Inevitable pasta posting – Phil style!

Inevitable pasta posting – Phil style!

I like to think that there comes a time in every e-marathon blogger's life when they have to write a post about pasta.

I don't know why, but there's a strange feeling of inevitability in this.

It might be some strange force of nature, like the call of the warm southern shores to flocks of migrating birds.

It might be a compelling urge brought about by a feeling of love towards my fellow marathoners – worrying they might not be taking their carb loading seriously.

Or, it could be because I've eaten so much of the stuff it's now somehow taken over my brain a la borg in Star Trek!

It started off slowly, subtly even - biding it's time.

Masquerading as a helpful running aid, drawing you in with the promises of extra fuel in your hours, and hours, and hours, of need.

At first you don't resist, but then gradually - ever so gradually - it starts to tempt you further down into it's carby lair.

You miss a portion, and it punishes you on your next run.

Then, like a druggie needing to score, it's got you hooked. You want to stop, but you keep getting dragged back in for fear of the downer you get when you don't get your fix.

Gradually, it spirals out of control, until all you seem to eat is pasta - morning, noon and night.

You're trapped, and your repertoire of dishes seems pitifully small when faced with the onslaught of pasta you face every day. You've made tomato sauces and cheese sauces, you've had tagliatelli and spaghetti, carbonara and lasagne, al dente and baked, stuffed cannelloni and slow baked penne with roasted peppers.

Eventually, like me, you hit a new low.

As a desperate cry for help you succumb to the ultimate temptation - the generic pasta bake sauce in the cupboard that you can't remember buying, and don't know what the sell by date is.

You prepare it as per the instructions. You add cheese on top that browns 'just so'.

Then you eat it...

You get your fix, and you relax.

Then, you look at the stained plate, the remnants of cheese slowly drying on the fork, and you fell disgusted with yourself for having stooped so low.

You can feel the preservatives creeping through your body, and the fat from the industrially prepared pepperoni slowly seeping into your system.

It was wrong. You shouldn't have done it.

You feel ashamed.

So you resolve to never again stoop so low. To avoid the pre-made pasta sauce aisle in the supermarket, and only stick to the fresh veg.

You even secretly promise to eat more rice instead, but you're scared it'll be too hard, so you don't dare say it out loud.

This is where I am now. I've recognised my problem, and am resisting the my bodies cries for a freshly prepared past salad

I will not be beaten. I will not give in!

I will not turn into pasta!

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing

Here's your weekly update of e-marathon blogging fun!


Mad as a box of frogs uses the trusty old mind trick of distracting yourself with mental arithmetic by calculating the proportion of your run done every mile on his rather picturesque sounding 18 miler.

Becki Saves the Rhinos sneakily 'forgot' where she lived, then upon remembering, threw up. That's normal isn't it?

Dan Worth is heading to that lovely place called Taper Town. A few more e-marathoners will be joining him there next week, so he's got a few days to tidy up and geet the beers/glucose drinks in!

Running for Rhinos isn't going to let voices in his head and seeing imaginary gravestones stop him getting round his longest run yet!

Three chickens and a runner may be guilty of a technical infringement (if he tells anyone) and seems disappointed not to have been rained on. Scientists... *rolls eyes*

Sir Jog a Lot seems to have let fame go to his head after winning the Justgiving video comp - no update on the weekends training. Prob too busy with signing autographs and groupies.

No update from Jim yet either - I'm starting to worry... I refuse to believe rumours that since he's met his fundraising target he was last seen with a Panama guidebook in his pocket, carrying a canoe towards the North Sea.

Cineworld rock!

The lovely, lovely people at Feltham Cineworld have thrown me a couple of free tickets to give away to help raise cash for Hounslow Action for Youth.

At up to £8.20 a pop, I'm quite chuffed to offer these - just need to work out how to use them to raise cash...

I was thinking of putting the name of everyone who donates before a certain date (including those who already have) into a hat, then just picking one.

Sound good?

Any comments/thoughts/suggestions welcomed!

+++++ Update+++++

Really should have mentioned the tickets can be used at any of 75 Cineworld venues in the UK

If marathons were easy...

Yesterday I was not in a happy place.

My 17 mile long run became a six mile wake up call as my left knee decided it was its turn to give me some flak.

Three miles in and it started to send a sharp pain through my body every time my left foot hit the floor. As you can imagine, during a run that happens a lot. So there were lots of sharp pains.

I stretched, I walked, I even tried to shift my weight while running, but it kept hurting so I had to bail.

To say I was miffed would be under stating the obvious.

I think this is payback for last weeks 20 miler in trainers that should have been binned.

Last year, a similar thing happened two weeks before the big day. It was much worse - I mean utter agony - but I have no intentions of trying to run like that again.

To get over my mood I took a course of therapy that I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone - I took an axe to a bit pile of wood that needed chopping.

I really went to town on it too!

There were bits flying everywhere and I got a real sweat on.

It felt ace.

Having vented, I could then approach the problem from a bit better perspective.

My knees are struggling.

I need to get them stronger so from now on I'm doing stretches etc. every day, and making sure I do a proper warm up - something I normally don't bother with as I start slowly.

Job number one - work out some stretches!

I need to resist the urge to panic and try to catch up by adding more miles to the training. I'll only do myself more damage, then get into some kind of panic/more damage spiral which will undoubtedly lead to my head exploding.

Job number two - chill, trust the training and concentrate on getting the best out of what's left.

Today, my calves are still sore from trying to run and not put weight on my right foot - and I only did six miles.

Job number three - I need to reconstruct my under-desk elevation platform to keep them raised and rested.

The first stages of my comback plan are underway!


Not happy.

Only managed 6 miles of 17 miler.

Stupid knee.

Stupid running.

Stupid marathon.

Off to take anger out with axe on a pile of wood.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Pre-run preparation

I'm making a conscious effort to get a routine for getting ready for my long weekend runs.

So far, I've got my route planned for tomorrow's 17 miles of fun.

Gonna be the same basic loop as last week with tweaks to hit the right distance.

I'm not sure how the whole clocks going forward thing should be factored in as I need to get up early to make porridge, but I'm sure it'll work out.

After a weird week of training, I want to get this one nailed, so am trying to use today to prepare as much as poss.

By 'prepare' I mean rest and eat properly.

After a good week the week before last, I've let my diet slip a bit and I've noticed it make a difference to my runs.

So, lots of healthy stuff, feet up and relaxing - there are some positives to this training sometimes!

Wind problems

No, this isn't a post about a reaciton to drinking too much Lucozade or protein.

I nipped out to forage for carbs for lunch before running home tonight, and it was somewhat blustery out.

Annoyingly, it seemed to be coming from the west, which is the direction pretty much all of the run will be.

Don't want to get too negative about the run beforehand, but I can see this being an irritating one.

Any tips for running into the wind?

Foot transplant too expensive? Get new trainers instead!

Following the sad death of my trainers, I spent much of my random day off yesterday scouring Surrey for a replacement pair that actually fit me - which it turned out was harder than it sounds!

But fear not gentle reader, for your hero has succeeded in his quest!

I'd like to introduce you to Tom and Jim*, my new trainers.

They're way too white for my liking, but I'll get them good and mucky in the next few days!

As we all know, when you get some new trainers, you need to break them in. So, I whacked them on as I went about my day, and, being a geek, took pictures.

Here's them on the way from the chippy (carb treat after hectic day looking for them!) to the car:

Here's them in the car on the way back from the chippy:

Here's them in the car after I'd be scolded for having my feet on the dashboard:

Here they are, slightly blurry, as I scoffed said delights from the chippy (not reflective strip showing in the flash - I'm sure that'll stop me getting run over!):

And, finally, here they are as I'm reclining and reading a very informative marathon blog...

* First correct guess why they're called that from a fellow e-marathoner wins a £5 donation!

150th blog post for FLM 09 - reflective remix

Just read an interesting post by Dan W on how (to paraphrase) social networking has helped with his fundraising.

I'd have to agree - I've raised approx £185 via this blog/twitter (£129 of that is the sequin challenge - still need another eight pledges for that to happen!).

