The master plan & The quest for the elusive sub 3hr

“Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known”

Whitesnake. 1982

Yes, here I go again.  Yet another, well ok, my 3rd attempt at the elusive sub 3hr marathon. 

Attempt no.1 was the White Peak in 2011. A picturesque but slightly hilly trail marathon from Ashbourne to Cromford in the peak district.  The wheels came off at mile 20 when both my left quad & hamstring decided to seize at exactly the same time.  3hr 25min 36sec. In reality I wasnt emotionally or physically ready. 

Attempt no. 2 was Blackpool marathon this year. Training was a little up and down with injury and illness but  i felt ready.  taper time came and I caught a cold and I took nearly two of the last three weeks off running completely.  Couple of other unlucky things happened the day before but race day I thought I would smash it. Mile 22 came and I was falling badly off pace and never recovered. 3hr 06min 52sec. These pictures say it all.

Mile 14…..


Mile 23….


Physically I wasnt fully ready.  some of the organisation ie. lack of on course loos and unhelpful marshalling (see race report from April 2013) made me say I wouldn’t do blackpool marathon again for a while. 

So, we come onto attempt no.3 which will be


Blackpool. 😉


Yes, I know what I said but I have a bit of a point to prove with the race. The organisers have promised they have adressed the issues of 2013.   There is a very small chance, 2 in 4012 chance, that I may run the VLM2014 but 98% likely I will be running past the tower of blackpool twice again.

This time I will be ready both physically and mentally.  Training is going to be broken up into 2 parts. First off I will train to get faster for the Brass Monkey 1/2 marathon on January 19th. Aim will be to get as close to 80min on a flat fast course. This should give me a big indication on where I am in the training and what I need to do for the marathon. 

Then I will take a couple of easy short milage weeks before I begin the  marathon training properly.  I may run the South Yorkshire 1/2 on march 17th as a warm up 3 weeks before the big day… April 6th 2013 Blackpool marathon – The rematch.

I have a plan for the elusive sub 3hr.  That’s to try to get myself to 2hr 50min shape. If I can and again the wheels come off then I can fall back on the sub 3hr, if the wheels and steering wheel come off the final goal has to be the sub 3hr 05min GFA for the glorified charity event that is the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2015.

One minor disappointment is that like many,  for the first time in 8, I will miss the Sheffield half marathon.  Bad planning means its on the same day as 5 other marathons including Manchester & Brighton and the week before London Marathon.

I also have 4 more X-country races –
Sheffield open on December 28th
Yorkshire x-country on January 4th
Northern x-country on January 26th
National x-country on February 22nd.

The last 3 will be against top elite quality runners like Olympian siblings the Brownlee brothers.  hopefully these should be good tests to build into a hard marathon build up. It will be tiring and at times I expect to look like this……


And doing a lot of….


I need to lose a little more weight especially over the festive season. So boxing day I will be all….


Currenty, as of 7am 16th December, I weigh exactly 12st and I reckon I need to be touching 11st approx for both the Brass Monkey & Blackpool.  In between its not so important but 11.5st has to be the approximate for this time. Another part of the ‘master plan’ is to get well into the 17 minutes for a 5K.  I have recently fell out with the distance but it’s a good indication of where my flatline speed endurance is.  The latest attempt ended in 18:36 at the hillsborough parkrun on 14th December.  The course is playfully undulating, there was a bit of a headwind, I was 1st finisher by over a minute and the people behind were also considerably off their own PBs so not perfect racing conditions. 

Hopefully I can look back on this blog post in a few months time and say job well done.

Bye for now.

“All we know is that we don’t know,  How it’s gonna be,  please brother let it be, Life on the other hand won’t let you understand, We’re all part of the masterplan”

Oasis 1995


One thought on “The master plan & The quest for the elusive sub 3hr

  1. I reckon you can do it Gareth. You were only 6mins shy before so that is a huge mental positive to take into training.
    Good luck sir.

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