The Search For a Sub-38m 10k

The Quest

Me running in the recent Lytchett 10

Me running in the recent Lytchett 10

OK search isn’t quite the right word. It’s not something I’m actually on a search for; I know where it is. It’s the other side of around 3-4 months hard training, following a very specific routine!

Looking at my race calendar, I have almost exactly six weeks until the next biggy which is the Bournemouth Bay 10k. The last 10k I ran was in 39:52 at the Boscombe 10k in November last year. I’m definitely a little less fit than I was then and think it will take at least two weeks to get back to where I was back in November. So that leaves 4 weeks to improve my fitness by enough to knock a whole minute off my PB! It’s not fun if it’s not hard!

Lots of Schedules

A quick search on Google brings up all manor of schedules for achieving a sub 38 10k:

1) Here’s a good one by ‘Run Midlesborough’

2) And another good one on the CoolRunning website

3) This is a good schedule By Run Britain to run 10k in under 40 minutes too

DIY Schedule Required!

But I know what I’m like with these rigid schedules, I just don’t stick to them. With two young children, a wife training for the London marathon and dark, unlit village streets in the evening I just have to do the best I can.

I know that I need to do more speed work and I also know that I need to up my mileage to around 40 miles per week, plus a hill session or two.

So here’s my own plan (I can let you know if it works or not  in 6 weeks!) Creating my own might not be scientific but at least it allows me to make the best use of the time I have available:

Week 1 – 16/2/14 (this week) = Around 32 miles inc swimming

Sunday – Long run 10 mile race
Monday – Break
Tuesday – Swimming, 1 hour/80 lengths ( 4 miles equiv)
Wednesday – Club night –5 miles with hills and intervals at 100% effort with warm up and cool down either side.
Thursday – Easy 7 miles
Friday3 miles
Saturday – Poole Parkrun 5k (3 miles)

Week 2 – 23/2/14 = 35 miles

Sunday – Long run 13 miles
Monday – Swimming, 1 hour 80 lengths (4 miles equiv)
Tuesday – Speed session. 5k (3 miles) broken down in to 400, 800 and 1k circuits with 2 min rests.
Wednesday – Club night – 5 miles with hills and intervals at 100% effort with warm up and cool down either side.
Thursday – Easy 7 miles
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Poole Parkrun 5k (3 miles)

Week 3 – 2/3/14 = 37 miles

Sunday – Long run 14 miles
Monday – Swimming, 1 hour 80 lengths (4 miles equiv)
Tuesday – Speed session. 5k (3 miles) broken down in to 400, 800 and 1k circuits with 2 min rests.
Wednesday – Club night – 5 miles with hills and intervals at 100% effort with warm up and cool down either side.
Thursday –  8 miles with 4 miles at 10k pace
Friday – Rest
Saturday – Poole Parkrun 5k (3 miles)

Weeks 4 and 5 as per week 3 pushing harder on speed, hill and Thurs session.

Week 6 as per week 3 with rest on Sat.

Here goes… wish me luck!

How a Break in Running Training Affects Your Fitness

Not running for two weeks

Not running for two weeks!

As you may have noticed from my recent posts, I haven’t been running much over the last couple of weeks due to blisters sustained in a half

marathon. No training and no races, with just a couple of swimming sessions to keep things ticking over.

With my next championship race upcoming this Sunday, I began to panic about if and how my lack of running may have affected my fitness. My last ten mile race was in November 2013 where I got a PB of 66 minutes, so this time I was hoping to go sub 65 (one of my targets for this year).

So off I went to find out how not running for two weeks affects your running fitness!

Cardio / Breathing

Geoff Gaudette on Runners Connect says that when it comes to your breathing (measured using VO2 Max):

“There is little reduction in VO2max for the first 10 days following inactivity in well-trained athletes. It is prudent here to mention that all of these guidelines assume you are a decently trained runner, having trained consistently for a 4-6 month period. Beginner runners will lose fitness at a slightly faster rate since they have a smaller base of fitness.

After two weeks of not running, studies show that VO2 max decreases by 6%. After 9 weeks VO2 max drops by 19%. After 11 weeks of no running, Studies demonstrate that VO2 max falls by 25.7% from peak physical fitness.

So according to Geoff I’ll be running my 10 miles 6% slower – so should finish in about 70 minutes.