I never set out to have this online stuff as a way of fundraising. It was more a way to keep those who had sponsored up to date with how it was going.

That got me thinking about why I started blogging etc, and how it's evolved.

So I had a look through the sophisticated electronic filing system here in the bunker at PRL towers and realised I've written 215 posts (of varying quality) on this blog since I set it up before last years marathon.

By an awesome coincidence, this will be the 150th of this particular attempt!

That seems excessive - but you will keep reading it!

As time's gone on, and more and more people have given their time to reading and commenting (I seriously don't understand why people read the random outpourings of my mind) it's kind of evolved to be many things.

At the mo I see the online stuff, in no particular order, as:
  • way to share the pain with family/friends
  • support group
  • pressure valve
  • fundraising tool
Which is pretty cool.

I don't want any one thing to take prominence as that'd get boring and probably ruin the rest of it.

So, thanks to those who read, thanks to those who comment, and thanks to those who donated!

You've all helped make this blog the strange and wonderful thing it is!

Keep up the good work

For [insert rude word]'s sake!

How hard could it possibly be to find some trainers?

Since mine died, I've scoured Surrey for the replacement trainers in my size and have failed magnificently.

Either they don't have them, or they do, but not in my size, or they do but only the right size for one foot.

Even the interweb seems to be letting me down, so looks like I'll be getting a different model.

At least there's still a monht to go to get them worn in!

RIP Asics

Asics - Dec 2008 - March 2009

It is with great sorrow that I have to announce the death of my latest pair of trainers.

After a short, but eventful life, they finally succumbed to a total collapse in cushioning.

They were only ever meant to be an interim measure, but they just kept going - clocking up over 300 miles in their short, hard life.

Through flooded roads, along muddy paths, past dead swans, they've kept going, when other trainers would have given up long before.

Their tireless efforts were an example to the rest of the shoes in Phils wardrobe, and their legacy will not soon be forgotten.

The Asics are survived by a pair of shorts, several pairs of socks, and a few t-shirts.

They will be binned in a short, private ceremony this weekend, and friends are encouraged not to send flowers, but to make a donation to Phil's marathon attempt.

It's what they would have wanted.

Sequins challenge - update

Last week I set the sequin challenge, which provoked a small flurry of donations to my charity, Hounslow Action for Youth (£94 so far - thanks chaps and chapesses!).

The idea is that I'll run in a top with my number on the back in sequins if I can get 20 people to make a pledge via my Justgiving page, of any amount at all - even a couple of quid - and put the word "sequin in the message.

I still don't have to do it as I'm 12 short, so if you want to see me setting a new trend, get thee to my page!

That was weird

Had easy eight-miler with some speed work tonight.

First, I still can't get used to the idea that I now see an eight mile run as 'easy'.

It's just plain weird.

Second, after Sundays 20 miler, I've been pleasantly surprised - nay, amazed - that my legs haven't felt completely battered.

For the last week I've been trying to eat the recommended 100g* of protein a day for marathoners, which it turns out is a lot.

But I'm a northern bloke so eating meat is something of a speciality of mine!

One of the possible effects of this (though possibly coincidental as training should be helping too!) has been my muscles seem to ache less as they're getting the stuff they need to repair themselvses**.

Would be interested in hearing a few others thoughts/experiences on that one.

Anyway, this less-aching-than-expected meant I was feeling pretty good for tonights run, so I got home, got changed and got out for what I call a 'naked run'.

This isn't as illegal/graphic/unpleasant as it sounds - it's just me not loaded down with mp3 players, passes, bottles etc. Just a key and phone (just in case).

First couple of miles were pretty sweet, but then my calves started to feel it (after my second 600m*** increase of pace).

They felt tight so I had a stretch and carried on. It wasn't painful, just really uncomfortable - if that makes sense.

The weird thing was they'd been fine all day yesterday and today.

Hopefully they'll have got their act together for tomorrows 12 miles...

* It's something like 1.5g for every kilo of body weight. Check out Runners World for the proper thinking, it's escaped me for now, but I do remember working it out and being delighted at the prospect of eating a quarter-pounder a day. Sadly, it doesn't quite work like that.
** There's some science to explain this, but, frankly, I've done too much of that lately. I don't want people to confuse me for an expert, instead of an amateur who bumbles about into whatever I find interesting at any given time.
** I have no idea how long that is, so I just pick it up for a couple of minutes.

Chillin out maxin', relaxin' all cool

Yesterdays post on my triumph at completing my hardest week, coupled with the realisation that I've still got to run to North Yorkshire before this is over, sparked a lot of comments.

Heated debate is good – it encourages you to challenge your own arguments and either corrects them or makes them stronger.

Or at least it would if it was based on the correct information.

I got my sums wrong.

My last week running up to and including the London Marathon will in fact not be 56 miles, it'll be 48.

Not much difference in the grand scheme of things, but still a deplorable error on my part and I openly chastise my poor arithmetic.

Still, that might sound a lot.

Take out the marathon itself and that's 22 miles when I'm supposed to be taking it easy.

On the face of it Dan made a good point when he quotes someone who's run a 2.17 marathon saying not to run at all that week.

So, why should I go against the advice of someone who clearly knows more than me?*

Well, back in the mists of time when I worked out my schedule I gave a lot of thought to my taper.

Tapering is a balance – it's got to give you enough rest to get you through the big day, but still keep the fitness levels I've been training for months to improve.

Three weeks is a good time to start because the marathon still seems a way off, and going too hard could lead to feeling knackered the following week, and not getting enough benefits from the training that week, which in turn impacts on race week.

Simply steadily decreasing training by 'doing less miles' during the taper could mean I end up losing fitness, and - probably more important for me - having psychological issues.

No jokes please.

I need the confidence of knowing that I've still got the level of fitness needed to get around on the day. I don't want to be worrying I've not done enough, and be tempted to overdo it on an easy run to copmpensate.

Paavo Nurmi once said "mind is everything; muscles pieces of rubber. I am what I am because of my mind." He won 9 olympic golds at distances from 1,500 to 10,000 so knows a bit about what it takes.

So, to keept the confidence, and fitness levels up, I want my taper to reduce the mileage so I'm rested, but keep the overall 'intensity' of the training up.

By interspersing harder efforts into the overall trend of recovery, I hope I'll keep the confidence up, and not lose the fitness I've built, whilst at the same time resting enough for the big day.

The last three weeks of my training do that.

Three weeks out I start with some recovery and easy runs after a hard one on the Sunday before, then some speed work to keep the legs moving, and a long run on the Sunday to keep the confidence up.

Two weeks out and it's more 'easy' speed work to keep the fitness up, three whole days of rest, with a much shorter long run on the Sunday.

The week of the marathon itself starts with a rest, an easy recovery run, then a dress rehearsal to make sure the kits fine. Another rest day is followed by five miles with some speed work to keep the legs loose, then a v gentle four miler the day before mainly to reassure myself that the legs still work.

The overall volume of training looks like:
  • 4 weeks out - 49 miles
  • 3 weeks out - 43 (down 12 per cent on last 'normal' week)
  • 2 weeks out - 32 (down 35 per cent on last 'normal' week)
  • pre race - 22 (down 55 per cent on last 'normal' week)
So a steady reduction, but with some harder, shorter, bits in theer to keep the fitenss up.

I'm not saying this would be for everyone, but it's this kod of thinking thats got me from a v. low level of base fitness to where I am now so I'm optimistic it'll work.

If not, I've no-one to blame but myself!

* ie most people

How the hell did I do that?

I'd like to take a moment to take stock and reflect on a personal achievement.

Yesterday marked the completion of the hardest week of my training!!!


If you'd have said a couple of months ago that I'd manage 55 miles in a week, I'd have laughed you out of the room.

I may also have referred you to some kind of psychiatric assessment.

But, somehow, that's what I've just done.

The wee ahead is 'only' about 50 - depending on what I choose to do on Sat. Then it's tapering down from 49, 43, 32 (oh bliss!) before peaking again at 58 which includes the marathon itself.

Still a tough couple of weeks ahead, but that's the point - the harder these are, the easier (relatively speaking!) the big day itself will be!

