Building Races into your Marathon Training Plan
Building races into your marathon training plan is a fantastic way of motivating yourself through your plan and helping you achieve the longer runs in the lead up to race day. It allows you to be in a race environment and and helps learn what its like to run alongside others.
I find that it’s a great way to practice my pre-race breakfast routine, finding the start line, replicating the pre-races nerves and trialling of any kit or fuel.
Knowing what races to put in your plan as and when can be tough so here are my suggestions!
WEEK 1 – 4
I’m going to start with Weeks 1 – 4 of your plan. For those training in the Spring, this will be January. I would advise adding in a 10mile event in the first 4 weeks. This doesn’t need to be ‘raced’ as it can be used as a training run, but also good if you want to try a faster pace for a base and early confidence boost into training your training plan. A few local races for those training in the East Anglia region:
Sunday 20th January – Fred Hughes 10
I did this course in 2018, and although an undulating course, I really enjoyed it.
Saturday 26th January – Runthrough VeloPark 10 Miles
Gade Valley Harriers – 12 Mile Training Run
WEEKS 5 – 8
In February and March, it’s worth doing a half marathon or two, to either support a long run day or ‘race’ if you’re feeling good and training has gone well.
Watford Half – 3rd February
A race I’ve not personally done, but quite a few club members have. Again, another undulating course but a good one!
Bramley 10/20 – 17th February
This offers a 10 or 20 mile run so great for those who are advanced in their Marathon training or those wanting another 10 mile race.
Cambridge Half – 3rd March – (APPARENTLY ALREADY SOLD OUT!)
The Big Half – 10th March
I’m in for this one! A London based event running part of the Marathon route. A great one to do to experience the big race day feel!
Cyprus Half – 17th March
A huge group of the Redway Runners are going to Cyprus for a trip away and to run either 5k, 10k, 1/2 or full marathon. Can’t wait for this race.
WEEKS 9 – 12
I would then advise for a 20 mile event 3 or 4 weeks prior to race day.
Here are some suggestions for Manchester and London. London is a week later than normal so finding events for this one has been harder!
4 weeks before Race Day – 10th March
Irwell Valley 20, Greater Manchester – http://www.crazylegsevents.co.uk/
Hillingdon 20, London – http://www.hillingdonac.co.uk/hillingdon-20
Brett Lyd 20 Mile, Kent – https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/Lydd-20
3 weeks before Race Day – 17th March
Milton Keynes Festival of Running 20 Miles – http://www.mkrun.co.uk/
Oundle 20, Northamptonshire – https://www.nice-work.org.uk/races/Oundle20
5 weeks before Race Day – 24th March
Oakley 20 – http://www.bedfordharriers.co.uk/Oakley.asp
Ashby 20, Leicestershire – www.ashby20.co.uk
Gade Valley 20 Training Run – http://www.gadevalleyharriers.co.uk/london-marathon-training-runs/
4 weeks before Race Day – 31st March
Unfortunately the Bedford 20 was meant to be scheduled for this day, but for reasons out of their control, they can no longer hold the event. Gutted, but here are some other options for those running the London Marathon.
Eton Dorney Lake – https://www.eventrac.co.uk/race-course-map/dorney-lake-marathon-prep-race-20-miles-31-03-2019-08-30
A lapped course around Eton Dorney Lake. A flat route!
Bedford Autodrome – https://www.runninggrandprix.com/event/running-grand-prix-at-bedford-autodrome-march-2019/
Another lapped course, but local to people in Milton Keynes.
I hope that this helps you shape your race calendar. Leave a comment with any other suggestions and which races you have booked! Happy Training. xx
Spring Marathon Sponsored Athletes 2019
After the success of the Spring Marathon Sponsored Athlete Programme in 2018, Rudi from the Treatment Lab and I decided to do the same again for 2019.
We also approached Up & Running, Milton Keynes to see if they would like to be involved and they jumped at the chance and said YES!
Applications opened for a period of two weeks and we had over 60 runners apply for the two positions.
The Athletes would be able to benefit from the following as part of the programme:
Monthly Sport Massages with Rudi with extra sessions leading up to race day
Monthly PT sessions, weekly core classes and a training plan from Clean Coach Katie
Gait analysis and a free pair of trainers up to the value of £120. Nutritional advice and race day nutrition from Up & Running.
