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Training Plans - Introduction

Posted by Jon Steadman on September 28, 2012 at 7:50 PM Comments comments (0)

At club last night I discovered that members now knew if they had got a place in the Virgin London Marathon 2013, so I had better get on with this…

A question you my ask:

“I am reasonably fit, go for a run 2-3 times a week, why do I need to follow a training plan?”

Well, it is true that you may well be able to run a 5K, 10K or even a marathon off the back of this, but you will never achieve your full potential and in the case of a marathon, the experience is unlikely to be very pleasant.

So what is a training plan?

A training plan is a series of activities designed to get you to the start line of your key event in the best possible shape.

Why follow one?

You might say that the best way of training for an event is to practice it – effectively race a 10K, marathon etc. each time you go out. In principle this sounds like a good idea and you may even get away with it for a 10K, but eventually the body will get tired, injured, your performances will deteriorate and you will not get your best result. A training plan is smarter way of training. It allows you to build up training to peak for the event of your choice with a lower chance of injury or fatigue along the way.

The training plan is also specific to the event you have targeted. Each distance you do puts different demands on the body and actually requires different training methods to get the best results. Although it is true that by following a marathon plan, your times for all distances are likely to drop as you get fitter, you will still not achieve your full potential (compared to if you trained specifically) as you will be lacking the outright speed you need. However, follow a 5K plan for a marathon and I can guarantee the final few (maybe even 10) miles will be a living hell.

As well as event type specific, the plan is also date specific. You may well get that 5 mile PB in a warm up race 4 weeks before the event, but at this time you are still in hard training. You will have been tired and not able to go full out.

Next time I will cover what goes in to a training plan.


Training Guide - Introduction

Posted by Jon Steadman on September 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Training Guide - Introduction

With the draw for the club Virgin London Marathon places being announced for Thursday 25th October I thought that I had better start off the blog series that I actually intended to do at the same time last year!

Training for any event is important if you want to do your best, probably more so for a marathon. However, particularly for beginners the question is how?

The blog series that I want to put together will hopefully build in to a training resource for members, no matter their experience. There is a basic version on the website currently http://www.thehrc.org.uk/training.htm but it is long due a revamp. Although it will be timed to coincide with training for a spring marathon (London), there will be much content applicable to other events and distances.

Now the disclaimer part…

I am not a qualified coach, but those that know me know that I treat training very seriously and approach it in a scientific manner. During my running ‘career’, I have collected together training advice from books, coaches, club mates and own experiences. My intention is that by doing it in a blog format, other members can share and discuss things so that the end result is a useful guide that can act as a starting point for the reader to ask specific questions about training to qualified persons.

Please bear in mind that that ANY training plan or advice you might obtain from a book or the internet is NO substitute for that created specifically for YOU by a qualified coach. Generic training plans out there are just that – generic. They cater for all and do not take in to account YOUR specific strengths and weaknesses. For example, some marathon training plans out there would have me injured within a couple of weeks, while others would leave me severely lacking at mile 22 in a marathon. A qualified coach would take things like this into consideration when devising a plan specifically for you.

So why start this early?

Well, it has taken me a year to start this from when I originally intended, so there is no guarantee I will get everything done in time! Also, believe it or not, there are some things to consider even before your name gets drawn out of the hat!

Pub Night ; Thursday 29th March @ Harlow Mill

Posted by Janice on March 27, 2012 at 5:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Hi All, 

  just to remind you it is Pub Night this Thursday at the Harlow Mill from 8pm after our run.

Kind regards


DG Training 2011 : Week 26

Posted by Dougie on July 8, 2011 at 5:59 AM Comments comments (1)

Week 26 (27/06 - 03/07)


Weight : 11st 12lbs

Booze : 12

Miles : irrelevant



Race Week


Wednesday : Midweek League Race (5 mile) at Welwyn GC.. Was intending to go easy

because of the weekend race, so set off with Steve A and ambled round the first mile, then

we both thought "Bugger this" and pushed on a bit.. Probably shouldn't have, but we made

good progress and I ended up about doing about thirty four and a half or so, with Steve not

so far ahead..



