for 10k of 55 minutes 54 seconds.  I cannot be anything but happy with that.

I got back into the office and did some wall squats before taking my shower.

  1. Run (Northampton) – 6.3 miles – 56 minutes 17 seconds
  2. Wall squats – 15

Wednesday 07 January 2015

I did another interval run at lunchtime in the cold wind, this one from the Para Fitness Guide, being a 30 minute run @ 60% with 5 x 100 metre intervals @ 70% with 100 metre recovery each.  I ran for 15 minutes, then did the intervals, before finishing off with another 15 minutes.  When I have done this run before I have been next to a football pitch and have been able to use the length of the football pitch as a measure of 100 metres, but today I was not next to a football pitch, so instead I decided to run for a minute per interval.  The run felt good and although the fourth mile went slower I am pleased that my pace is definitely leaning towards 9 minutes per mile.

I got back into the office and did some wall squats before taking my shower.

I mentioned Joseph Brigham and Team Bright Hammer OCR 2015 in my introduction to this blog, and tonight I was training with them because somehow I seem to have found myself in the team.  I did a few excellent training sessions with Joe last year which were deliberately aimed towards performance in Obstacle Course Races, and the sessions were so good that when the opportunity to join the team came up I had to jump at it.  In doing so I missed the far bank of the ditch, did the 30 burpees forfeit, and bought the tshirt.  This was the first indoor obstacle conditioning and rope climbing session, at the Knights Templar School in Baldock.  Frankly, it is worth doing just for the name of the school !!!  This is what Joe had to say in advance :

“What you’re going to get:
1. To brush up on your rope climbing skills, learn to climb the rope if you don’t know how, learn the new descension technique I learned (for those confident in rope climbing).
2. A killer indoor obstacle lap to work on your lactic acid tolerence, mental toughness, etc.
3. Get to set your fastest time on the above lap to see if you can beat it next month.
4. Your Team Bright Hammer 2015 technical shirt that you pre-ordered last year!

Is anyone else excited?”

I was excited.  So we were in a typical school gym which could have been straight out of my secondary schooling, and after an active warm up we moved on to the ropes.  Learn to climb the rope.  What we learnt this evening is that I cannot climb the rope, and this is something I am really going to need to work on.  I could barely get myself into the hold position with the rope wrapped around my leg, and once I had I could not raise up my knees, and could only move my hands up the rope a little.  So my target for this year is clear.  We moved on to the indoor obstacle lap, taking a practice run before doing a timed one.  The course took us over a wooden vaulting box, up a rope, sprinting back the length of the gym, bear crawling back down the gym to a balance bench, coming back round to a higher wooden vaulting box, climbing the wall bars to the top, and finished with climbing another rope.  Instead of climbing the ropes I got into the hold position and held it for 20 seconds.  I got a time of 1 minute 24 seconds, so adding on 15 seconds of penalties for each rope that gives me 1 minute 54 seconds to beat next time.  It had been a fun session and I am looking forward to many more with such a great group of people.

Team Bright Hammer

Team Bright Hammer

  1. Para Fitness (Northampton) – 4.6 miles – 32 minutes 47 seconds
  2. Wall squats – 15
  3. Team Bright Hammer – 1 hour

Thursday 08 January 2015

I start my tapering for the weekend today.

Friday 09 January 2015

I continue my tapering as I drive down to the Brecon Beacons.

Saturday 10 January 2015 – Race Day !

According to my running training plan I should be running for 40 minutes today, but I was going to be doing something a bit more than that.  Today was my first Fan Dance of the weekend and you can read about it here.

Grinning in the face of mortal peril !

Grinning in the face of mortal peril !

I hit a good number of achievements on Strava segments during the run, and as I will not be mentioning them in my event blog I will mention them here.  I got PRs on First top out Fan dance are you walking yet ?, race to the top of hell, Pen-y-Fan summit climb, Roman Rd down, Roman Road Downhill, old roman rd sprint, Roman Road to Base of Cribyn, not yet named, and A470 climb.  I also got 2nd fastest times on Jacob’s Ladder and Base of Cribyn to Pen y Fan.  I beat my summer Fan Dance time by 52 minutes in far worse weather conditions, so I was very pleased with that.

  1. The Fan Dance (Brecon Beacons) – 14.7 miles – 5 hours 41 minutes 43 seconds

Sunday 11 January 2015 – Race Day !

According to my running training plan I should be running for 6 miles at an easy pace today, but I was going to be doing something a bit more than that.  Today was my second Fan Dance of the weekend and you can read about it here.

Me, Stuart and the old red phone box

Me, Stuart and the old red phone box

Once again, I hit a good number of achievements on Strava segments during the run, and as I will not be mentioning them in my event blog I will mention them here.  I got PRs on First top out Fan dance are you walking yet ?, race to the top of hell, Pen-y-Fan summit climb, old roman rd sprint, Roman Road to Base of Cribyn, Base of Cribyn to Pen y Fan, not yet named, and A470 climb. I also got 2nd fastest times on Roman Rd down, Roman Road Downhill and Jacob’s Ladder.  I beat my previous day’s time by 12 minutes and 33 seconds, so I was again very pleased with that, and it gives me a time to work from for the summer Fan Dance in July, given that I have knocked off just under 1 hour 4 minutes and 54 seconds since last July.  I have a few other events to concentrate on before that, though.

  1. The Fan Dance (Brecon Beacons) 14.6 miles – 5 hours 29 minutes 10 seconds

Positives from this week – I completed back to back Fan Dances and during the course of the week managed 4 PBs.

This entry was posted in Avalanche Endurance Events, Fitness Training, London Marathon, Virgin Money London Marathon 2015. Bookmark the permalink.

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