Ongoing support from all three to achieve the best on race day including training advice, nutrition support and coaching throughout the process
The selection process was a tough one with the calibre and sheer volume of applications we had received. As a team we wanted to work with a female and male athlete and also one runner taking on their first marathon and one trying to improve on a previous experience.
The lucky winners have recently been notified and both gladly accepted their places onto the programme.
We are very excited to announce our athletes to you…
Target Race – London Marathon 2019
My names Katie Elmer, I’m 33 (soon enough) and mum to Emily & Jake. I live with my partner Ben & we’ve been together for 13 years.
I joined Redway Runners in January 2017 as a beginner not being able to run for 30 seconds, my aim was a 10K race in August which I completed.
Fast forward to this time last year & I felt like running wasn’t for me, I didn’t feel like I was improving & in fact felt slower.
On the 1st January this year after park run I saw a photo of myself that changed the way I was thinking, I decided to concentrate on running more & eating healthy, before I knew it I was absolutely loving running & everything about it.
I completed the same 10K race this year & knocked 17 minutes off my time set the year before. I completed my first half marathon in May 2018 & I enjoyed every single step!
I had always said I would only ever consider running one marathon & that would be London.
After the 4th year of applying the charity I founded in memory of my daughter Emily won a place in the ballot & everything pointed at me to take that place & run it for her…
When I saw the applications open for the sponsored athlete program open I knew I had to apply, after seeing the help & support Sally got last year through the program I knew it was something that too could help me.
When I opened up the “congratulations email” I burst into tears…
Having their belief that I can do this means so much, it’s going to be hard work but also enjoyable to complete a dream for myself in memory of my daughter
Watch out London, I’m coming for you!!
Target Race – Manchester Marathon 2019
I am 38, married with a 6 year old daughter. My running journey began in 2014 when myself and around 100 others ran the MK Half & Full Marathon on behalf of a charity called Team George, which was set up by our 2 friends who lost their newborn son.
As many have done before, I did everything wrong in the build up, too much too soon, pushing through pain and ended up getting myself injured. The 2 months before the run I never got further than 5 miles, I considered pulling out but am too stubborn for that. I made it round on the day but knew I could do better. I then stopped running and went back to playing football, I did the MK half again in 2015 and was happy with my time, I again stopped running and went back to playing football and didn’t run for 18 months.
2017 – my aging years and poor fitness meant that football was coming to an end, so again I thought the MK half would help. I put in the same training as 2015, but it didn’t come as easy this time, I struggled, I hated it. Instead of stopping after this, I thought ‘I’m going to up the training!’ – again I got injured! I visited Rudi and he helped me sort the problem, he also recommended Katie’s core class.
This is when things changed. I always had the motivation to get myself out the door but lacked knowledge on keeping myself fit. I joined the Redway Runners, I made friends, it made the runs easier and more enjoyable. Running became a happy habit. Consistency, intervals and core work, all three of these together helped me get fitter. I decided that it was now or never and entered myself into the London Marathon for 2018. It had always been a dream, but I always thought it would stay a dream.
Training went better than I could have hoped, I stayed injury free, I enjoyed my long runs, I made more friends, I PB’d at every distance. I finally felt like a runner rather than a retired footballer trying to lose weight!. Race day came, along with the sun! I was naive with how much it would effect me. I struggled, it was painful but I got round and had an amazing day. I wanted to do it again!
So we come to now, I’ve kept up my running after London, I entered Manchester marathon as my target race, it’s my chance to get a time I could be proud of. Then I got the news that I would be the CCK/Treatment Lab/Up and Running sponsored athlete. I am honestly so excited by this, to have the support and knowledge of the team can only help me. I watched Sally and Ben’s journey last year, I was in awe of Ben’s times, he seemed to get quicker with every run, I read his blogs trying to find his secret! I then started reading Sally’s blog, her struggles with injury resonated with me, her stubbornness to not give up and mental strength throughout made me wish I could be that strong!
I am so excited by what 2019 can bring, Manchester I am coming for you!
