Week 8 – Comrades Buildup inc Manchester Marathon

10 Weeks to Comrades

So this happened……………….. When I started planning for the year I set myself the goal to run sub 2:30 at Manchester Marathon, however after a slow start to 2019 training I had adjusted my goals and settled to run both Manchester and London marathons as training runs towards the main goal of Comrades.

As ever plans change and you adjust your goals, following a decent run and PB at Fleet Half Marathon (72:31) I again started to think about Manchester and back to the possibility of a PB attempt.¬† I had not targeted sub230 before as I’ve been focused on 100k A races since running 2:30:06 in London 2015 so this was now my opportunity.¬† I still wanted to keep training high and not interfere with the Comrades plan so the weekend before still included the 30 mile Purbecks run and a 110+ mile week but I had allowed a mini taper to finish this week at 70 miles.

So we headed to Manchester on Friday to stay with family, a perfect location to stay in Sale and also the flexibility to be able to chill and cook my own food whilst my amazing wife Nicki and two youngest could enjoy playing with their cousins and not have to worry about boring daddy! Saturday consisted on meeting BAC teammate Craig for a drive to Longford parkrun to meet the Dorset (Twemlow) crew for a 6 mile run inc. a progressive 3rd place parkrun effort building to MP and some easy laps of the running track. Then back home for a lazy day with the only distraction of having to collect my race bib as it had not arrived in the post.

Race Day

Joining teammates Craig Palmer and Steve Way on the elite start was a nice touch and took any worries out of the morning. I have planned to try and stay in a group with Steve with a target of 2:28-2:29 pace, I knew Craig was targeting a faster time so happy to watch him run off into the distance.

We kicked off at closer to 2:28 pacing and even though this felt comfortable I was already having to have words with myself that this was what I was here to do, we went through 10k in 35 mins, I somehow missed the 10 mile marker, hence below the gels at mile 11. And we then hit halfway¬† at 1:13:xx a little quicker than expected and I was quite please after a 5:30 m/m Steve suggested we let the group go and settle in for a few miles. From mile 16 I started to have a few issues with stomach discomfort and this got to breaking point at mile 18 where I had a moment of panic about having to stop, luckily a release of gases didn’t result in the worst possible situation but actually brought me back from the brink. Suddenly I felt good again and as we hit mile 20 I decided to get moving, a couple of 5:50 m/m between 14 and 19 had cut my buffer built in the first half but when we had been ticking along at 5:45 pace I felt good, so I decided to for the first time in the race to move in front of Steve at try and keep pushing at the same effort.¬† This worked really well and I felt great, picking of 3/4 runners over the last 6 miles and keeping splits consistent 5:46, 5:39, 5:41, 5:46, 5:46, 5:46 with a final push for the last .2 miles at 5:29 m/m pace.¬† Finishing in 02:29:33 for 17th place and 2nd M40.¬† It wasn’t until I could see the clock that I actually realised i had done it and you can see what it meant in the video below.¬† Great that Steve finished just behind me and Craig waiting at the finish, boys did good.

Race Nutrition

Sunday up at 06:00 for breakfast;

  • Peanut Butter Porridge Pot by Fuel (A prize from last years North Dorset Marathon)
  • 1 x Warburtons Cinnamon & Raisin Bagel Thin with Almond Butter and Sliced Banana
  • Coffee

06:30 – 08:00 – Pre-loading

Race Nutrition – Race start 09:00

15 minutes before race start

Post Race

+ a bit of a blow out day ūüôā

Check out the below video from the finish – video adjusted to correct start point.

Nutrition – Week 8 Summary

Taper week consisted of 3 day carb depletion (Zero carbs) Monday РWednesday, the Thursday РSaturday carb loading.  However due to Keto (Low carb diet) this was a lower carb load than previous marathons topping out at 500g on Saturday.

Weight Target 67-69kg Training 65kg Race Weight

Final weigh in this week was Friday morning pre final carb loading and travelling.  Idea is not to weigh yourself final days and just focus on getting your nutrition and loading right.  Great to hit target weight on Friday of 65.x kg.

Interesting that weight didn’t drop during carb depletion but the fist day of introducing carbs back into the diet on Thursday with 200g carb resulted it a weight drop Friday morning.

