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New challenge and a new Coach for the Rome Marathon

As most of you know I have booked myself into the Rome Marathon on March 23rd next year which just happens t0 be 1 year to the day that I started running so the perfect date for my first marathon challenge and what a place to do it.

I chose Rome for a couple of reasons, the date is just perfect, its a lovely course and above all it will be lovely for Sue because we are staying in a lovely boutique hotel right on the start finish line so after I am off she can go back to the hotel for breakfast and a relax which hopefully will keep her happy and away from the numerous shoe shops 😀

When I decided I wanted to do a marathon which was probably March 24th this year 🙂  I knew that I wanted it to be epic and I wanted to do my best to run it in a decent time, I did not want to be a 5 hour marathon runner,  I have nothing against slower runners at all in fact some of my good friends are slower runners but I wanted to set myself a goal and as always train hard and race easy,

My LRR Captain advised me to get a running buddy, not necessarily to run with but someone to be accountable to so I thought about it long and hard and asked my RunCamp leader Ant to coach/partner me in my training and thankfully he agreed.  You all now how much I rave about RunCamp which I have been doing for about 14 weeks now and have booked in for the next few months too, well Ant also does personal coaching for training plans which is what he is doing for me using a great website called training  peaks as well as face to face of course. Using Ant meant my training is not just an “off the shelf” marathon plan but instead one based around me, my races and my predicted finishing time so I am very happy and confident that I am doing the right thing.

RunCamp has been amazing for me, its the finest way runners can improve strength, reduce injury risk and ultimately get faster through technique development all in a fun group scenario. In RunCamp, ‘joggers’ have become ‘runners’ and runners become faster and this has definitely been the case for me, I once hated getting up at 05:50 on a friday morning but now I can’t wait,  they do of course offer more sensible times 🙂

My training plan with RunCamp will be an add-on to this, A fully individual running plan with every workout scheduled for me for the duration of the course which is at least until my marathon and probably beyond depending on what Ultra I choose (ok only kidding) Each plan is scheduled using TrainingPeaks.

I will of course continue to train with my amazing running club the Hiller’s if my training plan allows, at the moment I am training mondays and Wednesdays as well as a social run Thursdays, I get so much out of my LRR training and look forward to my nights with Stuart, Kevin and Ben as well as all my mates and the social runs.

I am really looking forward to my Marathon, I know it will be hard and the course challenging especially running on 5 miles of Italian cobbles bit I am sure the location will more than make up for it and my dream would be to get a qualifying time for Boston for 2015 from this run so keep em crossed !  I know I am in good hands and am really looking forward to continuing my journey with Runcamp.

watch this space…….


RunCamp on facebook

RunCamp Website

Lordshill Road Runners

Roma Marathon

My latest running results








Overton 5 mile road race NEW PB

After this mornings parkrun I was really buzzin for this afternoon’s race which was the Overton 5 mile race and the first in our Hampshire Road Running League (HRRL).  I was not planning on running this one but my club mate Rodolfo had booked it and could not run so wanted another team member to run it and I was pleased to step in because our Son Andy was also running it and I love to run the same races as him.

Sue, Andy and I arrived about 1:50 for the 3pm race so plenty of time for a chat with all the other hiller’s before the race started as well as a warm up run which despite my morning run I decided to do, I ran around the fields for just over a mile which seems to suit me well and today was no different because once we started I felt great.

It was not long before we were lined up and the gun sounded and off we went, I started about a third of the way back which in retrospect was a mistake because I should have moved forward a bit more but hey ho as  my club mate Tony would say “each race is a classroom. we were soon on our way out of the playing field and once I saw Sue and stopped showboating I was moving at a decent pace alongside my good friends Steve and Mike, out and UP I should have said 🙂  the next mile and a bit was a series of steady climbs and bends but all very enjoyable and then the last mile was a fast downhill run through the village and past the start point again for lap 2.  At this point I noticed my watch was just under 17 minutes so I decided to pick up the pace and go for a PB so I did just that, despite the fact that I had not quite reached the halfway point I kept up the pace and moved up the field right through until the finish which again was a very fast mile and up around back into the playing field to a WHOOP WHOOP from a very pleasing crowd of hiller’s which helped me with my sprint finish although I did miss Sue taking my finishing photos 🙂

Through the finishing tunnel I was handed a very welcome bottle of water and a beautiful glass tankard which made me very happy and even I think is a nice change from a medal Shock !!!