Mental State

There’s also evidence to suggest that having a two week break in your running can lead to increased symptoms of depression such as anxiety or insomnia, although I can’t say I’ve noticed this in general. Only the depressing thought that my times will be getting slower the longer I don’t train for!

Two Weeks Off Running is Fine (yey!)

Matt Johnson at Runners Academy says:

“You won’t lose your aerobic capacity or muscle power as long as your time away from running is less than two weeks.”

He even goes on to say:

“There are times when a week or two away from running is actually beneficial, such as after a strenuous marathon performance.”

Well my Blackmore Vale Half Marathon run was probably the toughest run I’ve ever done, mentally and physically so perhaps a little break has been of benefit. My dodgy ankle niggle that I couldn’t seem to lose has certainly disappeared!

Basically it’s largely about confidence. Think you’re going to run a bad, slow race and you probably will. Go in to it thinking “I’ve had a nice break and now my muscles are full of fuel and energy!” and all should be ok.

Next Training

Blisters feeling better so will attempt a leisurely 5 miler this evening. Need to do something before 10 miles on Sunday!

To Enter First Marathon…Or Not?

Time To Overcome My Marathon-a-Phobia

I have always sworn that I would never do a marathon. The number of hours of training it seems to take, the sheer distance of it and the worry of whether I could even FINISH a marathon have never seemed worth the worry. But the trouble is, I like a challenge! 5k, 10k, 10mile, half-marathon – check, check, check, check! The only distance left to claim is that fabled 26.2 miles. If truth be told, I’m actually a little scared of doing a marathon as it’s the only distance where participants seem more likely to run in to difficulties or worse. So I decided – TIME TO FACE MY FEAR!

My wife Jemma is doing the London Marathon in April and her training is going very well. She has a very supportive running club at Lytchett Manor Striders and they all help each other through the marathon training schedule.

Which marathon to run?

So what is a good marathon to run? I once tried to enter the London Marathon 5-6 years ago but was unsuccessful (luckily!) Various people I know have done the Dublin, Berlin, London, Brighton, Bournemouth and Portsmouth marathons so the choices seem to be endless.

However, I have stumbled across a relatively secret marathon. A hidden gem in the marathon calendar! Reading the reviews on Runner’s World it’s not too hilly, has a great atmosphere, is well organised and leads you through 26.2 miles of beautiful country lanes. You’re allowed to send your own drinks ahead to two water stations on the course, it’s limited to just 400 runners and, best of all, every finisher gets a beer at the end…


The North Dorset Village MarathonNorth Dorset Village Marathon

This is the one i’ve decided on! A nice relaxed run though countryside and 50 minutes from home – perfect. At £21 it’s also a fair price compared to many others, for example the Bournemouth Marathon which is £49.95.

So today I shall enter and etch the 4th May firmly in to my mind.



Was going to do a 10 mile run last night in preparation for this Sunday’s Blackmore Vale Half Marathon but I felt cream crackered after my 10k race the day before. They say it’s best to listen to your body and recovery is just as important as training so I left it. Plus it was freezing cold and raining outside and my trainers were still soaked from the previous day!


Tuesday night speed session with Poole A.C.


Training a Runner

This blog is called ‘Training a Runner’ because I am already a runner – I just need to train to be a better one.

We only get one life and one body for the journey, so I thought why not push it and see just how fast a regular Joe can run. I’ve written my goals on the about page, more for myself to be able to refer back to them. I have to admit that after seeing the Purbeck Marathon being named as the No.1 marathon in the UK by Runner’s World, i’m pretty tempted. Starting in my hometown of Swanage and taking in the amazing scenery of the Isle of Purbeck, it’s one of my secret 2014 goals. I’m not saying I’ll definitely do it, but if the opportunity arises, well…

Mo FarahLets put things in context. The world record for 5k is 12:37, set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2004, with Mo Farah doing 5000 meters in 12:53. Mo runs 10k in 26:46 and the half marathon in 1:00:10. THESE ARE SUPER-HUMAN TIMES! Not achievable without out the right genetics, talent and intense training.

But the great thing about running is that although you race with lots of other people, and there is a winner, it’s just as much about individual achievements. I feel just as knackered at running 5k in 19 minutes as Mo does running it in 13, so the sense of effort and subsequent achievement is the same.


Last night’s training was 5 a side football, in torrential rain for an hour.

Tonight’s training is rain dependent so it will either be Fartleks at running club, or some hill resistance work, both for an hour.