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2016 Results
23 Jan - 2 Alpes Night Trail
2:11:05 - 28/101, 4/16 AG
21 Feb - Anglian Duathlon
2:15:36 - 36/175, 3/22 AG
28 Feb - Brighton Half Marathon
1:26:15 - 233/8095, 66/1439 AG
03 Apr - Windsor Duathlon
2:16:57 - 100/519, 6/90 AG
04 Jun - Trail Challenge Marathon
5:10 (Brighton-Eastbourne)
12 Jun - Midsussex Sprint Tri
1:12:27 - 20/238, 4/40 AG
26 Jun - 1st Swim Crawley Tri
0:59:28 - 5/68, 2/20 AG
06 Aug - Phoenix Running Marathon
3:24 - 5/102
26 Aug - CCC Ultra Marathon
21:29 - 465/2200, 27/152 AG
19 Nov - F3 Duathlon
2:09:24 - 3/50, 1 AG
04 Dec - Downland Devil 9
1:05:52 - 11/250, 2/28 AG
2015 Events
22 Feb - Brighton Half Marathon
03 May - Steyning Standard
1:49:52 - 6/97, 1/19 AG
27 May - Arundel Standard
1:59:57 - 6/105, 1/19 AG
14 Jun - Midsussex Sprint Tri
1:09:55 - 9/272, 4/51 AG
12 Jul - ETU Euro Champs, Geneva
2:22:39 - 47/79 AG
26 Jul - Worthing Standard
2:25:09 - 109/398, 16/54 AG
08 Aug - Triathlon Castro, Spain
16 Aug - Noja Aquathlon, Spain
22:15 - 18/41, 1/7 AG
13 Sep - Virgin Active Brighton Tri
1:21:39 - 7/133, 2/21 AG
20 Sep - Brighton Marina Tri
1:44:24 - 11/115, 5/44 AG
11 Oct - Jog Shop 20
2:45 - 13/110, 4/22 AG
07 Nov - Hermes Thames Half Mara
1:28:07 - 5/362, 1/55 AG
28 Dec - Phoenix Marathon
3:14:05 - 4/96
2014 Events
01 Feb: Pilgrims Challenge Day 1
5:35 24/199
30 Mar: Springtime Sportive 54m
3:07 1/157
05 Apr: SDW 50 Ultra
9:06 107/314
21 Apr: Thames Turbo Tri
1:04 22/347, 1/31 AG
04 May: Steyning Oly
1:46 15/111, 3/22 AG
11 May: Beacon Rouleur Sportive
5:49 11/48
31 May: City to Summit Tri
15:27 25/123
22 Jun: Sussex Triathlon Oly
2:37 21/93, 2/13 AG
19 Jul: Race To The Stones 100k
13:09 103/703
24 Aug: Triathlon du Mont Blanc
1:17:03 34/310, 8/82 AG
07 Sep: Bala Oly
2:11 118/560, 20/118 AG
14 Sep: Brighton Virgin Active Tri
1:21 5/155
21 Sep: Brighton Marina Tri
1:48 7/109, 4/28 AG
16 Nov: Brooks 10k
39:09 205/3196, 53/548 AG
07 Dec: Downland Devil 9
1:07 28/283
Results Archive
2013 Results
2012 Results
2011 Results
2010 Results
2009 Results
2008 Results
2007 Results
2006 Results
2005 Results
The long haul up Alpe d'Huez
Last Blog Posts
Half Marathon PB + Marathon GFA !!!
Marathon training...
I love duathlon!
CCC Race Report & Recovery
Tapering for the CCC
Trails, Duathlon and Injury
2013 Events Archive
Nailed it - new marathon PB
Taper Time
Marathon Training
A couple of AG wins and a DNS...
Worthing Triathlon Race Report

Total topics: 387
Total posts: 1283
Sun May 14, 2017 8:18 pm iainm
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There are few things as annoying and depressing as being injured Ė especially if it wasnít your fault. Iím just coming out of four weeks with no running after a calf injury and it really burns me up when I hear comments such as ĎDid you over-do it?í or ĎWhat do you expect at our age?í And thatís because it genuinely wasnít my fault.