Race Weekend


Day 1


Control Code Grid Ref    Description

Start      100    317 056    Start Day 1

1            119    306 090    Stream at 315M

2            120    297 086    Knoll Belles Knot

3            121    269 085    Stream Junction

4            122    289 129    Knoll High Saddle

5            123     297 133    Knoll

6            110    313 118    Bridge

7            102    322 127    Finish Day 1



Day 2

Control Code Grid Ref   Description

Start     101    318 125    Start Day 2

1           109    307 111    Tarn Edge SW Corner

2           126    296 100    Sheepfold North West Pen

3           127    267 091    Stream Junction

4           141    270 058    Crag Foot

5           129    288 047    Knoll South End

6           130    312 041    Gate / Stile

7           103    314 050    Finish Day 2



Weather forecast for the weekend was good, with little or no rain predicted.. The organisers

had put out an email the day before warning of mozzies at mid camp, so we made sure we

had the repellant with us..



The Start : This is where it all started to go wrong !!!! We got the control details, marked up

the maps, then headed off uphill in North / North West direction.. In such an intent to make

good progress, I didn't really have a defined route to CP1 with known location points on the

way, and ended up drifting too far West of where we should have been going - it's difficult to

know exactly what was going through my head, but it certainly wasn't logic and clear

thinking.. With so many teams going in a number of directions, we were just drifting West..

By the time I realised exactly where we were, I was kicking myself for allowing this to

happen.. I worked out a route to the CP, but had lost a significant amount of time against our

"rivals".. We did see Kash & Alan, and realised they were as far wrong as we were.. A tricky

(dangerous) descent towards CP1 and then we passed Paul & John, then Tony & Rachel (all

heading in the opposite direction towards CP2) - this gave them the morale boost they

needed, and gave me such a kick in the sore bits.. As we got to CP1 and headed back

towards CP2, I was so mentally deflated, it also affected me physically, and I felt drained..

Steve did his best to cheer me up, which is one of his strengths, but I was beating myself up

for making such a mess of the start.. Overall, we had lost about one hour.


CP1 to CP2 was fairly short and (another) climb.. I can't actually recall much of the detail of

the route from CP2 to CP3 (even looking at the map now), but it was another climb up and

over the saddle between High Raise and Thunacar Knott..


CP3 to CP4 was a long drag but basically, we climbed to 600M and contoured round

Ullscarf to the knoll at High Saddle.. My left hammie cramped up painfully, and Steve gave

me a toasting for not accepting some of the salted peanuts he'd offered half an hour

beforehand - yes.. yes... I know... I should know better etc at my age.. But, this was the first

time I'd ever cramped up during an event - it was a sure sign of the amount of salt I was

losing out of my body in the hot conditions..


Going from CP4 to CP5, we met Paul legging it back towards CP4 and realised he must

have missed it.. We caught up with Bill & Bell around CP5 and the three pairs headed

towards CP6 - I knew this was a tricky descent, but was trying to find the best route through

the fern covered rocky slopes (I'm not really sure there was a best route ?). As we

approached the final part of the descent towards CP6, we saw Tony & Rachel (we had finally

caught them up) and the four of us headed into the finish and mid camp..


We got the tent up, and managed to get a decent area, big enough so all five pairs could be

together.. Brew on and we felt better..


We cheered on Bill & Bell as they arrived, but the response of "B*ll*x" meant that all was not

well with Steve Bell.. He came into mid camp complaining about how much of a H&S risk

the last descent was, and that no-one should be made to endure that (well, he works for the

Council, so that explains a lot, I'm sure).. This wasn't the last time the toys were lobbed out

the pram over the weekend, that's for certain.


I was the first to slope off to bed, but it took a long time for the camp to quieten down and I

certainly didn't get to sleep as quickly as I would have wanted..


I woke up in the morning with Steve nibbling my ear and nudging me in the back with his

elbow (??).... [That's sentence is a lie - Steve, please don't sue me]



We got the Day 2 CP info and I marked up the map.. The Day 1 results meant that Tony &

Rachel had 30 mins lead on us, and Paul & John had about 16 mins on us - We had a lot of

ground to make up..



We packed up our kit, and headed off to the start.. I needed a last minute portaloo visit,

which actually worked well in terms of timing, because it seperated us from the other four

pairs, and we gave them a 5 minute head start on us (chip timings allow for this etc).