So there's some light at the end of the tunnel.

Even if the tunnel is 232 miles long...


232 miles.

That's like from my house in Chertsey to Thirsk.

View Larger Map

That's brought me back down to earth with a bang.

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing

Lots of blogging action this weekend.

The first few are feeling it a bit, but hopefully take heart in knowing that they're not the only ones going through it!

The Marathoner is having a bit of a crisis of confidence, so send her some love. Though new shoes on the horizon seems to have cheered her up - I could make a comment about women and shopping but I don't want to get beaten up.

Running for Rhinos is in a bit of a post-Silverstone rut, which from the most positive e-marathoner out there is worrying. Typically he finishes sounding more determined to do better, which is the kind of optimism that never appears at PRL Towers.

Sir Jog a Lot is another suffering a bit of doubt - despite magic beans. Like a true man, he's going to tinker with the innards of his times to see what's going on!

Becki Saves the Rhinos found her zone in a zen-like state of happiness whilst on her furthest continuous run so far. Or it could have been too many painkillers.

Mad as a box of frogs made 16 miles non-stop and seems to be running in the rural version of the 28 Days Later - where is everyone?

Jim seems to be secretly duelling with me on my long run - in the nicest possible way. If you're a gambler, bet everything on him - easy money!

3 chickens had a 20 mile race and was fast and supportive of his running mate- if a little fixated by inventing a game show and peeing.

Dan Worth blames geology for making runs harder than necessary - it's a fair point, and when I perfect time travel, I'm gonna see how a few rocks moved around millions of years ago could make all mine easier.

Less than five weeks to go!

Blister free socks my a***

As the title of this post suggests, the 20-miler yesterday wasn't all sweetness and light.

The claim by the 1,000 mile sock company, or whatever they're called, to prevent blisters, is - in my opinion - hollow.

The top half of the little toe on my left foot is entirely blister.


You betcha.

Anyway, putting false marketing claims aside, how did it go?

Waking up at 6am isn't something I find too bad - my weekday alarm goes off at 5:50am.

But on a Sunday?

I'm sure Jesus would have something to say about that – was there a parable about the sleep-deprived runner who slowly lost the plot?

So, the sound of my phone chirruping at me at the crack of dawn yesterday was met with some... how can I say... resistance!

I wanted to egt my porridge in me and digesting away before I set off, so after making that, there was an hour of sitting around watching News 24. I don't know if you've ever watched it that early on a Sunday, but they don't give it a lot of razamatazz! Jut lots of repeats of pieces like Click and Oddbox. I guess it gives them time to give the studio a vac.

Digestion over, I slipped on the kit, shoved some gels in my pocket and headed out.

I'd decided to try a four-loops of five miles strategy for this beast of a run, which turns out was a bloody good idea.

I left three bottles of drink behind my garden wall and began plodding along.

To say traffic was light on the first loop is something of an understatement!

I was taking it v easy as I'd planned to pick it up after halfway, so spent the first five miles checking out the scenery and generally sauntering.

Towards the end of the lap, I tucked into a gel, and grabbed a bottle as I went past the house.

I didn't actually need a drink yet, but thought it best to sip a bit to keep ahead of the hydration curve, though sadly I still don't have the ability to run and drink at the same time an managed to dribble copiously at one point.

This isn't normally an issue, but somehow I'd managed to spill on my shorts so there was a nice wet patch around my crotch. Annoyingly it was on a stretch where i was running with the sun behind me so I had a good stint of looking like I'd wet myself.


The end of the second lap saw another gel taken on, and another drink picked up.

This was where I started to ease up the pace, and I realised I run in a strange way.

When I'm just 'taking it easy' (like running is ever easy!) I seem to run more with my calves. When I up it, its more from the thighs - does that make sense?

So when I picked it up, the dull ache in my calves faded, and I could feel my thighs picking up the strain.

It was like suddenly finding a completely different engine in your car when you're running out of petrol.

Or it could have been the Lucozade and gel combo...

The first two laps had been exactly the same pace, and the third turned out to be nicely faster - am I the only one who thinks this training malarkey is like witchcraft or something?

So, lap four began with the happy thought that it's 'only five miles' to go.

Keeping up a brisk pace, passing where I thought it was about halfway round the loop, my body seemed to suddenly remember that it hates me.

There was a sharp 'twinge' in my right knee - I won't say 'pain' as it wasn't that bad - which caught me unawares.

I eased down a bit and carried on, but then it came back, this time with a bit more bite.

I eased right down now and began to run through various scenarios in my mind:

My leg would fall off - thats not too bad, as the hospital wasn't far from where I was. I'd just need to drag myself to the main road where someone would stop to help. I'd need to remember the leg though, so worked out how I could make a kind of harness for it using my laces and t-shirt, thus freeing up my arms to drag myself more efficiently.

It would go away by itself - nice thought, but I know my body's loathing of me, so this was just it's way of trying to suck me in.

The thoughts were then interrupted by another twinge, at which point I thought, screw it, it's not worth the risk and started to walk.

As I was looping, it wasn't long to get home, and I consoled myself that I at least got about 18 and a bit miles done.

When I got in, I stretched, showered, strapped knee and spent the day chilling.

This included checking my route and I discovered that once again gmap-pedometer disagrees with the route planner on the FLM site. The latter says each loop is 5.66 miles.

So, three laps was 17 miles, plus more than halfway around, say 3 miles (5.66/2 = 2.83).

So, turns out I'd actually probably done my 20 miles!

Whoo hoo!!

Shame my sodding toes killing...

To loop, or not to loop...?

Think I've got my route sorted for tomorrows 20 miler.

Given my inability to run holding things, I'm gonna try a risky strategy...

I've found a 5 mile loop (well, 5.0006 miles really, but I'll take the hit) so am gonna do four of them (4 x 5miles = 20 miles!).

This has a few of things going for it:
  1. I can leave bottles of drink by my garden and pick them up when I go past
  2. It's a proper marker for trying the weird gel things
  3. I'll never be more than a couple of miles from home so if I get into trouble I can get back easily
Sounds good?

But there's some downside:
  1. Loops are the Devil's run - they tempt you to finish earlier with the promise of a sit down every time you go past your house. I like sitting down
  2. There's a real chance of boredom as you keep going past the same things
  3. I could get dizzy
On balance, I reckon it's worth giving it a try though.

I'm gonna take it super slow for the first couple of laps, and try to pick it up for the third. The fourth will be pretty much a 'lets see how I feel' lap - I'm guessing it'll be slow again, but it'd be good to try and finish well.

So, today I'm carbing up, getting my stuff ready, and taking it easy after 5 very cautious miles this morning.

Then up bright and early tomorrow (about 6am - I love training, I really do!) to get the porridge in me. Gonna give it a bit more time to digest this time so hopefully I won't end up with runners guts like last week.

Touch wood, the better planning this week has done the job!

Caling all fellow e-marathoners!

Blogging's been a bit light this week, but I hope everyone gets back on form for their big weekend runs!

I'm heading up to 20 miles (and still haven't found a route!), and a few others will be pushing it this weekend too.

I want to read about the pain, the heartache, the drama, the interesting sights and smells of your training - the real nitty gritty that people who are too sensible to try this kind of thing don't get to hear about!

So, when you collapse on Sunday aft, try to do it in front of your computer and share it with the world, and I'll add you to my Super weekend blogging action round up type thing on Monday.

Sequins challenge update

My call to arms for more donations to get me to wear a sequinned top seems to be working.

Prompted an extra £52 in donations so far.

I'm trying to get 20 sponsors on my Justgiving page - any sum you like - to include the word sequin in the message, then I'll do it.

As a sweetener, the kids at HAY have already started putting it together

Here, you can see the lovely red sequins being put on my number on the back, but I shan't be wearing it unless I get up to 20 sequin messages - on 4 so far so still a way to go!

Go on, you know you want to make me suffer...

Inevitable cliched nutrition/hydration entry - with a twist

Someone at work sent me a few links to some websites that give advice on diet for active people.

You know the type - they usually have some kind of "top ten tips to smash your PB", neatly condensed into a convenient couple of lines, with headings like "muscles are fuel tanks - fill them properly".