Two very inspiring stories and one thing they have in common is determination! Rudi, Dionne and I can’t wait to begin our work with the athletes and kickstart the process. Each athlete will be documenting their journey through a blog. When we have more details we will share these with you.
Samantha Grainger – Client Testimonial
I have always dreamt of running the London Marathon, even before I really started running (and realised how far a marathon was!) It was one of those bucket list dreams.
After trying and been unsuccessful in the ballot three times (now four), I decided the only way to get in was try and run faster. It was never going to be easy. I ran my first marathon in May 2017 in 3.55.43, which at the time I was pretty happy with. Then in 2018 I signed up to an ultra, lots of training miles including two more marathons and I had lost speed.
I contacted Katie earlier in the year when she was running a Stronger, Fitter, Faster program. As I was still training for the ultra Katie advised that it probably wasn’t the right time to for a speed program.
After the ultra was over I decided it was time for a new challenge and that was to try and get faster with the long term goal of trying to achieve a good for age time for London.
I contacted Katie and signed up for Bournemouth Marathon. After establishing my goals which being realistic was back to a sub 4 hour marathon (not good enough for London but my first goal), Katie wrote me a personalised 12 week training plan. I think the first message I sent Katie after receiving the plan and seeing the paces was that I didn’t think I could run that fast and that was only the half marathon pace! The plan also had rest days!! I didn’t know what these were. I had run every day for 564 days.
So Day 1 came and went with an easy 5km, even that felt like a rest day with the kilometres I had been putting in. Day 2 was intervals! So I might have run for 564 days but I had never aimed for a pace or run any sort of interval training! But it went well, inconsistent but I managed the target. Day 3 – Rest Day! Eek, this was hard! But I didn’t run (even if I was asked if I had and just didn’t record it on Strava!)
Five days into the plan I decided I wanted to run a 10 mile race the following week, Katie made it work for me. Added a warm up and cool down either side to cover that days long run and still get to race. So end of week two I ran my first 10 mile race in 1.19.34, I had never run a race at that speed. The next few weeks passed by in a flash I was enjoying the different types of sessions and finding a bit of speed, and was sticking to the rest days. An unplanned weekend away came up and Katie changed my plan to suit my weekend.
With my plan I had a monthly PT session and I also started going to Katie’s Wednesday core class. Core class was great, always fun whilst a great workout with a group of people all with the same interest. I defiantly found muscles I didn’t know I had, how did I know, well the first few times they hurt. I will still continue with core even though Bournemouth is over.
I had never had a PT session before so didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous, but Katie was great, we worked on more core and strength work on a 1 to 1 basis and I really enjoyed it. It also gave me chance to talk about how the plan was going and reflect on where I was.
Week 5 and the plans says “tempo run”, I don’t know what this is! But a quick chat to Katie at core class and I knew what I was doing the next day. Up early for my tempo run and a message from Katie saying she had gone home and reviewed my Strava and then she gave me a pace to aim for. Even better, defiantly knew what I was doing and off I went. End of week 5 and we reviewed the plan and decided to try and push the pace. Katie re wrote my plan ready for the Monday. Again I saw the times and had a little panic about how fast, but Katie reassured me they were target paces and we would see how things went.
Things continued well, nearly always hitting the new paces. I was getting a it worried about not covering many miles but Katie reassured me to trust the plan.
Then week 8 came and my foot started to hurt. I didn’t know what it was and hadn’t really been injured before. I missed and run but cross trained my 5km instead. I message Katie about my Sunday run, it should have been 32km, we decided I would go out easy and if it hurt stop. Sunday came and I decided not to run, it hurt to walk.
It was a hard decision and not one I made easily . I missed a really long run and it played on my mind for a long time. 3 days no running, it was hard but looking back it was for the best. I went to the treatment lab to get an idea of what was going on. Advice sought and back to Katie for a change of plan, again! No consecutive days running. Saw Katie at PT and she gave me some more stretches to do with my foot. I stuck to it. There were some tough runs and some tough rest days.
The problem with my foot continued but I took the advice, maybe not well at the time! Katie was great, not just with changing the plan but with the mental and emotional all support. I and some other races including Run to the Magic at Disneyland Paris, in fancy dress. I ran, not fast but with my friends and family and loved every minute. Covering some distance reassured me but the speed wasn’t there.
