Saturday, 28 February 2009


I always find racing in the winter hard work, but as we near spring I can see that I have turned a corner in the fitness stakes! A few more weeks should have me firing on all cylinders, The Trimpel 20 mile race in a couple of weeks should give a better indication of my form.
Todays race offered a tough challenge with its pot holed lanes, steep sharp climbs and muddy tracks, I managed a 10 second improvement on the race here in Oct, but got pushed down the rankings due to a record race entry.
Full GRAND PRIX report to follow.
click graph to enlarge

Sunday 1st March
Set out with the intension of running 7.20 pace for an hour, but things turned out very different !
Bought a new pair of NIKE RED ROCK TRAIL SHOES for the bargain price of £35 from SPORTS DIRECT.COM.
WOW these are great shoes whether on the road or trail, maybe it was the new shoes but my legs felt great after yesterdays hard race, quickly my pace picked up until
i was flying back along the coast road at over marathon pace, the result was 8.23 miles at 6.40 pace , 9 mph = 55.08
I then met up with Jon and Chris who has just returned from France looking lean and mean, we headed off on the sandhill 6, after 3 miles Chris took the lead and upped the pace [ I have never seen Chris run so fast before] we left Jon behind as Chris made light work of the many sand dunes, finishing in 49.16, despite getting left behind Jon still managed a new years p.b. of 54 mins.

Thursday, 26 February 2009


I've started to follow the RUNNERS WORLD LONDON MARATHON TRAINING PROGRAM designed by past London winner Mike Grafton, todays session was a 3 mile tempo run. Using the same course as I've been running since before Christmas, setting off at 10 mph into a stiff headwind I felt quite strong, After 1 mile I reached the Trafalgar rd hill, fighting the wind and the gradient had my speed slipping below 10 mph but the return home once past Hillside had my tempo lift to sub 6 pace with the last half mile in around 5.20 pace . My finishing average 10.1 mph shows a massive improvement from my first tempo run in December.
Here is my progress.
26th Feb 2009 3.13 miles, 18.40, av 10.1mph, 5.58 pace, max speed 11.7
2nd Jan 2009
3.01 miles, 18mins 39 sec , av 9.7 mph, 6.11 pace

28th Dec 3.00 miles, 19.02, 9.4 av, 6.21 pace
6th Dec 3.01 miles, 19.05, 9.5 av, 6.20 pace
Tonights tempo run was in fact my fastest since I got the Garmin in the summer of 2007!
Last summer my best tempo 5 k run was at 9.6mph despite running 22.38 in a 4 mile race, there is a big difference between training and racing!
Wed 25th easyrun, big sandhills = 1.35
Tue 24th long run inc club fartlek session, progression over the last 2 miles home 9-10 then 11 mph = 18.3 miles , 2 hours 18 mins
run to college and back 17.56

Conclusion; last weeks easy week has done me a world of good!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009


Standish Hall Trail Race PREVIEW

This trail race was first made popular by Richard Carey, Neil Rothwell and Andy Hudson some years ago, it has become increasingly popular with club members over the last couple of years due to the challenging adrenaline fueled route along narrow country tracks, up and downhills and through forest trails, there is a friendly laid back atmosphere to the event and everyone seems to go away happy! read my report on last years race
King of the mountain points apply, so don't miss out, an exciting afternoon will be experienced by all!

Standish Hall Trail Race, Britannia Wigan Hotel, Almond Brook Road, Standish, Wigan WN6 0SR (off J27 M6) NEW VENUE!!
Please allow 5 minutes to get from registration to the start - please note that the race HQ is not the Hesketh Arms as on previous occasions!
2009 entry fees: £4/£6 +£1 on the day ("Wigan Phoenix") (min. age 16)
Contact: Paul Carroll, 21 Pilgrims Way, Standish, Wigan WN6 0AJ - tel. 01257 426166 weekday evenings and weeekends only please - Email
Wigan Phoenix web site - Venue map (note that this is registration only - the start is off Arbour Lane shown bottom right of the map)
2003 (Oct) - 2004 (Feb) - 2004 (Oct) - 2005 (Mar) - 2005 (Oct) - 2006 (Feb) - 2006 (Oct) - 2007 (Feb) - 2007 (Oct) - 2008 (Feb)
Entry form: Word .doc (27k) - Acrobat .pdf (8k) - Enter Feb 09 Online or - Enter both Oct 08 and Feb 09 at a discount Online