I then went back to find Sue, chat to a few hiller’s and wait for Andy to finish which was amazing to see.  We then unfortunately had to head home because we had clients but it had been the perfect day.

The course was undulating and very interesting, definitely my kind of race and one for next years diary, nice and local and great parking too, the marshals were all brilliant with lots of encouragement as we went round and the course was laid out perfectly, the organisation was top notch, my only criticism would be that the pre-race brief was a waste of time unless you were on the front row (again lessons to be learnt) so they needed a loud hailer for next time.

Really chuffed that I ran today and thank you to Rodolfo for letting me run in his place, to the Organisers for swapping the number/name so effortlessly its nice to see.

I am so chuffed with my running at the moment and I have no doubt its down to a few things, my training and run leaders at Lordshill Road Runners (you guys are amazing)  RunCamp with Ant has taught me so much and although I was shocked looking at the photos at my poor form today its definitely making me faster, My running buddies for the constant inspiration, it means so much guys and lastly but most importantly my wife, best friend and sole-mate Sue for constantly being there for me and giving me your total love and encouragement as well as the odd very well placed pep talks which I love and AMAZING photos, I could do none of this without you Sue X

Thanks Sue for the lovely photos.


I finished this race in 34:50 and I finished in position 180 out of 482 finishers for a new PB

Check out the stats from my polar GPS here (again you will see the obvious place when I stopped racing) 34:51

And lastly one from our son Andy, this photo makes me a very proud Dad 🙂


My first half marathon. Salisbury 5,4,3,2,1

After a change of work plans for Saturday which meant Sue and I could not go to a planned party in Kent it left me free on sunday so when I mentioned that I would do a long solo run on Sunday morning Sue said why not book a race instead.  I messaged my running club and the resounding recommendation was the Salisbury 5,4,3,2,1 which had options for a 10k, 21k, 30k, 40k or 50k so I chose the 21k which is a half marathon and happily booked it in.  I was happy to find out that not only had lots of hiller’s also booked it but also a lot of other friends from running clubs locally so I was very happy.

Salisbury 5,4,3,2,1 gets its name because you run by the following

5 rivers.  Avon, Bourne, Ebble, Nadder and Wylye

4 hills. Old Sarum, King Manor, Clearbury Hill Fort and Salisbury Race Course

3 Large country estates. Clarendon, Longford and Wilton

2 Castles. Old Sarum and Longford

1 Cathedral.  Salisbury

This morning Sue and I arrived about 08:45 for my 10:30 start so we had plenty of time to catch up with our mates before the enormity of what I was about to do hit me 🙂  This was a very hilly trail race so it was a bog ask for my first half marathon but it was too late now….

A few minutes before the start I headed along to the starting mat with our LRR club captain Jim who for the record is an amazing runner. a few minutes later the horn sounded and off we all went, my plan for a steady start went right out the window once race fever hit me so thank god I warmed up 🙂  we ran out of the field over the bridge and I was buzzing and very happy,  the first mega hill was a killer as were the next few and they never really eased up until after mile 5 but that was a huge relief believe me,  the next few miles were enjoyable and at mile 7 I passed my friend and club mate Roger who was walking the 50k route then at the mile 89 water stop I saw my real good mate Paul who was running the 30k race which gave me a buzz because as he had predicted earlier it meant I had kept up a great pace,  at mile 10 I had my first energy gel which turned out to be a mistake because despite me trying them and getting on with them they gave me a proper jippy tummy so never again whilst racing 🙁  that aside I was loving it but slowed a little from mile 11 and at mile 12 it was pretty tough going simply because of the course I think, the last mile and a half was ran right through the town centre including dodging shoppers and cars, the worst part is that I had to keep slowing down to check the route which was marked but most of the arrows were hidden by the shoppers 🙂  anyway after negotiating those I passed the half marathon distance and realised I was not finished which although I was pre-warned it was a little disheartening but I ploughed on through the shoppers and then the highlight of the race I saw Sue and then I knew I was almost there, I managed to pick up the pace and ran home feeling amazing, well apart from my tummy but that wont happen again.

