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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
Racing, Illness and a Long Walk
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...

Total topics: 388
Total posts: 1284
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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Trails, Duathlon and Injury
Fri Jun 03, 2016 1:11 pm iainm
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Itís been a while since my last blog so hereís an update on the last five months!


This was a seriously testing event that I was invited to by the tourist office and I wrote up for Menís Running Magazine. The bullet points are that it was 20km at altitude at night Ė and despite being in good marathon shape, nothing prepares you for the altitude! Effing hard work! You can view my video of the event here


Iíd decided to target a couple of standard distance duathlons (10k run/40k bike/5k run) over the winter to test out my theory that without a swim to deal with I could perform at a higher level. So it proved Ė it was a great success. Race 1 was the Anglia Duathlon where I finished 3rd in my age group (36/175 overall) and qualified for next yearís Euro Champs. Race 2 was the National Champs at Windsor. Transition was a quagmire and parking a joke, but I enjoyed the race to finish 6th of 90 in my age group and 100/519 overall. If Iíd chosen to, that would have been enough to qualify me for this yearís Euro Champs.


I was in good shape after my marathon at the end of December and knew it would give me the base for the 2h+ duathlons. I didnít know how well Iíd be able to transfer to speed over the shorter distance, but it turned out I had some great form through spring. I ran my 2nd fastest half marathon (1:26:15) at Brighton in Feb having started pacing 1:28. It all felt pretty smooth though and I negative split. In retrospect I wish Iíd gone for a PB from the start as I was only 48 seconds off. At the Windsor duathlon in April I ran a 40:25 first 10k on an undulating part-trail course and a week later ran a 18:37 parkrun Ė on the only week Iíve ever forgotten my bloody barcode. Shame as that one would have been an age-graded PB!


So coming into May and triathlon season I was in good running form, plus I was putting out some good watts on the bike and decent splits in the pool (which for me means 1:42 100 repeats). Then BANG Ė itís all over Rover. I was mucking around with my daughter and picked her up to pretend to dump her in a binÖand ouchÖa stab of back pain. The next morning I just twisted slightly and what was a twinge suddenly dropped me to the floor in agony.

I hobbled my way down to see Matt at Studio 57, unable to bend forwards and walking super-gingerly, paranoid that Iíd slipped a disc or similar. I left reassured it was Ďjustí a torn glute plus ligament damage. Over the next few weeks Matt gave me a bunch of exercise to help free up, then strengthen the muscle and gradually the mobility has come back.

If youíve been injured before youíll know that recovery is not linear. Some days I worried that maybe it was more serious and as one DNS (Steyning Tri) became two (Nottingham Tri Ė and my A race for this year), I definitely struggled at times. My fitness disappeared and I put on 3kg. As it improved I eased myself back. In the pool at first I alternated swimming a length, then walking a length. My first Ďruní came after three weeks and was a 1min walk/1min very slow jog (10min/km pace).

Slowly but surely Iíve kept on that path back and now Iím probably up to 80% of where I was. I have got the Mid-Sussex Tri in the calendar for 12 June and Iíll probably do it. On the one hand it will be disappointing not to be competitive, but thereís the opportunity to simply enjoy taking part again (after 2 x DNS and the first Thames Turbo of the season, which was cancelled due to high winds).


Ultimately my main A race for this year was always the CCC (98km ultra in the Alps) and I still have 12 weeks to get in shape for this. Getting to the start line and then finishing this race is my only goal now Ė I donít have to go fast, but I do have to go long. Iíve pencilled in a couple of marathons to practice nutrition, kit and some faster-than-race-pace distance runs, so I have some goals to aim for along the way.

Being injured can be frustrating and (literally) painful, but itís helped me appreciate how lucky I am to have my health and my fitness and I value that so much. Itís not about the winning (although that can be a bonus!), it really is about being able to take part!
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2013 Events Archive
Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:45 pm iainm
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05 Jan - Sussex XC Champs
50:03 (75/130)
17 Feb - Brighton Half Marathon
1:27:02 (187/7632, 39/1224 AG)
23 Feb - F3 Duathlon Eton
1:10:34 (14/90, 3/22 AG)
17 Mar - F3 Duathlon Eton
1:10:18 (12/63, 2/20 AG)
01 Apr - Thames Turbo Tri
1:06:46 (37/267, 3/33 AG)
01 May - Brighton Midweek Du
1:00:07 (1/22)
12 May - Cotswold Sprint
58:39 (32/372, 4/50 AG)
22 May - Brighton Midweek Du
59:45 (1/25)
01 Jun - Nottingham Sprint (WQ)
1:06:04 (242/889, 40/80 AG)
23 Jun - Bristol Sprint (WQ)
1:11:18 (227/511, 22/49 AG)
05 Jul - The Marketing Triathlon
1:09:36 (5/80, 1/4)
07 Jul - Swim Round The Pier 1km
22:47 (27/161, 15/57)
10 Jul - Brighton Midweek Tri
1:02:30 (1/20)
25 Aug - Triathlon du Mont Blanc
1:24:04 (83/268, 23/74 AG)
15 Sep - Brighton Marina Tri
1:53 (5/90, 3/34 AG)
22 Sep - Brighton Virgin Active Tri
1:21 (3/150, 1/40 AG)
29 Sep - Brighton Sportive
5:51:48 (7/153)
05 Oct - BRTS Half Ironman
5:12:32 (2/22)
17 Nov - Path'n'Downs Marathon
4:05:26 (102/213, 38/67 AG)
01 Dec - Downland Devil 9
1:10:22 (52/232)
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Nailed it - new marathon PB
Wed Dec 30, 2015 5:41 pm iainm
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As I entered my 50th year a couple of months ago, I did wonder if I've seen all the PBs I'm going to see in my athletic career, but currently very very happy - just nailed a new PB and GFA marathon time. Very Happy Very Happy

