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Sunday, 8 February 2015

January Update

First month of training now over!

77 miles done across 15 runs including one 10+ mile long run.  Nice steady start and I'm feeling like I'm in a decent rhythm.  Pleased to report no injuries so far, thanks largely to the stretches in the book below which has also given me some really interesting ideas of how to manage the mental endurance side of the challenge.

The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer by D. Whitsett, F. Dolgener & T.Kole - essential reading for new runners like me.

Put simply it suggests that when training for a marathon you could assume the mantra 'I am a marathoner'.  Would I like a beer?  No thanks, I'm a marathoner.  What do you do for a living?  'I'm a marathoner' etc etc.  Cheesy for sure, but I like it.  To ensure that I don't feel tempted to skip training sessions or deviate whatsoever from the training plan, I am trying to consider myself (however daft it sounds) as a professional runner.  Running is my second job and I'm going to work just as hard in it as I do in my paid job (prob more so, just kidding boss).

Long Run Sunday with Henry.  He's aiming to do London in under 4hrs so his pace is a little fierce for me but I'm hanging in there.

It's been a horrible month for weather, I've had almost everything thrown at me so far including -5C, torrential rain, sleet, thunder & lightning and ice-rink pavements.  I've started to run home from work which is working out well (I'd be walking 2m to get home anyway) although dodging traffic and plotting a route with the least amount of traffic lights has been important.  If anything I've felt greater satisfaction from getting those nasty runs done especially as its hard to change up the routes to avoid boredom.

Nice views of the bridge (not at all warm despite the rare sighting of the ball in the sky)

Nearly all of the runs have been on pavement so I'll be looking to be a bit more creative as the weather (hopefully) improves and get out onto some grass.  I've been running under the Suspension Bridge a few times and up to the Downs as well as my fave route along the river past SS Great Britain (it's flat afterall!).

I've decided to keep this site running as a blog and create a new more corporate friendly website which looks a bit cleaner.  I'll be needing company sponsorship for the 2016 runs to cover travel so working with a good mate and designer from work on that as well as a flyer (after some great suggestions from Mike Shepherd -I mentioned before he's running the North Pole Marathon in April  There's no rush on getting them done for this year but I'll be hoping to show them all to you over the next few weeks as I'm keen to get some more booked in.

Standard post run drying out

As I type, the facebook page is up to 82 likes and Twitter @mikesEUmaras is up to 205.  Had some really useful tips from some endurance runners on Twitter in particular and some of the challenges that are being attempted are completely insane.  Trying to stay focused on my own challenge of course.  I think I'd be open to ramping up from the end of this year to 5 or 6 maras a year if I can get the help with expenses, that way getting the challenge done by a target of 2020 perhaps.  We'll see.

I'm finding it a little tough to know what to do on short recovery runs (3 miles), its become such a short distance in my mind that I struggle to get the approach right.  They're usually immediately before or after a long run so am trying my best to take them as jogs and mix up tempo rather than feeding the Garmin.  Very useful having a smartwatch but its easy to fall into a trap of obsessing over your times. More important to focus on maintaining a steady, comfortable pace to finish the race than a potential mid-race panic/downer when falling behind an ideal finish time.


Before I close for another month just a quick word on some pretty odd running rituals that seem to have developed quite accidentally.

  • All weekend long runs must be run in the national football shirt of one of the marathons I will be running this year.
  • All runs begin with Pearl Jam's 'Alive'
  • A Man Utd sweatband must be turned inside out and placed over the Glastonbury Festival wristbands on my right arm.
  • I lightly tap the 4th lamp-post along Coronation Road (from the direction of Temple Meads) each time I pass it.
  • Chewing gum gets tossed on mile 5 of every run.
There you have it OCD at its finest.  Maybe more out of comfort than anything but it works for me!

Quick reminder that all of this is in aid of Invest In ME ( to help to fund biomedical research into ME.  I'm not aggressively hounding folk for sponsorship (just yet) but if you'd like to support us then please visit:

The guys are doing a fantastic job and are keen to make contact firstly with the Czech ME Association for the Prague challenge -would be great to meet them over there.  Also I'll be getting a flag done which I hope to have with me when crossing the finish line.

Cheers for your continued support everyone, makes a huge difference.

Jan stats

Runs completed: 15
Miles: 77
Average temp: 2C
Ciders: 10(ish)
Injuries: 0 :-)