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Hello everyone, for my first post on the forum I thought I would start with a bit of background information.

I first got into running towards the end of 1998. I was playing football to a Sunday League standard and decided to join a gym to improve my fitness. Pretty quickly I found that I could keep going on the treadmill quite well and at a decent pace. An instructor from the gym persuaded me to enter a local 10k race, which I did and ended up having a real tussle with a decent county standard runner, eventually finishing a close 2nd in around 32/33 minutes. In 1999 I ran the London Marathon for the first time, finishing in 2hrs 38mins, and at this stage I was doing all my training on a treadmill. At this time I was running 5/6 times a week, 45 minutes at a time as fast as I could go on the treadmill!! Not exactly training from a coaching manual, but enough to get me to a decent level of fitness.

From 1999 to the end of 2000 I was living and working in Henley on Thames as a duty manager of a health and fitness club (great treadmills!) and had got my times down to 31mins for 10k, 66.50 for a half, and 2.24.12 for the marathon still doing 90% of my training on the treadmill. At the end of 2000, I made the decision that if I was to give my running a real go, I needed to train more effectively, and was excited to see if I could improve significantly my times by training better. In 2001 Jess (as of 11/06/05 my wife) and I moved back to Gloucestershire where I took up a part time position at a local school teaching sport as well as a few hours a week at the family property development company. This allowed me flexibilty in my training, as well as the time to get enough rest, eat right etc etc. By now I was being coached by Chris Frapwell, a local county standard runner from the Stroud Club. In May 2001 I was selected to run for England for the first time in a Half marathon in Holland where I ran 64.45 for 4th. In August I improved to 64.27 and gained a GB vest in the World Half Marathon Championships in Bristol where I finished 52nd in 64.23. It all perhaps came a bit too quickly for me as my times seemed to plateau for a couple of years, though I ran 2.16.50 for 9th in the Frankfurt Marathon in October 2001. It was in the London Marathon in 2004 that my next major break through came, where I achived the Olympic qualifying time and finished close behind Jon Brown in 2.13.53 to gain selection for the Athens Olympics. It proved to be an incredible experience , and after a month aclimatising at the holding camp in Cyprus I felt ready to run a solid race, though running a marathon in Athens in August is not to be recommended!! I was chuffed to cope pretty well in the heat to finish in 22nd position in 2.17.53, respectable given the conditions. After Athens I seemed to struggle for a while and didn't have a great winter, meaning I was forced to miss the 2005 London Marathon, but was selected for the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki on my 2004 time. I ran well in Helsinki to finish in 12th position in 2.14.26, being the second European runner home behind Spains' Julio Rey. That performance earned me selection for the recent Commonwealth Games, where I managed to get the bronze, running 2.14.50.

My training for a marathon is very specific to that distance and I try to really work on my endurance, and get used to being on my feet for well over 2 hours. I normally allow 10 to 12 weeks specific preparation and try to come into that period in pretty good 10k shape and hope that I don't lose too much of that speed with the increased mileage. I found that I could get up to around 125 miles a week in the run up to Melbourne this winter which was a slight increase for me, but it has taken me a number of years to be able to cope with that mileage without breaking down with illness or injury.

In a typical week I would run twice a day, with speed sessions planned for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Thaes would include repetitions ranging from 1 minute to 6 minutes with varying recovery times. I would also do a marathon pace tempo run every 2 weeks or so as well as a weekly long run of between 2 and 2.5 hours.

My plans for 2006 include a decent rest from the Commonwealth games before hopefully building towards the European Championships in Gothenburg in August. I will do a number of build up races at distances from 5k to half marathons.

My tips for training for a marathon would be to very much listen to your body and know when to back off. It is better to train at 85% for 6 weeks than at 100% for 3 and then break down. Of course training for a marathon is tiring and lots of days off isn't good, but knowing when to rest is important. Understanding what training works for you is also important and just because one person swears by a certain session dosen't mean that it will work for everyone.

