Week 5 of 12 London Marathon Build-up 26th - 4th March - The Big Half - incorp. British Half Marathon Championships.

Vitality Big Half - London Results here.
I woke at 5:30 and did my usual weigh in. The scales confirmed I was light on my feet which always boosts my confidence, as I know I’ll be energy efficient. After a light breakfast of two slices of toast with jam and a cup of coffee I got dressed. I soon realised I left my favourite long sleeve shirt upstairs, the one I wear under my race vest on cold days. I refer to this as my power shirt. I rarely have a bad race in it. I proceeded upstairs to get my shirt, guided my the torch of my phone I located it with ease. To my surprise I heard the quiet voice of my wife saying, “are you ok?” I explained I forgot my power vest. She wished me good luck and fell back asleep.

Once I had got dressed a drove to my nearest tube station 4 miles away, and travelled to Tower Hill underground station. By 7:30 after a short walk, I had arrived at a primary school which was being used as an assembly area for the British Championships, which was incorporated in this event. Gun time was at 9am so I relaxed for 30 mins, performed some light stretches before commencing my warm up 2.5 mile jog. The weather was looking good, the sun was out reflecting brightly off the wet roads. The air was still with very little evidence remaining of the snow.

On returning to the assembly area I stripped down to my race kit and put on my racing shoes - Cloudrush.  I packed my race bag and made my way to the baggage truck which transported our kit to the finish line. I did a few strides and realised the roads were not that slippery which boded well. With 10 mins to go, all the championship runners were ferried into the starting pen. After the wheelchair athletes assembled in front of us departed, the PA announced the Elite men and women to the crowd. Amongst whom were, Ally Dixon, Charlotte Purdue, Lily Partridge, Callum Hawkins and Sir Mohamed Farah.

We were slowly ushered forward to the heels of the elite runners and moments later the gun went off. I was trying to hold myself back and not run as fast as I did last week in the opening miles. There were many more runners around me today and therefore more competition. My legs were feeling good and free of stiffness and fatigue. I was flowing nicely. I was several metres behind the leading women after a few minutes and I slowly made my way through the field passing the 1st mile in 5:13, not as slow as I wanted (5:20) but slower than last week. Shortly we descended into the Limehouse tunnel which is approx 1 mile long. Inevitably there was an uphill section leaving the tunnel. I settled into a group of runners and we worked together to maintain the early pace. Whilst in the tunnel the GPS was thrown, so my average pace readings were now inaccurate. So I just ignored the watch and did mental arrhythmic to calculate my pace.

By 3 miles I had settled into a group of three Serpentine athletes. By 5 miles the pace increased and I unfortunately got dropped from that group. I struggled from halfway onwards. There were certain stretches of the course which were cobbled, slippery and featured sharp turns which had to be taken cautiously to avoid falling over. This has the potential to be a quick course but unfortunately for me I wasn't fit enough to give it my all and run quickly despite the few difficult sections. I feel at the moment that my speed is very good which is natural to me, however my speed endurance isn't. This experience has given me the opportunity to focus now on the shortfall.

I had good support on the course from spectators, officials from my running club and running acquaintances. I couldn’t help but smile when hearing their very enthusiastic cheers. The early pace took its toll once more and I experienced another period of deceleration. I was still hoping to break 70 minutes but this was diminishing rapidly. In the closing mile I picked up the pace and finished in a time of 70 mins 42 secs just 4 secs slower than last week. My overall finishing position was 37th. I have never raced two half marathons before in seven days before. I am pleased with the level of consistency, however I would have liked to have run much faster, 68 minutes was today's goal.

After finishing the race at the Cutty Sark we were given a lovely medal and a space blanket to keep warm. I made my way slowly to pick up a goody bag complete with a souvenir T-shirt - which I subsequently left in the changing room. Once dressed I began my cool down en route to Greenwich station to travel home. My legs didn’t feel too bad at this point so perhaps I need to stay on the "pain train longer".

Finishers medal

I thought it best to compete this weekend rather than do a training session where I probably wouldn't have had as an intensive workout. I can’t afford to ease up too much for my races as I have a lot of making up to do. This performance has left me a little bit disappointment as I had hoped for more. However, this only gives me more motivation to continue training and make the most of the 7 weeks remaining in the build up to London.

Today’s race has taught me that I need to evaluate what my realistic goals should be for the Marathon. The best time I achieve in the next two half marathons, I will add four minutes to, multiply by two and that will be my target. In past marathons I have ran 69-70 minutes to halfway without any problem. At the moment it is difficult just to do a half marathon at this pace. Today's time multiplied by two is near enough my marathon PB - 2:21. 28. Ambitions of achieving a sub 2hrs 20 mins clocking seem far from realistic at this stage but who knows London is still have 7 weeks to prepare.

On the note of breaking barriers, upon travelling home news broke of the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, the first man to break four minutes for the mile in 3 mins 59.4 secs. I once had the privilege of meeting Sir Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher CBE who famously acted as pacemakers. Unfortunately, I never had the honour of meeting Roger Bannister, but I did see him in 2004 at the BMC Milers 50th Anniversary event at Oxford University. I ran the B race in time much slower than he had done in 1954. Notably young Mo Farah competed in the A race finishing 2nd in 4:00.07.