It was then time to taper! What is this, hardly any kilometres, more rest days. But just what I needed especially with my foot! I was a nightmare this week. Katie reminded me of the original aim and reassured me of how far I had come in a relatively small space of time.
Race day came and I was nervous but feeling ok and my foot was better than it had been. I ran, I ran with everything I had. I used all those training runs, the things I had hurt over the last 12 weeks and just kept going. I tried to keep pace, I was a bit quick at the beginning but it gave me a bit for when I hit the hills. I put my foot down at 20 miles and it hurt, a couple of easier steps and I knew it was ok to carry on, I’m sure it was in my head! The last 6 miles were tough, my pace slowed maybe 5 to 10 seconds a kilometre but I kept going. That pier never seems to get closer! And then I crossed the line. It was emotional and hard, I gave everything I had and when I got my time 3.43.50 I was overwhelmed.
So there is still no guarantee that it will be get me into London 2020, the rules could change, but I know I did my best and I have something more to work with now.
So Katie, I had never followed a plan before, I just ran. I didn’t know the different types of training runs and I never did any core or strength work. I have changed as a runner and hopefully for the better (I still struggle with the rest days and sometimes the low mileage). This wouldn’t have been the case without Katie.
It wasn’t just the plan and her knowledge but the emotional support, the messages when she knew I was struggling, the reassurance to trust the plan, trying to reduce the pressure I was putting on myself.
Also the rest of team CCK, I know more runners than I ever have and they all support each other, you can’t ask for more.
I cannot recommend Katie enough, not only has she got me where I am but she is inspiring too, she makes you want to do better, to push yourself and achieve better things. She understands the pain of injury and how it feels to miss a run but she supports you through it. I will be using Katie again to hopefully improve on my time.
Thank you xx
Loch Ness Marathon Race Report from Client Annette
Annette, took on the Loch Ness Marathon this weekend, read how she got on and her feelings after the race…
Although the course profile makes it look easy as it’s all downhill it’s probably the most uphill downhill course I’ve ever seen! Even the flat bits were undulating.
The first section is quite steep downhill which hurt the knees if you didn’t run down it properly (or throw yourself down it as I like to think). However, there were a couple of nasty hills at miles 5 and 6 that I chose to walk as did everybody else, any other hill I ran and I ran comfortably until the one that I knew was coming!! That is down to you and the training I’ve done with you, which was focussed and targeting that very issue.
I got stuck in a toilet queue for over 10 minutes and restarting from there proved very hard. Miles 10 to 17 were undulating alongside the loch but tiredness was taking it’s toll and I caught up with another Redway Runner. I knew I have spectators at Dores (Mile 17) and I was looking forward to seeing them.
After that point is the legendary hill that not one person ran, it was steep and long!! I walked up that one chatting along the way with people that I passed and ran the odd bit of it just because I had in my head that I can run hills now! From that point there is only one nasty hill that I had been warned about and I ran/walked all the way home from there, may I point out that it was much more running than walking!!
I found in the last stages I was fresher than those around me and I passed a lot of people at these points and kept going until the finish line.
I have since found that although my legs have worked harder for this 26.2 miles, my recovery has been a lot quicker which I can only put down to the training I’ve done with you. I could walk better than most of the people in the centre of Inverness that night and stairs didn’t scare me for too long!
Whilst, as I said it wasn’t a PB for me I was absolutely delighted to come in at 5.41 which was 5 minutes slower than Liverpool, which was completely flat. This was a hilly undulating course and my training had been tight due to the injury I had picked up just at the start of training following the London Marathon.
What I found you had done for me was target my training, I never knew how many different ways there are to do a squat or a lunge but I have honestly enjoyed finding out! You have given me the confidence to not look at a hill and think I can’t do it, but to look at a hill and think I can tackle it. I had complete confidence in my plan and it worked well. The other thing that you did that I was surprised how I reacted to, was give me a target pace. I thought there was no way I could achieve this and thought I would feel a failure if I didn’t. However all my runs in Milton Keynes were there or there about, the marathon wasn’t, but the training runs were and I would have set a much lower training pace if you hadn’t given me that one.
