Week 4 of 12 London Marathon Build-up 19th - 25th February - Thorpe Park Half Marathon

I started the week with it in mind to compete for the first time since September when I ran the Berlin Marathon. On Sunday is the Thorpe Park Half Marathon, at the very least I shall look to run at marathon pace, however should I feel good I may just capitalise on that and see what I can do.
I woke this morning with a stiff back after over-stretching Saturday night, then training and travelling the following day compounded the problem. I was super apprehensive going into this run knowing how my back has been, but as soon as I started moving things were okay. I completed the run which was 12.5 miles at a nice easy pace. I was conscious again of my posterior tibial tendon, in fact this played more on my mind than my back, so I’m not too concerned the back is a major issue. It's just a matter of days and I'm sure it will correct itself. I am looking forward to visiting the chiropractor on Friday who will help manage and remedy the situation.
I repeated yesterday’s distance of 12.5 miles at a slightly faster pace but still easy. My posterior tibial tendon was stiff and worse today but not painful. I’ll see how things go and decide tomorrow morning whether to do a session prior to the race at the weekend.

I woke up stumbling around the house, trying not to wake my family. This isn’t often the case. I probably woke from a deeper sleep today. I got dressed and put on my new CloudX. I potentially see myself wearing these for the Marathon. 
I left the house at 5:50, the plan today was to do 4x2 miles reps with two minutes recovery diminishing by 10 seconds per rep. My coach Conrad Milton and I had discussed potentially doing 5 reps but I decided to err on the side of caution, and leave something for next time. I was very pleased how the session went. The reps got quicker as the session progressed, as it was early morning and I was warming up into the run. In total I ran around 12.5 miles, I'm very pleased no significant pains reared their ugly head this morning. Things look promising for the Thorpe Park Half Marathon on Sunday. I'll look to do some strides towards the end of the week prior to the race.
This evenings yoga lesson focused on opening the hips, stretching the hamstrings and calves. All beneficial for the planned race.

24 hrs on from yesterday's session my lower spine is sore but I still managed an easy run of 12.5 miles to aid the flushing out of lactate acid. Legs actually felt very good considering.

Another easy day. I had the pleasure of Dan Gaffney's company. It was great to chew the fat on the morning run; it always makes the miles go quickly. In the last mile I put in 4 efforts of approx. 200m of strides just to wake the legs and the body in preparation for Sunday's race.

I had contemplated resting today, but I feel I have recovered well from Wednesday's session so I decided to have another easy run, but a bit shorter than yesterday. I met with another 6am training partner Steph McCall and ran an easy 8 miles. Legs felt great and free of fatigue.

Sunday: Thorpe Park Half Marathon.
This is it! The long awaited comeback race. It's been 5 months since I last raced at the Berlin Marathon. I woke at 5:30am. Steph was due round at 6:30 to car-pool with me to the race. I had a lightly buttered cinnamon and raisin bagel, a banana plus and a mug of coffee for breakfast. As it was -1 degrees outside I got dressed in numerous layers of clothing. Steph arrived promptly, and we made the short 30 min trip to Thorpe Park arriving at 7am. Gun time was 9am so we had plenty of time to chill. We hung out in the car for the most of the next hour keeping warm and talking about race strategy.
We began our warm up at 8:30 - an easy 2 miles. Due to the amount of layers I had on, it didn't take long to reach race temperature. Upon arriving back at the race village I got stripped down sufficiently enough to apply Deepheat to my calves, hamstrings quads and lower back. Race kit today comprised of knee length shorts, long compression socks, long sleeve shirt with my TeamON Vest. Halfway to the startline I realised that I had left my gloves in my kit bag; #schoolboyerror. Not too worried, I continued on to the startline and posed for team photos before the countdown began 10, 9,8,........following 1, I anticipated a gunfire, whistle, siren or something, but nothing! So we just legged it anyway.
As the gun went off, all the natural instincts took over and I forgot about the issues I had had recently. Knowing that the two main protagonists and fellow On Ambassadors Ben Fish and Russell Bentley had competed yesterday in the National Cross Country Championships, and weren't as fresh as myself, I made my intentions clear from the beginning and kicked into an early lead. My legs felt very elastic and young compared to my chronological vintage. I began like it was a 10k race perhaps rather than a half marathon. I guess my inner chimp got out of the cage! But hey lets roll with it I thought. By checking the shadows cast by the sun to my side I sensed early on that only one person was in contact with me. A quick glance proved accurate and it was Ben. 
...and they're off,
 No2. Eventual winner Ben Fish;
No4. Runner-up & myself;
No.1 3rd Place Russell Bentley
No.2818 Women's Runner-up Steph McCall

We reached 1 mile in 5:05 mins approx as Ben edged level. I tucked in behind him and followed to 2 miles in 5:09 mins. Ben looked strong considering he had raced less that 24 hrs ago. He stretched ahead a little by 3 miles shortly after a hair pin, which gave us an opportunity to see the chasing field. I could see Russell comfortably in 3rd. Ben continued to open up a small lead which gradually increased through the next few miles. My next 3 miles were at 5:16; 5:15 and 5:16 to 5 miles. At this point I was very much isolated and already settling for 2nd position as I could see Ben disappearing into the distance with no threat coming from behind. I felt I was running strong but no match for Ben. 
Shortly after the 5 mile mark the first of 2 big hills began which took the zap out of my legs, as I'm sure it did for others. The next 2 miles slipped to 5:34 and 5:30 before a 5:21 mile to 8 miles. It is always difficult to hurt yourself when you don't need too but I tried my best to keep my enthusiasm up and work the course as much as could. I never really got back onto the pace I set early on, as the hope of a sub 70 min time started slipping away. 

