Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Run Fatboy Run

I'm delighted to announce that the international accountancy firm, Mazars (, will be fivemarathons' Gold Sponsor for Barcelona. Even as we speak, Mazars' logos are being applied to my running top for Barca and TEAM fivemarathons' tops for The Great Manchester Run and the Coniston 14. Many thanks to Mazars' Richard Garrod for his help in arranging their sponsorship. The money which Mazars has kindly donated will help Christies and Macmillan in their invaluable work.

If you take a look at each week's training schedule, you'll notice that there's almost always a a tempo run in the middle of the week, where I concentrate on speed work. These runs help to increase your lactate threshold (the point at which lactic acid builds up in the blood, and slows you down). By raising this threshold, your muscles learn to use oxygen more efficiently and you become a stronger, faster and less-fatigued runner. To get the most out of the tempo runs, you've got to put in enough time at the right intensity. I aim to run at my half-marathon race pace, or, using my heart rate monitor, at 85 per cent of my maximum heart rate. You can calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220. So my maximum heart rate would be 220 – 36 = 184 bpm (beats per minute); 85 per cent of that would be about 157bpm. Tempting as it is, I try to avoid more than one tempo run per week. Although it's one of the most important sessions in your training schedule, running regularly at your lactate threshold will tire out your muscles and could leave you vulnerable to injury.

At last, the weather appears to be getting marginally warmer. Coupled with the increased daylight hours, conditions are definitely improving for early morning training runs. Having said that, I was prepared for pre-dawn missions in the freezing cold from an early age. In the mid-1980s, the boiler at my parents' house had a bad habit of refusing to fire up on particularly cold and windy mornings. The wind would blow out the pilot light overnight, and at approximately 5am each morning, my Dad would call upon me to stand outside in the blistering cold and whipping rain, holding an old sleeping bag over the boiler flu to keep out a howling gale. While I stood outside in all weathers, Dad would sit in the relative warm of the house, taking his sweet time over trying to re-light the pilot light. The leisurely clicking from the ignition led me to believe that he couldn't possibly be anywhere near as cold or wet as I was. As it happened, a valuable lesson in getting on with the job in hand wasn't far away. One evening, while I was out running, my Dad made a solo attempt at re-lighting the boiler. He turned on the gas and arguably waited a little too long before clicking the ignition. The large build-up of gas only required one click to start an explosion of which Red Adair would have been justly proud. As the boiler disappeared through one wall, my Dad flew through the air with the greatest of ease towards the other. Had I not been out training, I'd have been on the other side of what was left of the wall, clinging to the other side of an exploding boiler which my Dad had so expertly detonated only moments earlier. I always said running was good for you.

Only one week now until I fly to Barcelona. The marathon is shaping up to be a fantastic event. This year, there will be a record 10,000 entrants. The previous record was set at last year’s event, with 9,230 runners. Check out the official website at On this week’s rest day, I went to the cinema to watch Vicky Cristina Barcelona. While the film itself was a shade bizarre, it did remind me of some of the great sights on the route of the marathon. Can't wait to get started!

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 23 February 2009


Tuesday, 24 February 2009

5 miles steady, plus 6 x 1 min efforts

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Rest or 2 – 3 miles easy

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Fly to Barcelona / 20 mins easy

Friday, 27 February 2009


Saturday, 28 February 2009

15 mins jog

Sunday, 1 March 2009

Barcelona Marathon

Barcelona, 1 March 2009

London, 26 April 2009

San Francisco, 26 July 2009

Berlin, 20 September 2009

New York, 1 November 2009

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

Visit us at

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004