Training 18 – 24 April inc. London Marathon

Weekly Summary 24.03.2016

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 67.2 Miles Weight: 152.2 lb Avg Pace: 06:24 mm Time: 7h 09m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles  10.13  8.01 6.22  7.16  5.45  3.26  26.92
kcals  967  860 649  734  494  316  2,323

So final week and back to Carb-depletion, Monday kicked off with a 10 mile interval session based on 1 mile easy 3 miles (5:55) 1 easy (3 miles (5:45) 2 easy, the first 3 miles into a slight headwind and the benefit on the second 3 but the depleted stores kept it feeling like a real workout.  Tuesday was the second day carb depleted, the session was 1 x easy 2 x 5:58 m/m 1 x easy 2 x 5:55 m/m 2 x easy and completed pre breakfast. And wow did I feel it, followed by a sport massage. I can confirm today I am NOT looking forward to the last two carb depleted runs.

Wednesday was 1 x steady 3 x (6:00 m/m) 2 x easy and Thursday and final carb depleted run was a 7 miles final carb depleted run – couldn’t sleep up early = carbs early 🙂 as the title suggests I had real issues sleeping so was up and out early. Then a simple 5.4 mile run Friday and finally Last 3 miles = Performance Condition +8 ?? in London town, noted in the title I have never had Performance Condition +8 on my Garmin and whilst knocking out a faster than planned run in windy London I was still undecided on what the plan was for Sunday!

London Marathon

So overnight and following a very good night sleep I had made a decision! The plan was to give it a go, knowing it was only four weeks after ACP100 my legs were feeling pretty good and I had managed a decent taper with some efforts on getting pace into the legs. My NEW plan was sub 2:35 starting at PB pace (sub2:30) with a plan to go for as long as the legs would carry me, this could be 5 miles or 26.2 miles.

2First was the meet in the championship start area, now a big part of the day not only because of the growing number of Dorset runners but also a chance to have face to face conversations with many friends from the FetchEveryone sub245 thread.

So I kicked off feeling no pressure and enjoyed the first 16 miles immensely, with the company of Bournemouth AC teammate Toby Chapman for most of the early miles before he pushed on. Feeling strong the miles seemed to fly by and with an eye on keeping my average pace below 5:44 m/m’s it was very comfortable. Normal highlights with the crowd at Cutty Sark 1and Tower Bridge, then approaching miles 14-15 were I know Nicki will be waiting to see me before she heads off to Westminster. And not to disappoint she was jumping around like a looney to make sure I spotted her in the crowd.

Even approaching and tackling miles 17 – 25 aerobically I felt great but the legs just seemed to be slowing and the effort levels were a bit higher than were I wanted to be. This coincided with a period where I was passing people but running mainly solo into a windy part of the course weaving around Canary Wharf. At this point I knew any outside chance of a PB was gone so I changed my approach and kept the effort at a comfortable level and sat in at just under 6 m/m pace give or take a couple of GPS underpass blips on the splits. (see bold on pace splits below).

3Again with the new focus miles 20 – 26 went smoothly and as has been mention in the photos flying around Facebook I seemed to be enjoying myself with a constant smile beaming across my face. And I even managed to pick it up for the final mile, where seeing Nicki at Big Ben always helps me with a final push. crossing the line in 02:32:25. No PB today but a very satisfying performance and one that has given me greater belief in my ability and a real feeling that I am capable of Sub2:30 (Maybe even to be attempted this Autumn)

Celebration pint at the Red Lion with the now growing annual crowd always finishes off a very special race day. Before a quick trip to ‘South Bank Street Food Market’ to gain a few pounds in body weight and jumping on the train home.

Mile Splits

5:41 5:35 5:38 5:33 5:41 5:42 5:35 5:46 5:49 5:40 5:43 5:42 5:47 5:41 5:48 5:48 5:51 6:06 5:58 5:58 6:01 5:57 5:58 6:15 5:55 5:47 1:35

London Marathon – decent day at the office

Thanks to Manol and Pat for the photos

Diet \ Food Diary

Race Weight Summary

The below chart shows my weight comparison between London 2015 and London 2016. Target race weight of > 153 lb.