So essentially I want to thank you for doing my training with me, I honestly enjoyed every squat, lunge and wall sit and especially struggling to sit on the loo the next day! I think what you gave me mentally was much more than you realised as I had more confidence as to what I could achieve than I’ve had before.
Thank you again, you will never understand how motivating you were and how much I enjoyed my sessions with you, I can’t wait to start again – I think we may have something different to aim for with the next Marathon……
Realbuzz Richmond RunFest Weekend
On Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September, I took part in the Richmond Run Fest. Pacing Kew Gardens on Saturday and running the Half Marathon on Sunday for me, it was set to be a great weekend. One I was highly nervous about for many reasons!
Kew Gardens 10K – My first experience as a pacer
I’ve always been in awe of pacers. Being able to run a consistent pace throughout a whole race and encouraging others along the way – helping people to achieve PBs. I’ve never ran with a pacer either myself. I’ve seen them at races but always decided to run my own race. Some pacers have gone off too quickly and others have not been close enough in pens to run with.
I know that as a pacer you pick a pace that you feel you can easily run, however, when I signed up for the event I paced, I was a lot fitter than I am now. Or, should I say had more confidence in my ability back then.
If I was to pick a pace to run at for the 10K, ideally I should have chosen 50 minutes, not 45. But I love a challenge and challenge accepted.
45 minutes is around 7:10 – 7:15 pace. I’ve done a half marathon at this pace and a couple more halfs quicker so this should be easy, right?
My current super easy runs are at around 8s so I knew this would be slightly pushing, but in a race environment all should be well.
In the weeks building up to the event, I did various speed sessions at a pace quicker than my target race pace and also a few sessions targeting 7:15s or quicker. I did one session 3 x 2 miles @ 7s with recovery in between. Considering I was feeling full of cold that day, I smashed it, although it didn’t feel super comfortable by the end.
But, I had to stay positive. I ran this race last year with a client and loved the event. A beautiful run through the stunning gardens and I was excited to get a race bib back on after no races the past few months.
I probably over raced last year in 2017 so wanted to ensure this year I didn’t overdo it. With recent calf/Achilles injuries, my training hasn’t been as high in intensity or volume that I would have liked.
The race being in London meant it was an early start.
6am leave the house
8.30 race start
On arrival to Kew we found ourselves a little early, so found the toilets – no queue, bingo. And first to use them, even better.
We then made our way to the Information Tent to collect our race packs, meet the other pacers and get ready with our numbers and flags.
I was pacing with Paul Addicot who is well known for his precision pacing. So although nervous I knew I was in good hands.
A few pictures before heading off to the race start. We lined up in Wave 1 and were announced as pacers over the tannoy. I also got to meet the lovely Susie Chan, who is well known in the ultra scene.
Paul and I spoke to a few people around us asking who would be joining us and also informed them around us of how we planned to pace it. I’d been told by a few people beforehand to let those around you know what your race plan is. Some pacers try to evenly pace and others try to go out a little faster to build some extra time up as a cushion for the end.
What can I say? I loved it! It was a fantastic experience.
We eased into the pace quite nicely, the first mile was a little faster than needed, but with race starts you often get carried away with the pace.
As every km and mile passed, we informed the group of pace and where were in relation to the 45 minute mark.
I hadn’t looked behind me until mile 2 and WOAH, there was a huge group with us. I didn’t realise how many people were with us!!
We passed halfway and Paul asked how I was doing. Very kind, and I felt great. The pace wasn’t super comfortable, but I felt strong. In the week leading up to the race I’d had 2 easier runs on Weds and Fri with 2 clients of mine and a sports massage on Thursday. At some points my legs felt so bouncy. It proves having easier weeks leading up to a race can really make a difference.
4 miles in I got my phone out and asked the group to give me a cheer! Not many did… and that’s how we wanted it. At this point of a 10k you should be finding it a little difficult to hold a full sentence together.
We hit 7km and I told the group to really dig deep. This is the most painful part of a 10K if you’re pushing it. And where you can mentally lose the race.
At 9km we encouraged some of the group to push past us if they had any energy left, and to get under as much under 45 minutes as possible.