Phoenix End of Year Marathon - 3:14:05 (4/96)
I was gutted to have to drop out of my local Brighton Marathon in April (hamstring injury), but as the tri season finished I realised that I could still bag a PB before the end of the year. I was in decent Oly tri shape in August, so I had reasonable endurance already, racing for 2-2.5 hours. That gave me 20 weeks and I was very careful with recovery and stetching, getting my yoga session (a key part of my new regime) in every week.

Despite putting on around 1kg over Christmas, I hit the start line feeling confident. I'd done all the work in training, with some good distance runs and up to 1h45m at MGP. It was all about pacing and going under 3:15.

This particular race is 4 laps of a 10.5 km course from Walton on Thames to Hampton Court, so while it could be repetitive, it meant that pacing should be simple. My plan was to run a slight positive split, with each lap slightly slower than the last, taking me in at 3:13:30.

Garmins are great devices, but their weakness is they are not 100% reliable for distance and by the time I finished lap 1 it was clear that my idea of bang on pace already put me behind. Only by 27 seconds, but runners will know what it's like. You're constantly making calculations. 'How much do I need to earn back?', 'What if I slow down more?' etc etc

I picked up the pace from my lap 1 time of 48:24 to 48:11 for lap 2, giving me a 1:36:35 half marathon. I guess at that point, I relaxed too much and the next lap came in at 49:13, giving me the same again to finish under 3:15 - so much for allowing for slowing down! Evil or Very Mad

Strava Details

But I felt confident, I stayed on top of the mental game, knew I needed to stay under an average lap pace of 4:38. You can never be sure until you get to the finish. How long does it take to run a couple of hundred metres at the end of marathon? Surely it's only seconds, but it can feel like minutes. I kept pushing away, reminding myself that there wasn't any point leaving anything out there and then just missing it.

Bang - 3:14:05. My heart rate for the last lap was 164, finishing as high as 178, pretty close to whatever my max is these days (and certainly higher than 220 minus my age FWIW).

It's not so much getting the Good For Age and being able to enter London etc, but that I achieved my goal. There's been a few races where I've not managed to qualify for teams over the last couple of seasons, but when it was just me against the clock, I won. Cool

Back to triathlon...and duathlon...and ultra running
I've already planned out 2016. I'm starting with a stab at qualifying for the 2017 ETU Champs. That will be at the Anglian Water Duathlon in February. I have a 20km trail race (on snow and at night) in the Alps first, but 5-6 weeks is probably enough time to get into some reasonable shape. It's a standard distance Duathlon, so I'll have the endurance, just need to convert it into some speed. I've only cycled 250km in the last two months, and all of that on the turbo, so I'll need to get on the bike, but I'll probably just spend most of my time on the turbo anyway - I don't really need any long rides, maybe just do a few laps of Ditchling Beacon to build leg strength.

Then after the Duathlon, I have three months to get in shape for a sprint triathlon in Nottingham, which is another qualifier for 2017 ETU racing. I had a bad experience there in 2013 when I had a rare panic attack in the water, so I have a score to settle with the place. The course (flat laps) doesn't really suit me, but I'll give it my best.

Once that's out the way, it's back to running again. I'm hoping I'll have a place confirmed for the CCC in August (currently in the ballot), so I'll have another three months to build from sprint tri to ultra marathon in the Alps! All part of the game. I love it!
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Taper Time
Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:28 pm iainm
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It's now just two weeks until my End of Year Marathon, so properly into the taper now. I've had a quality 9 week period leading up to this, averaging just over 50 miles a week. I'm feeling fit and strong and have knocked out a couple of 100min sessions bang on goal pace (and with a strong wind most times too!).

Weight loss
I've also managed to drop 3kg since August. I have to thank a local Brighton triathlete Tim Woodman, who tipped me off on a book called 'Racing Weight' by Matt Fitzgerald. I think we all know what the right foods are to eat, but what I liked about this book is that it lets you work out a goal weight that's right for you and gives you some good tips on getting there.