I was in great form in my build to the London Marathon. Iíd been running consistently for months, putting in some good volume Ė around 50 miles pw in January, 55 miles pw in February, before hitting 60 in my biggest week before the taper. This year I recorded a new PB at the Brighton Half Marathon (even allowing for the shortfall in the course) and ran a comfortable 3:16 marathon in early-March. All was looking good for a tilt at a new marathon PB at London.

My taper coincided with a holiday to Australia. My final long run was in Perth Ė on a hot day, but the plus side was I got to run alongside the Indian Ocean. A week later Ė two weeks before VLM Ė Iíd found a local half marathon to enter Ė the Three Rivers Bunbury Half Marathon. That was another lovely run by the ocean and around the port and marina. The plan was to hold back Ė there was nothing to prove over this distance Ė so I paced it just faster than marathon pace for a comfortable 1:31 to finish 11th overall.

I felt fine at the end of the race, but when I saw there was free massage available, it seemed like a great idea. There was no queue and it would presumably speed my recovery time. Nice idea, but thatís not how it worked.
Previously Iíve always experienced a very gentle massage post-race Ė the idea being to help smooth out some of those torn muscle fibres and help promote blood flow and process the lactic acid and reduce DOMS. This massage was not like that. Instead the masseur started giving me a deep tissue massage. I mentioned that I was typically tighter in my left leg through my glutes, hamstrings and calves and that seemed to be a red flag to a bull. She tracked down pressure points and pushed hard digging right into the muscles Ė I was in significant pain.

Now thatís not so unusual in one of my regular massages. I donít know what youíre like on a massage table, but I accept that to move forward you need to be able to cope with some pain. I normally work with the same masseur and she knows when Iím competing, when Iím tapering and when Iím in a heavy training load, adjusting the massage accordingly. You have to put your trust in the massage Ė but at the time it didnít sound right and the biggest mistake that I made was that I didnít say anything. I did ask her how long sheís been doing massage (10 years, apparently) and decided I would run with it and put my trust in her, despite my intuition telling me it was all wrong.

So you can guess what happened next. Despite feeling fine during the race and at the finish, by the time weíd arrived back at our apartment I was limping. I tried to be optimistic, if Iíd been at home I would have lined up a physio immediately, but by now I was in Dunsborough Ė a smaller town in WA Ė and two days later was in Augusta Ė an even smaller town in WA (to put it into context, neither of these two places have any traffic lights Ė the mark of a Ďbig towní in that part of the world).

I made an attempt to run slowly, but it clearly wasnít working. I kept hoping Iíd be able to get over it before VLM, but eventually I accepted it just wasnít going to happen. So I missed that race Ė one of my yearís A races. I also missed the Euro Duathlon Champs, although I was probably going to withdraw from that anyway. I now have a qualifier for the World ITU Champs at Eton in a weekís time. I should be able to get round, but despite being as positive as possible, realistically I have Buckleyís Chance of qualifying there Ė currently Iím running a 27min 5k and this is an event where I need to be running a 20 minute 5k to get in the mix.

So itís been a very disappointing and depressing period. But hopefully Iím on my way back now. I ran this week for the first time and while thereís still pain, itís improving. I just have to just put it behind me and try and get in shape for my final A race of the season on 09 July. Thatís another qualifier (standard distance this time) for the Worlds. I only have two months to get in shape for it, but I have been able to swim and bike during this period. Both are probably at a 7/10 in terms of my max potential, compared with 1/10 for running.
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Half Marathon PB + Marathon GFA !!!
Fri Mar 17, 2017 9:11 pm iainm
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I keep touching wood as the last month has really gone remarkably well - way above my expectations with some great results. It's hard to be sure why, but it's certainly welcome.

