Archive for March, 2012

Matchday Fame!

Are you going to watch Newcastle play Liverpool on 1st April? If you do, make sure to pick up a programme and flick to page 11.


P.S. Please sponsor me here if you can.

Page 11 of Newcastle United matchday programme 01/04/2012

Page 11 of Newcastle United matchday programme

Nutrition NOOB:

As I finished my last long run this morning, a 21-miler around London, I parked my arse on a park bench and wrote this tweet:

Ten minutes later, after nearly blacking out, I’d had to call my ex-girlfriend to bring me some chocolate and then give me a lift the half-mile home. This has happened to me before, two years ago during the exact same run (the final long run before the taper to the London Marathon) and you’d think I’d have learned a thing or two. Apparently not. What had actually happened was this.

Maxifuel's Viperboost gels

Maxifuel's Viperboost gels

This last long run was a chance to test my nutrition strategy for the marathon. Apparently, the average number of gels consumed during a marathon is around 5. On the advice of a few colleagues (all marathon veterans) I’d taken one gel after an hour, and another gel every 30 minutes after that. On a target time of 3:30:00, this works out pretty well (the last gel at 3 hours seeing me through to the finish). But during today’s run, I’d only taken three gels with me (don’t ask me why). So having taken my last gel at the 2 hour mark, I was running a further 48 minutes to finish at mile 21. This, coupled with my quickened pace this year, meant that 10 minutes after I’d finished my glucose levels were dangerously depleted.

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Pacing the Hastings Half Marathon 2012

Pacing the Hastings Half Marathon 2012

When I let people know I’m running a marathon, a lot of people ask where they can sponsor me. I guess it’s a reflex that the British public have now, having been exposed to fundraising monsters like the London Marathon and the Great North Run for so many years. You run a marathon, you want sponsorship. And convincing London Marathon entrants who have ballot places (who have their own places and aren’t forced to hit sponsorship targets) is big business for charities. Hence why the VLM news mag is 70% adverts for charities, begging ballot place runners for their sponsorship money.

That being said, some people genuinely feel the need to sponsor people who run the London Marathon. It’s a great way of showing support or rewarding someone for their hard work in training. And it is hard work. So this is the reason I’ve picked a charity to run for this year.

I’ve always been a Newcastle fan. My mam’s side of the family is geordie, through and through. In fact my uncle, Eddie Egdar, is a former Toon player. As is my cousin, David Edgar, who spent some of his transfer money wisely when he sponsored me £1000 two years ago. And when I approached the NUFC Foundation with an offer to show my support, they sent this sexy little number in the post.

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Baby on board!

I was forced to stand up on the train on Monday morning, following my 20-mile run the day before. I was so incensed that I’ve made this badge to mimic the ‘Baby on board!’ badges that pregnant women wear on the London Underground.

Runners of the world, it’s time we got a little appreciation for our efforts, in the form of a seat on a train!


Stand up. Yes... I'm talking to you!

Upping the Pace:


20.1 miles in 2:41:40

March is always a big month in training for the London Marathon. It’s the month that the majority of the longer training runs are completed and it’s usually at around this point that I’ll get a feel for how the training is progressing, and whether I’ll need to adjust my target or not.

When I first attempted the marathon in 2009, I was aiming for a sub-4 hour marathon. Ah, the blissful ignorance! Swanning from gym to gym, treadmill running through the colder months and doing absolutely no speed or interval training whatsoever. And when I ran a 19-miler on March 21st 2009 in 3:20:00 and realised that a 4-hour marathon wasn’t going to be achievable, I was bitterly disappointed. It was a tough truth to face, knowing that I hadn’t done enough and I remember feeling very naive. That year I completed London in 4:45:51.

In contrast, today I ran 20-miles in 2:41:40.

Over the last month I’ve put in some good mileage at pace. I’ve been running 5 and 7 mile loops around Hyde Park with a chap who’s running the MDS (sponsor him here) and I’ve kept up my twice weekly speed sessions. During these sessions, my short distance times have improved dramatically. In training, I’m running 7-miles at a 7:25-min/mile pace and managing to keep up with the editor of Runner’s World magazine during our not-quite-5K handicap race (a man who last year ran a 3:08 marathon in Boston). And after a 16-miler a few weeks ago produced a surprising result, I decided to adjust my marathon target-time again.

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London Marathon (57)
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PB (3)
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