We caught Bill & Bell, then Paul & John and Kash & Alan on the first climb to CP1, but

Tony & Rachel were away and out of sight.. The first we saw them was as we approached

the sheepfold at CP2, and they were exiting it towards CP3.. They didn't see us, but it gave

me some confidence we were closing the lead they had.. I choose a different route out of

CP2 and towards CP3, hoping to perhaps make up more ground, but we didn't see them

around the CP, so I reckoned they were still ahead..


The route to CP4 was a tricky path descent and, as we moved away from the path to climb

towards the crags, Tony & Rachel appeared behind us.. They had lost some time (but not

enough).. They got away from us again on the fern covered climb to CP4 - I was really

showing signs of tiring at this stage.


The route to CP5 was (yet) another ascent to a knoll where Tony & Rachel continued to

open up a gap on us as I slowed more..


There were two options to get to CP6... Go left (up then down) or go right (down then up).. I

decided to get the last climb out of the way, so "up then down" was the choice.. About

halfway up the last climb, we stopped for a last gel and drink.. I'm not sure what happened,

but the next thing I knew, I was on all fours retching violently.. I had all sorts of thoughts

about having drank "bad" water out of the streams etc, but got my act together after about

10 minutes, picked myself up, and made my way up the hill again.. I'm sure I didn't look a

pretty sight to the teams that passed us on the hill at that time, but Steve pacified them by

saying "It's ok, he's Scottish, he'll be fine".. Anyway, as we approached CP6, we met Tony

& Rachel again (at the checkpoint) and ran into the finish with them.. I knew we hadn't

caught up the 30 mins lead they had overall, but we did beat them on the Sunday, so that

was some consolation..


We think my doggie impression on the last hill was due to excessive sun or some form of

heat exhaustion.. Either way, I don't want it again, thank you very much..



Overall result (Day 1, Day 2, Overall) :-


32nd= Tony Conway & Rachel Clay MIX 05:52:46 (44th) 05:17:24 (28th) 11:10:10

41st Dougie Gray & Steve Ambrose MV 06:22:38 (66th) 05:13:06 (22nd) 11:35:44

81st Paul World & John Panter MV 06:06:10 (53rd) 07:38:51 (98th) 13:45:01

90th Bill Scales & Steve Bell M 07:01:13 (81st) 07:44:32 (99th) 14:45:45

99th Katarzyna Burdzy & Alan Dickson MIX 08:30:00 07:34:54 (97th) 16:04:54




Our 22nd place on the Sunday was pretty pleasing, but, of course, the first CP on Day 1 set

the state of play - I don't think we were ever going to recover from that one..



So, another Saunders completed safely (which was a great result for all of us), and hopefully

I can learn from the mistakes made. However, no matter what physical condition I think I'm

in, it is never enough to prepare you for the terrain and the ascents / descents of the event..

The body always feels like it's taken a pounding come the Sunday night.



Next year ??


Yeh, probably..




Dg Training 2011 : Week 25

Posted by Dougie on June 27, 2011 at 11:58 AM Comments comments (0)

Week 25 (20/06 - 26/06)


Weight : 11st 12.25lbs

Booze : 10

Miles : 22



Tuesday : First time I've made it to the speed work session with the club, and it's the one I

hate most.. 6 x 1200's.. Steve & I kept each other going until he perked up and ran away

from me on the last couple.. But I'm not far away from his level, which is a good sign..



Thursday : About 8 miles or so with the club.. Reasonable pace to end as I was stupid

enough to try and run with Louise, who is considerably quicker than me.. I thought I was

doing ok until, as we reached Mark Hall, I slumped to a halt, as she simply kept going with a

shout of "I'm running home, see ya" !!



Sunday : About 8 mile run up and over St Martha's - managed to get all the way to the top

on the steep side (from Chilworth Manor) without stopping..




Did a final kit check and pack this weekend.. All fits nicely into the rucsac, weight comes in

at around 16lbs, with full water bottle.. Have split the tent so I take the outer and the poles &

pegs, Steve takes the inner - seems a fair enough split..


The main group travelling from Hants / Surrey (9 of us) have finally agreed on a mini bus up

to the Lake District - Stevie A is on his own from Essex (Billy no mates), We'll all meet up

there on Friday sometime..


Weather forecast (as at Monday) for Ambleside for the weekend, looks like being reasonable

(no rain) for the Saturday, with perhaps some small showers on the Sunday..