Weight Summary:
DATE Weight (Kg) Fat (%) Muscle (%) Water (%68.5)
01/04 66.4 2.5 54.6 68.2
02/04 66.2 2.2 56.0 68.3
03/04 66.3 2.4 56.5 68.1
04/04 66.3 2.4 55.4 68.2
05/04 65.7 2.2 54.5 68.5

Training – Week 8 Summary

Weekly Totals: (9 sessions)
Total Miles: 70.38 Miles Avg Pace: 6:42 m/m Time: 07:51:54


Week 01 – 07 –¬† April Summary:
DATE Summary Avg Pace Avg HR
01/04 Morning 6 07:32m/m 119
02/04 Morning 6 – Easy 07:52m/m 117
03/04 Morning 4
2, 2, 2 miles with the Manchester boys
04/04 Morning Easy 5 – pre Pilates
Pilates – 1 hour
30 min easy – 4 miles
05/04 Morning 6 06:53m/m 130
06/04 6 inc Longford parkrun 06:37m/m 135
07/04 Manchester Marathon PB 2:29:33 – 17th 2nd M40 05:41m/m 149


Loving the Vaporfly 4% Flyknit

Make Model Description Type Current Mileage Purchase Date
New Balance 1400v6 Red White AW18 – UK 11 Training Road 246 Oct-2018
New Balance Summit Unknown Black – UK 11 Training Trail 199 Oct-2018
Nike Vaporfly 4% Flyknit Red – UK 11 Racing Road 40 Jan-2019
Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit UK11 Grey Training Road 622 Jan-2019
Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit UK11 Wolf Grey / Black-Blue Fury Training Road 143 Mar-2019
North Face Ultra MT Mountain 83 Mar-2017


British Championships 100km – Silver / Anglo Celtic Plate – England Team Gold

On Sunday 21st May 2017 I was honoured once again to have the opportunity to run for England at The Meridian Ultra Road Race 100k in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championship and the The Anglo Celtic Plate Home Countries 100k.

After being selected in 2016 and running my debut 100k in 07:17:43, being part of the winning ACP100k England team and finishing in 4th position in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championship I was looking forward to setting myself new targets for 2017.

My training and build-up races had gone well and I had set myself a top-end targets to both achieve the GB qualifying time 06:55 for the World Championships in Croatia 2018 and to improve my overall position in the race and podium in the British Athletics 100k Road Race Championships.  Both these targets were aspirational; to run a 18 minute PB targeting sub 7 hours, a time that has only been achieved by 23 men on the All-Time Run Britain Rankings , along with improving on my 4th place finish from 2016  in, what looked like, a very strong field both in the national teams and the open race, was always going to be a big ask.

The Race

We were based at the Patrington Haven Holiday Park, which was also race HQ and the start / finish position for the race. The route consisted of a 25k out and back, which was completed 4 times turning at a cone after 12.5k. The course was pancake flat but totally exposed to the elements with a single lane road (very hard surface, with camber) exposed between fields with each stretch of road lasting approximately 1.6km before a slight turn in direction onto another stretch into the distance, and when looking to the side you could see large tankers in the Humber estuary as if they were dumped in the fields.

We were fortunate with the wind and being a dry day as there would be no protection from the elements, but as the hours passed the sun would appear to give another factor to the race, especially over the last 25k.

Setting off at 07:30 the group of runners soon spread out down the road, with four leading off in a group at a very quick approx. 6:15 m/m pace, a solo runner in 5th before a small group of us at 6:35 m/m pace.  At about 5k I was already running solo from the group as I passed for the first time aid station #1 manned by England coach Michelle Maxwell and my wife Nicki (5, 20, 30, 45, 55, 70, 80, 95k), then then onwards to my dad who was crewing for me at the aid station #2 with England coach Daz Reevell (10, 15, 35, 40, 60, 65, 85, 90k). 