On the last stretch Paul and I were encouraging the last few runners past us hoping they could achieve the time we wanted.
We crossed the line in 44:33, not bad for a first time pacer.
It was incredible the amount of runners that came up to us after the race to thank us. It’s a wonderful feeling.
If I had the opportunity I would definitely pace an event again.
We got a goodie bag, medal and T-Shirt as well which was just another perk!
Well done to everyone who ran Kew and hope you all achieved what you wanted from the race.
Day 2 – Richmond Half
Due to our accommodation plans falling through last minute, we travelled to and from London on both days. Considering we live in Milton Keynes, it can be around 2 – 3 hours all together there and back.
Another 5am alarm and we set off at 6.15am.
The journey down was smooth and as the race started at 8.55am today I took my breakfast in the car and had it around 7am, 2 hours before the start.
On arrival, we collected a friends race pack as theirs hadn’t arrived in the post and made our way over to the start line as the Marathon was setting off at 8am.
When I originally booked this race, it was meant to be a target race, aiming to beat my current PB of 1:29:50 which I ran in February this year. Due to Achilles, calf and shin niggles, my training had not gone to plan and I wasn’t sure what I was going to do on the day.
I always like to have a race strategy, it keeps me focused and gives me an aim to work on. If I don’t have one, I become lazy and don’t get the most out of the race.
I had decided in my head I wanted to run a ‘strong’ race. After many conversations with running friends, Andy (FOD Runner), Donato (Running Guru) and Rich (Baze187), they are huge advocates of running by feel.
So I wanted to do myself justice by putting in a good race effort, but also running with what my body was telling me to do.
I knew after the 10K yesterday I was capable of a fairly decent time.
I decided that I would try to run at around 7 minute miles and see what I could do.
We dropped our bags off on the luggage lorries as the finish line was a mile down the road. They would be driven to the end for us to collect there.
We then did a short warm up before getting into the race pens. We were in Wave 1 again and the first runners to be set off.
They counted us down and nerves really started to kick in. But soon we were off…
Let’s break it down mile by mile.
Mile 1 – 6:54
In the first mile I tried to find a steady pace, trying not to get drawn into the fast start. It felt comfortable so I went with it. You ran through Kew Gardens to start off with, but when I concentrate I unfortunately don’t take in too much of the surroundings. The 1:30 pacer flew off and I tried not let this mentally affect me and run strong and my own pace.
Mile 2 – 6:52
Still feeling good and wary this is only a touch slower than PB pace. I did begin to wonder if I’d started off too fast?
Mile 3 – 6:57
Still not too bad, but this area of Kew was quite built up with the trees making you feel a little enclosed. People were starting to find a rhythm and still had quite a few people around me which kept me going. I had no idea how many other females were at front of me at this point, but had spotted one lady who I tried to focus on.
Mile 4 – 7:00
At the end of this mile you head out of Kew Gardens and the first water stop. Water bottles, hallejuah. They had paper cups the day before at the 10K so I was pleasantly surprised. At this stage I told myself to not focus on how much of the race I had left but to run every mile at a time.
Miles 5 – 6 – both 7:04
These two miles took us along the canal and unbeknown to me therefore was gravel pathways with a few patches of uneven surface. Something I had not factored in and I knew this would take it out of my legs and slowed me down a little. I didn’t look at my watch, only ran by feel. First gel at mile 5
Mile 7 – 7:01
We were along the canal now but more concrete pathways and a few groups of crowds which was good for encouragement.
Mile 8 – 7:03
I can’t quite remember the course at this point, but know this is the mental make or break point of the race. I could quit and let my pace drop, or dig deep and fight for it.
My positivity won and I wanted it today! On I pushed.
Mile 9 – 7:05
During this mile you turn back on yourself and know that you’re on the direction to head home. And I knew once we’d got to mile 10, I could count down to the end.
At this point I was starting to tire, but knew I had done pretty well with the pacing.
I went through the 10 mile marker under 70 mins with a few seconds cushion.
Mile 10 – 6:58
I found a second wind and kicked on slightly, may have been a mistake as I clocked a 6:58, nothing had been under 7 since mile 4. But I went with it.