2015 – 2016 Weight Chart:
Phase Date Kilos Lbs Fat % Muscle % Water %
End of Carb Depleation 23th April 2015  66.5  146.0  2.5%  52.1%  68.4%
Pre Race Day (Sat) 25th April 2015  68  150.0  3.2%  52.9%  68.3%
End of Carb Depleation 20th April 2016  67  148.0  2.9%  51.6%  68.8%
Pre Race Day (Sat) 23th April 2016  69  152.2  3.9%  51.1%  67.7%

I had stuck to the same daily calorie target as week 1 of taper 2,030 base plus extra calories consumed dependent on the day’s activities (as shown in the ‘training by days’ table provided by Garmin) for the Monday – Wednesday.

Carb-depletion (see updated link including meals for London Marathon) phase started Monday morning through to Wednesday combined with the mix in tempo of runs, Carb-loading started Thursday morning following the early morning and last carb depleted run of the week.

Nutrition intake form Thursday > Saturday includes an increase of intake with carbohydrate focus, with smaller snacks throughout the day.  Aim 10g carbs per 1kg body weight. (10g x 67kg = 670g per day). This will see an increase in kcals for the loading phase. (See table below) and blog Carbohydrate Loading

Sunday only records breakfast plus race fuel.

Food Diary by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast  647  657  637  402  289  312  568
Morning Snacks  –  –  –  791  518  666  500
Lunch  518  917  537  511  451  596  –
Afternoon \ Evening Snacks  144  144  144  614  877  1,259  –
Dinner  683  818  921  788  783  508  –
Drinks  66  2  10  772  494  389  335
Daily Totals  2,058  2,537  2,250  3,878  3,412  3,730  1,403
Daily Carbs  13g  7g  7g  668g  619g  661g  266g

Training 11 – 17 Weekly inc. Marnhull 12k

Weekly Summary 17.04.2016

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 66.0 Miles Weight: 150.6 lb Avg Pace: 6:40 mm Time: 07h 19m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles 7.01 9.01 10.17 12.22 7.01 10.06 10.53
kcals 691 805 929 1,213 689 1,041 1,106

m12kSo the legs seem to be returning to some sort of functioning behavior, and the return to some miles. Quite a simple week plan for the week Monday – Friday focused on building up miles in legs with some varied pace efforts to get them turning over, Saturday was a 7 mile tempo run to get the legs ticking over with a steady warm up and warm down for 10 miles. On the Sunday with no real expectations I had the opportunity to run the reborn Marnhull 12k, I decided to give the legs a blast a week out from London just to try and see what might be possible. The weather was perfect and with an undulating north Dorset course I knew a constant pace would be out so decided to go on feel and push when I could, with a quick first mile 5:19 m/m I was on my own for the whole race and happy with the splits (5:19 5:36 5:36 5:44 5:41 5:58 5:47 2:49) giving me 1st place in 42:30 with an average pace of 5:42 m/m.

Thoughts are now firmly on London and plan for next week is to make a decision on target marathon pace.  Let’s see where we are next Sunday…..

Diet \ Food Diary

First week of taper for London Marathon, taper was planned with adding some quicker shorter runs so the daily calorie target was set at 2,030 base plus extra calories consumed dependent on the day’s activities (as shown in the ‘training by days’ table provided by Garmin), with a plan to have an energy in balance of 500kcals per day to continue the journey to target race weight.

Sundays weight was 150.6lb, just slightly above the 149.0lb the same time last year pre London but a lot closer than I was expecting. Now for the normal 3 day carb depletion phase Monday – Wednesday.

Food Diary by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast  287  313  298  300  300  238  290
Morning Snacks  0  357  363  566  230  199  119
Lunch  318  357  320  529  172  396  704
Afternoon \ Evening Snacks  814  364  480  345  386  692  555
Dinner  507  633  522  677  802  731  485
Drinks  92  127  78  104  95  115  150
Daily Totals  2,018  2,151  2,061  2,521  1,985  2,371  2,258

What is a portion?

Keeping a track of food intake and kcal’s is tricky and one of the biggest issues encountered by people is what is a portion? A single portion of food is usually not known so people usually eat much more than a protion and with fruit and veg sometime not enough.

Below is a simple set of examples of what constitutes 1 portion of each food group.