Race Stats

  Training Diary 26th Feb - 4th Mar 2018

Monday. a.m 13 miles @7:33/mi
Buoyed by my performance yesterday in the Thorpe Park Half Marathon, I was full of enthusiasm for the morning run. I'm determined to build my mileage in the next 6 weeks before tapering in the final 2 weeks towards the London Marathon. It’s very important not to lose focus of the end goal by easing up too much for each race enroute to the marathon.

Tuesday a.m. 13 miles @7:21/mi
Another 13 miles this morning in -3 degrees conditions with the beast from the east approaching.  No snow here yet in north east Surrey.  Would have preferred to stay in bed. These are the runs that count! I drove to work to beat the traffic and began my run at 6am. I ran home and back. 13 miles done.

This evening I visited Mary (CROWLEY) for a sports massage. Complementing the standard manual massage the Graston Technique was also used. My groins, right side specifically has been troubling me since the race last weekend. Mary focussed on the muscles of the thigh such as the Sartorius, VMO (Vasti Medialis Oblique) and VI (Vasti intermedius). Additional treatment was also given to the QL (Quadratus Lumborum) - muscles in the lumbar region of the back and gluteals.

Wednesday a.m. 20.2 miles @7.44/mi.       p.m. Yoga
As I made my way downstairs to get ready for what should have been a 20 mile run with 2 or 3 1mile efforts, the bright reflection of light coming through the glass panels of the front door was unmistakable. The Beast from the East has arrived. I finally have the chance now to use my multi-terrain running shoes - On Cloudventure shoes. I decided that I would give the efforts a miss and attempt just the 20 miles.

I messaged my wife "look outside" to give her heads up that the morning school run maybe effected. Closely followed I Whatsapped Steph (McCall) and Dan (Gaffney), to see if they were up for a run. I only heard from Steph so we met at the normal time approx.1.5 miles into each others run. We ran a further 5.5 miles together before we branched off. I continued a further 13 miles the scenic route to work. The shoes coped very well with the conditions and unusually my feet remained warm and dry throughout, with no slippage.

15 miles into the morning 20 

Cloudventure Peak

Had another great Yoga session. A perfect remedy to last weekends race, the two 13 miles runs since then, and of course the 20 miles this morning. Hips, thighs and back all feel looser.

Thursday a.m. 13 miles @ 7:54/mi
I had a pleasant morning running around the National Trust venue Morden Hall Park. Not a very big park so ended up doing multiple laps, figures of 8 and reverse loops. I could tell there was a blizzard on the way as the side of my face was getting snow blasted, and the footprints I had made had been covered by the drifting snow by the time I had looped back a mile later. I finished my run at my car parked near by. I put on two jackets to stay warm before walking the mile to work. 

Friday a.m. 10 miles @ 7:46/mi
Met up with Dan for a 10 miler today. Underfoot conditions were variable but predominantly compacted snow. I'm starting to ease back towards Sunday's race, but I'm not sure as to what type of weather to expect as the forecast changes every 4 hours!

Saturdaya.m 8 miles @7:42/m
A short easy run today to loosen up before tommorows race, predominantly on snowy fields and park land before turning to the roads which were free from snow.

Sundaya.m Vitality Big Half 13.1 miles 70:42 mins @5:24/mi
37th Place Overall; 2nd Vet 40-44. Only 4 secs slower than last week, a bit disappointed not to go quicker. But I have to remember I have only had one intensive session in the last 10 weeks! Time to regroup and push on through the final phase towards London.

This week in numbers. 

95 miles ran this week, of which 43 were snow miles

7 - runs

3 pairs of running shoes worn this week. ON Cloudventure Peak, Cloudflyer, & Cloudrush 

9 stone 9 1/4 lbs / 61.3 kg - weight

1 - Sports Massage

37.5 hours @work

1 - yoga session

Next Race

Sunday 18th March 2018

Reading Half Marathon.


On UK announcements.


  1. Hello Kojo, and congratulations on another fantastic run. I read you were not too happy with your time, but you are coming back from an injury, and 7 days between races is not much to recover the legs completely. I reckon you'll get a boost from this back to back half marathons when London comes around. Great reading your blog Kojo, and 95 miles when the 'beast from the east' was biting you, is impressive. I missed three days Kojo due to the beast, I was mauled. I'm running the Malaga half marathon on the 18th March, so hopefully we both have a good one Kojo. Good luck for next week.

    1. Thanks again for your nice comments. I hope you have recovered well since racing Malaga?

  2. Impressive time, especially after doing another fast half the week before. What time are you aiming for in London? Good luck.

    1. Thanks very much. The aim will be sub 2:20!

  3. Great read! I did the big half. Glad I wasn't the only person to find the course a struggle

    1. Thanks very much! Although it was hard I enjoyed the experience of running parts of the London Marathon course in reverse, which gave a different perspective!


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