My pacing style is to sit at one pace for as long as possible and I continued to knock off the miles with an average pace of 6:34 m/m taking 4th place at approximately 20k. Then it was out-and-back checking off the aid station visits before catching and passing 3rd place (Tom Evans) at approximately 55k whilst still keeping my average pace at¬†6:34 m/m. I maintained this comfortably until 70 – 75k, before looping the caravan park and out onto the final out-and-back. This is when I was starting to feel the effects of the now stronger sun and needed to focus on the job in hand as the last 25k was going to be a suffer-fest. I was in the knowledge that the runner I passed for 3rd had dropped from the race so I had a decent lead on 4th but 1st and 2nd were clear and I estimated they had a 3-4k lead at 75k. As I left the holiday park I got the shout from the England Team manager Walter on his bike that ‘the race starts now’ and I started out to tick-off my final 4 aid station visits; ¬†first Nicki where I grabbed my fuel (and it was noted on her facebook updates I was not smiling anymore) then onto aid station #2. Already my pace had dropped to 7:15 m/m, however I was committed to keep moving in the knowledge that a¬†slowing of pace would not be a disaster and affect my overall position as long as I didn’t stop.

As I was approaching the 85k point I was being told by runners in the other direction that 1st place was slowing and I was catching, Walter came past on the bike saying 2nd was mine and just before I hit the 85k timing mat I passed 2nd (Jason Cherriman) who was now walking and out of the race. I ran through the 85k aid station and grabbed the bottle from dad.

The events of these last few minutes had two effects on me. Firstly the extra adrenaline soared though my body, after being told that I was in 2nd and that people tracking me would know this as I had just passed the timing mat, and then the realisation that I had just been given and consumed my fuel 5k early = NO FUEL FOR THE LAST 15k !!!!!!!!

As I was at the far end of the course this also was the point where I could gauge my position on the road to my England team-mate and room-mate Lee Grantham. Lee was looking strong out in front and it was great to have the opportunity to give each other a shout of encouragement when we passed each other, and when we crossed each other I knew I was roughly 3.5 / 4k down. It was then time to check the gap behind, this was confirm as I crossed 3rd place (David McLure of Scotland) at aid station #2, so the gap was 5k.

The last 10k home was tough, my watch died so I had no pace information or indication on distance except the aid stations and I was down to water at the aid stations. Keeping the momentum going and trying to not drop the pace was my focus, a few difficult moments with breathing and heat over the last 5k on the long road stretches pushed me to the limit and I was more than happy to see the holiday park and the final loop round the park lake to finish in Silver place and a new PB of 07:04:28 and 27th on the All-Time Run Britain Rankings.

The support from the other runners was such a boost on the course, running solo for 95k is tough but I had¬†encouragement not only from the England Team but also the Scottish and Welsh runners in the ACP and the runners in the open race. ¬†It was a pleasure to run with everyone and I know many great runs were completed with PB’s recorded across the depth of the field.

My 5k Splits

Lap/CP Km Net Gross
1/1 5 19:30 00:19:32
1/2 10 21:04 00:40:36
1/3 15 20:33 01:01:08
1/4 20 20:58 01:22:06
1/5 25 20:15 01:42:20
2/1 30 19:34 02:01:54
2/2 35 21:00 02:22:53
2/3 40 20:24 02:43:16
2/4 45 20:56 03:04:12
2/5 50 20:19 03:24:30
3/1 55 19:27 03:43:57
3/2 60 21:06 04:05:03
3/3 65 20:38 04:25:40
3/4 70 21:29 04:47:08
3/5 75 21:06 05:08:14
4/1 80 21:02 05:29:15
4/2 85 23:05 05:52:19
4/3 90 23:03 06:15:22
4/4 95 24:46 06:39:45
4/5 100 24:46 07:04:30

England Teams WIN and retain ACP Titles

Being part of this amazing England team was a privilege and to be part of a winning team for the second time topped a fantastic day. World class performances from Lee and Sue to take the British 100k titles, PB’s for many and some gutsy runs. It didn’t go right for everyone but you will be back stronger.

Massive congratulations to the entire team with some fantastic personal performances, it was a pleasure to be part of the team with you all.

