Tag Archives: running

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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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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Marathon Training: 30km

Sponsorship cash is slowly starting to come in. If you haven’t done so already, please help me support The White Lodge at www.justgiving.com/andydavismarathon

Two months to go till the marathon and finally got to the 30km mark.

That was Brockwell Park Parkrun followed by eight further laps. A little bit slow, but just under 6 minutes per kilometre.

Partook in my customary mocha pit stop at the Lido Cafe after 20km.

And people are actually swimming in that freezing lido! Maniacs…

Two more kilometres to go and looking smug…

Downhill from here… Top of the hill at Cressingham Gardens on the final lap.

Painful Aftermath… bleeding nips plus ice bath: not a good combination.

And in other news… my race number arrived.

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Marathon Training: Half-Way Point

So I’m half way through my training. Managed to get my weekly miles up to the recommended 36 mile point. Slowly starting to build up my distance runs.

And this afternoon, managed a 27km run, by doing 5 laps of Clapham Common. The post-run ice bath was as usual, VERY unforgiving!

Starting to get some great donations in for the fund-raising.
If you can help me out, I am raising money for The White Lodge Centre.

SPONSOR ME TO RUN THE MARATHON: www.justgiving.com/andydavismarathon

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Marathon Training: Distance Runs

I am running the Virgin London Marathon this year for The White Lodge Centre.


So I’m starting to get into the swing of training now. Slowly logging up the kilometres.
Saturday is my favoured day for doing a big run, then I can spend Sunday doing far fewer runny related things.

Park Run in Brockwell Park is my way of getting going. A 9am start on a winter morning isn’t exactly an appealing prospect, but joining hundreds of other runners doing the same is great motivation…

So after 5km, I get my Park Run timing chip, and I have the first chunk of distance under my belt. The Park Run pace is fast… I don’t look too good at this point!

So this is what the Park Run folk told me:

Brockwell parkrun, Herne Hill results for event #310. Your time was 00:23:54.
Congratulations on completing your 12th parkrun and your 12th at Brockwell parkrun, Herne Hill today. You finished in 125th place and were the 113th male out of a field of 312 parkrunners and you came 13th in your age category VM40-44. Take a look at this week’s full set of results on our website. Your PB at Brockwell parkrun, Herne Hill remains 00:22:21. Congratulations on your fastest time this year.

It’s not easy to continue running after a quick 5km, but I get into a more comfortable pace. Four more laps of the park…

This is probably a little cheaty, but I like to take a break two-thirds into the run at the Lido Cafe, and get a quick fuel boost. Granola with yoghurt and fruit, and a cheeky mocha. Then it’s back to the job.

Run complete. Just managed to sneak under the two hour mark for the half marathon (by two seconds).

Apologies for the nudity! Post-run ice bath… not fun. The final chapter of pain! Well this week, I managed to get my run up to 24km. That’s Park Run, plus six laps of Brockwell Park. So next week, I’ll be breaking the 25km barrier. Marathon training takes up a lot of time, but hopefully, I can raise some cash for The White Lodge Centre. If you would like to help me out, that would be just great!


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Why Yorkshire Rocks For Running

Flat urban streets provide the opportunity to run pretty fast, until you run into a busy road. And then you engage in a strangely frustrating game of jogging on the spot and waiting, or enacting a dangerous real-world form of Frogger by dancing through the intersecting traffic. Then there’s the smog, and the languid pedestrians. Cyclists snarl at you if you even think of stepping off the kerb. On the other hand, you can head to the countryside for fresh air. Sure, you’re not going to get your p.b. as you wheeze your way up a steep, rocky slope. But that is going to get you fit quickly and improve your agility. Plus the random lateral variations with how your foot lands is going to build strength in your lower legs.

I ventured out for an 11km run through three parks in West Yorkshire, and despite my split times being borderline shameful, it was a lot of fun. It hit me afterwards all over, unlike an urban run, but the views along the way gave me so much more than the concrete jungle ever could. The route I followed took me through three different parks in the West Yorkshire town of Bingley.

Really wasn’t joking about the pace… how slow was I??! 9:32 per kilometer by 4k.

And here’s why… a pretty brutal collection of hills. Strava credited me with over 300m of climbing on this route.

The Prince Of Wales Park

The park is over 150 years old and sits in the hills over-looking Bingley.

I started the run on Park Road. I headed straight up the hill until I reached the Prince Of Wales Park.

It was quite a hot September day. 24 degrees, which is unusually high for Yorkshire. This drinking font would come in handy.

I used to head to this park as a teenager. This hill used to wipe me out such that a break was necessary at the top. All part of the fun and games though! I continued up this canopied track till I reached the top of the park, then got my first taste of sprinting down-hill.

Leaving the park, I headed down towards the high street on my way to the St Ives estate.

St Ives Estate

The estate is over 500 acres in size and covers an area of land between Bingley and Harden.

The estate feels vast to run around and features quite a few impressive sights, including this natural lake.

More pain and more up-hill running! This canopied path is flanked by a rustic wall.

I wasn’t the only one making the best of the weather. The park also features golfing areas. Obviously, my route did not take me across the greens. Didn’t really fancy getting a golf ball in the face!

Myrtle Park

The St Ives estate path flows straight into Myrtle Park, with only a hilly road separating the two. No messing around with rural traffic this time.

I really did run into this field. It’s public land, so I encountered no angry farmers. The cow in the foreground did an excellent job of staring me down as I tentatively strode past.

Myrtle Park features lots of rolling countryside, as well as tricky steep rocky sections. Get ready for mud too!

Maybe the park keeper lives in this cottage. There’s a great little foot-bridge over the river. Fantastic views running past here.

A path takes you parallel to a row of allotments. Then its back over the River Aire to the front of the park.

The final part of the park features this band stand. Then I’m out of the park, and the run is done.

This 11.2km run took me over 1:22. Pretty slow, but an amazing workout. Yorkshire features plenty of diverse country sights with its parks, canal-paths and then there’s the Yorkshire Moors. Such a great part of the country for spending some time in on a sunny day!

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