Fruit and vegetables:

ONE portion = 80g = any of the following

1 apple, banana, pear, orange or other similar sized fruit

2 plums or similar sized fruit

½ a grapefruit or avocado

1 slice of large fruit, such as melon or pineapple

3 heaped tablespoons of vegetables (raw, cooked, frozen or tinned)

3 heaped tablespoons of beans and pulses (however much you eat, beans and pulses count as a maximum of 1 portion a day)

3 heaped tablespoons of fruit salad (fresh or tinned in fruit juice) or stewed fruit

1 heaped tablespoon of dried fruit (such as raisins and apricots)

1 handful of grapes, cherries or berries

a dessert bowl of salad

a glass (150ml) of fruit juice (however much you drink, fruit juice counts as a maximum of 1 portion a day)

Remember for your 5 a day you must have 5 different foods from the above.

Bread, cereal, rice and pasta and potatoes:

1 slice bread

1 egg sized potato

3 tbsp breakfast cereal (normally 45g dry)

2 heaped tablespoons of cooked pasta and rice (approx. 75g uncooked)

Milk and dairy:

200 ml of milk

150g low fat yoghurt

125g cottage cheese

30g hard cheese

Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy source of protein:

85g-100g cooked meat or fish

3-4 tablespoons of dried beans

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of nuts or seeds

Food lables

Always check food lables for the recommened food portion size, this will usuall be shown.  but remember to check the lables clearly that you are reading the protion size and not kcal and other nutrition ingormation for a 100g protion.


Carbohydrate Loading

Carbohydrate loading is not a new technique and is the norm in discussions with regards to the final weeks \ days in build-up to events of marathon distance and greater. It’s the act of consuming larger amounts of carbohydrates to increase glycogen storage in your body to provide extra energy during a physically demanding exercise, such as a marathon.

It is reported that a trained endurance athlete will have 20 to 50 % more muscle glycogen than untrained people, therefore they are more effective at carbohydrate loading prior to a key race than a less well-trained person. This will have knock on effects to race day fueling and the body’s ability to store carbs and the benefits you will see following carb loading.

Research suggest a high-carbohydrate diet over will see greater performance gains either a more balanced ‘Normal’ diet containing a mix of fat, protein and carbohydrate with an expected result of almost double the endurance capacity. This is also the common thinking over a ‘low-carbohydrate diet’ high fat / protein diet, where it is expected you will see a reduction in exercise performance over athletes on a high-carbohydrate diet. But this is very dependent on your normal training and diet plans.

So there are a number of ways to achieve ‘carb loading’, below are some common techniques;

Carb- depletion > Carb loading technique

Usually completed over a two week taper, with week two seeing a reduction in total mileage but keeping the higher training effort thus depleting the stores during a 3 day Carb- depletion diet. Then switching to a high-carbohydrate diet ‘Carb-loading’ phase with at least 70 % of energy intake in the form of carbohydrate over the reaming 3 / 4 days to load the muscle glycogen stores.

However reports and studies add doubt to the benefit and the science of a Carb-depletion phase.

Check out the post for more information on Carb-depletion.

London Marathon 2016

For an example of what carb loading would look like for my London Marathon 2016, Nutrition intake form Thursday > Saturday includes an increase of intake with cabohydrate focus, with high carb meals and foods plus smaller carb based snacks throughout the day.

With my start of carb-depletion weight 67kg, I would look to load 10g carbs per 1kg body weight. (10g x 67kg = 670g per day).  This will see an increase in kcals for the loading phase approximatly 2,680kcals base per day pre excercise.

London 2016 base plan (670g per day):
Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast Dorset – Simply Fruity Muesli with Alpro – Coconut Original topped with Chia charge. Honey trail mix and Banana Dorset – Simply Fruity Muesli with Alpro – Coconut Original. Dorset – Simply Fruity Muesli with Alpro – Coconut Original
Snacks (1) Soreen – Malt Fruit Loaf

Beet It Sport – Pro-elite Bar

M&S – Milk Chocolate Chip Cookie

Beet It Sport – Pro-elite Bar

New York Bakery Co. – Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels with Strawberry Conserve

Torq – Recovery Bar

Soreen – Malt Fruit Loaf

New York Bakery Co. – Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels with Strawberry Conserve

Lunch New York Bakery Co. – Cinnamon & Raisin Bagels with Strawberry Conserve

Torq – Recovery Bar

Gnocchi, Green Lentils with tomatoe sauce. Neds Noodle Bar

Udon noodles, squid with Yakisoba sauce + Lick banana & honey frozen yoghurt

Dinner Gnocchi, Salami, flat mushroom, and sweet potatoe with tomatoe sauce.