Monday, 23 February 2009


Yes that's right I set a new world record for running from my house to college and back, well ok maybe it was just a new p.b. in fact each week I've shred abit of time off, 23 mins in Nov down to 17.56 tonight, not that I am really trying !
Anyway tonight we took the theory test for being a level two fitness instructor [ I want to go on and get level 3 so I can be a personal trainer!].
Part one was on bones and joints, you needed 10 out of 15 to pass this section. This turned out to be my weak spot and I think I got at least 3 or 4 wrong, hopefully not more!
Section 2 was on muscles and muscles actions & energy systems,
Section 3 cardiorespiratory system and finally section 4 components of fitness and principles of training, I was strong on the last 3 section and reckon on getting 90 % right, but that first section is bugging me, did I do enough or will I have to resit! Dam I've got up to two week to wait for the results! AAAGH!!!
Running back from college I went through the pedestrianized area of Chapel st, up ahead was a group of drunk yobs who when seeing me broke out into jeering and abuse! I've become immune to this sort of behavior after 15 years of running! I ran straight through them as if they were not there, the laughter and jeering faded into the quiet night air as I got into the zone and smoothly flowed along!.
Half a mile later as I ran down a narrow alleyway a man staggered in front of me, this time it was not just drink but drugs that had got the better of him! I side stepped him as he muttered into the gutter! I was quickly back into my pace, my zone, running free, away from all this madness, of what once was, just a sleepy seaside town!

Thursday, 19 February 2009


Occupation;Ambulance-Driver- Paramedic

Paul ran a p,b. of 81
mins for the half marathon when he was in his 20's, after a long layoff Paul got back into running last year. Now he is training for the LONDON MARATHON, and religiously following the Runners World sub 3.15 schedule
he has now increased his weekly mileage from a poultry 25 miles up to 49 miles and his improvement is quite impressive!

I said i would accompany him on his 1st 20 mile run, heading off from
Birkdale within a mile we were running over the roller coaster sandhills to woodvale then following the roads North through Ainsdale, and on to Southport. Once we got to bentham's way we took the trail path through the reclaimed tip, then on to Tesco ,High park, Churchtown and Crossens before a final 5 miles alo
ng the sea wall into a stiff headwind. Paul asked me to speed up to his hoped for marathon pace [7.20] over the final 5 miles, taking into account the headwind we pretty much achieved the target pace until the end!
Out of interest Paul I did the same run with Tracey[ inc the 5 miles fast at the end] last march and she ran 2.53 [ she ran London in about 3.30]. Anyway Paul finished strongly but his legs definitely knew they'd done a long one!
20 miles at 8.05 pace,= 2.41

Sunday, 15 February 2009


I guess we all have a favorite training route, this week in a first of a new series we take a look at Jon's favorite training run.
started training and racing back in the running boom of the 80's completed over 30 Marathon's, many of which were under 3 hours,first Marathon THE LIVERPOOL CITY MARATHON.

Following tracks close to the picturesque and world famous Royal Birkdale Golf Club, and including the infamous Big Dipper [ a monstrous super big sandhill ] the tough climb brings rewarding panoramic views of not only two famous golf courses but also the splendid views of the north west coast, from the North wales mountains to Blackpool and on a really clear day the Lake District.

Jon says, "Have checked back in my diaries and it appears that I first ran the loop on 22nd May 1994. Previous to that date I used to do variations like from home to Hillside and back to Birkdale, or run to Ainsdale on the road and back down the sandhills.
I ran the Sandhills 6 nine times in the first year, but only twice in 95 and 96. I peaked last year with 47 runs, with an estimated total of 200 times.
I set a p.b. in August 94 of 44m 07s which I doubt I have bettered since, as I was getting slower year on year afterwards". Jon.
Start at corner of lancaster and selworthy rd, head west down the dirt path, head out onto the first part of selworthy rd past all the big posh houses to corner, turn left through gate posts at end of rd, now follow white posts over the sandhills to Ainsdale, keeping the coast rd on your right and the Royale Birkdale Golf Club on your left shoulder [ many years ago the now coast road used to be the Cheshire lines railway bringing in holiday makers from Liverpool and beyond.
400 m from the Ainsdale roundabout follow the white posts inland and through a small woods coming out at shore rd, turn left up shore rd for 150m then turn left through gate posts and follow path after about a minute take the path on the right, head for the houses, at fence turn left and follow path, past the boundary of the houses and out onto a large grass land, keep the sandhills on your left and houses on your right, aim for the last distant house, follow path past last house, ahead is the now abandoned Ainsdale high school playing fields, turn left and follow the school boundary fence, up the steep hill [ LOOK OUT FOR BRIAN THE DOG!], turn left along hillside golf club boundary fence 200m, turn right at corner of fence, keep golf club on your right and sandhills on your left, up the LITTLE DIPPER then downhill through the woods mind ' NIZ's overhang [ low tree branch] then 100 m on ' TRIPPERS TORMENT , next is the fearsome BIG DIPPER, no matter how fit you are it gets you every time! At the top, panoramic views of the two golf clubs, and the northwest coastline , follow the the fence, head downhill, then head left and back on to the white post route, up a short hill and down the other side, now follow the track on the left up THE CAMELS BACK and then onto a new tarmac stretch, through the gate, past the ROYAL BIRKDALE CLUB HOUSE, FOLLOW TARMAC PATH UNTILL IT MEETS THE golf club private rd, straight across onto the field, follow path, keep the grass mound on your right and golf club boundary fence on your left, after 1/2 mile follow narrow path through trees, emerge out onto selworthy rd, Finish!
Free guided tours available!



