Week 12 of 12 London Marathon Build-up 16th April - 22nd April. THE FINAL CHAPTER


23.5 degrees today. A record temperature for a London Marathon event. My pre race plan prior to learning about the potential weather conditions was to run the opening mile outside 5:30 and gradually increase my pace to arrive at halfway in 71mins. Then to negative split and try and run sub 2:20. My default has always been to run 70 mins to halfway, however in my last London 2 years ago I ran 69 mins for the opening half. So 71mins today didn't seem a bad idea.

Cramp has been an issue in all my marathons to date. Having tried various electrolyte supplements, strength and conditioning exercises in the build up, electrolyte drinks, gels with and without water in the race, the problem persists. Due to the fact that I don't ever drink whilst training, running up to 30 mile long runs on previous marathon preps I have never had cramp, so I decided not to take on fluids on this occasion. Seems crazy I know, probably not the best day to try!

The Race
0-3 miles 5:30, 5:29, 5:25 (5k 17:00)  
The pacing plan began very well, I started off holding myself back and ran 5:30 for the first mile followed by 5:29 and a downhill 5:25 to 3 miles, with a slight hamstring twinge at 2 miles. This pace felt extremely easy and very different to running the same pace in training. I've always felt that race day conditions is worth an extra 10 secs mile. Obviously the adrenalin and taper makes a big difference.



4-6 miles 5:32, 5:27, 5:29 (10k 34:05 / 17:05 5k split)
I kept the pace very stable running within myself. I could see familiar runners ahead who had got slightly away from me in the opening 3 miles. Namely, Steve Way and Martin Williams.


Cutty Sark


7-9 miles 5:27, 5:22, 5:19 (15k 50:48 / 16:44 5k split)
My body seems to respond well after 6 miles of running regardless of speed so it isn't a surprise to see that the next 15k was my fastest period during the race. On this 5k section I felt like I was on fire. Everything felt fluid. I recall running down Evelyn Street heading for Surrey Quays. The crowd was spilling onto the road and there was so much noise I couldn't hear myself breath or my feet hitting the tarmac. I suddenly went into tunnel vision, the air seemed still there was no resistance impeding me, I lifted my head a looked down the long road in front of me a glided for what seemed like an eternity.


10-13 miles 5:15, 5:26, 5:22, 5:29 (20k 67:30 / 16:43 5k split)
At approximately 10 miles I could see my fellow On Running Ambassador Russell Bentley up ahead and focussed on catching him which I managed to do prior to 12 miles. Tower Bridge for me is always one of the highlights. I stayed calm and relaxed on the approach and prepared myself for the slight climb. I could feel my calves tighten as the accent began. Wary of this I held back slightly until I reached the pinnacle the bascule bridge before descending on the other side. I took this opportunity to relax a bit before turning right onto The Highway, for a further descent.

Halfway  71:01
I reached half way right on pace, but was wary of minor twinges to my calves once more. I've been here several times before a thought to myself. Always going over and coming off this bridge.

14-16 miles 5:17, 5:21, 5:32 (25k 1:24:07 / 16:37 5k split)
I sensed that my effort had dropped slightly however the prolonged stretches of slight downhill and flat sections meant that momentum was still there. I was a little less up on my toes than previous miles though. I caught up with another of my On Ambassadors Ben Fish. I kept the intensity up and decided to go straight past.

17-19 miles 5:35, 5:37, ??? (30k 1:41:23 / 17:16 5k split)
By 17 miles nobody had passed me since 4 or 5 miles into the race. The final runner I caught up with was Eoghan Totten who encouraged me to stick with him. Unfortunately, I started to feel the effects of the heat and couldn't continue with the momentum I had originally closed Eoghan down with.

20-22 miles 5:52, 5:59, 6:03 (35k 1:59:48 / 18:26 5k split)
In Blackwall after a double back on the Aspen Road I started to lose ground on Eogan the spring in my step had gone and I was less bouncy.

23-25 miles 6:19, ???, 6:25 (40k 2:20:11 / 20:23 5k split)
I had to stop 3 times to nurse cramp in my hamstring between 23 and 25 miles for approximately a minute collectively. When I got back running I wasn't able to maintain drive anymore simply just a shuffle. I felt exhausted. The welcoming site of the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament buoyed me and help me stay focussed. Entering Birdcage Walk equally was uplifting.

On no not again!

Bird Cage Walk


26 - 6:54, 
Finish 2:29:28
Seeing the signs of 800m, 600, and 400m to go was so relieving. Only a few more turns passing Buckingham Palace and turning into the Mall was left. I always like to sprint at the end of a race but felt it best not to as I may not be able to run into the finish at all. I was just so glad to bring this race to a close. From 23 miles due to the problems I was experiencing I lost 11 places. The highest I reached in the British Championships and Mass race was 11th.

Overall finish time was 2:29.28 for 46th Overall, 22nd in the British Championships and Mass race and 5th of my age category.












Summary
Marathons are more than just running personal bests and fast times. Some days you have to assess the environmental conditions and shelve those ambitions and just race using a different strategy to manage the additional challenges. I did just that for the majority of the race but when the heat got me the pace naturally slowed. In hindsight maybe a bit more control between 15 and 30k may have brought about a different outcome. The race doesn't start till 20 miles/32k after all.

