As you may be aware, I have been updating my progress of the past two years on the eightlane site, a great resource for news and races, which also boasts a vibrant forum! If you’re after impartial viewpoints, rather than the usual pandering to the governing body from other news sources, then eightlane is the place to visit.
To summarise the past two years of my own running since last posting on here I would have to say it’s been… disappointing. I spent most of 2013 training harder than ever (examples included further on in the article), but at the crucial period in September I got ill two weeks before Berlin marathon, forcing me to withdraw. After having another couple of weeks to recover I planned to give it everything at Chester marathon and came away with next-to nothing; weakening after 7 miles and struggling to the finish in a whimsical 2hr 32 for 6th place. Two weeks later I restored a bit of pride, winning Abingdon in 2hr 26, but way below what I felt my training efforts were worthy of.
Repeated ankle sprains and loss of motivation resulted in a so-so 2014; a few decent performances, but not to the standard of my 2012/13 results. I also had my contract with Sweatshop terminated in May, with no prior notice. I was replaced as Assistant Manager in the Arndale by the Manager from Wrea Green after it closed; charming! So, after slugging it out on a zero-hour contract for another nine months, it’s fair to say that running had taken a back-step in my life, paying the mortgage and bills came first. Throughout all this, I was thankful that I was working for a great store manager in Rick, who did everything he could to get me reinstated to my former position and gave me as many hours as he could.
Things improved by the end of the year; I got engaged to my girlfriend of six years, Hannah; I had planned to propose during a hike up in Rivington, but after spraining my ankle, we went for a drive around there instead. I had to conjure up some random excuse to stop and “admire the view”; despite the fact that it was raining and going dark! So, near Winter Hill on a cold December evening I proposed and thankfully she said yes before I made a right prat of myself !
Shortly after I got my full-time position back, though in a slightly diminished role as Supervisor. I also helped design a range of race shoes with the company, which was an enlightening experience. Shortly after this, Sports Direct sunk their teeth into Sweatshop, changing things considerably, and in my opinion, for the worst. To think I’d be working for Sports Direct was a horrible reality; a company I abhor and have long since boycotted with my custom.
Thanks to a chain of events of ‘chance’ meetings and being in the right place at the right time (isn’t it always?), an opportunity arose to manage a new Up & Running store in Clitheroe. It came about through my Physio, Garry Wilkinson, who owns the unit that Up & Running rent and having worked for them before, it was a no-brainer for me to get on board. I now have a job working for a great company and it’s a perfect “running hub” with Garry’s therapy rooms above the store.
With an improvement in my circumstances, I can now look forward to a prosperous second half of the year; onwards and upwards!!!
Oh yes, here’s some of my training in 2013 before the proverbial hit the fan…
From 23rd June;
Sun 23rd: 4pm – 13 miles to Manchester Victoria from work in 1hr 26. Fairly easy pace.
Mon 24th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 37:30. 6pm – SESSION: 12x 3:10 reps (1 min rec) at threshold effort on route home. 11.5 miles total.
Tue 25th: 10am – 5 miles steady on Gatley track in 25:39. 8 miles total.
Wed 26th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles easy to Stockport. 7pm – SESSION: 1x 300m (jog 100m), 4x 800m (2:30 rec), 10x 200m (jog 200m) with ManTri at Stretford. 300m in 48, 800m’s (2:14, 2:15, 2:13, 2:13), 200m in 29/30’s. 9.5 miles total.
Thur 27th: 7:30am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm – 11.5 miles home from work in 74:40, easy pace.
Fri 28th: 11am – 22 miles around old Swinton half marathon route in 2hr 22.
Sat 29th: 7:40am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 38 mins. 6pm – SESSION: 24x 400m (30 secs rec for 12, then 15 secs for next 12) at Gatley. Started off with 73’s, then after 5th rep was managing 72’s, last three in 71. Dog walker came on near end of session, but not too much bother. 17.5 miles total with run home after.
Sun 30th: 8:30am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly, calves stiff.
Mon 1st: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport easy. 6pm – 10.5 miles home from work in 69:30 ish.
