Monthly Archives: November 2011

Let’s do some karate cross training

All the theories say that cross training is a key part of marathon training, with suggestions of swimming, cycling, rowing and weight training being some common ones.  For me it’s Shotokan karate – my other passion.  The challenge is (a) fitting all the running in around the scheduled class times at our dojo and (b) training hard at karate but remaining injury free.

A great session yesterday morning but took a hit on my right calf – think dead leg in your calf that lasts 2 days!  Took it easy ish on the 8 mile run today and all good.  It hurts more when moving from sitting or stationary, but fine when actually moving around.  A bit more ice on it tonight and a massage later.

As strange as maybe it seems, karate provides great cross training.  Balance, core stability work, strength exercises, stretching and breathing.  Just need to go easy on partner work and sparring.  The plan is to reduce the karate training in the run up to the marathon next April, to avoid injuries full stop!

Interesting post here on cross training in karate on KaratebyJesse, though more geared to cross training in other martial arts or styles.  Principals the same!

And do feel free to take a look at our club website or even pop along to train with us, one Friday evening or Sunday morning at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham.

Speed running

A 10 mile training run today and at an average of 7 minutes 54 seconds per miles – just faster than my planned marathon pace.  Fastest pace today 5 minutes 45 seconds per mile.  And felt good after the run.  Planning now to slowly increase the mileage on these pace runs.  Speed interval work Friday – the technical name for this style of training run is Fartlek training.  There had some play on words of this on Google and low and behold…

Talking of speed running, my fastest time today is still slow by the standards our professional friends set.  Scott Overall mentioned in yesterday’s post manages under 5 minutes per mile for 26.2 of them in a row!  And Usain Bolt – officially the world’s fastest man – runs the 100m in 9.69 seconds and 200m in 19.3 seconds.  Translated in miles per hour we have:

  • Jason’s marathon pace = 7.5 mph
  • Scott’s marathon pace = 12.1 mph
  • World record marathon pace = 12.8 mph
  • Mr. Bolt’s 100m = 23.1 mph
  • Mr. Bolt’s 200m = 23.3 mph

Clearly I’ve got some room for improvement still!

I had the pleasure of saying hello to Mr. Bolt recently at St. Mary’s University in Twickenham – where our karate dojo is – when he was there for training and some interviews.  I’m not that small really – he’s just very very tall!

How fast?

In one of the running blogs/newsletters I subscribe to, saw an interesting post today about the training blog for a professional athlete (runner) – which obviously I thought I’d look at.  It’s a guy I’d never heard of before – Scott Overall – but he’s fast.  28 years old, British and good at running distances from 1,500m upwards.  His marathon time is 2 hours 10 minutes ish – that’s a pace of under 5 minutes per mile for 26.2 of them in a row.  Impressive or what?  His best half marathon time is 63 minutes.  In my books he’s a long distance sprinter – I can’t do one mile at this pace.  Pretty awesome stuff though and definitely one to watch in the 2012 London Olympics.

Fast but not the fastest – that record (for marathons) goes to Patrick Makau of Kenya and stands at 2 hours 3 minutes and 38 seconds.  That’s a whole 7 minutes faster than lightning Scott!

When you do run the actual races, you do get to see the front runners, at least once, normally already 8 miles ahead (by about half way for me) and they really do look like they’re sprinting!

Totally awesome!

Pace running

What a fine start to the week.  Swimming with little Mr. Noble in the morning and then a 50 minute run home at marathon pace – 8 minutes per mile.  And a massage planned for this afternoon.

Managed to do 7 minute 50 second average pace for the run and it felt good.  More runs needed at that pace for longer distance.  Want to get used to running at that speed, so I know what it feels like and it becomes almost second nature.

More reading last night and a new book on order from Amazon – Run Less Run Faster.  After reading an article in Runners World this month, where a guy around my age, subscribed to this new training plan and got his marathon time below what he’d done some 20 years or so ago.  Sure his times was around 2 hours 20 minutes (that’s a sprint for me) but the theory is the same.  4 or 5 runs a week and 2 sessions of hard cross training.  The runs being one long one (but never more than 16 miles), one a speed work, one at marathon pace and then one medium distance one.