In the race itself, pace judgement is key. Aim to conserve as much energy as possible in the first half and aim to run a negative split. This may be unlikely to happen but at least running even paced will mean a much more pleasant marathon experience. To treat 20miles as half way in terms of energy expended is pushing it a bit! but if you are able to 'come thru' in the last 10k it is amazing the amount of time and places you will pick up.
 

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Thanks Dan and well done in Melbourne. It's always good to hear how top runners got into running and what they were like when they first started compared to today.

Good luck with training for the Europeans.
 

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Well done!

Well done at the CW's mate...well worth staying up for, although the miss's was pissy as hell as we had an early start the next morning!

see you soon,

Martin
 

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Well done in Sweden

Watched bits of your marathon on TV yesterday

I was screaming for you... but I guess you might have been too far away to hear.

Superbly well ran - 2:16:06 is faster than some of the times I've done 42km on my bike!
 

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well done in the europeans Dan, differetn from your usual tactics but well worth a try even if it didn't go entirely to plan! In addition congratulations on your commonwealth bronze medal.

I'm considering taking up the marathon next year and would like to run a reasonable time my original goal was going to be 2:45, but after seeing two people I was dead level with over 10k + 5 miles run 2:29 and 2:27, I'm tempted to make it an attempt on 2:30.

the question is that what sort of mileage do you think is necessary to do that whilst still retaining enough speed that I can have something of a track season over the later months. As a junior runner I'd also like to get as high a placing as possible in the national under 20 XC.

Any advice your or any one else can pass on would be most appreciated.
 

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Haile G ran his first marathon at 15, didn't seem to blunt his speed at all!

Snell regularly ran 22 mile training runs at a young age and look at what it did to him!

Will do longer reply later, but at work at the moment!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks everyone. Was pretty dissapointed with myself in Gothenburg to be honest, I was in the shape of my life, but just didn't run a sensible race. I don't think going off quite hard was the problem, it was when we caught the main group that the problems started! If I had kept running even paced at that point instead of going with the surge at 20k I think that my last 10k would have been a little less ugly! Lessons to be learnt i suppose, but so frustrating as my training had gone perfectly and I really felt that I could run a pb on that course. Will have to wait to the spring to put it right now though.

Am back ticking over in training now, and plan to do the Midland road relays and the Stroud half marathon in October.
 

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Are you aiming for London next year? Or Osaka?

Despite my better instinct, I'm now in training for Abingdon - going to aim somewhere below 3:30 this time... Good For My Age is only a matter of time (it's a race between me getting faster and me getting older!)
 

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Dan- unlucky, on the other hand, it was an experiment, you've tried even pacing and it's worked brilliantly for you in the past, this time you tried going with a mid-race surge and it didn't work.

Your ratio of good:bad marathons must still be higher than just about anyone elses! Even Paul Tergat and Baldini both have major off days!

Best of luck in hte midland road relays, hopefully if my team qualify (unlikely, we just lost 3:56 and 4:11 1500 runners who after me and our 1:51 800 man would probably have been our 3rd and 4th scorers) we might meet you in the nationals!

Hope trainings going well! I know that for one of the Norman brothers at least, they seem to be making a very swift comeback, so watch out there!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Good luck at Abingdon Hollywood, hope you get sub 3.30. Am planning to do a spring marathon (most likely London) and depending on how it goes, will do either World Champs in Osaka or an autumn city marathon.

Bryn, most people have a bad day with the marathon, it's the nature of the event I suppose, so I'll just have to take it on the chin!

Hope you manage to get a team together for the relays. I see the Norman brothers are going well, more to come from both of them I'm sure. Good luck with your training.
 

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Dan - no idea if you check on this forum any more - and I certainly hope you are not checking on here right now - you've got better things to be doing.

Huge good luck for the Oly marathon tonight - really looking forward to watching you - believe you've got a fab chance of achieving something special and we will be screaming at the telly for the whole 2 hours!

Go for it!
 

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This prompted me to read Dan's original post - really interesting stuff. He was pretty damn good to begin with wasn't he!

Good luck from me also, Dan!
 

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So here's to you, Mr Robinson,
UK needs you more than you will know.
Gold medal please Mr Robinson.
Heaven holds a place for those who run,
the marathun,
and win win win


:rolleyes:
 
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