Tue 2nd: 10am – 7 miles easy around Chorlton. 4pm – SESSION: 4x 2,000m with 3 min rec (that was the plan!). Initially ran to Longford Park, but a sports day was on, so I ran 8 miles to Gatley track to do the session. First rep of 5:54 felt hard work, the next rep was 5:59, after that the session descended into a farce, the 3rd lap was disturbed by the dog incident and I didn’t get a time on the last 2,000m. 18 miles total of running.
Wed 3rd: 8am – 4 miles to work from Cheadle Royal. 6pm – 10 miles hard on way home in 54:28, ran last 1.5 miles easy. Took a few miles to get under 5:30 pace.
Thur 4th: 7:30am – 10.5 miles to work in 68:15, solid pace.
Fri 5th: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 37:50. 6pm – 5 miles easy to the gym in around 34 mins.
Sat 6th: 8am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm – 12 miles home with intervals in the middle (3 min hard, 3 min easy, 5 min hard, 3 min easy, 3 min hard, 3 min easy, 5 min hard). Felt like I was doing them at half marathon effort as intended.
From 28th July;
Sun 28th July: 8:30am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 4pm – 11 miles home easy.
Mon 29th July: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 38 mins. 6pm – Session: 4x 10 min (2 min rec) paces at 5:08, 5:00, 4:59, 5:04. Felt good, 11.5 miles.
Tue 30th July: 8am – 16 miles easy around Didsbury in 1hr 44.
Wed 31st July: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport easy. 6pm – 10.5 miles home easy in 72 mins.
Thur 1st August: 7:30am – 3 miles to Piccadilly. 6pm – Session 5x 1 mile (1 min rec) Lindow road circuit. 4:59, 5:00, 5:05, 5:10, 5:19. Awful, really hot 33 Celsius, felt terrible. 11 miles.
Fri 2nd August: 11am – 6 miles hard in 32:12. 9 miles total, better than yesterday.
Sat 3rd August: 10am – 4.5 miles easy. 4pm – Northern League Match, 5,000m 1st in 14:44, won by 35 secs, good result. 10 miles total.
Sun 4th August: 8:30am – 3 miles easy to Piccadilly. 5pm – 5.5 miles home from Stockport in 36:30. Easy day.
Mon 5thAugust: 7:30am – 5.5 miles to Stockport in 37:40. 6pm – Session: 6x 6 mins (2 min rec) paces, 5:06, 4:59, 4:56, 4:58, 5:03, 5:02. 11.5 miles.
Tue 6th August: 3pm – 10 miles “Didsbury Loop” in 52:55, half mile jog down after. Good pace.
Wed 7th August: 7:30am – 5.5 miles easy to Stockport. 6pm – 13.5 miles home via Stretford in 89 mins.
Thur 8th August: 7:30am – 4 miles to Levenshulme easy. 6pm – Session: 30x 400m (100m jog/30 sec rec) Gatley track. Went well, averaged 73/ 74’s. 16 miles total.
Fri 9th August: 1pm – 21 miles to Altrincham and back in 2hr 21. Legs stiff early, but felt better later on.
Sat 10th August: 8am – 4 miles easy to Piccadilly. 6pm – 12 miles time trial in 61:49 (5:10 pace) Felt great, got paced on the bike by Rob from work. 15.5 miles total.
Sun 11th August: 8am – 11.5 miles to work easy with Rob at 7 min per mile pace.
Mon 12th August: 7:30am – 10.5 miles to work easy in 71 mins. Felt good. 6pm – Session: 6x 6 min reps (2 min jog) ran at these paces per mile: 5:04, 5:03, 5:05, 4:58, 5:07, 4:57. 12 miles total.
Tue 13th August: 10am – 5 miles easy in 33:40. Legs sore, easy day.
Wed 14th August: 7:30am – 6 miles easy to Stockport. 7:30pm – Saddleworth 6, 1st 29:58. 8 miles.
Thur 15th August: 7:30am – 5.5 miles easy to Stockport. 7:30pm – Sale Sizzler 5k (Inc Northern Champs) 2nd 14:39 (1st in Northerns). Ran home after, 12 miles.
Fri 16th August: 12pm – 24.5 miles easy with last few miles hard in 2hr 40, covered last 4 miles in around 21:35. Legs stiff early on.
Sat 17th August: 7:30am – 6 miles easy to Stockport at a slow pace, nearly 45 mins! Sluggish. 6pm – 11 miles home in 73 mins.