I ran yesterday in my new Brookes Adrenaline ASR which are a a hybrid trail version of the very popular GTS shoe and they are just perfect for the mixed trail/road routes like this so great choice and very comfortable over that distance too. I am moving to brookes adrenaline for my road running too because I over pronate and my current shoes do not offer quite enough support.

I crossed the line which was bang on 13.5 miles in 01:41:24 which considering the extra distance was amazing considering those hills (did I mention them) 🙂

I ran the 13.1 mile half marathon distance in 01:38:25 which was simply remarkable given those bloody hills !!!

Although as I was warned this was not a very well measured course it was fun and much better than the solo run option, there were very few marshals but the route was well signed apart from the last 2 miles but thats nobody’s fault, there were ample drink stations and the finish area was amazing, nice music and atmosphere. overall it was a hard course and a little more support along the way would have been fab but none the less I enjoyed it.

I crossed the line the 2nd hiller behind Jim and I was very happy with my placing. but that last 2 or 3 minutes were tough I think partly mentally because I passed the half marathon mark and expected to finish but also fighting my way through the shoppers 🙂

My next planned half marathon is Oxford on 13th October and I am really looking forward to it and to getting a real good accurate time which I hope to be very near the 1:30 mark.  Train hard race easy 🙂

I finished this 13.5 mile race in 01:41:24 and came in position 15 out of 101 finishers which is awesome and only 2nd in my age category.

I ran the half marathon distance in 01:38:25 which works out at 7:30 minute miles

Check out my polar watch stats here

Yateley 10k 3rd race and new PB

Last night was the last of the Yateley 10k series for 2013 and it was the perfect night for a race.  Sue and I arrived good and early and after our high protein picnic I wandered in to collect my race number and chip and to chat to a few Sandhurst joggers.  We then had a coffee and went for our pre-race walk and chat which as always helped to calm my race nerves although I must confess that I felt more nervous here than ever before at a race I think because the last one went so well that I had something pretty amazing to match or even hopefully beat.  After a walk and another coffee I headed out onto the fields and went for my usual 1.5 mile warm up run but this time after taking advice from my RunCamp coach Anthony I did it a little slower, in fact I ran it at an average 8.23 min miles and then did a few leg swing exercises to looses and warm up my hip flexors and pelvis before heading over to the starting coral.

As always I headed to the front few rows, I run a pretty fast race so its good to get towards the front, I have never to my knowledge slowed anyone down (famous last words) so its the right place for me, in fact very few people overtake me until a few minutes into the race so its all good :-).  After the pre race briefing the gun fired and we were away !  the pace was good and fast and I quietly doubted my ability to keep it up, I honestly much prefer running in the morning but he ho,  I soon got into the rhythm and as I passed the 1K and the 2K mark I noticed I was still running well under 7 min mile pace so all good,  this continued up and down the hills right through the race until at the 7K mark I noticed that I had slowed very slightly because of mental fatigue so I remembered everything that I had been taught by the amazing runners I know, Andy, Jim, my run leaders Kev and Stu and well as Anthony and so many more and I managed to pick up my pace but to be honest the thing that drove me on last night was the last thing that Sue said to me,  “jules if you want a PB power up those hills then when you reach the top power down again”  she does make me chuckle and she is the best coach anyone could ever ask for, I am so blessed to have her in my life and so thankful for her support when running.

Soon enough I reached the 9k mark and the dreaded “waitrose hill”  although after 3 races I have still not seen a waitrose haha!  Its funny but when I am racing I only think about running and my form and my min miles and I don’t take any notice of where I am running, this keeps my mind active and focused on the job in hand,  When I upload my miles to “FETCH” it asks me to write 3 things I saw when running, I honestly struggle to find 3 interesting things 🙂   anyway up the hill I went and then the easy 500M home, fast and furious downhill into the school and through the finish, as I ran the last straight I could see the clock was 42:20 so knew I was onto a winner but I was delighted to cross the line with another amazing PB of 42:26 a full 59 seconds faster than my previous best 10k which in fact was here 1 month ago.