By some freakish coincidence these websites happen to be selling exactly the thing you need to "smash your PB!"




These really p**s me off.

I know there is a lot of science involved in sports nutrition, but I think it's usually best explained by people who don't work for companies selling nutrition aids.

Or am I being closed-minded?

Some of them are so obviously plugging particular pruducts, and spouting pseudo-scientific bollocks that it'd be quite easy to imagine someone new to running, already terrified they've got to run 26.2 miles, getting so frightened they empty their wallets/purses to avoid the near-certainty of death that awaits them as they cross the start line.

Here's a tip from your uncle Phil - running a marathon is unpleasant, hard, painful and possibly the stupidest thing you will ever do. Worry about that!

Yes, people do occasionally die running them, but just because you didn't buy another super-electrolyte-carb-based-whey-protein-glucose-shake-with added fois gras doesn't mean your thighs will collapse in on themselves like a dying star, sucking you through the resulting black hole torn through spacetime.

So, here's my general rule of thumb guide to diet and nutrition:*
  • Eat lots of carbs - pasta, rice etc. But for the love of God/Allah/Vishnu/flying spaghetti monster learn to cook a few different recipes or you'll find yourself visualising many different ways to shove a plate down Uncle Ben's throat**.
  • Keep your fluids up during the day - if you're thirsty, have a drink. Apparently, water's pretty good to stop you dehydrating.
  • Energy drinks etc. are good if you're running for more than an hour (which I think I'm safe in assuming most people reading this will be***) - but get used to them first as they can do weird things to your guts. Trust me.
  • Jelly babies are your friend when you're running - I found biting their smug little faces off helped me keep going.
  • find what works for you - that's what training's for. I'm a 29 year old 5'7'', 11 stone northerner with love of my sofa, my bed, and not aching. What I do probably won't work for an 18-year old 6'4'' lass from Kenya who's spent her entire life running 15 mile fartleks for a giggle.
I feel a bit better for getting that off my chest.

You may now carry on with your day, or feel free to add your own thoughts below.

* This should not be mistaken for good advice - you get that from people who aren't writing a pissy blogpost because they just got riled by some crap on a website I don't even want to justify by linking to.
** I got up to 37.
*** Apologies to my audience of those with wheels for feet and jet propulsion units for a head - you'll have to Google around for advice

Sequins challenge

I'm still in the hunt for more pledges for my dazzling idea.

Basically, I've had a few people promise to sponsor me for running the london marathon in a top designed by some of the kids from my charity Hounslow Action for Youth with my number in sequins!

I'm willing to do it if I can get 20 people to sponsor me however much they want via my Justgiving page and put the word "sequin" in the message.

From a quid to £20 - I just want to see the word sequin on there 20 times!

Surely it's worth it?

Anti-social networker - catch up II

The first thrilling instalment of my catch up blog was a cliffhanger...

Would I make it to my 12-miler the next day?

Would the success of the 6 miler go to my head?

Would Susan's feelings towards Karl's child with Izzy impact on her relationship with her soon-to-be son-in-law Dan?

I've got no idea about the last one, but I'd guess yes.

Anyway, woke up the day after my six miler feeling pretty ok. Aching was at no greater level than usual from tired muscles.


Carefully packed my bag with everything I needed, and only the essentials and shimmied into work.

Then, a couple of hours in, I was hit by a bombshell.

Not an actual bombshell - a metaphorical one.

The nicer kind of bombshell.

Anyway, the gist of the bomshell was a meeting I'd been trying to set up for a week had been scheduled for 4pm. That sucks as I want to leave at 4 to run home (please bear in mind I get in before 7:30 am every day!).

I didn't want to run later as I had someone coming round to collect some stuff so I was faced with missing 12 miles of running loveliness (yes, that is your sarcasm detector going off te scale).

Fortunately for my training, unfortunately for work, the meeting got cancelled at 3pm, so I had an hour to get mentally ready to get out.

Once I got changed and got going the main thing that hit me was how warm it was.

I was only in t-shirt and hi-viz, but I was boiling.

Bause I was running pretty much dead east for the first 4 or 5 miles, I just couldn't find any shade.

The hi-viz lasted a mile and the Lucozade I started with lasted about 3 miles, then a mile later I jumped into a shop for a 750ml bottle of water.

I didn't actually "jump", but you know what I mean.

That lasted all of 3 miles before I got another half litre bottle.

Heading out of Ashford I found some shade, but it's worrying that at about 12 degrees I went through 1.75 litres of fluid over 12 miles.

Which seems a lot.

I didn't really run when it was warm last year, so this is all a bit new to me.

It's not like I'm a big fat sweaty minger (I don't think - please be gentle in the comments) so what's going on there?

Does my northerness mean I can't cope with temperatures in double digits for running?

Anti-social networker - catch up I

Been a busy week so far, so not had many blogging opportunities.

For the millions of you out there who have been wondering how my monster week is going so far, this is where I start to put you out of your misery.

Don't worry, I'm not going to shoot you.

Or take you away to the vet, never to be seen again.

It's just a catch up.

Tuesday was a recovery 6 miler which turned into a bit of an ego run. I went out with nothing – no bottle, no MP3, no keys, no small change, no work pass, none of the little bits I find myself having to carry when I've been on the longer runs lately.

It. Was. Brilliant.

Well, brilliant is a bit strong. But it was definitely the best run I've had so far.

I know it was only 6 miles, but I got into my stride straight away. My form was the best it's even been, and I ran the whole thing really strongly – though way too fast.

Not a little bit fast, but about 40 per cent quicker than my target pace for the whole marathon.

I kept thinking about reining it in but I couldn't.

I was having an epiphany! All these weeks/months of training and there was such a marked improvement it was unreal.

Seems this training malarkey works. Who'd 'a thunk it?

I got in, stretched, showered etc. and then the niggling worrying began.

Had I overdone it? Would the next days12 miler be harder as I'd be aching?

Find out next time, on Phil Runs London...

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing - addendum

Apologies to my fave Rhino-hat wearing e-marathoneer Becki for not getting this done yesterday - the day went a bit mad, and this morning's not been much better.

Her random thoughts on her Silverstone Half Marathon were a little too easy to comprehend for my liking eg. no Rhino poo!

To compensate, I'll repost her pic of her early attenpts at a Rhino horn:

Next week, I'll try to get everyone onto one posting!

Game on!

How long did I say?

There's been a sense of renewed purpose here in the secret bunker beneath PRL towers the last couple of days.

The array of wall mounted charts that a rotate into the wall to look like bookshelves have been covered with charts and highly scientific looking graphs.

Screens have been flickering with data sent from sophisticated satellite monitoring systems with minute-by-minute weather models.

And the kettle has been on pretty much constantly.

Why this frenzy of activity, I hear you ask (if that's the kind of thing you ask, and if you could somehow talk to a blog)?

I've looked ahead at this weeks training, and the term “monster month” suddenly has been brought home to me.

Six miles tonight, 12 Weds, 12 Fri, five Sat, 20 on Sunday.

Sadly that last one's not a typo.

This whole escapade was begun on the premise that I refuse to let my body dictate what I can and can't do.

Sad? Pathetic? Naive?


But I'm northern and we're a stubborn breed.

So I'm planning, "horizon scanning" and generally plotting to make sure that each and every run this week will go well.

I'm planning routes, meals, drinks, and even what I take to work so runs home aren't hampered by overstuffed pockets.

I'm even thinking about how to get into the right frame of mind for each run. I'm not talking about any hippy/tree hugger time meditation thing, but something more manly.

Not sure what yet, but I know from runs in the last month or so that the more I'm "up for it", if you'll pardon the expression, the better the run. "Better"being relative rather than absolute!

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing

Big news at the weekend was the Adidas Silversone Half Marathon.

I didn't go, but lots of fellow e-marathoners did, and it seems to have gone pretty well.

Whilst Mad as a Box of Frogs managed his pacing brilliantly, he came a cropper leaving the car park – wonder what the Garmin splits would have looked like for that?

