Countdown to London Marathon 2010

Another year, another marathon. After missing out last year I’ll be running London once again on the 25th April 2010. Which is great as it’s a wonderful race to be part of, amazing crowds and a lovely flat route.

My training has kind of started. Well, having been off running for about five weeks I’m now back on it again but the thigh strain (or whatever it is) that kept me off is still niggling. Oh, and I’m running like an old man – much fitness to regain.

I’ll make no secret of the fact that I’m trying to run under three hours this year. I came close to that in London 2008 and still think it’s possible but I really do have to focus this time around (both in training and in the race itself).

If you want to keep track of my progress I’ll be recording every run with my Garmin. You can glance at the Garmin website or follow daveharteruns on twitter.

Countdown clock stolen from official London Marathon homepage.

Best Lunchtime Run Ever


View Lunchtime run in a larger map

As I continue to plod my way through Edinburgh Marathon training I’ve taken to doing a bit of running at lunchtimes (now that I at last work somewhere with shower facilities). I thought it worth sharing the route with you as it’s a fantastic, popular, traffic-free run with a few interesting sights along the way.

The start could be from anywhere in the city centre or Jewellery Quarter but, as the map indicates, I start from the B1 building opposite Spring Hill library. I enter the canal near Summer Row and then proceed towards the National Indoor Arena. You could cross here and continue down the Birmingham and Worcester canal but better by far to head up the Birmingham Mainline canal, the M6 motorway of the West Midlands canal system.

I say that because it’s dead straight, very wide and with a towpath on both sides. And it’s full of lunchtime runners. Most just go up and down but I do a loop round the Soho loop. This runs at the back of the prison and then comes out again on the Mainline canal where you can head straight back to base. The straightness of the canal really lends itself to some short sprinting if you’re so inclined. There are several bridges so it’s worth trying to push hard between them and then recover to the next, repeating until you run out of bridges.

In total the run is just over 5 miles. It would make a pleasant enough walk as well. If anyone fancies coming along with me one lunchtime just ask.

Take a run at the sun

Woolacombe Bay
A week in a dull, foggy and sometimes drizzly north Devon has left me invigorated on the running front. We had a four day break in a caravan near Woolacombe Bay which was lovely bar the weather (total sunshine in four days: about 45 minutes). It was great for running in however and I managed three runs in successive days – a rare event for me.

Day one saw me dropping down from the caravan park to the beach and then back along the dunes – about 5 miles. The next day I got lost in some woods and then found myself trying to get back via the coastal path from a tiny place called Lee. I only covered about 7 miles but it took me over an hour with lots of tough climbs. My final run took me along the famous Ilfracombe Branch Line except that I went too far and a planned 40 minute run ended up being 75 minutes.

Despite getting lost I can heartily recommend Croyde Cycle maps as the most detailed way to find your way around that bit of North Devon be it on foot or on bike. They only cost a couple of quid and include the kind of detail that OS maps don’t. Namely, the phone numbers of local pubs and restaurants, how often the buses run and even how muddy a particular path gets.

All this mileage is in aid of my so far rubbish training for the forthcoming Birmingham half-marathon which I’m pleased to see has a blog.

Finally, the title of this post refers to one of my fave summer-type songs. I found a nice video on youtube that sets the song to someone’s Super 8 footage of their summer hols. I plan a Super 8 related post soon so this seems apt:

On racing trains and being 40

The train pre-race
I spent Saturday racing against a train. To those not familiar with the weird and wonderful world of running this involves what it says on the tin – racing against a train. It’s simple really. Pack the 2.05pm departure of the Talyllyn Railway full of friends and family and start a race at the same time. Run as parallel as you can to the train for the 7 miles there and 7 miles back and the see who wins. On this occasion I’m pleased to say I won (along with quite a few others) – but only by about 10 seconds, coming in at circa 1:47:30 – official results to follow.

What a race though. You get to run through fields, people’s backyards, up the side of steep hills, through muddy streams – anywhere as long as it’s close to the railway track. I fell over a couple of times, wore the wrong trainers and generally had a tough time of it. My legs were so tired towards the end I walked a few times just to recover – something I only do if I’m really, really suffering. The train did go past me near the end (but then foolishly stopped at a station allowing me to just beat it back) with my family sticking their heads out of the window and yelling advice and encouragement at me – or at least I think they were, I couldn’t hear a thing over the noise of the train. Overall, a great race for which I woefully under-trained and suffered as a result. Oh and despite it being cloudy and rainy I still got sunburnt.

Dave in pain

It’s not the first race I ran this week. That was the Rowheath 5k on Thursday. I suffered there as well. Almost a full minute behind my PB. What’s going on? I turned 40 in July so I’m now in the veteran category. I should be relishing putting down some great times yet instead I’m running badly in any distance you care to set me. What’s that you say? Why don’t I just start training properly? Instead of moaning maybe I could show my face on Saturday morning training sessions? Maybe run more than twice a week? Oh come on you’re just being silly now.