In the closing miles the course profile levelled off, I physically picked up the effort without significant return in speed. This clearly wasn't the day or course for fast times but nonetheless I was running well and positively. The course marshals who were I'm sure frozen to the bone were always encouraging, and there were numerous signs of motivation pinned to lampposts around the course to help the runners, which I really appreciated. In the closing miles I maintained the effort and strode to the finish line in 70:38, comfortably in 2nd place overall and 7 mins clear of the next runner in my M40-44 category. All in all a good comeback race. 
Results here.                                                             
Presentation with the Mayor.

L>R Tracy Millmore, Russell Bentley, Kirsty Longley, Ben Fish & myself
A great day for Team On with a 1-2-3-4 in the Men's race and 1-3 in the Womens race.
NB. Olly Laws not pictured finished 4th.

1st and 2nd Place.

Shoe Review

My shoe of choice for this race was the Cloudrush. I have always favoured a race shoe which has a low-profile (close to the ground), with not much forefoot cushioning. I love to the feel the ground when I run, and power off from the forefoot and toes. This shoes encourages this by propelling the foot forward onto the toes. I'd imagine this may be due to the slightly larger Clouds at the rear of the shoe compared to those at the front and the built in flexible speedboard.
I have to say this shoe suits me very well, and would be ideal for the type of runner with a history of 1500m -10k track racing. The type of runner who strikes at the toe to mid-foot region. Considering I hadn't worn these prior to the race, other than a few minutes around the house as posh carpet slippers, I forgot I was wearing new shoes.
In my opinion, I see this shoe as the middle child of 3 On shoes. The Cloudsurfer being the elder more robust sibling with more meat on the bone. Suited for long and or fast training runs when more cushioning is required. The Cloudflash is the younger malnourished 'whippet like-looking' sibling, lightweight, streamlined and built for speed. Great on the track or road at 5k-10k distances. The Cloudrush fits nicely in the middle, often overlooked and goes about it's business quietly. In case you were wondering I'm a middle child! 

                                     Training Diary 19th - 25th Feb 2018
a.m. 12.5 miles @7:07/mi

a.m. 12.5 miles @7:03/mi
a.m. 12.5 miles @6:25/mi incorp. 4x 2miles / diminishing rec. 2 mins/1:50/1:40
p.m. Yoga
a.m. 12.5 miles @7:16/mi
a.m. 10 miles with strides in final mile @7:18/mi with Dan Gaffney
a.m.  8 miles easy @7:10/mi with Steph McCall
a.m. 2 miles warm-up - 2nd Place Thorpe Park Half Marathon 70:38 - 1 mile cool down
This week in numbers. 

85 miles ran this week 
7 - runs
4 pairs of running shoes worn this week. ON Cloudflow, Cloudflyer, CloudX, & Cloudrush 
9 stone 10 1/4 lbs / 61.6 kg - weight
1 - Chiropractor Visit
37.5 hours @work
1 - yoga session
200 - average strides per min during Half Marathon Race
14,152 - steps during race 
Race Stats

Next Race
Sunday 4th March 2018
The Big Half Marathon incorp. British Half Marathon Championships.

On UK announcement.

#BeOn #onrunning #runonclouds #TeamOn


  1. Another great blog Kojo. That was a brilliant week of running capped with a great half marathon after 5 months of no competition. Onwards and forwards to the London.

    1. Hi Rob, thanks very much. I’m enjoying documenting the journey to London.

    2. Hi Kojo, I have just found out who you are and what you do and it’s inspiring! Can I ask you a question? My sporting background is semi pro and sprinting, like yourself. I am now looking to get more serious about longer distance masters running (I’m 43). I feel more efficient and comfortable running with a higher knee lift than I see on most long distance runners. I have watched your ‘6am club’ video and you seemed to run with a higher knee lift. Do you run the same on the longer distances or did you modify your form?
      Sean James

    3. Hi Sean, nice to hear from you and apologies for the delay in responding to you.

      I have developed a slightly lower knee lift over the years when moving up the distances but probably higher than most people. I think this is a gradual and natural adaptation to distance rather than deliberate. However, a previous coach did point out too me that when i fatigue and decelerate my stride is too long, shorter faster strides are better so I intentially switch. Knee lift is then often lower. Hope this helps. Thanks for reading the blogs. Good luck πŸ‘πŸΎπŸƒπŸΎ‍♂️

  2. Thank you Kojo, very helpful.


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