Vine leaves stuffed with Rice (3)

Organic Wholewheat Farfalle pasta, Salami with Creme Faiche.

Vine leaves stuffed with Rice (3)


Spaghetti Bolognese

Snacks (2) Rice pudding with 4 squares dark chocolate

Strawberry Conserve on toast

Rice pudding with 4 squares dark chocolate

Soreen – Malt Fruit Loaf

Medjool Dates

Nutella Oat Cookie

Beet It Sport – Pro-elite Bar

Ambrosia – Rice Pudding Pot

Drinks Beet It – Sport Shot

for Goodness Shakes! – Superberry Sports Drink

Banana \ espresso smoothie with SIS Rego recover powder (Vanilla)

Costa skinny Mocha Latte with hazelnut syrup

Beet It – Sport Shot

Banana Smoothie with for Goodness Shakes! – Superberry Sports Drink

Beet It – Sport Shot

for Goodness Shakes! – Chocmalt Sports Drink


Normal ‘Carbohydrate Loading’

The term ‘Normal Carbohydrate Loading’ is the most common undertaken with endurance athletes.  This phase is to be completed combine with a gradual taper over the last 2 \ 3 weeks before your event, with a dietary focus at the end of the ‘Carb-loading’ phase – 5 days before the race.

It is suggested the recommend intake is 8-10g od carbohydrate per kg body weight per day.

A couple of useful tips;

  1. Stick with foods that you are familiar, there is no need to try anything new in the final days build up. This can be tricky if staying away or traveling abroad.
  2. Try to stick with Wholegrain foods
  3. Eat regulary but not so your eith hungry or bloated
  4. Don’t over eat kcals, high-carb is not high calorie intake

Suggested diet – 3 days pre Event

It’s important to have a good balanced meal plan, lean meats and high carbohydrate foods, sticking to wholegrain foods is important. REMEMBER we are not talking about loading with extra food this is a high carbohydrate diet not a high kcal intake diet.

Complex carbohydrates are the most beneficial for your body and include such foods as potatoes, yams, beans, peas, wheat bread, bananas, macaroni, spaghetti, cereal, raisins, apples, bagels, syrup, brown rice, corn, apples, carrots, and root vegetables. Mix a variety of carbs into your diet to create a nice balance.

The following is just a suggested Normal ‘Carbohydrate Loading’ style meal plan with the ‘A Race’ on a Sunday, snacks would need to be added to to raise the grams in line with body weight calculations;

Suggested Food Diary by days (main meals):
Thursday Friday Saturday
Breakfast Polenta porridge with cinnamon and honey also try with banana Weetabix with semi-skimmed milk topped with blueberries and banana. Wholegrain porridge oats with banana and blackberries and cinnamon
Lunch Gnocchi with roasted sweet potato, spinach, avocado and poached egg. Red Quinoa Salad (chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, turkey or chicken)

– (Lunch box meal ideal for traveling)

Soba Noodles, Chicken and fresh vegetables
Dinner Red Quinoa, Aduki Beans, sweet pointed peppers served with Pork tenderloin Wholemeal spaghetti with king prawns, red peppers, courgette, red chilli, spinach and chopped tomatoes. Spaghetti Bolognese or carbonara

It’s good to eat smaller portions with snacks, try adding things like Bagels with peanut butter, malt loaf, muesli (or other cereal), nuts, seeds and dried fruit are also other great snacks.  A late bowl of whole meal porridge oats always works and you can never beat rice pudding.

The day before your event we would suggest eating earlier in the day, so decent breakfast, mid morning snack and having your main meal for lunch.  Then dinner can be a lighter meal as you will probably be eating earlier and heading to bed. If your still hungry before bed a rice pudding pot is a winner or any cereal \ energy bar.

Just make sure you’re not hungry or on the other hand bloated, both are not a nice feeling in build up to you race.

