Tag Archives: London

London Marathon 2017

Almost a year ago, I had a crack at the London Marathon. A big occasion that lives up to the hype. I didn’t get my target time of 4 hours, running the distance in 4:10:46. Which is why I’m having another go this year in the Brighton marathon. So what went wrong?

Getting Sick

I picked up a bug about one month before the event which took miles out of my training regime, and left me short of fitness in the final days. I was ill for one week, but it impacted greatly on the next three weeks.

Being Honest About My Expected Finish Time

On the race application, I said that I expected to finish in 4 hours. It seems that a great number of people were more dishonestly optimistic about their times than I was. As a result, I spent the whole race stuck in heavy traffic, struggling to run past slower runners. The end of race stats told me I ran past 15,000 people. That’s 15,000 people who over-estimated their abilities and got in my way!

Weekly Target

I almost had the fitness, but I was slightly off. I trained up to 38 miles a week. This year I’ve been nailing 40 miles.

Training Period

For the 2017 marathon, I trained for 4 months. This year I will have trained for 5 months.

2017 training got patchy with illness making a big impact…

This year’s training has gone a lot more smoothly. More miles over a longer period of time.

That’s enough moaning. This year I have tweaked my approach rather than changed it radically. I will have completed the same number of big runs (3 x 20 mile runs). But getting in more miles per week and over a longer period of time should yield some great results. Add to that the fact that Brighton should give me a lot more running space than the London marathon could. Sure it will be busy at the start, but after that, I should get some space.


So here is the evidence…

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Brighton Marathon Training: Part 2

At this stage I am well into my training regime. With 6 weeks remaining till the big day, I am coming to the end of the middle phase of my training. Week 16 saw me finally get to my lofty target of 40 miles per week (64.4km). It’s great to report that I haven’t got any major injuries, and (touch wood), I appear to have avoided all the nasty bugs.

These last six weeks I figured might be quite challenging, as I was due to start a new job at a tech company. Not only that, but they decided to send me to their headquarters in Silicon Valley for two weeks of orientation. Where that was a random challenge at first, I soon saw the advantage of swapping the bitter British winter for the Californian sun. It helped that my apartment was near the Bedwell Bayfront Park, which became my early morning pilgrimage.

The jetlag had me up at dawn, with the sun rising up over Silicon Valley.

Great escape from the horrible British winter!

Despite the disruption, I managed to keep to my plan.

I continued to use mapmyrun.com route planner to make sure I got as close to my distance target as possible. Week 16 was the first week I technically failed. I ran under my target by 30m!

After I got back to London, not only was I faced with the so-called ‘Beast From The East’. Not ideal after the Californian sunshine! I tried one session in the gym, but treadmills are absolute torture. Despite the cold, Richmond Park was far superior to the automated torture of a gym treadmill!

The Royal Ballet School in the middle of the park.

Some of the locals…

The park has so many great vistas.

I also took on a new running route to work. After having to brave a few 11 mile runs to Bromley through the grimmest roads in South-East London, I was now privileged to adopt a new route to my workplace in Soho, taking me past Battersea Power Station, Battersea Park, Buckingham Palace and Green Park.

The next big challenge in my training, now that I have reached my mileage targets is to start fitting in the 20 mile runs. Hopefully, I can do three of these by the time of the big day…

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Marathon Training: Final Big Run

Sponsor me!
After trying to do this last week (got to Hyde Park and my legs were dead), I decided to give my Edgware to Hyde Park and back run another go for my final big run.

The run out to Hyde Park went well. Managed to maintain an average pace of 5:36 per kilometre. The return run was painfully slow though. So I averaged at 6:03 for the whole run. I need to get that under 5:40 and add another 10km to the end on race day if I’m going to get under 4 hours for the marathon.

At the start line; the glamorous McDonald’s Stanmore at the top of the A5.

Half way point after 90 minutes at sone fancy Roman statue…

Which looks so much more impressive without my ugly face. 

Half time treats on a warm spring day at Hyde Park Corner.