Miles 11 & 12 – 7:04 & & 7:08
We were passing other runners at this point past the river and I tried to stay strong but could feel I was starting to fade. But again I gritted my teeth and got through the mile.
At this stage I also had a guy next to me running very strangely. It’s like he didn’t want me to overtake him, every time I got beside he sprinted off and slowed down again, and I managed to catch him every time but staying at my consistent pace. I actually asked him what he was doing and told him he was wasting more energy with that tactic! (It was quite annoying and I took offence that he obviously did not want a female to overtake him). His response was that it helped him to lift his legs up.
Mile 13 – 7:09
I felt like I’d held a good race until this point. The mind games you experience is unreal.
But now I was starting to hurt, really bad. I looked down at my watch and clocked the distance 12.67 miles. I could feel my face was scrunching up and my legs starting to turn into jelly. We had to run through a gate and under a tunnel before turning right onto a field in Old Deer Park.
Grass at the end of a race is really not cool! I gave everything I could in my last few steps.
Mile 13.1 – the end! 6:41 pace
Mile 13 clocked on my watch and the finish line was still a fair way in the distance. I pushed on and finished in 1 hour 32 minutes and 36 seconds.
I knew I had given it my all and I was a little disorientated and tried to catch my breath back.
The volunteers kindly cut your chip off your shoe and you make your way through the finish area to collect a goodie bag, medal and T-Shirt.
In summary I had to be really pleased with my time, it was my third best half time and according to the results I had made it into the top 10 of ladies finishers. Not a bad result considering training had not gone to plan.
With a little determination, staying strong and running by feel made sure I had a good race!
The course was really flat with one unnecessary steep incline about mile 12 and a mix of terrains. It could be a PB course, but there also could be better due to the pathways. They were quite narrow in places too, so in busier parts of the race could slow you down.
But really well organised and one I would consider doing again.
As an added bonus we also got another medal for doing 2 events! Wooooo.
Thank you Richmond for a great weekend!
Helen Brown – Testimonial – 10K Training Plan
I met Clean Coach Katie at her core classes – always good fun. She was approachable, and someone who I thought would build my confidence.
After I’d run my first marathon, I knew I wanted to get faster (so the pain of running a marathon would be shorter) but I didn’t know who to train properly. I looked at running plans online but they never seemed to fit my schedule and I didn’t know how to pace myself either.
Katie’s plan was clear and manageable. It gradually encouraged me to run faster and I began to feel stronger. I’d struggled with pacing myself in races but when I ran my target 10K race, I was able to hold my target pace and achieve a personal best – even though it was a very hot day.
Katie was always encouraging and upbeat about my progress. If I had any extra questions, she always got back to me quickly. She genuinely cares about her clients and I’d recommend her coaching.
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Sweat Studios – Benefits of Practicing Hot Yoga as a Runner
Katie’s an ardent runner and leading figure within the local running community who participates in many high-profile races, including the London Marathon. A regular Monday morning class with us is a key feature of her training plan.
Claim 50% off your first class pass by using the promotion code KATIE at checkout!
Sweat Studios’ has long encouraged runners to take up yoga to help them achieve their greatest potential and smash personal bests. One runner who recognises the performance-enhancing qualities of regularly practicing yoga, is Katie Tucker – aka – ‘Clean Coach Katie’- a local running superstar here in Milton Keynes!
We had the pleasure of catching up with Clean Coach Katie to talk about how yoga has helped her reach her inspiring running achievements.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN DOING YOGA?
I’ve been practicing yoga for around 3 years but found the wonderful Sweat Studios last January. My Mum was keen to get into some form of fitness and saw the 30 day offer for new clients https://sweatstudios.co.uk/prices-membership/ and asked me to join with her. I’d started training for my second London Marathon so was keen to make yoga a part of my weekly routine. We tried a variety of classes and I really enjoyed the Sweat Hot Classic and Sweat Hot Mix sessions <https://sweatstudios.co.uk/timetable-booking/sweat-classes/>. Mum preferred the slower flow classes, so we quickly found the ones we liked.
I did attend another hot yoga studio previously, but since being at Sweat Studios I haven’t returned as I love the friendly welcoming nature of Sweat, the clean and fresh facilities and the amazing staff that make the classes what they are.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU DO YOGA?