3 chickens (whose weekend delivery adds the legitimacy his blog name was lacking up to now) managed to get out quicker than Mad As (I suspect insider knowledge), and set a blistering PB.

Jim seems to have voices singing to him in his head. But it sounds like Fleetwood Mac so it's not necessarily time for the men in white coats!

Dan Worth was sometimes hot, sometimes windy but shaved 7 mins 19 seconds off his PB.

Running for Rhinos got over his nerves and inexplicably talked himself out of walking for a bit despite his running buddy Becki Saves the Rhinos agreeing to do it as well.

Becki hasn't posted yet, though she had some "random thoughts" (don't we all - sharks on rollerskates are my musing for the day...) she'll get down soon.

I hope one of them includes here reasoning for her sneaky sprint finish to beat R4R!

I was debating posting a list of everyone's times, but it's not about that.

Main thing was everyone got round in one piece, showed themselves thay can do it, and now have laser beam focus for the London Marathon - less than six weeks to go!

Dazzling idea*

A couple of comments on a post on Thursday about my visit to my chosen charity, Hounslow Action for Youth, have hit upon aa potentially rich new seam of fundraising - thanks to 3 chickens.


Not the trading of them on the commodities market (I've no idea what they're made of, but they're shiny!), but the inclusion of them upon my running vest.

To a lesser man, this might seem somewhat effeminate.

I know I come across as an incredibly butch, strong, super-athletic Northern alpha male *cough* but I'm perfectly happy wearing a pink shirt.

I'm comfortable with myself in this regard, so don't have any machismo hang-ups about my appearance (my friends/colleagues/people who've walked past me can confirm this!).

I've alerted my crack team of t-shirt designers** to be ready to include my race number somewhere on my top, in sequins.

So far I've had two offers of a tenner (one from 3 Chickens, and one from a Kiwi friend we managed to successfully get ejected from the country - hi Emz, hope that cream has cleared up your rash!***).

I'm gonna see if I can drum up some more cash around work and friends, but I think this might be a nice little addition to the fundraising!

There could be some downside though.

Whilst I'm perfectly happy to ignore "traditional" gender roles, I have no earthly idea how you put sequins onto something.

I imagine it might involve stitching, which could lead to chafing issues - somewhere else for the Vaseline then!

Also, if I get "in the zone", there's a real danger that my blistering pace could see them dislodged from my top at incredible speed.

The potential for other runners and spectators receiving shrapnel injuries as the shiny disks fly towards them is something I'm going to have to give a lot of thought to. The idea of being responsible for permanently implanting a sequin in someones forehead does not sit comfortably with me.

*Possibly the worst title I've ever given a posting...
** It just dawned on me that having kids do this makes me some kind of sweatshop baron, and I'm surprisingly ok with it.
*** I hope she doesn't get another visa or I'm dead.

Sunday morning run

Yesterdays's 15 miler was a perfect example of why I sometimes have bad training runs.

I got up at 6am to get some porridge in me, and pottered about for an hour to digest it.

I set off, resenting the early start, and was pleasantly surprised by the nice weather.

Settling at a decent pace was hard. I think this is another problem I get when I'm carrying stuff - in this case drinks. I was trying a new route though so thought I'd get there eventually.

I started to grumble to myself about how annoying this was, which I knew wasn't helpful, but I couldn't help myself.

Half a mile before my turnaround mark, my stomach started to feel a bit weird. I just thought it was being odd as it was the morning, so tried to put it to the back of my mind, as I didn't need another mental roadblock holding me back.

On the way back, it happened again, and this time I had to stop as it felt like Etna was rumbling in there.

I started again, but at a slower pace as that seemed to make it easier, but that only lasted about 20 minutes until it felt like I was gonna explode.

There's a leisure centre on the new route, so I thought I'd try to pop in there as I passed it, but it wasn't open that early on a Sunday - which I found odd.

Don't get me wrong, I don't know much about leisure centres/gyms, but I just assumed they opened early so the keep-fitters could feel the burn nice and early.

In this case, I was wrong.

So I kept going - more slow-jogging than running now - in an almost bent over way.

I won't describe what happened when I went home, but it's certainly added something to my pre-run preparations, which now looks like this:
  • eat early, and give good length of time to digest
  • hydrate properly - before, during and after
  • mentally prepare for it, and try not to find the reasons it's hard
I need to try to get these right before every run otherwise the training won't be doing enough to get me round.

So, more planning before training runs needed!


Home runs, bleeding toes and pizzas

Taking it easy tonight before early rise for 15 miler in the morning - perfect time to update on yesterdays run home (when no-one's reading!)

Not a great run home - traffics a nightmare on a Friday. Took ten minutes to cross the pathless bridge of death, which actually got a bit scary at times. It's amazing how many people don't see someone wearing hi-viz until they're about two feet from hitting them!

I've decided running carrying things aint for me - had bottle and phone and wanted to sling them after not very long.

There were lots of stops at junctions, for traffic, and for people who walk incredibly slowly and can't m aintain a steady course.

Seriously, how hard is it to walk in a straight line between where you are, and where you want to be?

If you were carrying a piano it'd be understandable if you occasionally swayed, but a handbag doesn't count.

Also got home to see this:

Note, the slight red tinge towards the front right of the shoe.

Further investigation revealed this:

I debated stopping there, but curiosity got the better of me and I discovered this:


Thanks for the help Bob

Thanks to Dan Worth, via the charlatan Sir Jog a Lot* I've been able to get my first celebrity endorsement!

* I saw Sir J's, which spurred me to do it, so originally credited him, but it seems he callously stole it from a small child, who had been given it by Dan.

I think.

It's very confusing, and a fine example of 1 - my rubbish memory, and 2 - why it's bad to "borrow" ideas from others. I promise to try to be more original.

Why don't I set up some kind of website where people can "socially network" with other people they know?

They could "pinch" each other, create "gangs" and share pics of each others faces on their pages. Like a yearbook...

I think I'll call it "facepage"...

Silverstone race guide

For those of you doing the Silverstone Half on Sunday, I've* put together this helpful guide**:

A lap of Silverstone starts with the fast, but challenging, Copse Corner.

Hit the right hander flat out, before easing off as you swing through the bend. It's off-camber at the exit so take care with those ankles.

A short burst takes you to the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel S-bends.

Maggots is by the pit exit, so be aware other runners who've had their tyres - sorry, trainers - changed flying out onto the track***.

Take the sequence of right and left flicks as fast as you can without losing control, before swinging out onto the fastest section of the track - Hanger straight.

You can really put your foot - sorry, feet - down here on the way to Stowe.

The late apex here means you have to brake - sorry, slow down - into the corner. I usually flick through the gears, but you might want to just not put your feet in front of each other quite as quickly.

Be careful not to understeer - sorry, running too far off the line - as it will affect your lap time a lot.

You then roll out into an easy exit along Vale that leads to Club, before braking - sorry, slowing down - for the long right-hander.

Be careful of oversteer - sorry, running too far inside the line - as you accelerate - sorry, run faster - through the corner here.

Coming through Club, get up through the gears - sorry, reach a comfortable pace - to accelerate out of the corner.

Next is a short straight to the left of Abbey corner, which has a fast entry and is a good place for overtaking.

There is a short exit before the flick right of Farm, and you'll then slow as you go up and over the hill into Bridge corner, which you can take flat out.

You're then coming into the Stadium Complex where you can really get some overtaking done!

It starts with a quick entry into Luffield. It’s quite fun to drift out there and it tends to dance around with the back end - sorry, I'm not even going to attempt a running alternative for that!

You come out of Luffield and get on the brakes - sorry, slow down - for the tight left of Priory, which is immediately followed by another tight left at Brooklands. This is where you'll see those a bit behind you running towards the corner you just left - a good chance to sopt anyone on a flying lap so you can take a defensive line.

The sweeping right of Woodcote is the final corner, and you accelerate through the two apexes of the bend as you swing back round onto the pit straight to complete your lap.

Remember, making F1 style noises might seem a bit naff, but if you don't, you'll get a 20 second time penalty.

