Week Three: Cutting back

This is part of a series of posts reflecting on my experiences in the run up to the Yorkshire Marathon in October. I’m currently on week three of a twelve week training programme. The idea is to write a post every week charting my progress and reflecting on my training.


Cutting back?

What? On week three?

Sounds like giving up, right? Well, not at all. After the niggles of week two I thought I would listen to what my body is telling me and not fall into that common trap of marathon training – trying to do too much too soon.

I’d fallen into this trap before. Started off training with buckets of enthusiasm and pushed my body too much. Sometimes, like most men, I have to remind myself I’m not a young man anymore. I’m approaching fifty. Yep, that’s not old, is it? Well, it’s not really old anyway. Plenty of people do marathons way older than me.

Clear(ish) blue skies during a gentle stroll of the former site of Dinnington pit.

They do, but it’s usually not their first one and they’re sensible about it. Going into a first marathon approaching fifty and being anything else is just plain stupid. I can do this, I know I can, but I’m going to have to be strategic about it and build myself up gradually – two or three weeks of hard training is just not going to cut it.

That’s why this week I cut back a bit on the gym and gave myself a couple of rest days to allow my body the time it needed to recover. I also skipped parkrun on Saturday.

Despite this though – I still did all of the runs I needed to do on my training plan and my body feels great. Well, maybe not great, but much better than last week anyway.

Sensible – yes?

Training programme

Week three has included the following:

  • Monday: Rest day from running and I needed it after the long run yesterday. Stuck to my Monday ritual of doing a couple of hours in the gym working on building up my core though.
  • Tuesday: According to the programme I had to do an hour to an hour and ten at an easy pace. On Sunday’s long run I discovered a short stretch of road just outside the village of Letwell I’d never run on before canopied by trees. It was really pretty so I headed out to do it again today. Got back home just on time at an easy pace.
  • Wednesday: Rest day from running, but did a steady session in the gym mixing a bit of cardio (rowing, cross training) with weights.
  • Thursday: Otherwise known as “the day of the dreaded fartleks.” I managed a steady warm up to Greenlands Park and then did 6 x 3 minutes at a 10k pace with a minute recovery jog between each, then finished off with a steady cool down jog. Stretching out the faster sections of this run to 3 minutes was challenging and by the last one I was pretty relieved. Still, ‘that which does not kill us makes us stronger’ if Nietzsche is to be believed (or Conan the barbarian …). I went to the Les Mills Body Pump class at dinner and took it steady as I felt pretty drained.
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My kit for the Les Mills class

  • Friday: Rest day – YAY!
  • Saturday: Also a rest day – yup, I even skipped parkrun.
  • Sunday: Progression run. One hour twenty minutes of steady running finished off with ten minutes of running at a fast pace.

Apologies to those of you who usually drop by for updates about learning technology – I tend to post about that kind of thing on Jisc’s Inspiring Learning blog. I intend to use this blog for more personal, non-related work posts in future.

Week Two: Keeping with the programme

This is part of a series of posts reflecting on my experiences in the run up to the Yorkshire Marathon in October. I’m currently on week two of a twelve week training programme. The idea is to write a post every week charting my progress and reflecting on my training.


Running is easy when the weather’s nice and you’re feeling good.

It’s not so easy when you don’t feel your best and the downpours make you consider buying a canoe. That pretty much sums up this week. However, as the spoiler in the title attests, this has largely been a week of “keeping with the programme.” Continue reading

Week One: Learn to regulate

This is part of a series of posts reflecting on my experiences in the run up to the Yorkshire Marathon in October. I’m currently at the start of a twelve week training programme. The idea is to write a post every week charting my progress and reflecting on my training.


It’s funny what pops into your head when you’re running.

“He knows how to regulate.”

Recognise the quote?

For those of you not familiar with AMC’s The Walking Dead series, it’s a quote from series four about the governor, played by the brilliant David Morrissey. Being able ‘to regulate’ refers to his ability to keep a cool head in stressful situations (in this case, a zombie apocalypse – fairly stressful). Continue reading

Lost in the virtual reality labyrinth

Recently, like for many of you I’m sure, I’ve been reflecting on what to do about Christmas this year. Namely, what presents to buy …

A random email promoting the sales on Black Friday sparked my interest in a virtual reality headset for the PlayStation. I’m not particularly a big video gamer – I have a PlayStation, but I mainly watch Netflix through it. What games I have are mainly played by my young nephew when he comes round. It’s a bit of a hunch, but I’m fairly sure he would be happy to explore virtual reality gaming though. Virtual reality is also a bit of a hot topic at work with more people trying out virtual reality in an educational context. Continue reading

An inspiring week at the #studentideas design sprint

Sometimes my job genuinely makes me want to cry.

I’ve been working in Birmingham all week with students going through a design sprint to launch potential new tech products. It’s been both tiring and rewarding as we’ve covered so much over such a short time. What has really been inspiring has been to see their ideas evolve and take shape. Continue reading