I don't like tapering - like many triathletes I'm probably addicted to exercise. I do understand that if I want to achieve my race goal I have to do it. I'm writing this out in the French ski resort of Val Thorens, where I've been cross training with skiing instead of running. I'm hoping I'll take some of this altitude training into the race.

Ski Touring
Today I tried ski touring for the first time. If it works for Kilian Jornet, then it must be worth trying! I skinned up 500m from 2200m before the lifts had even opened this morning. Beautiful and a good workout. I'll be doing that again. You can see my Strava details here.

A quick shout to Rich at Profeet. I'd turned my left ankle a few times and was worried it was a gait issue, but Rich took a look and decided it was time for a change of shoe. I've been running in Brooks Adrenaline for the last few years, but he moved me into a Brooks Defyance and it's gone like a dream since.

2016 Plans
It now looks like my A race will be the CCC ultra in August, with a couple of early attempts to get into the ETU GB team at sprint distance for both duathlon and triathlon. Wish me luck!
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Marathon Training
Thu Nov 12, 2015 8:21 pm iainm
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Iím currently deep into marathon training, with 6 weeks to go until the Phoenix End of Year Marathon in Walton-on-Thames. Iím not 100% sure how I ended up entering a marathon three days after Christmas, but Iím pretty sure if I hadnít been a DNS for the Brighton Marathon in April, I wouldnít be here now. The terrainís not ideal (being the Thames towpath) and the field is likely to be very small, but my goal is the same as April which is 1) get to the start line and ideally 2) get to the finish line in under 3:15. That would be ĎGood for Ageí and give me access to London and other races. Itís certainly possible.

Marathon Training
My training is going well. Averaging about 50 miles per week, but being very wary (following hamstring injury in January of this year) about doing too much. My key weekly sessions are:
- Long run: tends to be on the South Downs for 2.5-3 hours @ 5:30 min/km, ideally increasing pace as I go
- Marathon Goal Pace run: Iíve been building up to 90 minutes so far @ 4:30-4:35 min/km pace. Thatís slightly faster than the required pace, but my Garmin tends to over-estimate distance, so on the watch I need to be doing 4:35 rather than 4:38
- Intervals: Iíve really enjoyed being back at the track. I feel like a Ďproperí athlete. Have been mixing up sessions e.g. 20 x 400, 10 x 800, pyramid up to 1600m, all around 3:50 pace
- Technique run: including a few drills, thinking about good cadence, high knees, quick feet

Work and trips away from home mean Iíve had to shimmy around the periodisation from the normal 3 weeks on/1 week off, but I should go into my taper with 5 x 20 mile runs. Iíll then start my taper with a few days in Val Thorens Ė the highest ski resort in Europe at 2300m Ė so hopefully Iíll take some altitude training with me to the race!

I have done a few races since my last blog post:

Brighton Marina Tri Ė 1:44 (11/115, 5/44 AG)
This was more a fun race for me. I know the organiser and help him with his website, so got a free entry, so all the pressure was off. Performance was okay Ė I canít really compare it with other years (this was my 5th time at this race) as the swim was in the sea instead of the Marina for a change, but my bike and run splits were both faster than last year.

Jog Shop 20 Ė 2:45 (13/110, 4/22 AG)
This came quite early in my marathon training, but what better way to spend your birthday than running around the South Downs. I was very happy with the result here, which was 2 minutes faster than my previous outing in 2011 when Iíd been ultra training all summer.

Thames Meander Half Marathon Ė 1:28:07 (5/362, 1/55)
I had hoped for a PB on a fast and flat course, but it was pissing down with rain Ė making the tow path a mass of mud and puddles. On top of that there was a strong headwind on the way back. I knew I was quite a long way up the field, but from 17-19km I was running on my own, lost focus and slowed down [Strava data here] The headwind didnít help. Just before the end I was joined by another runner and ended up putting in a couple of 4 min kilometres pretty comfortable. I guess that just showed that I need better mental concentration to keep churning the pace out Ė itís just so much easier if you have someone else to run with. Still a great result overall Ė sadly no trophy though for 1st M40 this time.

2016 Plans

Triathlon-wise, Iíve pretty much knocked swimming on the head while Iím marathon training and Iím just cycling for recovery on the turbo. Once we go into 2016 Iíll think about getting back to multi-sports. The change to draft-legal for ITU races doesnít suit me (a weak swimmer) at all, so currently Iím thinking about trying to qualify for the GB Duathlon team. Qualification for ETU races are still non-DL, so I might try Nottingham for that. Otherwise, I want to get my tris and duathlons out the way early on then focus on the CCC in Chamonix in August, which will be my late season goal (assuming I stay fit and healthy). Smile
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About Iain
I'm a 50 year old triathlete and runner, competing since 1992. I have competed in 119 triathlons and 20 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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