********* update***************

As pointed out by 3 chickens, you need to be careful of punctures - sorry, screws in shoes - due to the debris left my the petrolheads.

I wonder if when the cars go back there's lots of bits of runners lying around on the track...?

* Thanks to for the map, and several iterations of F1 games on PlayStation, for the info.
** Though I can't imagine it being that helpful as 1. I wrote it, and 2. it's not just straightforward laps on the day!
*** That might only happen in my head

Things I notice to pass time when running

Things I overtook on run home yesterday:
  • 4 bikes - 2 ridden by women of a certain age, 1 small child and 1 father teaching aforementioned small child how to ride a bike
  • 1 motability scooter - I may have lost control momentarily and actually made the sound of an F1 car as I overtook, rather than merely thinking it
  • 2 fellow runners - in your face!
  • 1 dog - not so much overtook as ran away from
Things that overtook me:
  • multiple cars - obv
  • multiple bikes - including another woman of a certain age who couldn't seem to ride in a straight line
  • 1 goose - doing weird running take off thing by the river

This is what it's all about

I've now got the JustGiving page set up for my chosen charity, Hounslow Action for Youth.

I went to meet some of the kids, and the arts programme worker who's supervising the design of the top I'll be wearing on the big day!

I rocked up there yesterday (bit late - thank you TfL!) in my running kit, ready for the run home afterwards.

I was chatting to the arts woman when some kids turned up, and a girl wandered over to me and said "I've designed this for you!" and showed my a pic of a top she'd designed!

I didn't even know they'd been told about it, so it was ace she'd already spent some of her own time designing it!

It looked a billion times better than anything I would have done, but I realised I'd need to brief them a bit better - she'd gone for long-sleeves, and there was no space for my number.

I told them about the space I need to have, and the lack of sleeves, so they're plotting that now.

Looking forward to seeing the results!

A change is not as good as a rest, but it's ok

Home, showered, and munching wraps in front of tv.


My 9.5 miler from HAY was actually pretty ok as runs go. The knee has some residual soreness, but seems to be handling it pretty well!

I decided to ditch the music and try to make the most of the different scenery.

Now I doubt many of you have been to the Feltham area, but if you have "picturesque" isn't something you'd expect it to be associated with.

But the few miles through there on the beginning of my journey were pretty funky.

I almost agree with 3 chickens about how nice it was running today. I don't think I'll ever be full of the same kind of joy, but it certainly was nicer than the cold and rain.

The beautiful weather made everything seem to glow, and without the earphones I noticed the parks, rivers, and other charming features that you miss if you're just shooting through in the car.

The "bridge of death" was as much fun as before, and it was an Audi again - if you've got one, please learn how wide you are!

I managed to make it the whole way without more bladder issues. In fact, I even stopped for a top up at the petrol station.

Not for petrol (though, it sort of was I guess), I got more Lucozade.

I had 500ml a couple of hours before, had another 500ml mixed for the run, then bought another 500ml.

That seems excessive.

It might be my Northerness, but I reckon it's linked to it being a bit warmer. I get uncomfortably warm above 12 degrees, so running on a sunny evening may have led to excessive sweating.


I need to try weighing myself before and after a run to see how much moisture I lose. I really want to get that right as that was one of the most annoying things last time - queueing for the loo doesn't half hit your time.

So does losing the use of both knees, which was the most annoying thing last time!

Right, I have a plan

After way too much distraction (also known as work) I've at last picked my route for tonight.

This has been a painstaking operation, involving lots of pouring over maps projected onto the walls of my secret bunker, pointing at things using a stick, and beating fists on tables.

To summarise, I'll get to HAY via bus wearing shorts (that'll no doubt entertain the kids), and will then have a nice 9.5 mile run home.

It's not a brilliant route, but there were much worse. There could be issues with the "bridge of death" again, but I can't find another route where I don't run out of footpath, which between 5 and 6pm is a teensy bit dangerous.

I also need to get 5 x 1,000m fast sections in there, which sounds good, but I have no idea how far 1,000m is.

So, after more fist-banging, pointing and accompany montage music, I've printed out the route with 1 km markers to on there to take with me so I can at least have a good guess.

If it's wrong, the worst that can happen according to complex modelling through game-theory is I get eaten by wolves, so I'll give it a whirl.

I'm drinking another of those weird Lucozade powder things at my desk, and have a different one to make up for when I'm actually running.

Kit's in my bag, remembered socks, got knee strap as well to be safe, so think I'm ready!

I don't think I've prepared so much for something in my life!

Just remembered I need to top up my Oyster card - buttocks.

Blogging on the go

Got jazzy new phone thing so am seeing how easy it is to blog from.

Weird touchscreen takes some getting used to, but i'm getting there!

Now how do I send?
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Tonights mission...

I mentioned yesterday that today I will be going to meet some of the kids from Hounslow Action for Youth, and I was a bit nervous.

I typically self-defiant style, I've decided to make it even less pleasant by running home from there.

This will take some planning as I hate running with a bag, the normal driven route has no footpaths, and I need to add in some "long-cuts" so it's up to the right length.

I need to leave stuff at work, get to the place on the bus, then run from there. I'm thinking get changed here and go there in my running stuff.

But then I'll look like a tool - a bloke in running kit on the bus just looks lazy.

That's nothing new, and not really something I'm bothered about, but it's a factor.

I'm now going to heat my porridge (not the same as proper porridge, but it'll do), pour over maps and charts in my secret bunker, and shuffle models of U-boats across a table whilst making sonar noises a la Jonesy from Police Academy.

Should be a productive day!

Urgent illness update!

Following my initial suspicions this morning, news has reached me that a third e-marathoner has gone down with a mystery illness.

Siclark is suffering from "lurgy".

PRL Towers has gone into full on lockdown mode - I'm writing this from a secure bunker with air being filtered through hi-tech systems that it's too complicated to explain.

I'm still awaiting confirmation as to reports that Si recently opened an email from "Terry O'Rist", but in the meantime, be on your guard!

The best way to stay safe is to
donate money to e-marathoners - ideally me, but there are others (see "Super weekend blogging action round up type thing").

Buy canned goods now - ideally wholemeal carbohydrates - and take the vitamin C!

Above all else, stay vigilant!!!

Illness or terrorists?

After 3 Chickens succumbed to man 'flu, news reaches the secret bunker beneath PRL Towers that another e-marathoner has been struck down by illness.

Becki Saves the Rhinos has come down with a cold (were she male, it might be more accurately diagnosed as man 'flu).

Now one person getting ill is ok (unless it's you, in which case it sucks), two could be coincidence, but three...?

I'm now closely monitoring Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere to see if there's any pattern.

This could be some kind of electronically-transferred super virus unleashed by terrorists to diminish the usual spectacle of the London Marathon, thus depriving charities of millions of pounds, and leading to a collapse in the social fabric of the nation.

People wearing rhino costumes will be looting shops. Groups of men chained together in a line will be hijacking lorries carrying food. Women wearing large pink afro wigs, wings and tutus will be mugging pensioners on their way to the few remaining Post Offices we have left.

To avoid this kind of carnage and social upheaval, you need to act now!

Here's how you can help beat the terrorists:
  1. Take vitamin C - I've proven beyond all possible doubt in highly scientific tests that it works.
  2. Donate money to people running the marathon - ideally me, but there are others out there too (see my weekly "Super weekend blogging action round up type thing" for more)
  3. Be careful opening emails from anyone whose name is "A Terrorist" - it could be a trap.
  4. Never, under any circumstances, ever agree to run a marathon. Unless you really want to. Or you enjoy suffering. Or you're Paula Radcliffe - but only then if you're not injured/have been to the toilet before the race.
If you follow these simple steps the London Marathon will be saved and you should be safe from the terrorist threat.

Stay safe.

Doing it for the kids

Tomorrow, I'll be finishing work a wee bit early and heading over to the Hanworth Centre to meet some of the kids that are supported by my chosen charity Hounslow Action for Youth.

As well as meeting them, I'll be getting them going on designing the artwork/logo of the vest I'll be wearing for the marathon.

At the moment I'm a bit nervous about this for a couple of reasons.