Brighton Half Marathon - 1:24:11 - 158/8049 Overall, 14/581 AG
This really couldn't have gone any better, as it was a huge PB by 1m16s from my time at the same race in 2012. I didn't taper, other than taking the day before off and I'd run 87km in total in the week leading up to the race. On top of that, on the day there was a reasonable wind blowing. With that in mind, I decided to try and start slightly faster than my goal pace (in my mind, I was thinking of something around 1:26-1:27), so that when I reached the turn near Roedean and came back into the wind I'd be slightly ahead. But it turned out that I never really slowed down: I tucked in and drafted to the Hove Lagoon and then enjoyed the tailwind on the final 3 miles home. Yes I could have probably gone under 1:24, but hey, a PB is a PB, so delighted with that.

Thames Meander Marathon - 3:16:31 - 15/238 Overall, 5/35 AG
I'd entered this race because I'm only getting back from Australia 48 hours before the London Marathon and thought that was too much of a risk to my hitting the GFA time. I thought I might be a little undercooked - my longest run before this was 28km/2h30 and typically I'd run 3-5 x 3hr runs in my marathon prep. On the other hand I'd managed 3:22 last year in the middle of ultra training, so I set out with 3:18 in mind prepared to miss 3:20 if I faded after 22 miles. But I needn't have worried. Even though the trail was variable underfoot, with some muddy puddles and some 'meandering' along the trail to avoid pedestrians/dog walkers etc, I felt completely comfortable all the way. Again I really surprised myself, but delighted to log my 3rd fastest (of 20) marathon and now stoked up to try and set a PB at London.

Why have I managed to set a half PB without tapering for it and with a high volume going into the race? Any why did I manage a fast marathon without putting as many miles as normal? Any or all of these could be possible reasons:
1. Experience - I might be older, but I'm more experienced. That informs my training, my resting, my nutrition and preparation.
2. Weight - I'm around 2kg lighter than most of my racing career. That's apparently worth about 2mins over a half and 4mins over a marathon
3. Altitude - There were two weeks after my last trip to the Alps and the half, but I did run 100k at 1600m or higher in the 7 weeks before. That might have helped?
4. Gait - Since the physio advice I had after my knee injury at the CCC last year, and followed up by 3D analysis at Profeet, I have really focussed on hip mobility in my core work and translating that into my running style. I'm engaging my glutes more and lifting my knees more (I think) - it could be that I'm more efficient overall.

Whatever the reason, I'm super-happy about it and I'm now (jet lag not withstanding) going to go for a fast PB - maybe try for sub 3:10 at London. Who knows how that will go, but I don't have anything to lose! Nice position to be in.
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Marathon training...
Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:47 pm iainm
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Yet again ages since my last blog. The good news is that I finished off 2016 with a couple of AG prizes - I took 1st MV (4th overall) at the F3 Windsor Duathlon in November and followed that up a couple of weeks later with 2nd MV (11th overall) at the Downland Devil (a 9 mile cross country race in Steyning).

I knew my plan was to step up to marathon training come the new year, so I had a couple of cracks at my local park runs in late December and managed 18:47 followed up by an 18:46 on Christmas Day. This turned out to be a marginally better age graded time than my 18:10 overall PB back in 2009, so theoretically it was my best 5k performance. It was also my 100th Parkrun (note to self Ė must get that celebratory tshirt!).

That 5k time was also impressive as it came over a couple of weeks when I built up from over three weeks to 40 and then 50 mile weeks. Since then the marathon training has been going to plan, with a four-week block averaging 50 miles, followed by a two-week block of 54 miles (with a recovery week in between). That volume was also boosted by the fact that ~60 miles was run at altitude Ė all between 1400-2000m - during three trips to the Alps.

Marathon Training
Iím feeling pretty tired just now, but Iím going to try a short 10 day taper before an attempt at a sub-3:20 (my GFA time) at the Thames Meander Marathon on March 11th. Based on my training I should stand a reasonably chance. The two factors that might hold me back are the relatively short taper, plus if itís wet at all, then running along the towpath is not likely to be fast going.

