Super-KAD Lee Cutforth shares his view and race report from his recent Marathon attempt
THE EVENT REVIEW:
On the 8/4/2018 myself and a group of friends took on the Greater Manchester Marathon.
The course is a fast and flat route starting and finishing at Emirates Old Trafford. My goal was to run under 3:05 and achieve a good for age place in London 2019. The weather on the on the day was overcast, mild, dry without any wind (perfect conditions for me). The support and atmosphere around the 26.2 mile route was fantastic with live music, jelly babies and 1000's of people cheering and occasionally making reference to either my club or name (which is printed on the race number)
MY 16 WEEK TRAINING PLAN.
So training for the marathon started to take shape after the new year and the good thing I find with this training start date is firstly will help shift any excess weight from Xmas and New Year, and also keep you focused on training threw the colder months.
This is a brief description of the sort of training I did:
SUNDAY: 1.5m w/up & 1.5m c/down/ 4 x 0.45m hill reps (running up fast and recover back down) = 6.6m.
TUESDAY: Min 1m w/up & 1m c/down/ 4 x 0.9m reps with 90s rec (flat ground running hard) = 5.6m
WEDNESDAY: 4-6m easy run.
THURSDAY: Long run. At the start of the plan we started at 10m then adding 1m each week.
I found with the long run it’s important to run some miles at Marathon pace.
e:g 5m @ 7:30 and the last 5 @ Marathon pace (for me 7:00)
FRIDAY: Rest or easy run 4-6m.
SATURDAY: 5/6m tempo run. This is a faster paced workout which should be comfortably hard.
In my case I was running this session around the 6:30 mark.
This is a basic training week for me, as the weeks progressed I found I had to be flexible with training as we all have unexpected things pop up.
On the Tuesday night session I was able to train with Notts AC, this was perfect as I finished work at 6pm and there sessions would start at 7pm and always within 10-15mins away from my workplace. To get the best out of this session it’s a good idea to run with someone or a group and keep a track of your time to monitor progress.
I know there is a few KADS who train with Broxtowe Tri Club and I'm sure they will agree on the benefits of such sessions. This is also a good idea for long runs to find a buddy to run with and explore different routes.
Another thing my training partner (Paul Taylor) had suggested was to enter a few races, so we entered Stamford 30k and Belvoir Challenge XC (15m). This helped as its something to look forward to and also if you wish to race to gauge where your fitness level is.
5 weeks pre-race there was a bad weather period of sub 0 temperatures along with snow which put a hold on a weeks planned running, to top this of the week after the bad weather I came down with flu/virus which had me on the sofa for the best part of a week. This didn’t do my confidence much good with training in full flow I had run 15 miles in 2 weeks instead of the planned 90 or so miles!
EVENT LOGISTICS/NUTRITION ON THE DAY
As for the accommodation and travel to Manchester I had been in contact with Leigh Turner who was also running the marathon and planned to get a lift up with him and book into the Premier Inn located in West Didsbury (M21 7QS). My view in order to run at your best on the day is to get the little details right, those 2 days before is time to reflect on your training, relax and go over the method of attack on race day.
We arrived on the Friday around 3pm having travelled through the Peak District to get there, after checking in we decided to take a short trip to the Trafford Centre to pass a little time. After we returned we sat down for a bite to eat, took the 15min walk to the tram stop to check where we was getting on and off on race day, then headed off to our rooms.
Day 2, and after a good night’s sleep I had decided to take a 2m jog , looking on my phone there was a nice wooded area with a large pond located a short distance from the hotel so of I went. Then we had decided to go to the cinema and watch a film, followed up by the last main meal (CARBS).
Race day and we was up nice and early (5:45), my morning schedule was to have my iron supplement (FLORADIX) beetroot shot, pot of porridge with a banana, jump in the shower, apply some vicks vapour rub to my chest and get my race gear on. I had prepared my pre-work drink (caffeine) and as we left the hotel I had another pot of porridge on the way to catch the tram.
We arrived at the race village nice and early, dropped our bags of and were anticipating the start. Come 8am I had a cereal bar and followed up at 8:30 with my caffeine drink (175mg) and took a steady walk to the starting pens.
8:40 and we were at the starting line, I wished Leigh good luck and of I went to warm up.
9:00 and the race had started, my race pace was to stick to 7:00mm, stay calm and relaxed and run my own race.
Attached to my gel belt I had 4 SIS + electrolyte gels, 2 packs of shot-bloks (6 in a pack) and caffeine shot (200mg)
As with the long runs in training I would after 40mins put a shot-blok in the corner of my mouth and let it dissolve and repeat until I had consumed 1 packet just after half way and then start on the second pack.
With the gels I took the first 1 on the hour mark and every 30mins after that.
The caffeine shot was saved for the 20m mark and sure did help me threw the final and most difficult part of a marathon.
Taking in enough fluid was a priority for me as I sweat a lot, I took my time at the water stations to keep hold of the water for a little while and take small but frequent drinks.
The overall race experience was my best in the marathon distance, I had prepared for 16 weeks for this and was confidant I could achieve my target.
I took the race a mile at a time and no more, the atmosphere from the crowds was great and when it got a little quiet in places it was time to just relax and bring in happy and uplifting thoughts.
As I hit the 20m mark sure enough I reached for the CAFFINE! In last year’s marathon at this point I was starting to drop off the pace, had other runners passing me and started to doubt myself.
This year was the opposite, 5m to go and I had noticed a had a fresh spring in my step and started to overtake others who seemed to be in the same position I was in last year. I was on target for my goal and just had to keep up the pace.
Before I knew it there was 2 and a bit miles to go, the next mile I had slipped of the pace a little and it was clear that the last mile and a bit had to be a lot quicker to reach the sub 3:05.
I hadn't come this far in the race to let it slip away now, the crowds had started to build back up as I closed in on the finish and that was enough to get my legs moving at a required speed to hit my target.
Then before I knew it I had crossed the finish line in 3:04:41. It was a great feeling to have finished the race and stay in control, rather than the race take control of me.
First of I would like to thank Paul Taylor for taking me to some beautiful places for our long runs, Leigh Turner for making the final two days before the marathon run smooth and hassle free. It’s been a very different experience in the leading up to this year’s marathon with weather, work, illness and having to juggle life’s demands.
But with these experiences they have taught me great things and will only make me stronger for the future.
This is the first race report I have wrote and I hope it will give inspiration to anyone out there who is thinking of taking on the marathon or any other distance.
"Willing is not enough, we must do"
"Knowing is not enough, we must apply"