What Am I Doing?

I have entered the Yorkshire Marathon 2018 that is being held on 14th October 2018 in York.

A marathon is 26.2 miles. It will be my fourth full marathon and my third time that I have done this course. I also completed Manchester Marathon in 2017, and the Yorkshire Marathon previously in 2014 and 2015.

Yorkshire Marathon route
Yorkshire Marathon route

Fundraising Page

I am raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. I hope you would like to help support me and them by contributing to my fundraising total. Please visit my fundraising page – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-lord-online

Weekly Updates

This section will feature updates on how my training is going so far and the ups and downs along the way! Marathon training takes a lot of time, commitment and sacrifices. It isn’t easy, and it sure won’t be this time either, especially as I haven’t run so much in the last 12-18 months.

THIS WEEK

10th – 16th September (4 weeks to go) –   I have got the Tadcaster 10 mile race to do on Sunday. I have also got my 18 mile run that I have been putting off for a while. My aim is to do that midweek one night after work. It won’t be easy running solo at that time of evening in the dark after a day at work, but you have to fit in your runs where you can.

As my mileage intensity increases, I need to do the same kind of distance (approx. 30 miles a week) over fewer days. The importance of rest days is key there.

Check back at the end of the week for this week’s training update as to how I got on.

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PREVIOUS WEEKS

3rd – 9th September (5 weeks go to) – Total miles 31.05 miles (longest run 13.12 miles) I didn’t perform as well as I wanted this week, but that is partly due to how much I wanted to happen this week. I ran the Pontefract Half Marathon course one evening. I found it quite brutal last year when I wasn’t so fit, but this time it just seemed to click for me. I ran it ten minutes faster than last year which was very pleasing. It shows that if you put the hard work in, you get results. I wanted to follow up that run with a 16m run two days later, but I found that too much and my legs decided that 11.7 miles would be enough so soon after a tough half.

I ran a decent time at parkrun on Saturday morning and it was nice not to need to do a pre-run or as part of a long run. I could just actually enjoy parkrun for what it is. I surprised myself on the Sunday by going for a swim for the first time in two and a half years. I didn’t realise how long it was since I had been. Partly I was going for the soak for my legs. That felt nice. I didn’t do many lengths but I will go again soon as part of cross-training and easing my legs.

I said earlier that I didn’t perform as well as I wanted this week, but I still managed to get a course PB for a half marathon, go for a swim, run decent paces at the runs I ran, and clocked up over 30 miles for the week. I guess I can be quite harsh with my performance reviews. With such a short amount of time to go, I need to be positive in my retrospective reflections and see how far I have come and what I have achieved on this marathon journey so far.

27th August – 2nd September (6 weeks to go) – Total miles 14.82 miles (longest run 8.12 miles) I got a bit more obsessed with the wrong targets this week. Instead of remembering that everything is leading to York on 14th October, I was more concerned with my total amount of miles ran during August. A very nice milestone to achieve – a nice distance high, but not what the focus of the week should have been. During August I ran 137.1 miles, which was higher than my previous highest from August 2015 (0.4 miles more!) This was pleasing and made me feel good, but it wasn’t what I should  have been focussing on.

I had a few niggles during this week so decided to forego my 18-mile weekend run and turn it into an 18-mile bike ride instead. It still gave me a good workout and it still had fitness benefits for me. I still had this nagging thought that I should have been running it and that if I hadn’t had ran so uneconomically during August I maybe could have done so. When I say uneconomically, I mean using my energy better and not doing so many shorter faster runs, but focussing on my main end goal. Time will tell whether this shorter distance week will do me good for being better rested for the coming weeks.

If you can’t look back and review the lows in your performance, then you shouldn’t enjoy the highs when you review those also.

It is useful to look back and identify what you could have done differently, or what you did well.

Making mistakes, if indeed they are mistakes, is one thing, but learning from them is what turns them into better experiences in the future.

20th – 26th August (7 weeks to go) – Total miles 30.05 miles (longest run 14.13 miles) On Saturday I was completing my 150th parkrun and wanted to incorporate it as part of my long run. That didn’t entirely go to plan. I did 11 miles and then my running shorts started chaffing quite uncomfortably. I had worn an older pair rather than my usual ones. I cut my run short to go home, treat the cuts and change my shorts ready for parkrun. I still ended up doing 14 miles that day, and went for a long walk afterwards so managed to get my distance in, but not as I had wanted to, unfortunately. Preparation is key. If I had prepared the right shorts, I could have done what I had planned to do. Here shows the importance of planning ahead. Once again I ran 30 miles during the week, for the fourth consecutive week, which was pleasing. A big few weeks ahead though as I start getting into the scary number’s distance wise!

13th – 19th August (8 weeks to go) – Total miles 30.05 miles (longest run 16.01 miles) This wasn’t an easy week! Battling against whatever happens to you is part of the challenge of marathon running and marathon training. Coping with the chaffing of last week was one thing, but coping with nipple bleeds while on a long run became another problem for me to handle this week. I was hoping to do 16 mile midweek one evening, but after a bleed on 7 miles, I had to reassess my plans. I got to 10 miles and it was becoming quite painful, so I decided to stop and do my ‘long’ run another day.