I'm painfully aware of my own artistic limitations at their age. If I were doing it it'd look horrific. Saying that, they've got an art tutor overseeing the whole thing, and it wouldn't be difficult for them to make a better job of it than I could - even now.

Also, in my head I'm rehearsing for any questions they might have; mentally practising inspirational lines about how it's important to keep going - even though it's tough - because it will be worth it in the end.

But these are kids aged from 8 to 13 so are therefore completely unpredictable.

Whilst I might think they'll ask about how much training it takes, what's it like running down The Mall etc, they could come at me from left field with something like “how many marathons would it take to get to Wales?” or “Have you ever popped a cap in someone's ass?”*

That's what I'd do if I were them.

Some strange bloke you don't know coming in, asking you to do his work for him, on the promise of getting them money at some point in the future for running around London, when there's a perfectly good** tube system.

It does sound a bit weird when you put it like that.

What if I make one of my ridiculously inappropriate jokes? I have a habit of doing that to try to diffuse awkward situations.

Unfortunately, I'm northern (that's not the unfortunate bit, that's awesome!), in my late 20's, I have a first class degree in politics and history, a particularly dark sense of humour, and haven't listened to the charts since I was about 8 and discovered decent music.

So not a lot of material I can relate to streetwise kids from outer west London with there!

Although you never know. They might enjoy my fave Marxist joke***.

My plan is to relax and try to enjoy it – at the end of the day, I would hope that I'd be able to outrun them!

* I haven't, to the best of my knowledge
** I may be exaggerating slightly
*** Why did the Marxist drink herbal tea? Because proper tea is theft!

Fundraising survey results

A week or so ago I asked about how the fundraising was going.

My thinking was that it's harder this year given that people are feeling a bit less generous under these grey economic clouds.

I've had a pleasant time looking at the results, but though the sample size is way too small to be interpreted to mean anything significant.

To give a bit of background on the sample:
  • 62.5 per cent respondents have a bond place
  • 37.5 per cent of respondents have run the London marathon before
Which is about what I expected.
  • pledge levels of those with a bond place range from £1,000 to £4,000 with a mean average of £2,000
  • 37.5 per cent of respondents are confident (either quite or very) about reaching their target
  • 25 per cent are worried (either quite or very) about reaching their target
Oddly, the highest pledge is quite confident they'll get there, but the lowest is slightly worried. I say oddly, but if you'd pledged to raise four grand I'm guessing you'd need balls of steel (or female equivalent) so are probably quite a confident person anyway.
  • 80 per cent of those with ballot places will top up the total if they don't reach it themselves
  • 71.4 per cent of those responding are finding it difficult to get donations
  • Of those who have run the London Marathon before, two-thirds are finding fundraising harder than before. The remaining third are finding it the same – no-one's finding it easier
It's encouraging that despite almost three quarters of respondents finding it difficult to get donations, only a quarter are worried about not being able to reach their targets.

I guess if you're running a marathon you're already a pretty determined kind of person, so you'll be knuckling down and getting on with it.

Hopefully the four-fifths who said they'd top up their donations up themselves won't have to do that – the idea that you should have to dig into your own pocket after all these months of training and work seems cruel and unusual to me.

But then this whole training for, and running a marathon, is pretty cruel and unusual.

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing - addendum

The Marathoner/Sam has a mile-by-mile account of her weekend shenanigans involving horses, self-doubt and an awesome pic of her blood blister.

She gets bonus points for use of photography to illustrate how horrible training is!

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing

Mixed bag of runs this weekend:

Three Chickens progress is like a movie cliff-hanger now he's succumbed to man-flu - will he recover in time to get back on schedule? Will he get the roof on his new chicken house thing? Stay tuned to find out!

Jim is revving up for Silverstone with some speed work - with mixed success.

Another Silverstoner, Mad As A Box of Frogs, suffered from wind, raced a deer and hurt his buttock. There's not a lot more you can say to that...

Kusasi/Running for Rhinos is being v. professional with his target-setting and runners lingo. The thin veneer may have cracked with the swearing at traffic though...

They're the only blog updates I've seen so far (I'm starting to worry about Sir Jog A Lot and The Marathoner)

There is news from other marathoners on Twitter though...

Becki Saves the Rhinos was out rattling her collection tin at the weekend, and, inexplicably, has business cards made of rhino poo...

Sam Shepherd did 16 miles and has a blood blister.

People seemed a bit less positive this weekend (welcome to the dark side...) but I think the grotty weather isn't helping.

Good efforts all round though, and I'm looking forward to next weekends blogging when it seems almost everyone but me will be at Silverstone!

Once more into the fray...

So the knee's doing much better than I thought it would, so I'm gonna give it a trial tonight – just a gentle 5-miler to get back into it.

Fingers crossed it'll be up to it.

Checked my training schedule for the week and I've got a couple of hard days coming up mid-week, including a monster VO2 session on Weds.

I really want to try to get all my runs done properly this week as after almost a week out, I'm getting a slight panic.

Earlier in my training I missed a bit for illness, and with only seven weeks to go, I know from experience that I can't afford to miss much more.

Saying that, the same experience also tells me that I can't afford to get injured so I can see this being a tough week as I try to strike a balance between useful runs, and not overdoing it.

My 10 mile VO2 is followed the next day by a 12 miler, which seems excessive, but I need my body to be used to these demands – we are now entering “monster month” after all.

This is where I really start to push myself and build on the previous months of training.

It's gonna hurt, but it'll pay dividends when I hit London on April 26.

I just really don't expect I'm going to enjoy this...

Weekend runs

After some really good responses to Monday's round-up of fellow London Marathon bloggers, I'll be doing it again after people's weekend runs.

If I missed you last time, kick me to add you as it's great to see how we're all doing - misery does love company after all!

So good luck for the Sunday "long-run" - hope you're carbing up ready!

Fundraising survey - reminder

As it's the weekend and I'm not pushing it after rolling my knee, I've got the ideal way to relax - writing up the results of my super fun fundraising survey.

So, this is a call for anyone running the London Marathon for charity to fill in the seven questions, so I get to play with spreadsheets.

I'll probably do the crunhing tomorrow aft to post something early in the weeks, so there's time.





Direct link to survey here.

Glamour model update No. IV

It looks like our fave former glamour model marathoner is getting on with her training over on sunny Californian beaches.

Along with Mr Price, she's now:
doing at least two runs a week – one long and one short. The long is anything over 11 miles while the short is a circular five-mile route along Malibu Beach.

She also has called in the help of a "top sports nutritionist":
He took those 3D photos of our bodies and has given us an eating plan because currently we both eat c***. The idea is for us to then have our photos taken after the Marathon and see what the difference is.

Is it just me, or does that sound a trifle dodgy?

How soon, is too soon?

Hoorah! My knee feels suspiciously less painful today...

There's still a bit of a dull ache, but it's muchos more comfortable than it felt yesterday - it seems my hi-tech rehabilitation* programme is working!

I'm not saying I could do the Macarena** on it, but it's definitely feeling better than I feared when I limped two miles home bleeding and covered in mud.

Now I'm in a bit of a quandary – when do I start training again, and how much?

Tonight's 11-miler is a no-no. I might be daft, but even I'm not that daft.

But a few gentle miles tomorrow?

Then how quickly do I build it up again?

I also need to get my trainers replaced as I suspect their expiry is linked to the foot pain I was having that caused the whole mess.

They've done a fair few miles, but with 325 miles of training left – minus the bits I'll have to cut down to ease back in – will a new pair see me through to marathon day?

Decisions, decisions...

Will have to get a fresh brew to ponder them. Tea anyone?

* Strap it, lift it, ice it.

** Technically, I couldn't do the Macarena before, it's more of an expression. I'm not saying I can't do it - I've got moves - but it's just not happened yet.

Male brain vs female brain

In an earlier post I talked about fashioning some kind of rest under my desk to help keep my leg elevated.

After a forage around the office I found string, a tray from the canteen and some good-sized clips from which I began trying to fashion a concealed pulley-system.

A female friend wondered what I was doing, looked bemused as I explained excitedly the feat of engineering I was attempting.