But Iím going to give it a go, because that will take the pressure off my real ĎAí race Ė the London Marathon on April 22nd. Notionally that should be very achievable with another training block under my belt. The only problem with this is the timing Ė I get back from Australia 48 hours before the race! God knows how I will be feeling, so it would be nice just to be able to run it without feeling I need to get a time.


Once thatís out the way, I have a week to recover for the European Duathlon Championships in Soria, Spain. Thereís no way Iíll be in top form having knocked out a marathon a week before, but thatís just the way itís worked out. Itíll still be my 4th time representing GB and good experience, as I can see me racing duathlon more often in the future.

And finally...triathlon

No rest for the wicked, because 3 weeks after that itís my first draft-legal triathlon at Eton Dorney. This is a sprint qualifier for the Worlds. I have no idea how Iíll get on. Swimming is my weakest discipline and I havenít done much of it this winter, so itís entirely possible that Iíll come out of the water well behind and never be able to catch the normally-slower-but-drafting-faster cyclists ahead of me. Should be an interesting hour or so, however it works out.

After that I can take a breath and think about Olympic distance triathlon racing again. Itíll have been two years since my last Oly Ė that was a qualifier as well at Worthing and Iíll need to do better if I want to qualify this time round Ė in that one (in my AG) I did the 10th fastest run and 11th fastest bike split, but was only 22nd out of the water. Itís not like I donít know where my weaknesses are, but Iíll give it a go and see what happens!
Two other notable experiences since my last blog:

Murren Inferno
This was a blast Ė my first downhill race. This is the largest amateur downhill race in the world and has been going on since 1928. For a first-timer, I did pretty well finishing 565th out of 1850 Ė that was good enough for a Silver medal (based on your % of the winnerís time in your AG). According to my Garmin I hit 97.8 kmh at top speed Ė that is one serious buzz!

3D Gait Analysis
I did this at Profeet and have posted elsewhere on Tritalk about it. Needless to say, I found it fascinating and useful. Iíve made a real effort to adjust my running gait to try and address a couple of the obvious weakness the analysis threw up. Itís pretty hard when youíre fatigued, but I guess thatís the point of drills and muscle memory. Iíll probably go for another check in 6 monthsí time so will post again after that.

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I love duathlon!
Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:40 pm iainm
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Itís always good to update with good news Ė and I was delighted to pick up 1st Male Vet and 3rd Overall at the F3 Windsor Duathlon (standard distance) last weekend. Technically I was 4th overall, but as 3rd was Alice Hector (pro-female and previous 70.3 winner) Iím not too concerned about being Ďchickedí.

So the field was pretty (at around 50) and my times werenít anything special, but Iíd been feeling pretty flat in the weeks leading up to this, so it was a real confidence booster. My 10k time was a shade under 42min and the final 5k just under 21min. Those are decent times given that Iíve not done any Ďspeedí training recently - it was the first time Iíve run at that pace since early August.

I think Iíd lost my confidence following the knee injury in the CCC. My physio made me realise that I just donít have good gait or posture and I saw myself as broken, rather than imperfect.

2017 ideas
Iíve been thinking about my 2017 events and have made a few changes in my priorities. My early ĎAí race is now going to be the London Marathon. I realised last week that turning 50 does have some advantages: my Good For Age time has now dropped to 3:20, which should be achievable given that I ran 3:14 11 months ago.

Seven days later Iím at the European Duathlon Championships. Iím unlikely to be at my peak, but Iíll do my best and it will be interesting to see how I get on in a good quality field. Iím certain Iíll be back for more international duathlon racing after my successful outings this year.

Another three weeks after that is a qualifier for the World Tri Champs at Sprint distance. I think itís pretty unlikely I can transition from a fast marathon time to be competitive at triathlon at that level, particularly as itís a drafting race, but Iíll give it a go. Itíll be interesting to try the drafting format and Iíll hopefully learn some useful points if I want to try it again.