It was frustrating as my legs were going fine, but our bodies are more than just our legs! Runners need to look after all of their bodies and be sensible. I rested up for a few days before I did a 16 mile run on Saturday morning, which included parkrun again.

Once more, I suffered from nerves that morning. I needed the toilet too many times first thing before I had even set off. Imodium helped but not 100%. I think it is definitely the anxiety of being out for so long and not knowing where the next toilet will be. It isn’t going to be a problem on race day when the toilets are at regular intervals, but still, in training, this isn’t a nice issue.

So this week with chaffing, nipple bleeds and toilet stops, I was pleased to get so much done. I even ventured out for a lesser-seen Rich Lord Recovery Ryn next day – a steady four miles to get my mileage up to 30 miles again for the week. It wasn’t nice or pretty, but job done. Tick the box, move on. The 16 mile run on Saturday was a PB too, (2h51m27s) which was the highlight of the week for me. Next week – upping the distance once more!

It wasn’t nice or pretty, but job done. Tick the box, move on.

6th – 12th August (9 weeks to go) – Total miles 31.49 miles (longest run 12.01 miles) This week I decided to run less far on my long runs but to step back a bit before pushing up on my long run distance the forthcoming weeks. I reduced the number of days I was running but wanted to keep the total mileage high. I ran the Saddleworth 10k race which was a nice small race to do. I was concerned about being at the back with it only having a field of 150. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case though. It was a hilly race – two laps of 5k all on roads and it was a good challenge for me. I managed the second 5k in just 1 minute slower than the first 5k so I was fairly consistent, which was pleasing. My time was 60m58 at a pace of 9m49 which both surprised me and pleased me due to the elevation climbs and gradients involved.

31st July – 5th August (10 weeks to go) – Total miles 37.45 Miles (longest run 15.01 miles) Imodium is a godsend on long runs when you have concerns about toilet stops! I managed my long Saturday morning run of 15 miles in a PB time of 2h40m16s.

I knew that I had got a decent pace in me after last week’s long run, but wanted to have a continuous run, not interrupted by the runs! I also had a good quick run midweek of 10 miles where I performed well and quickly for 9 of the 10 miles but slumped a bit towards the end.

I got a bit stumped for a route at the end and while the energy was dropping, my mind wasn’t planning so ended up looping around a few times which would have reduced my effectiveness in my running. It may sound like just a small thing, but it does affect performance.

23rd – 30th July (11 weeks to go) – Total miles 22.93 miles (longest run 15.01 miles)Warning – this contains info about needing the toilet whilst running! My aim this week was to up my longest run from just over 13 miles up to 15 miles. I did that on Saturday morning to include parkrun which helps spur me on as I come to the end of my run. Talking of runs, I needed the loo twice whilst out on my long run. Having suffered from this in the past, I think I may need to ensure against this by taking Imodium before my long runs. It has eased this issue in the past, but it shows that running long distance isn’t just one foot in front of the other and keep going. There are other issues at play including GI issues, worry and anxiety to combat, and fuelling my body with the right kind and right amount of energy.

The weather once more has been a factor this week, and whilst I wanted to up my distance by approx 10% this week I also need to plan time better so that I can get some longer short runs in earlier in the week if that makes sense. I’ve been fortunate these last few weeks that I have been able to rest on Sunday, but I need runs longer than 4-5km on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday as I get closer to the marathon. Overall, I am pleased with this week. If it wasn’t for my toilet breaks on my 15 mile run, I would have got a PB by 14 minutes! My overall running time is about a minute per mile faster than previous times I have ran that distance. That would very much be food for thought if I could keep the food I have consumed in me for the duration of a long run!

16th – 22nd July (12 weeks to go) – Total miles 20.27 miles (longest run 13.41 miles).  This week was a case of see how I reacted to coming back after illness. My target was a thirteen-mile run. I needed to be sensible as I came back from my enforced rest of twelve days. I know that I wouldn’t be completing my 110m target for the month, but in these 12 weeks I aim to have clocked up over 300 miles leading up to marathon day from now. You need to set a target and a goal to aim for. I need to bounce back from this downtime and get back on the horse so to speak. Hang on, I might be faster on a horse!

I got up early on Saturday morning and completed just over ten miles BEFORE parkrun which after I ran that got my longest run of 13.4 miles which I was pleased with. I felt comfortable. I ran at a decent pace. I even enjoyed it. I enjoyed it more when I realised that I had timed it ok for the start of parkrun. One tip I would give to others is that if you can end your long run at a parkrun, it helps you on the last few miles having others around you. People supporting you and helping you along certainly keeps you going that last half hour or so.

9th – 15th July (13 weeks to go) – Total miles 3.81m (longest run 3.81m). Unfortunately, my pain and migraines continued into this week too. I was off work all week and was on two lots of antibiotics, saw the dentist for a second time and saw the doctor twice. By Sunday, I managed to squeeze in my comeback run. It was 25 degrees and very warm, but I took it steady and carefully and realised that I will benefit more from the rest I have had if I am sensible about how I up my miles in the next few weeks. Patience is a virtue, and now is a time to be virtuous.

