Berlin Buildup week 3 of 11. No Van Man


After a difficult week last week, (post here) I am hoping for a smoother ride this week. I see my dentist on Tuesday, another root canal surgery is booked in – joy.

The week’s morning runs are made more exciting by divebombing seagulls. They are little shits! Swooping me every time I turn my back. Humans are already so low down in the pecking order in terms of fighting ability (unless armed with a weapon), that I refuse to be bullied by bloody seagulls. I stubbornly stick to my same morning route while they zoom around my head.


Friday morning, setting off to work in my van, the clutch sticks to floor and won’t come back up. Have to freewheel to a parking space. Run back home, Google what the hell just happened (looks like slave cylinder is gone, requires garage – joy), then family have to give me a lift to and from work. Later, I have friends visiting from London and don’t want to miss them. 10 mile run missed instead. Fine. Although it leaves me with 51 miles to run on the weekend.

Competitive running is exactly like Capitalism in every way. OK, one way. You grow, or you die. There is no staying the same. You can’t just hold on to fitness. Last year I missed my marathon target of sub 2hrs20 by 21 seconds, in hammering rain. This year, I could think to myself, well I just need to do everything I did last year, hope for better weather, and then I will get my target. But that is impossible. You have to push things forward, try new stuff, or you will stagnate, plateau, and quickly fade.

I’ve been hearing a lot about (Italian coach) Renato Canova’s marathon training. He is largely responsible for the incredible upsurge in Kenyan marathon running. A friend, Shaun Dixon, of Lets Get Running podcast, is using his methods to target a sub 2.20 this year. Canova believes in doing way more running at specific marathon pace. I tried one of his killer sessions last year with my sister pacing me on a bike. I couldn’t complete it, and got a calf strain in the process.

Hurts. Too hard. Need a squad. Need more conditioning. Never doing that again.

But Canova haunts me, I keep hearing about his methods. And then I come across this infernal quote…

“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”

…so I try again on Saturday. It takes me too long to warm up (Achilles tendinitis), suddenly I am in a rush to go watch my friends in Snowdon Race. The session is more complicated than I am used to, the maths is frustrating me. Halfway through, I realise, if I do finish, I will not be able to take the kids to Snowdon Race at all. I will be in bed sleeping. I quit half way through. So, could be seen as another failure. But I walk away uninjured, and with a belief that I can nail it next time.

Sunday, I have 20 miles on my schedule @ 6min miling. I did 15 miles 2 weeks ago, and want to progress. I’m feeling tired in the morning, yesterday was pretty full on. I get to 16 miles feeling OK, then at 17 I am completely gone, I can’t finish. I inhale about 3 litres of water, cola and chocolate milk (in no particular order) then go straight to bed. Wake up around 4pm, watch gormlessly as the family make a chocolate cake, steal some while they are not looking, then escape out the door for another 13 miles, and back to bed.

Next week we’re on holiday, so heading down to London to see family. Will be attempting a quick time at Dulwich parkrun, come along if you are in the area!

Non-running related highlight of the week

Watching Planet Earth 2 with the kids. They are absolutely absorbed.

Best thing on the internet this week:

link here
Thing I’m digging this week:

Snowdon Race.

My first year not competing since 2014. Means we get to go and enjoy the spectacle without my being a foul mood!

So many friends running and lots of fantastic performances. Owen Roberts completes in fine style after coming back from a broken ankle. Tom Roberts and Elliw Haf both wear the Red, the fastest couple in Wales! Local legend, Rob Samuel, has an outstanding run to finish 3rd. Also outstanding is Miranda Grant, representing Scotland, but lives locally, finishing 2nd, after long injury lay-off.

But the day goes to local girl, Bronwen Jenkinson. At 21yrs old, she glides over the brutal course. She has worked incredibly hard from a young age, has had her own debilitating injuries and side-stitches to deal with, has fallen hard in this race before. But returns to win, smiling and waving with grace and poise. Brings the title back to Wales for the 1st time in 29yrs.

“So get your knees flexin’ and your arms t-rexin’ 🦖🐉 🎶” @BronwenJenkinson – Instagram

Coverage on BBC iplayer here

16/7/2018 AM PM
Monday REST 10tm @ 7min miling
Tuesday 6 @ 8.50min miling 20x200m in 33sec, 200m jog in 1min. 8 miles total
Dentist. Need ANOTHER root canal
Wednesday 6 @ 10min miling 6 @ 6min miling
10min miling, I have seen Eliud Kipchoge run at that pace, and if it’s good enough for him…
Thursday 9 @ 7.50min miling 5
Van breaks
Saturday (1km in 3.20, 1km in 3.40) x4. 10 miles total 10 @ 7.40min miling
Sposed to be x8. Under time pressure to go watch Snowdon Race, also underestimate toughness of session. PM run feels smooth on v hilly course
Sunday 17 @ 6min miling. 18 miles total 13 @ 9min miling
Really wanted 20 @ 6min miling. Couldn’t do it! PM v hilly + heartburn from chocolate cake!
TOTAL: 100 miles tm = treadmill


2 thoughts on “Berlin Buildup week 3 of 11. No Van Man

  1. brilliant Russell and timely
    I’ll take this if I may
    as a burfday pressie
    injured as he turns


  2. Excellent blog this week Russell! I especially liked the Canova Training Programme hook leaving the reader eager to read next weeks post to find out what happens.
    Question: Is Bronwen Jenkinson your new crush or something? #obsessedmuch hehe 😉


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