Friday, 2 January 2009

Jim'll Fix It

Happy New Year!

Thank goodness the Christmas season is drawing to a close. The pressure to over-indulge has done nothing to help my training and I'm actually looking forward to some bland food. Christmas parties haven't helped: 6 – 8 mile training runs followed by a further 3 miles or so on the dancefloor. The latter made the former look like a polished performance.

A big thank-you to my friend and coach, Marc Laithwaite. I first met Laith 32 years ago and we've had several athletic fundraising adventures since then. Highlights stretch back as far as 1983, when I appointed Laith to coach me for, and help me to plan, a sponsored run to raise funds for a local hospital. The 6 laps of the athletic track that I ran seemed like a massive undertaking to two ten year olds. In 1990, we raised money for Birmingham Children's Hospital when Laith ran the 300 miles of the Pennine Way, all of the way from Scotland to Edale in the Peak District. 19 years on, and here we are again. To be fair, Laith has taken his duties as a coach much more seriously than I have as an athlete: having secured a BSc in Sports Science, he's now well on the way to his PhD, he's a BTF Level 3 Coach & Coach Educator, UKA Level 3 Coach and ABCC Level 3 Coach. On top of all that, he's the head coach at The Endurance Coach (see www.theendurancecoach.com). All of which makes him dramatically over-qualified to provide sage advice for the Five Marathons. His mission priority is to stop my legs going bang at 22 – 23 miles on race day.

The weather in the Lakes has been fantastic for running. Sunny, clear, and freezing cold! As well as running, I've had several days in the mountains. Sharp Edge on New Year's Eve was fantastic (see below). There was a marked temperature inversion over the North Lakes: while it was minus 4 degrees and foggy in the valleys, above the cloud it was sunny, clear and plus 12 degrees.

Temperature inversion over the Northern Lakes

Scrambling up Sharp Edge, Blencathra


I'm already looking forward to Barcelona. I'm not sure whether it will attract fun-runners in the way that London does. The threat of being overtaken by a guy in a rhino suit does tend to make you pull your finger out. At mile 22 in 2004's London Marathon, Sir Jimmy Savile was about to run past me, however the impending embarrassment proved more painful than my legs and I managed to pick up my heels. The fact that Sir Jim, then 78 years old, was managing to maintain a conversation with the crowd and still outpace me was too much to bear.

This week's training schedule:

Monday, 5 January 2009 Rest
Tuesday, 6 January 2009 6 miles fartlek
Wednesday, 7 January 2009 Warm up, then 3 x 1 mile timed, 4 mins recovery, warm down
Thursday, 8 January 2009 5 miles easy
Friday, 9 January 2009 Rest
Saturday, 10 January 2009 25 mins easy
Sunday, 11 January 2009 10 miles, race pace

Christies is the charity which provides funds and supports the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

6 comments:

  1. Well isn't the world a small place? I have just been down to my local gym in rural Staffordshire for a New Year health check (Christmas festivities have had a similar affect on me, Dunk) - conducted by a young triathlete called Tasha who told me she was going to Oz for the Triathlon this summer. Asked if she knew Laith by any chance, and yes she did...

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  2. Thanks Downtown - small world indeed! Laith is reasonably famous in triathlon / endurance sport circles, and one hell of an athlete. Hope your New Year training regime goes well.
    Best regards,
    Dunk

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  3. Reasonably..! I'll have you know that i'm known by everyone on our street and most people within my family.

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  4. Fantastic photos. Like the one of Sharp Edge - remember climbing over that in about 1995 feeling a bit wobbly (it was the vertical drops rather than any early middle aged spread) so got down on my hands and knees at one point - in full hill walker regalia, only to be overtaken by a fellrunner in shorts with a terrier who ran past me. The look the dog gave me was one of particular disdain.

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  5. Yes, Sharp Edge is a bit exposed! You certainly wouldn't want to be up there in a high wind. Glad you like the photos - you can click on the slideshow to see more on flickr.com.
    Best regards,
    Dunk

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004