2nd – 8th July (14 weeks to go) – Total miles 3.11m (longest run 3.11m). It was Robert Burns who once said: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” The meaning of which is that no matter how much you plan, there will always be things that go wrong somewhere on the way. This week I was not well and could only manage the one run. It was the Jayne Tomlinson Methley Canal 5k and I got a course PB by 15s which I was chuffed with, especially as I had been dosed up on painkillers all day! Needless to say, I didn’t run again that week and ended up being off work with dental pain and migraines.

25th June – 1st July (15 weeks to go) – Total miles 28.03m (longest run 9.02m). My targets this week were a five-mile quicker run and a nine-mile marathon pace race at Norton on Sunday which was hilly. The week was blazing hot and I had other commitments going on, but it was a case of getting the miles in when I can and work hard to get a good total for the week. I managed to get over the 100-mile mark for June which I was chuffed to bits with. That was the furthest I had gone in a month since September 2015, some 33 months ago!

18th – 24th June (16 weeks to go) – Total miles 18.68m (longest run 11.01m). I had half this week off after a sports massage this week. It is important to keep looking after your body when you are increasing the mileage and workload. Rest is an investment if used properly. After what I thought was a heavy slow steady run earlier in the week, I actually got a gold medal for those segments on Strava, so either I wasn’t as bad as I thought, or I must have been a lot slower last time around! It probably is a mixture of both. We tend to think down our runs when in reality they are probably not as bad as we think in the grand scale of things.

On Saturday, I got my long run in – a nice enjoyable 11 mile run first thing in the morning incorporating Pontefract parkrun as my ending 3 miles to my run. Sometimes when you set off early, you can feel sluggish but settle into the run quite nicely when you get going. I certainly benefitted from running the last bit around others rather than solo. Building a parkrun into a long run is a good thing. It helps your concentration and inversely it helps distract you from the longer miles you have done beforehand.

Rest is an investment if used properly.

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11th – 17th June (17 weeks to go) – Total miles 26.46m (longest run 10.01m). A new year’s best weekly total and a Darrington 5 mile course PB. I’m pleased with the first part and very surprised at the second part of this news! I am starting to feel more comfortable at ten miles distance now. Just four weeks ago, I was only comfortable at seven miles. My next test of the next four weeks is to get comfortable again at half marathon distance. Slowly slowly, catchy monkey, as they say! 🙂

To get a course PB at Darrington was a surprise. I had planned to ease off a bit prior to the hills and to hit them with a bit more oomph but after the first third of Wentbridge Hill I was boxed in and had to walk for a short while. I was annoyed for getting in that scenario but channelled the energy into a second burst for the final third of the hill. Rocky Balboa never settled for being on the ropes, he launched himself into the next attack! At four miles, I was doing better than I thought and ran in with a friend the rest of the way and was grateful for a disciplined pace. Still quick, but consistent. That helped me gain those vital twelve extra seconds that got me a PB.

This week was difficult in one way as I was having to plan a race strategy for Darrington, run a long run on a midweek evening, and to try and increase my total mileage too. Combining those factors around normal life is hectic, but that is the life of training for a marathon. It isn’t easy, but the wins that you get along the journey make it all worthwhile.

Rocky Balboa never settled for being on the ropes, he launched himself into the next attack!

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4th – 10th June (18 weeks to go)Total miles 23.8m (longest run 10.01m). Whilst just short of last week’s total mileage, I felt good with this week’s performance as I banged in a ten miler that was comfortable and a good workout too. I did a pre-run before parkrun which meant that I had done 5 miles before I got to the start line, and topped it up with some extra on the way home. A comfortable ten miles which was 3 miles up on 3 weeks ago. I also did an evening of hill climbing – taking on the hill at Wentbridge ready for the Darrington 5 mile race a week later. Tackling a route sometimes takes a bit more when you are breaking down perceptions that something or part of a course is too hard. Invariably it isn’t, you just need to work harder!

Break down perceptions that something or part of a course is too hard. Invariably it isn’t, you just need to work harder!

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28th May – 3rd June (19 weeks to go)Total miles 26.0m (longest run 9.1m) – Back on the horse, as they say! I ran four times this week and increased my weekly total to my year’s best. Boom!

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21st – 27th May (20 weeks to go)Total miles 16.2 (longest run 6.55m). After the long hard run the week before, I took half the week off to recover, but still banged out two 10ks to get my mileage back up again.

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14th – 20th May (21 weeks to go) Total miles 25.9m (longest run 13.1m). I took part in the Liverpool Rock N Roll Half Marathon (13.1m). In this event, I wanted to see where I was at with my running, and not to expect miracles from my recent lethargy and inactivity! I had a strong 7 miles followed by a weak 6 miles. This was to be expected as 6.5 / 7 miles was about the distance I had been running fairly regularly. My challenge now was to slowly up that long distance run and to increase my weekly miles to get to where I need to be. 21 weeks to go. 21 weeks of HARD WORK coming up!

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