Sun 15th
Sandhill 'KILLER' 6 with Jon = 57.59
followed by a progression run over 5 miles, slowly winding up the pace and finishing the last half mile at sub 6 min pace, 5 miles, 6.30 pace = 32.46

After finding out I had iron deficiency I was advised to take iron supplements but after they ran out a few months again I stopped taking them, I now realize many of the symptoms have returned and might explain my more race results of late!

Saturday, 14 February 2009


As Arthur Lydiard said 'you can't race well and train hard at the same time!
Man did I find that out today! This was the end of my 3rd hard week of very hard training [ easy week next week!]
The Parbold hill race has 3 main climbs and apart from a 1/2 mile road section at the start it is run mostly over the country fields of the area ! It turned out to be very muddy and my choice of road shoes was not my brightest idea ever! [my fell shoes are still in a plastic bag from last years race and to say they are as stiff as a board would be a gross miss understatement!]
I was really pleased with the turn out by Southport Waterloo members [ 17 in all] so it was a great start to my new look Club G.P.
THE CLUB WON FIRST MALE TEAM! [ without my help I must add!] and 4th in the Ladies,
and Steve Wilkinson finished 6 th overall, AWESOME RESULT ALL ROUND !
As for me I'm looking forward to a recovery week and hopefully I'll be stronger for round 2 at the Standish hall trail race on the 28th


Tuesday, 10 February 2009



I headed off to Ainsdale at a tempo pace, in Jan the best pace I could manage was 6.33 for the 3.77 mile route, today I smashed that with an average of 6.10 pace! Once I reached Ainsdale I ran loops over the only hill in the neighborhood, reaching 9 miles by the start of the club fartleck session. Super vet Steve James took control and we ended up doing some pretty long efforts! I'd reached 16 miles by the end and ran back with Rob and Paul, as I left them for my final couple of miles I was starting to feel quite fatigued but decided to finish with a 1/2 mile loop at over marathon pace, I started to feel better as I went faster and finished at over 11 mph. tempo run and farteck session = 20 miles
Wed 11th
Easy sandhill run = 1.33
Thur 12th
Decided to have a go at Thomas's session for a change,
20 mins of 30 sec fast,30 sec easy, hitting around 12 mph, max 13.1 mph
dispite feeling a bit tired I had no problem finishing the session, but it would have been nice if it had been a bit warmer, roll on spring! plus steady run at 8.1 mph, total 1.00

Saturday, 7 February 2009


Sat 7 th
My marathon training continues in earnest, today mad dog [ she was kicking sand in my face as usual] and me blasted the big sand dunes for an impressively whopping 2 hours 46 mins
Fri 6th
There was a freezing wind blowing which turned my feet into solid blocks of ice after only a couple of mins running, gradually increasing the pace throughout my run, the 6.13 av pace doesn't really tell the whole story as I was really hammering the last mile redlining at over 11 mph at the end!
3 miles at 6.13 pace
Thur 5th
10 x 150 m leg speed session plus steady run = 1.16
Wed 4th sandhills easy = 1.25
Tue 4th
Fartleck session, 9 x hard efforts, 300 - 800m
Ran down to Ainsdale at 9.2 mph av with a nagging freezing easterly wind on my side, No Brian to take the session so they nominated me to take charge and crack the whip! [ RIGHT YOU SLACKARDS , ITS TIME FOR SOME 'SERIOUS' STREET ACTION!!!].
The fast boys were out tonight, Rob, Mark and Paul so the pace was pretty hot, ran back with Rob then added some extra loops at marathon pace! = 2.06

Mon 3rd
Ran to college and back for a grand total of 19.46