Just like the last 3 races this was very well organised, the Sandhurst Joggers are a very friendly bunch and the marshals are probably the best and most encouraging  I have experienced apart from my home team of course 🙂  I loved every minute of last night and as I crossed the line I was given my lovely medal and a couple of chocolate bars and a bottle of water and I sat down and waited for the lovely Sue to come find me 🙂

I then went for a short cool down run and then some gentle stretching which did the job nicely because last night and this morning I feel great and could run again, in fact I am in a few hours with the hiller’s.

I will definitely be back for 2014 and who knows maybe I will be running sub 40 by then, I sincerely hope so.

Here are the results for the last 2 races in this series.

Race 1. I finished the race in 46:25 and 226 out of 900 ish runners.

Race 2. I finished the race in 43:25 and 148 out of 820 ish runners.

LAST NIGHT I finished the race in 42:26 and 125 out of about 1000 runners.

I am delighted with these results and especially this race, I ran an average of  6:45 min miles which is brilliant and I hope to get sub 42 within my next few races,  This Sunday I have a trail half marathon and then the week after a 10K at Clapham Common which I am looking forward to although its my birthday weekend so depending on alcohol drank it might not be a super fast race 🙂

I am pretty sure that my speed is down to my training both with the hiller’s and Runcamp and I cant recommend either strongly enough. And of course as my good pal Andy says, “train hard and race easy”  this has become my mantra and its paying off big style.

Check out RunCamp

Check out the hiller’s  without a doubt the best local running club

Check out the race stats from my Polar watch

Lastly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped organise these races, those who cheered me on and those new friends I have made at Yateley but mostly to my best friend my soul mate my amazing wife Sue for your constant love and encouragement “stride”

A few photos from today thanks to the lovely Sue.

Still striving for a sub 20 parkrun……But new PB today

This morning I ran my first 5k since April and it felt great,  I have been getting faster with my 10k’s and this morning I was hoping for a sub 21 parkrun which would knock a minute or so off my best yet which was 22:21.

I woke early for breakfast and a coffee before heading off out the door for my run to Southampton Common, I ended up going a fairly direct 2.5 miles to the start of the parkrun which I ran quite well and it felt great when I arrived but in the back of my mind was a niggling thought “had I overdone the run down”  Ahh well only time will tell.  After chatting with a few mates I lined up at the start and headed for the very front to give myself every chance of a decent race, I am fast enough to get off the line sub 6 min miles so I knew I would not slow anyone down.  Once the hooter sounded we headed off up the common straight and I had a great pace sub 6 as predicted and then rounding the bend and up the first hill which was ok, then the second long straight which felt good turning back and running back towards the start/finish for the first time. This was my first parkrun where I could see the front runners in front of me at that point so I knew it was going well,  I continued at pace and up onto the long incline which was hard but I knew once there it was a short sprint across the common to the triangle and then the homeward straight which felt great. I had a great finish managing to avoid some pesky bugger trying to pass me and crossed the line in an amazing Sub 21 🙂

I cant tell you how happy I am with todays result both in terms of my race and my finish and I put it down to a couple of things, firstly my new motto of  Train hard and Race easy which simply means the more work I put in during training the easier racing has become, I train with my amazing Club the Lordshill Road Runners and am so grateful for all the support they give me constantly and I know this has made me a stronger faster runner. The second is RunCamp which if you have not checked out before and your into running you really do need to check it out, I am only on week 1, well 2 really and its just brilliant, it concentrates on improving my running form which again it turn makes me a faster stronger and above all safer runner which helps me avoid injury.  You can check out both of these using the links below but I would urge anyone out there to join a local club as a first port of call.

I am so lucky that I can run the next few parkruns so am hoping to keep nibbling away at my time and hopefully by the time I run Parkrun USA in January I will be a coveted sub 2o parkrunner, well thats the plan !

Next week I am doing a little parkrun tourism and off to Brockenhurst parkrun with my club.

RunCamp Facebook

RunCamp Website

LRR Facebook

LRR Website

I finished todays parkrun in position 45th out of  runners in a confirmed time of 20:43 an amazing 1 minute and 30 seconds faster than my previous best and I came 2nd in my age category.

This was my fastest race so far I manages to run an average pace of 6:40 min miles or 9 mph.

 You can check out the results from my Polar HRM here

A few photos thanks to this weeks volunteer photographer Nick Perkins