Back at the finish line complete with farmer’s tan, stains and very painful ankles!

Those final splits were rotten! Got through the run without injury though. Two weeks till race day now, so time to recover and get strong for race day.

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Marathon Training: Hyde Park Run

So here’s the latest in my efforts to raise money for the White Lodge Centre.


As part of my marathon training, here’s a run I’ve been trying out. The A5 runs from Edgware to Hyde Park in Central London, and it’s pretty much bang on 10 miles.

Can’t say that the view along the way from Edgware is overly photogenic, unless you’re into retail parks and dual carriageways. Very satisfying when you arrive in central though!

This massive horse head greets you as you arrive at the park.

The eponymous Marble Arch…

Met one of the jolly locals…

Got this shot of Wellington Arch at the turnaround point near Hyde Park corner, the second time I did the run. Then it’s all the way back to sunny Edgware…

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New Half Marathon PB

I woke up on a sunny October Saturday morning, with the best of intentions. That intention was to do the patent Park Run – Brockwell Park 5k run. However, my rushed scramble to the park on my bicycle at 8:50am took me down a wrong road and I ended up finding myself on the way to the Heart Of Darkness (aka Camberwell). So I turned back, realising that if I corrected my route, I would get to Brockwell Park too late to do the Park Run. Dejected, I headed to my Sainsbury’s Local to pick up some morning snacks.
Back at the flat, my combined guilt of missing the inaugural Saturday morning 5k, and the knowledge that I was 20km short of hitting my monthly running targets (link) made me realise that it might be a good idea to do a half marathon. So, impulsively, after a bowl of grim, hot, sludgy porridge, I started planning a route. Starting in Brixton, I would shoot down to Clapham Common and swing by Battersea Park. Then I would head over the river via Chelsea Bridge. Knightsbridge would get me to Hyde Park. Then I’d cross the Serpentine and head down to Hyde Park Corner and head towards Victoria via Green Park. Victoria would lead me to Vauxhall Bridge, then I could get back to Brixton via Stockwell. So here’s how it went…
I started out going slightly the wrong way, by taking the Stockwell Road, instead of the road to Clapham via Clapham Park. Also, on the way back, I totally missed the turning for Vauxhall Bridge. That meant that I came back via Chelsea Bridge, which added an extra 2km to the route:
I didn’t totally thrash the route, and there was a lot of both human and vehicular traffic, but somehow, I did manage to get my pb for the half marathon. Very probably down to all the Sweatshop Running Club 8km runs, which have given me a bit more of a competitive pace.
My 21km time came out at 1:55:07
22km was 2:01:11
So from those figures, I calculated my half marathon time (estimated time for 21.097km) as being 1:55:42, which is almost two minutes under by personal best. Here’s hoping I can get it under 1:50, but that seems long way off.

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One big tendency I have towards the end of a competitive run is to fade towards the end. Whilst heading to smash my half marathon personal best at the Great North Run 2013, I dropped off in the last 2km, and barely managed to squeeze in at 1:57:02. I did the same thing when I ran the Brathay marathon in 2010. Reaching the last two miles, all my momentum dropped off, and I was horrified to find that I was being overtaken by Scooby Doo. Well, after last night’s run at SRC Clapham, I’m clearly up to my old tricks again! Don’t know why, but I just can’t seem to bring it home.

Here is the route we did:
SRC 10-09-2014_1

A really decent route, starting in Clapham, over Vauxhall Bridge. Along Chelsea Embankment, running back over Chelsea Bridge. Passing Battersea Park on the way back to Clapham. The result wasn’t too bad, with me managing to nail a 4:55 split:

SRC 10-09-2014_2

Even though that’s really not a bad time for me, the reality is that the last 1km was a complete mess…

SRC 10-09-2014_3

No idea why I seem to drop off! 8km is not even a particularly tough distance, but it must be my limit at these kind of paces.

Oh, and here’s one more pic of SRC runners about to pig out at the Chicago Rib Shack in Clapham, after a similarly gruelling run. Great night, Sweatshop Derek!

Chicago Rib Shack

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