"Or you could use that?" she said, pointing to a box of files that would fit at the perfect height under my desk.

It seems to be working, though is somewhat less aesthetically pleasing than my solution would have been.

Hello pain, old friend...

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the brain is exceptionally good at making you forget bad things.

Until they happen again.

After my tumble yesterday, I took it pretty easy (though had to put a sofa together on one-leg - not as easy as it might sound!) to try to give the old knee a chance to start getting it's act together.

It has repaid me with interest this morning by hurting like a good 'un.

And it's persuaded it's friend my ankle to join in the retribution - I'd hadn't realised that I tweaked that too, but it's complaining like I beat it with a crowbar.

I'd forgotten just how much it hurt when I mangled my knee last year - you do use it for more than you think!

On the plus side* (for those who think I'm too negative - you know who you are) it doesn't feel as bad as last time, and the cut's closed nicely and looks clean, so I won't have to hack my own leg off any time soon.

So I'm now wondering how I can fashion some kind of footrest - A-Team syle - under my desk to keet my leg elevated a bit. The tools at my disposal don't fill me with optimism - cardboard boxes, newspapers, and some old maps - but I'm gonna get some caffeine in me and see what I come up with!

* I feel abused for putting that

Phil runs London for...

I'm proud to announce I'll be running the London Marathon on Sunday 26 April for Hounslow Action for Youth.

That is I'm proud to be running for HAY, not to be actually running - I still don't enjoy that bit.

Given the crunchiness of the economy, I know the idea of sponsoring someone isn't necessarily high on most people's agenda, but if you can even spare a couple of pounds it'd be greatly appreciated.

HAY do a fantastic job working with young people in one of the most deprived areas of the country, and any help I can give them will help them carry on the brilliant job they're doing.

As a sweetener for the deal, not only do you get to know you're forcing me to do something I don't enjoy, but you can also follow my progress in a number of ways:
  • this blog - read about how horrible my latest training run was, and other ramblings
  • twitter - where I tweet how it's going, and you can follow/stalk me
  • facebook - join the group and berate me
  • email updates - Simply enter your email into the box on the right of this blog, verify it's you, then you can get regular updates in your inbox.
  • RSS - for those with readers like Google Reader, My Yahoo, Newsfire etc or use Firefox live bookmarks.
As HAY are only a small organisation, they haven't got a Justgiving page (thought we're working on it) so in the meantime I've set up an old school style sponsor form.

This has the added bonus of not being publicly viewable so you can feel free to sponsor as little, or as much, as you'd like.

If you can't give me your support, your pity will also be appreciated - though I expect mockery will be the most common reaction.

Negative + negative = five positives!

Take one generally negative Phil and add a run that may have buggered up his knee.

The result?

An unexpectedly positive blog post!

Who knew that my maths teacher would be so wrong about negative numbers?

After a comment on a post yesterday* I thought I'd slip on an ill-fitting veil of positivity that I stole from a small orphaned child**, to see what rays of sunshine I can find from this mornings escapades.
  1. I'm not dead - always a bonus.
  2. The run was actually pretty good - despite the fact it was in the morning when I usually tank.
  3. I got my fluid intake sorted - no near-bursting bladder incidents.
  4. I remembered how much I enjoy The Replacements cover of Another Girl, Another Planet.
  5. It happened on a day off - when I'm at last getting a sofa I can lie out on delivered!
See, I can be positive!

Or, I got the dosage of my painkillers wrong...

* Reading between the lines, it was - rightly - calling me grumpy.
**Possibly not an appropriate joke given the charity-minded types who run marathons, but I liked it.


I'm sure you'll all be glad to know that I'm still in one piece - hurrah!

On the downside, the piece that's left is not in great shape - boo!

It's like panto this - only with slightly less cross-dressing.

My 12 miler was going as well as running 12 miles can, up to about 9 miles in, when my right foot kept doing a weird thing.

By "weird" I mean it kept hurting. A dull pain when my foot hit the ground.

It wasn't unbearable, so I just thought I'd keep an eye on it.

A mile or so later I was on familiar territory for the home stretch when I landed my foot on a bit of paving that was uneven, and a flash of pain shot through my foot.

As I was mid stride, my right leg just went over sideways on the knee, and I - for want of a better expression - stacked it into the ground via a wall.

I'm more than used to hurting myself through falls etc - a childhood of overexuberant tree climbing, a poor sense of danger, and a pretty high pain threshold mean I often don't realise I've done something til someone points out the blood spouting from whatever new wound I've given myself.

So I just got up (checking no-one saw me - thankfully I think I got away with it), walked gingerly for a few strides, then tried to get going again.

Another sharp stab of pain, this time from my right knee, told me that that was a really dumb idea.

I stopped, grimaced, and assumed the bent over posture of a knackered runner.

When I opened my eyes I saw red.

Lots of red.

Streaming down my leg.

Leaping into paramedic mode, I spat on my finger and prodded what looked like the source - a piece of glass at the bottom of my thigh.

I managed to prise it out using a small key that I've never known to open anything, and gave it another saliva coated rub.

Being 2 miles from home, with no-one around to call on for a lift I had to trudge home slowly, trying not to put weight on my knee.

After an age (it's weird how running's so much quicker than walking isn't it?) I made it in, where I'm now all cleaned up, antisepticed (possibly not a real word), and my knee's strapped up.


Gonna rest up for a bit and see how it goes. It doesn't feel as bad as when I did it last year in training, and that was two weeks out rather than almost two months.

Hopefully, an easy couple of days followed by easing back into the schedule will be enough, but I rather suspect my secret super ambitious target time is out of the window.


I know opinion was divide over pictures, so to find the middle ground, here's one I find disgusting.

My after run drink!

I may not have stirred it enough...

Man down, man down

Just in from 12 miler.

Knee gone.

There's blood and mud everywhere....

Going to hobble to bathroom, will report back soon...

Potential new superfood?

Just had a hearty meal ready for tomorrow morning's 12 miler (got day off as waiting for sofa to arrive).

I thought I needed to add something to make sure I got to my five a day, but the cupboards were a bit sparse.

In the end I had tomatoes with my meal - and an errant one "found" it's way into my gravy.

Ok, ok, I dunked it in there to see what it was like, but the result was awesome!

I strongly suspect this is the superfood of 2009 - no doubt I'll finish in record time tomorrow!

Super weekend blogging action round up type thing - addendum

Couple of stragglers to post on their weekend's antics:

Sam Shepherd is in pain, but seems to enjoy it. Make of that what you will.

Jim is getting bored, and needs a willpower boost - it's bad if even Douglas Adam's can't help.

Sir Jog A Lot finishes his Tolkienesque tales of the Eastbourne Half - including a phonetically magnificent Scottish accent!

Had some good responses to yesterday's round up, so will try to get this done every week. If I miss you, sorry - give me a sound virtual thrashing so I can make up for my ineptness.

Playing with my imaginary friends

The lack of working internet at home is both a blessing and a curse.

On the plus side, it means I don't get distracted by the urge to browse for anything that pops into my head, so I can get on with the many things I need to get done at home – painting, sanding, furniture assembly etc.

On the down side, it means I have to get on with the many things I need to get done at home – painting, sanding, furniture assembly etc.

Another negative is the fact I can't keep update this blog, and lose track of what others are up to.

The web is almost becoming my training partner – I can chat to other marathoners about how they're doing, and get a boost from not feeling like I'm doing it alone.

It's also a good to find out about some of the things you go through during your training, to make sure it's normal and to see what you can do to fix it. The FLM forums on Runners World have been a great source of ideas, especially about nutrition and hydration – the two things I really need to get sorted to make sure my training physically prepares me for 26.2 miles around London.

But, there's also a lot of snake oil out there – promising short cuts and “easy ways” to get around the marathon.

Sadly, these are just pie in the sky - believe me, if there was an easy way to do this, I'd be doing it!

Having completed last year's marathon, I learned a lot, and I've done a lot more research for my training this time, but there are guys and gals out there who know much more, and if they're online, they're probably happy to give advice.

My main piece of advice would still be: don't do it.

It hurts, it consumes your life, and it hurts.