I am very pleased that a fought well in the latter stages with cramp, and equally pleased with the control I showed early on up to 10k. Things may have been much worse otherwise. I really appreciated the support on the course today - It was amazing. I had to hold myself back so many times from waving at everybody! I’ve never seen the course so heavily populated with spectators in the 4 London Marathons I have done. Superb atmosphere!

Regarding hydration this isn't the first time I have had to stop and stretch a tight or cramping hamstring. Compared to previous Marathon's in this kind of heat I don't think I was any better or worse off not taking onboard fluids or gels. I feel there is something fundamentally wrong with my hamstring. Something I shall address going forward. Fluids I will take in the future regardless.

Thanks
Special thanks to my lovely wife Fiona and children who support me in all my endeavours. They were with me every step of the way today tracking my progress anxiously. It’s a rollercoaster ride for them. They share the pain when I’m injured and feel the joy when I’m flying high. It’s been a long ride particularly for Fiona.

To my long time coach Conrad Milton, thank you for devising the master plan to get me back to fitness. Also for listening to my feedback and adapting where necessary.

Thank you to Olly Laws and Lucy Niemz at On Running for the ongoing support this year. Cloud X is an awesome shoe! I look forward to continuing the relationship. To my fellow On Ambassadors; Andy Hobdell, Ben Fish, Graham Green, Ben Green, Helen Davies, Kirsty Longley, Russell Bentley and Tracy Millmore - it has been great sharing this journey with you and look forward to catching up in the near future.

To my 6am Club mates - it has been a privilege sharing the dark winter mornings grinding out the miles with you all. The support we give each other is essential to our success. Let's keep it up.

To Mary Crowley for the Sports Massage Therapy which has helped me back to supreme race condition. Thank you for getting me to the start line of yet another marathon when things have looked bleak. Love the Graston Tool, but love you enthusiasm even more.

To Matthew Clifton-Hadley - The Surbiton Chiropractor. I really appreciate the confidence you have in your process. When I came to you broken and could barely walk, you said you would have me back running a normal volume in 3 weeks - 4 weeks. I didn't believe you. You were right!!

Kevin Quinn - For always being very positive and believing in me. Making the impossible seem possible and encouraging me to strive to be better despite age. Thanks for the all your support past present and future.

Scott Overall - for your honest thought provoking opinions which I do appreciate it but rarely tell you so. Thank you for hassling me to get off my butt and seek the appropriate help for me back injury. I probably wouldn't have got to the start line at all it weren't for that phone call out of the blue.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and commented positively via social media and in person. The average amount of views per week has been 2,400, which I am hugely flattered by. I hope it has been a useful insight into my training, lifestyle, and how one can strive to be better despite a busy lifestyle and age. This will be my final blog for a while but it will return intermittently through the year in the form of race reports. Thank you ever so much for reading. 



            Training Diary 16th April - 22nd April 2018


Monday.
a.m. 4 miles easy @ 7:06/mi
p.m. 7 miles lunch time fartlek @6:30/mi with efforts at 4:50 - 5:20/mi pace
p.m. Spoke about the London Marathon and St George's Hospital Charity live on Radio London.


Tuesday. 
a.m. 4 miles @7:34/mi
p.m. 5 miles lunch run @7:06/mi


Wednesday.
a.m. 10.1 miles off road @7:16/mi 
p.m. yoga


Thursday.
a.m. 7.2 miles off road @7:13/mi
a.m. Sports massage

p.m. London Expo

with Russell Bentley at London ExCel





Friday.
a.m. 6.0 miles easy run off road @7:40/mi
a.m. Chiropractor


Saturday.
Rest.


Sunday.
Virgin Money London Marathon. 2:29.28
46th Overall,
22nd British Championships and Mass Race,
5th Age Category.







This week in numbers. 



- rest day this week, and first during this 12 week build up.


2 - double days


1 - yoga session


- Sports massage


8 - runs this week


9 stone 9 1/4 lbs / 61.3 kg - weight


10 - mins live on Radio London


22.5 hours @work


84 average miles a week for last 11 weeks.


70 miles ran this week


14 49 75 85 95 103 103 116 102 106 89 70
Weekly mileage progression


1007 miles ran in 12 weeks.



Fundraising. 

My fundraising efforts have done really well. So far I have reached 101% of my target which was £2620. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated and the messages of encouragement leading into the Marathon. If you haven't already donated and still wish too, it’s not too late. To read more about the cause I am raising money for and to donate please follow this link. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kojo-kyereme






Next Race

Saturday 19th May 2018




Comments

  1. Thanks for the blog Kojo, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your journey of 12 weeks to your marathon goal. It's inspirational, and has got me in the mood to try and get myself back to the fitness I had last August. Well done again on achieving a fantastic time in difficult conditions.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your ongoing support Rob. Out friendship has panned 3 decades. Honoured to have you as a friend.

      Delete
  2. Fantastic effort,coming back from injury to getting into 2.29 shape and working full time with a young family,you are an inspiration,well done,hope to hear of more success in the near future..

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