Thursday, 20 October 2011

Amanda Crook 2.55 Debut Marathon Sensation Talks Of Her Training And Racing!

Amanda Crook Chester marathon 2.55.46

I started running aged 8 or 9 participating in primary school Cross Country events. When I was
growing up my dad used to enjoy running regularly so I couldn't wait
until I was old enough to go with him! After constant pestering
he finally agreed to take me on his Saturday morning run from our
house in Upholland. We ran approximately 6miles over the Beacon to
Dalton church and back! Although i found this experience hard and
probably a bit far for my first proper run I instantly loved
I continued to run through high school competing in interschool cross
country winning most of these events. However I have always been a
nervous competitor so when it came to progressing to English School
level I was always to scared to compete. During my last year at High
School I overcame these nerves with the encouragement of my Dad and
competed in the school level trials for the Lancashire Cross Country
team and was surprised to finish 6th securing my position in the
Lancashire team.
At this stage although I had never been a member of a running club I
had kept fit by playing school team sports and occasionally running
over the beacon with my dad.
To prepare for the English schools I started running 4 to 5 miles
every other day. I came 134 in that race, feeling very disappointed I
gave up running until the age of 19.
On reflection i think my position was very good considering my
training, maturity level and extreme nervousness but to a 15 year old
girl with little experience it was awful.

I started running again aged 19 during the summer break in my first
year of university as I was feeling unfit and being a 19year old girl
wanted to lose weight! I entered the Liverpool 10k (2005) for
motivation and met Rob Berry for the 1st time. Rob was studying the
same course as me at edge hill we started running together and he
encouraged me to join SWAC. My running developed from there.

I decided to run Chester mainly for an aim and meaning to my training,
Liverpool was run on the same day but Chester had experience of running a
marathon and this being my debut I didn't want any problems on race day.
A typical week running for me consists of an average of 50 - 60
miles I run between 5-6 times a week including a long run up to 2hrs.
All my running is paced on feel and is generally relaxed.
In preparation for Chester i increased my mileage and long runs to a
maximum of 3hrs.
The ten weeks prior look like this.

10 - 70miles, including a 2h20 long run
9 - 50miles, on the very hilly cliffs of Devon
8 - 70miles
7 - 80m including a 2h30
6 - 70m including a 3hr
5 - 70m including a 2hr
4 - 65m including a 3hr and a 5.5k road relays race in 19.23
3 - 60m including a very hilly Garstang half marathon in 1h26.19
(slower than half way in Chester)
2 - 70m
1 - 25m

Race Day
As i do not train at a specific pace i had no idea what to expect and
with a very slow time at Garstang the initial 3hr barrier seemed all
the more a challenge. I decided to run on feel, reading the advice
Rick gave on his blog for the Liverpool runners i thought run 10 miles easy
get to half way cruising, 20miles in as good shape possible then all
out the last 6.
Anyone who has run Chester will no that the first and last few miles
are hilly with the middle 20 being perfectly flat. I took one energy
gel in my pocket and would take a drink at each station.
Setting of at 6.30 pace for the first 3miles felt so easy, I must of
slowed as i remember hitting 10 miles in 1h05 although i felt fine my
legs did feel a bit fatigued. I was taking the drinks provided
cruising along with a couple of men sheltering behind them from the
wind then all of a sudden at 12miles my legs were feeling heavy! I tried to stay
relaxed by slowing a bit but this caused me to fall off the back of the
group, from then on i was on my own. At this point i thought get to half way then
consume the energy gel. At half way i took the first taste of my
lucosade gel, having never had one of these i was shocked at the
disgusting taste and consistency.
I got through the second half feeling tired but under control, i
focused on getting to each drinks station then taking 2-3 mouthfuls
of gel and washing it down with water. i could feel the energy fill
my body each time, only to start flagging just before the
next station.
After the last station i squeezed the remaining scraps of gel out of
the tube drank as much water i could and focused on the last three
miles to the finish line.
As i came in to the race course a marshal managed to send me the wrong
way! I quickly got back on track and crossed the line in 2h55.46 i was
amazed that i had actually completed the distance and achieved sub
I am very lucky to have the instant knowledge and experience of Rob at
home and i know that if i want to improve i need to listen to him more!
I am also very lucky and fully appreciate the support i have from Rob
as he always takes time out of his working day to allow me to train
while he watches our 19month old son Richard, I would not be able to
train and race without this support.

Thank you for reading

Amanda Crook

RicksRunning Writes: Congrats on a brilliant first ever marathon Amanda.

To put her run into context on the same day at the Liverpool Marathon ONLY one guy from The Southport Waterloo Team ran a faster time than her!

She kicked some serious ass!

So now both Amanda and Ben have Championship places at The London Marathon 2012, great news for the future of the club :0]


Thomas said...

Congratulations to Amanda, that is one very impressive time!

Scott Brown said...

Yes Amanda, because of your effort and result you have been awarded the "Samurai Running" award for excellence which means you qualify for free advice and help if and when you decide to run a race in Japan!

Just drop us a note on when and where you want to run here and leave the rest to us!

Anonymous said...

Yes, well done Amanda. Your finish time was exactly as I had predicted. Probably.

Thanks a lot for the great prize, Rick. It was nice of Steve to run such a slow marathon, just so that I could win a book. What a guy!

Johnny Fandango-Bananas

PS: It really does look like an excellent book. Thank you.

Ewen said...

Second prize in the "Samurai Running" awards for excellence is two trips to Japan and double the amount of free advice.

Great result Amanda. I like your 'relaxed by effort' training. Can see you improving quite a bit on that - chasing Rick down below the 2:40 barrier.

amanda said...

Thanx Thomas. Japan is lovely Ewen i went to Osaka in 2007 to watch the world championships, i would definately consider going again


amanda said...

Thanx Thomas. Japan is lovely Ewen i went to Osaka in 2007 to watch the world championships, i would definately consider going again


Westley said...

Fantastic running! I would be very interested in any details concerning the training for such a time. It sounds like you just ran a consistent mileage at a consistent speed with little emphasis on particular energy systems associated with running tempo, interval or MP sessions?
And a one week taper! Wow!
Well done again!