Instead my triathlon ĎAí race will be the Arundel standard distance in July. Iíve never thought of Olympic distance racing as my forte, but it fits my calendar and have qualified before (at Bala for the 2015 Euros). Iíll have to commit to swimming Ė if Iím to have any chance I need to be coming out of the water with less of a deficit on the leaders.

Closing out 2016
I donít want to start running too much too early, and Iíve no multisports events lined up, so Iím going to see if I can get the final three Park Runs I need to complete to hit my century. Ideally no.100 would be run in a decent time (anything starting with 18 would be great!).

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CCC Race Report & Recovery
Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:06 pm iainm
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Itís now 6 weeks since the CCC - you can read my race report on the Menís Running website, so I wonít go into any more details about that. There is also a video of the race that I put together that can be viewed here.

'Could have done better'
Although I finished with an injury, I was extremely happy to cross the line in 465th overall of over 2200 starters. Thatís a huge step forward from 2011 when I finished 931st overall from 1900. The dropout rate was much higher this year Ė it being the hottest in the fourteen-year history of the UTMB - with 70% finishing, compared to 83% in 2011.

Obviously my first thought on analysing the results was how I could have finished quicker. I certainly lost at least 20 places due to my knee problems, but realistically itís unlikely I could have trimmed more than half an hour off my time. But thatís the nature of racing. Once youíre over the line, I find Iím always thinking about how I could have gone faster.

Is the UTMB possible?
My 2017 plans are all about duathlon and triathlon, but simply completing the CCC gives me the points to enter again for 2018. Itís certainly in my mind that a 100 and a 50 before the end of 2018 would give me enough points to enter the UTMB ballot. Could I ever finish that race? The only way to find out is to enter it!

Back from injury
Just now Iím coming to the end of a relatively difficult period for me. No one likes being injured, but itís taken me 5-6 weeks to feel comfortable running again. I made a couple of attempts to come back before the knee was strong enough, but in the end I realised I needed to give it a good long rest. After 12 days of no running at all, it now seems to be okay.

The shock is how much run fitness Iíve lost. The period of injury has been good for my swimming Ė Iím currently putting in more than I have all year at around 6k per week Ė and Iíve still been working on the bike, albeit without too many testing sessions. What I had forgotten however was how hard the process of recovering, or gaining, run fitness is. This week I ran at a fast Ďrace paceí of 4:00 min/km for the first time in two months. It was only 5 intervals of 2 minutes a time, but I felt it in my legs the next day. Today I ran my longest since the CCC Ė 15km at around 5:30 min/km Ė and feel as tired as I did after a 4 hour run back in August.

Subjectively I know Iím a long way from good race form. My weight is hovering around 78kg instead of 76kg, with bodyfat of 21% compared with 18% (saving you the maths, this means my lean muscle mass has gone down and body fat has gone up). I can also see that my heart rate is running higher than I would expect for certain standard sessions.

But thatís all fine. The CCC is a tough race and itís probably good for me to have some down time. Whatís annoying is that Iíve had to DNS a couple of races (a local 20 miler and a local tri), although David at Hermes Running (who is an accomplished ultrarunner) kindly let me transfer from Novemberís Thames Meander Marathon to next year.

Plans for the rest of 2016...
My focus is now on getting back into some racing form for the end of the year. I have the F3 duathlon at Eton Dorney in a monthís time, so a good training block should see my enter that in reasonable shape. Iím down for the Olympic distance Ė that might be a bit far for me to be competitive, but it will be a good tester.