When I am training for an event i.e. a half or full marathon, I try to make sure I get to one class a week. I love the 10am class on a Monday. It’s a perfect recovery for me after completing a long run on a Sunday and I feel it’s a really good way to start the week.
I also love the fact that you can completely disconnect with the world for an hour. Running my own business means I am constantly thinking or working. I am very bad at relaxing and taking time out, so to me, yoga is a really important part of my work. I have no access to my phone or any reason to talk to anyone. It’s just me and my body for one hour.
If I could get to two sessions a week I would, but I run 5–6 times a week and strength train 1-2 times a week too. Trying to fit it all in can be difficult, but I understand how important it is for recovery and injury prevention so I make it as important as one of my long runs.
HOW DOES YOGA HELP YOU WITH RUNNING?
I have experienced so many benefits from yoga. The main one being injury prevention. I must admit I can neglect additional stretching at home, so stretching out on Mondays is really important after my long runs. It’s a good reset for the start of the new week.
It’s great for core strength and flexibility which is ideal for runners. Having a stronger core helps prevent injury, reduces aches after longer runs and all of this further improves my running efficiency.
The heat really helps me to stretch out further as my muscles are warmer. The classes are also a great workout. Often, I’ve walked out of the studio feeling like I’ve just taken a shower – in a good way of course.
A good example of yoga helping me feeling stronger happened recently. I completed a 16-mile run for my London Marathon training. The next day, my muscles were a little sore, but this time last year after 16 miles, my hips would have hurt a lot! Running is a very repetitive movement so it puts a lot of strain on the body. Over the past year I’ve focused on building strength in my core and hip flexors to improve my running posture. Yoga has really helped with that too! I’m much stronger now and I love feeling that strength during training.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN RUNNING FOR, WHICH RACES HAVE YOU COMPETED IN?
I started running in 2012 after moving back home from university. Previously, I was a netball player (not a very good one but I tried!), but I wanted a new challenge so took up running after a suggestion from a work colleague. I’d done a few 5K Race for Life’s, but never anything further.
I signed up for my first half marathon as an incentive to train and completed this in 2 hours 3 minutes and 52 seconds.
After picking up a few injuries in 2013, I saw the London Marathon on TV and was inspired. I signed up for the ballot but unfortunately got a no. I ended up running the London Marathon in 2014 for Children with Cancer in a time of 3 hours 54.
Later that year I joined the Redway Runners after losing my running mojo and this is around the time that I first found yoga. I used strength training and yoga to help rehab injuries that I was plagued with in 2014/2015. These injuries were down to a lack of strength in my body and muscles and overtraining.
2017 was the year everything changed for me. In January I became a newly qualified Personal Trainer and set my heart on the London Marathon once again. I had had to pull out of the 2015 Marathon with only 6 weeks to go after picking up a stress fracture.
I was determined to cross that line injury free but also as happy as I had felt in 2014. Using my PT knowledge and strength training throughout the years, I understood how important rest and recovery was to my training so I only ran 4 days a week and continued with my weekly yoga and weight-based strength training.
I completed the London Marathon in a time of 3 hours 44 minutes and achieved a Good For Age spot, which meant I automatically had a place in the race.
2017 then went from strength to strength. After seeing my achievements, my Personal Training and Running Coaching business has thrived and evolved and I’m now so fortunate to help other runners on their own journeys. I am so lucky that I get to do what I love every single day and use all of my failures and successes to educate, inspire, encourage and motivate others.
My half marathon PB is now 1 hour 29 minutes and 50 seconds. I’m very pleased that I’ve been able to knock off over half an hour over the years. I’ve also completed a sub 19 minute 5K, a time I used to dream of.
My motto with Clean Coach Katie is #StrongerFitterFaster and yoga has definitely helped me to become a stronger, fitter and faster runner.
You can learn more about Clean Coach Katie and her inspiring running achievements at:
Clean Coach Katie – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube
Thanks Katie for taking the time to talk to Sweat Studios. We wish you the best of luck with your running goals in 2018.
If you’d like to know more about how yoga could help your running, why not speak to a member of the team!