The theory is to get used to running the last 16 miles – so you know what it feels like.  The first 10, you know you can do.  The last 16 will be hard (very hard if my memory serves me right from 2009), so need to train to be able to do those well.  And run slow to start with and then slow down some more.  This last bit is the biggest challenge, and even more so when there are 35,000 or so other people running and everyone’s raring to go at the start.  In the last half marathon I did in September, I started way way too fast and ran into problems at around 8 miles – crazy!

And if you’ve never the London Marathon this is what it looks like at the start …

And this is the official video of start for the 2011 London Marathon – courtesy of the BBC News website.

Training plans

This week’s all about getting my marathon training plan sorted.

My time back in 2009 was just over 3 hour 46 minutes.  Can I beat it next year?  That’s the plan.  Less than 3 hours 45 minutes would be nice and just under 3 hours 30 minutes even better.  The latter would mean an average pace of around 8 minutes a mile.  A whole minute or so less than what I’m currently doing longer training runs at.  Need to do speed work more and focus on running at my planned pace for the big day.

Lots of different theories as to how long a marathon training plan should be – and of course it’s got to be very specific to you!  They range from 24 week plans – almost 6 months – to 12 weeks in some books I’ve read, to 16 weeks which is more the norm.

The first part of the training is all about building up your mileage and running 4, 5 or then 6 days a week.   The weekly mileage builds up from about 30 to 60 miles, increasing weekly and then tapering off 2 weeks or so before the big day.  Right now I’m around the 24 mile mark, so a bit off where I need to be.  Will get to 30 miles this week!

I also need to factor in karate training – normally twice a week – and how much of that to do and how intensely.  As I did in 2009, most likely that I’ll keep doing karate training as normal until a month or so before and then go really light and drop some sessions until after the race.  And yes take all the sessions lightly to avoid any injuries before!  Karate’s a big part of the fund raising as well and once I’ve sweet talked Sensei Robert, we’ll be holding a another kickathon to help raise money for Whizz-Kidz.

There’s a lot of useful info on the internet about marathon training – the key of course is finding something that suits you, both in terms of your level of fitness and lifestyle.  One very good site I’ve found is on where it focuses on how to improve your times and about running at your planned marathon pace, which seems a sound idea!

Stay tuned – will post the actual plan over the next few days.

Time for a new playlist

Three runs done this week. With one long one – 15 miles – the longest I’ve done for a while. Went back to running without music this week. Does it make a difference? Difficult to say. Not normally a fan of running with music, I really enjoy the thinking time. But have recently been using the iPhone with music (and the genius that is the Nike+ GPS app) and yes it’s nice to listen to something. You do need a good playlist though – clicking shuffle when you’ve got pretty much your entire music library on your arm, complete with Christmas and children’s music, doesn’t help much (though it does bring a smile you your face).

So what makes a good playlist? Forget the technology – it’s a good assumption these days that we’re all digital fans when it comes to music and creating a playlist from any tracks we want (including new ones we want to buy) is a simple task and literally a few clicks away. Good old Virgin have a nice page on their marathon website that has playlists used by some of the professional athletes and winners from previous years and you can listen to them and buy them with a few more clicks – a very clever touch.

A bit more digging and you can find websites that analyse music by beats per minute (BPM) and show you tracks for the BPM you’re looking for. I’m told 160-180 BPM is good for marathons.

A bit of then seeing what I like that’s on these playlists and buying one or two tracks that I don’t have yet and we’re there. A new playlist ready to use in iTunes and syncing with the iPhone for live testing next week!

Gotta to love this new digital technology…!

Any recommendations or suggestions for good running tracks very welcome!

Running another 26.2 miles

As many of you know, I’m running the London Marathon next year for the charity Whizz-Kidz, who raise money for disabled children and young people. These guys help provide wheelchairs for the children and help them lead more active lives. After doing the marathon in 2009 – for the charity Sense International – I thought it was time for another go, to (a) raise more money for charity and (b) with the right training beat my first time!  The official training programme starts soon – once I’ve written it. One nice longish run (15 miles) done this week along the river by Kingston and Hampton Court. And a lot more to come!

Yes I’m blogging

Welcome to my brand new blog.  Insights into technology, all things Apple, the universe and the wonderful world of physics and the very best (and worst) in customer services.  With a bit of blogging about my London Marathon 2012 training plan and progress and karate training!  Me in a nutshell and everything I’m passionate about!  Stay tuned…