...and for 2017
As far as the 2017 season goes, Iím still not sure what my ĎAí race will be. Iíve booked my flights for the European Duathlon Champs (Olympic distance) in April and based on last yearís racing I stand a chance of a good finish in this (maybe top ten or 15 overall). However, I also have a charity place for the London Marathon the week before. I could target this and try and keep my Good For Age time ticking over, but at this stage Iím not sure how much focusing on Ďjustí running will impact on my duathlon performance. On top of that Iíd like to try and qualify for the Triathlon World Champs in Rotterdam in September. That would be in the sprint distance, where I probably have the best chance and the qualifying races I can do are Eton in May and then Llandudno in June. Eton is probably a little soon to transition into short, sharp speed from marathon/oly duathlon, so Llandudno seems my best chance. The other random element of this is that Worlds Sprint racing is draft-legal on the bike Ė something Iíve never done. As a weaker swimmer, on the face of it this format doesnít really suit me.

However, itís hard to know how it will work out in practice. Some races I go to I see people blatantly drafting anyway, so it may actually help me. Plus at a venue like Eton, with so many laps, there could be opportunities to join faster groups from other waves. With time trial bikes not allowed, it also gives me an excuse to buy another bikeÖ Wink
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Tapering for the CCC
Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:57 am iainm
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I now have 17 days left until the CCC ultramarathon and my last, highest volume, three-week training block has gone extremely well.

I averaged 63 miles per week across the last 3 weeks, with another block of 53 miles per week before that (and a recovery week of 37 miles in between). As well as the LSD, Iíve kept some track sessions in there managing 10 x 800s in 3:10 Ė which is the type of pace Iíd use in marathon training. I also managed a 20min Park Run, so have managed to keep some tempo work in there.

I donít think I could have done more to prepare for this race. My aerobic base is in excellent shape and Iím sure I could finish any 101km race just now. My key limiter is the 6000m of vertical ascent and the altitude. An oxygen tent to sleep in at night would be useful, but thatís just one of the differences between Mo Farah and me! Smile

A marathon as a final long run

My longest run was a great day out where I ran 47km from Brighton to Arundel along the South Downs Way Ė so beautiful and peaceful, very zen. And then last weekend, I ran a Phoenix Running marathon as my final long run.

Iím more used to finishing my taper with a marathon, but you know youíre training for an ultra when your taper starts with one! I wanted to do the distance and as Iím in good shape, this was a good opportunity to get another official marathon under my belt (18 now Ė a long way from the 100 Club!).

I wasnít too sure about pacing. Given the volume of the previous few weeks and no taper, I wasnít expecting a PB, but I also thought I had nothing to lose by being ambitious. The worst that could happen was that I would slow down, and if I overdid it, I still had time to recover before the CCC. So I started out and felt comfortable at a 4:39 min/km pace, so just kept going. That would have led to a sub 3:20 time, which would have been my 3rd best ever and remarkable given the lack of taper and build up. Unsurprisingly though I couldnít hold it for the last 10k - plus it was a pretty hot day - but still managed to clock a 3:24.

Since then Iíve been for a couple of easy to steady runs and feel just fine. I remember when I did my first marathon in 2005 and I couldnít walk for days afterwards. Iím definitely in good shape.


I haven't completely abandoned triathlon. Although I missed a bunch of races through injury in May and I've been concentrating on running since, I did enter a couple of local pool-swim races in June. The Mid-Sussex Tri was too early after the injury but I did okay with 24th overall and 4th in my AG. The Swim-1st Crawley Tri was better - took away a nice AG trophy for my troubles - not bad considering I did a 2-hour run the day before!

Taper time

I have 2 Ĺ weeks until race day, so I plan to scale down the volume now to something like 35 miles this week and then 20 next week. Iím out to the Alps tomorrow, so Iíll be able to do some altitude work. Our campsite is at 900m and Iím going to take the bike as well, targeting a couple of cols including the Col díIseran at 2700m. Hopefully that should see me segue perfectly into the start in Courmayeur on the 26th. All I need then is good weatherÖ!
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About Iain
I'm a 50 year old triathlete and runner, competing since 1992. I have competed in 116 triathlons and 19 marathons (including 6 ultras). I am supported by Profeet - sports footwear and orthotics specialists.
- GFA time at VLM
- Qualify for World Triathlon Champs
- AG podium local tris
- Stay under 76kg

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