Race day Tips

  1. Take your normal race day breakfast with you, this is common with endurance athletes not wanting to leave anything to chance.
  2. for an extra carb boost with breakfast try adding ‘Seed Shots’ or ‘Chia Charge Trail Mix’ with on your breakfast or as a side.
  3. Leave a minimum 2 hours between breakfast and race start. (take a snack if race is slightly later i.e. energy bar or banana)
  4. Don’t do anythng you have not tried or tested before

Carbohydrate intake during an Event

While consuming carbohydrate in the form of drinks, bars, chews and gels during long training runs and events aids your stores and is beneficial to sustaining performance, the requirement is greater for the non-well trained running due to the capacity of the muscles to store glycogen. Make sure you have a tried and tested race day nutrition plan.  For help try XMiles race day nutrition help service.

And finally…

Your body also stores around 3g of water for every gram of glycogen so during the carb-loading phase it’s not uncommon to gain extra weight (around 1-2kg). But don’t worry – this extra weight is primarily made up of the carbohydrate you’ll need to power you through your race, so you should use it all up on race day!


Training 04 – 10 April

Weekly Summary 10.04.2017

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 31.6 Miles Weight: 154.4 lb Avg Pace: 7:20 mm Time: 3h 52m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles 0 6.31 18.3 0 0 (8.96 Road Bike) 0 7.0
kcals 0 600 1,568 0 208 0 609

So with 3 weeks to London Marathon I had planned a steady build up to ensure the legs are functioning whilst also trying to monitor my full recovery for ACP, as I don’t want to cause any knock on injury.  So I was originally looking for 2 x 60\70 mile weeks and then a cut back \ taper week of about 45 miles including London Marathon. as you can see from the weekly mileage I had a FAIL week 1!

The week started by me shelving my planned Monday run due to fatigue and soreness in both legs, including some muscle tightness in my right thigh, so Monday session was replaced with a sports massage from Dave Holmes, Tuesday legs feeling better but not 100% so I decided on an easy effort 6 miles.  Wednesday felt better so it was back to BAC!

This week was the final BAC Marathon Session No. 10 – The last of the “big ones” for the group, but for me just returning after the 100k my plan was to take the session relatively easy but get a decent long steady effort of about 70mins. The session is (30min marathon pace / 4 x 5min threshold / 30min marathon pace).

So feeling good I completed the session with average pace for the intervals; 30 minutes (6:17 m/m) 4 x 5 minutes (6:08, 6:12, 5:48, 5:50 m/m’s) 30 minutes (6:17 m/m). But the final 5 minutes of the last 30 minute interval my right thigh pain returned with the muscle going into spasm, resulting in a very slow walk jog back to the car.

Session on Strava BAC – 30 (6:17) 4 x 5 (6:08, 6:12, 5:48, 5:50) 30 (6:17)

So trying to be sensible Thursday – Saturday were full rest days with a very easy bike ride with the boy and then a easy 7 miles on Sunday that was OK, still some slight soreness but a much improved situation.  Another easy week next week!

Diet \ Food Diary

So back to ensuring my diet is focused on my recovery and build up to London I have set my max base daily calorie target at 2,050 plus extra calories to be consumed dependent on the day’s activities (as shown in the ‘training by days’ table provided by Garmin).

With a focus on getting the right balance to my diet and looking to shed a few pounds again, I am looking to reduce the intake by approximately 500 kcals per day, this will be 250 from diet and 250 from exercise, this should see a 1lb per week controlled weight loss

Also with the recovery week and indulgence of chocolate, cake and alcohol last week the plan was to resume my normal abstaining for the next 3 week. However due to the full rest days and no planned running I had a couple of drinks on Friday and Saturday night. My weekly weight is recorded from Sunday 10/04,  1 week after diet control resumed. The goal was to get to approximate race weight between 156-153 lb for London. So all looking good.

A couple of new meal ideas this week and shared on Instagram


Food Diary by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Breakfast  216 212  285  288  279  324  316
Morning Snacks  72  72  –  –  81  –  282
Lunch  454  576  623  347  433  291  447
Afternoon \ Evening Snacks  250  270  528  221  471  257  505
Dinner  581  547  600  545  482  436  512
Drinks  85  36  66  53  638  688  116
Daily Totals  1,658  1,713  2,102  1,454  2,384  1,996  2,178