Men’s Team

1. Lee Grantham England 06:42:42
2. Anthony Clark England 07:04:28
4. Paul Fernandez England 07:25:27
6. Nathan Montague England 07:33:04
11. Darryl Hards England 08:12:48

Woman’s Team

9. Sue Harrison England 08:01:22
10. Sophie Carter England 08:11:38
12. Melissa Venables England 08:25:52
Samantha Amend (completed 50k) England DNF
Susie Chesher England DNF

Full Anglo Celtic Plate Finishers List

My Crew

Words cannot even start to explain the support I have from the most amazing person in the world. Not only does my wonderful wife Nicki support me every minute of the day in all I do and bring up our little family team together but for 7 hours she stands by the road passing me my fuel and being my mental reward seeing her each pass point. Thanks you ūüėė

I was also supported by my Mum & Dad with Dad at aid station #2 (7 hours waiting, cheering, supporting). Without my family support I could never achieve this.

My Nutrition \ Fuel

So a brief insight into my race day nutrition, lessons learnt: prepare extra fuel for each aid station even if you don’t plan to use it, I could have done with some more Tailwind over that last 15k

Night before Mountain Fuel Night Fuel
Breakfast Weetabix + Milk \ Chia Charge Bar \ 330ml Raspberry Buzz Tailwind)
Race 10k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Torq Energy Bar
20k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Torq Energy Bar
30k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
40k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
50k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
60k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
70k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
80k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews
85k 90k 300ml \ 1 Scoop Raspberry Buzz + Chews 1/2
Post Race Mountain Ultimate Recovery Fuel Strawberry

What next?

Looking back I had a really good solid run, but the heat took it’s toll over the final 25k. I am a little disappointed to miss my sub7 target but 100k is a tough cookie to crack, my two runs have helped me understand how to race 100k and I feel I have areas I can improve to go faster and break that sub7 barrier.

Thanks for all the messages and support, it was an honour to race for England and hopefully it won’t be the last time I get to pull on an international vest.

Training 25 – 01 May – inc. NDVM

Weekly Summary 01.05.2016

Device: Garmin Forerunner 630

Weekly Totals:
Total Miles: 61.86 Miles Weight: Рlb Avg Pace: 7:02 mm Time: 7h 15m
Training by days:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Miles 5.28 5.20 5.57 10.25 5.01 3.01 27.54
kcals 496 513 492 880 488 302 2,184

Started the week with 3 easy 5 mile runs and a sports massage on Monday to get the lactate out of the legs, then increased the mileage on Thursday with an off-road 10 miles and then back down to 5 miles on Friday and final 3 miles Saturday. Nothing major to report felt OK, legs starting to recover from London but Sunday is still an unknown. Plan is to head out at 2:45 ish pace with target sub 2:50!

North Dorset Village Marathon

A race too far……………Sunday was marathon day AGAIN! We had the opportunity to camp at the race so spent the night in our campervan, something I really like doing makes the weekend seem longer and also cuts down on really early starts, especially with races that start at 08:30 like NDVM.

bac_ndvm_1 So optimistically I set off at 2:40 MP with club mate Jon Sharkey, knowing I would not be able to sustain the pace but with a plan to hopefully stick with him until half way. At 11 miles Jon started to make a gap on some on the undulations in the course and with that the solo run began, hitting half way in 01:21, promising but within the next few miles the pace slowed and approaching 18 miles energy levels were well and truly zapped.  During this period of the race another club mate Simon Way came past me with Tim Awkins from Wells City Harriers, however Simon coming past was a good thing as he pulled up in London after 2 miles so a strong run was today was a massive boost.

bac_ndvmbac_ndvm_2The final few miles were a bit of a clog, happy that I managed to retain 4th spot and also picked up the pace slightly for the final mile along the trail way to the finish in a respectable 02:51:59 for 1st Male 30+ and points to help Bournemouth AC finish 1st Male Team (Jon Sharkey, Simon Way, Anthony Clark)

Below you can see the full slow up in my mile splits;

6:17 6:06 5:56 6:16 6:10 6:07 6:14 6:07 6:20 6:18 6:12 6:22 6:18 6:21 6:24 6:38 6:49 6:46 6:52 7:23 7:16 7:03 7:04 6:59 7:09 6:41 1:52

NDVM 4th and Broken (1 too many recovery time)

Thanks Sanjai and Steve for the photos

Diet \ Food Diary

Recovery week one, part of my planned three week downtime so no recorded daily calorie intake. A few indulgent days plus alcoholic beverages as celebrations and recovery from ACP100 and London Marathon training. Always let your body recover!