April 2020 Update

Over four weeks into the lock down and still no end in sight.  The running calendar is effectively on hold and there is speculation that there may not even be any racing in 2020.  Whilst not being able to race is a minor gripe in the grand scheme of things, the hardest thing is the not knowing when we may return to some semblance of normality.

Its interesting to see how other people are approaching being in 'limbo'.  Some are taking a well earned break from running altogether, others are taking it as an opportunity to sort out a niggle or two, some are pulling back into tick over or base phase, whilst a few others continue as normal.  For me, I've taken the latter path which probably goes against the consensus somewhat, but then again I've never been one for sticking to convention.  My premise is that I lost a lot of time from early January to mid-February so I have already had an enforced break and to continue in tick-over mode isn't really achieving anything.  The only adjustment I've made is to pull back from the Long Sunday Run, where I would have done 20-22 miles, some of which would have been at marathon pace to a more sedate 15-20 depending on how I feel.  Some of these have also been on the treadmill.

At the moment I am still focusing on two 'key' sessions each week, both of which are on the treadmill but are pretty evil by design.  I have tended to alternate each week between 4 x 15min at 11%, 2 min 0% recovery (all at 13.4kph) and 55min acceleration starting at 13.4kph, increasing by 0.1kph to a peak of 18.9kph.  Whilst still hard, the sessions have got steadily easier as the weeks have passed and I'm already thinking about making them harder still.  The other session is a straight 17.0kph for an hour and I've already meddled with some faster bits if I feel good.  I'm still convinced that the speeds are out, as these sessions feel a hell of a lot harder than the equivalent road pace, but perhaps could also be explained by setting the elevation at 2%.  I know when I've had a hard session as my legs burn through the night and its a struggle to sleep.  Bearing in mind, that in the build up to Valencia Marathon in December 2019 these sessions felt a lot harder than they do today.  The omens are good and it shows that I'm making some progress.

The rest of the week is a 50/50 mix of treadmill / outside running.  As previously stated I break every rule in the marathon book and even between my hard sessions I'm often running 'easy' / 'recovery' 10-21k at about 3.40 - 3.45km (5.53 - 6.02 mile).  The thing is it feels really easy, just nice flowing running and my average HR is usually somewhere in the 130's which signifies a low effort run.  Most coaches and athletes would be horrified by what I'm doing, but it seems to work, well sort of anyway as arguably it may explain why I've had so many injuries...

At the moment I feel in pretty good shape and the stats seem to back it up.  Whilst Garmin wrist HR data is notoriously unreliable, it still provides a reasonable indicator of overall fitness.  My VO2 max a few years ago was in the mid to late 60's, from memory my Chester Marathon win in 2017 I think I hit a max of 72/73 and for Bournemouth / Valencia in late 2019 I peaked around 74/75.  As of today my VO2 max on the watch is stating 77!  I don't believe it is a true reflection and I've read a few studies that suggest it is probably over egged by 3 or 4.  However, what I believe it does do is show an improving trend that mirrors how I feel.


Not so sure the race predictor times are right though!  A 2.11 marathon is so far fetched even in my dreams!

How does this all translate into actual performance?  At the moment I feel that I'm probably in 2.17 / 2.18 marathon shape, dare I say I've even dreamt about times a touch quicker than this but lets be realistic!  Whether I'll have the opportunity to demonstrate this in the coming months, time will no doubt tell.  I'm increasingly attracted to a few goals, some of which I have already mentioned on an earlier post:

  • Sub 2.20 Marathon
  • V40+ Sub 2.20 Marathon (Aug 2021 onwards) which would place me 22nd on all time UK ranking list.  2.17.30 would place me in top 10.
  • Sub 1.46.11 for 20 miles would be a new V35+ UK Record.  Sub 1.49.01 would be a new V40+ UK record.  Ok, a rarely raced distance but one to keep an eye on!
  • Have a stab at a 50k.
I also want to have another crack at a serious 10k or Half Marathon, both of my PBs are frankly embarrassing - 32.13 and 68.11.  I suspect that if I raced these properly I'd be surprised if I didn't break my 10k PB by at least a minute if not more!

In the meantime all I can do is dream a good race and hope one day in the not too distant future I'll have a chance to make it a reality.


  1. Good read Lloyd. I tried to post a while back but it did not seem to upload. I think it’s a good idea to use the period of no races to ramp things up. It’s a good opportunity to try something and if it doesn’t work nothing I’d lost.

    I’d be interested in a blog on your nutrition. It’s something I really struggle with

    1. Thanks Ash. I did see a comment a while back but not sure it's the one you are referring to.

      I find nutrition an extremely difficult subject too, to be honest it's probably at the point bordering on it being an issue. I'll put something together at the next update.

      Thanks for your comment and hope training is going as well as it can under the circumstances.


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