Next report (final one for this year) will be the actual race report.. Anyone wanting to view

results as the weekend progresses can see the website www.slmm.org.uk

We are doing Harter Fell class, and are team number 376.. The other groups are :-

Kash & Alan 201

Tony & Rachel 381

Paul & John 361

Bill & Steve 274



DG Training 2011 : Week 24

Posted by Dougie on June 23, 2011 at 6:21 AM Comments comments (0)

Week 24 (13/06 - 19/06)


Weight : 11st 12lbs

Booze : 12

Miles : 30



Just seen a fat bird walking down the street wearing a t-shirt saying "I love hip hop"


I think the C and the S must have fell off.....




Just arrived home to find a pretty woman grouting the bathroom wall and singing "It's a

heartache, nothin' but a fools game"


I thought to myself "She's a Bonnie Tiler"......





Tuesday : Did my Roydon loop, around 8 miles, but got caught in the heavy rain (again)..

Quickest I've done the loop in 69 minutes.



Thursday : Easy run, around 5 miles from the Fox at Matching Tye with the HRC group.



Sunday : PH3 run was from Send, so I ran there with rucsac and map etc.. Overall, about 17

miles (incl the PH3 run) - felt ok, good running terrain / conditions etc.



The Sunday run will probably be my last longer effort as it's < 2 weeks to go now to

Saunders.. The start times have been published, Steve & I set off at 09:34 on the Saturday

morning, so not too early.. Out of the 5 pairs heading up together, I reckon it's between us

and the Tony / Rachel pairing for line honours and bragging rights.. The good news for us, is

that they're not setting off until 10:04 on the Saturday, so we'll be out of sight by then (they

can't follow us etc) - however, they've made it clear they'll be tracking us all down !!



Final kit check and pack this weekend - hopefully it will all fit in.. If not, then Stevie boy's

gonna be taking all of the tent, not just half of it..




Dg Training 2011 : Week 23

Posted by Dougie on June 13, 2011 at 5:42 AM Comments comments (0)

Weeks 23 (06/06 - 12/06)


Weight : 11st 13.25lbs

Booze : 8

Miles : 15



A teacher starts at a London primary school and tells all the kids she is an Arsenal fan. She

then asks the kids who they support.


All the kids except Johnny say Arsenal..


She asks Johnny "Who do you support, then ?"


"Well, my mum's a Spurs fan, my Dad's a Spurs fan, so that makes me a Spurs fan as well"


Teacher says "Well, if you're Mum was a prostitute junkie and your Dad was a rapist burglar,

what would that make you ?"


Johnny replies "An Arsenal fan !!"






Thursday : First run for about 18 days.. Decided to head out on my own from Roydon on a

circular route of about 8 miles (or so) with map in hand etc.. Unfortunately, got caught in the

heavy rain which completely knackers me for the map reading (glasses get wet and I can't

see the details on the map).. Out for just over 70 minutes, reasonable effort, but I doubt if it

was very quick.



Sunday : Met up with the PH3 Hash group at Lurgashall (West Sussex).. Some good running

at times, but I've definitely lost something with the 18 days off..



Need to try and have a decent couple of weeks training in lead up to Saunders.. The start

location has been announced for Saunders - it's about 4 miles west of Ambleside, which is

great for us, as we're staying at YHA at Ambleside on the Sunday evening.. The bad news is

that we could be heading towards Scafell & Scafell Pike area.. Hopefully. it'll only be the Elite

boys that have to get up and down there a few times, leaving us woosies to mince around the

lower slopes etc..


I need to plan out my kit, and put up my tent in the back garden (as a memory aide) - Nothing

like a quick erection in the garden to get the neighbours curtains twitching !!




DG Training 2011 : Weeks 21-22

Posted by Dougie on June 9, 2011 at 9:38 AM Comments comments (0)

Weeks 21-22 (23/05 - 05/06)


Weight : 11st 13.25lbs

Booze : 20

Miles : 0



My wife suggested I got one of those penis enlargers....


So I did...


She's 21 and her name's Sue....






Unfortunately, I've been laid low since the Brecons sortie.. I've had a bug which got into my

chest and buggered me up good style. I'm only now beginning to shake it off (Thursday of

Week 23 !!)


So, no running at all over last two weeks - this isn't what I needed with < 4 weeks to go to

Saunders.. Hopefully, I won't be back to level zero when I start running again..