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Marathon Man - Running a Marathon for QAC

 Stuart taking a selfie during a training run

 ** Postponed **

With the current situation around Covid-19 the 2020 London Marathon has unfortunately been postponed to October. Although disappointed, Stuart understands this is the right decision and is still looking forward to taking part. 

He will be taking a break from training for a while, but will be back to it in a few weeks working hard to get mentally and physically ready - and we will pick up the story again with him then! 

 

QAC Maintenance Team legend Stuart has been successful in securing a place in the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon. 

Stuart is a keen runner and has been involved in a variety of different running clubs over the years but he currently runs with Knowle & Dorridge, and after watching his team mates compete in different marathons, decided 2020 was his year and was lucky enough to secure a place for this year’s London Marathon

He has roper in a friend and running mate to put him through some heavy training sessions and help him achieve his goal of completing the marathon in under 3 hours (in theory beating his previous PB by 8 minutes!)

Stuart hasn’t run a marathon in a while and is excited to take on the challenge and represent his club and raise money for QAC in the process, deciding to set himself a target of raising £1000. 

Between now and race day we will be following his journey with weekly update as he prepares, trains for and finally competes in the race in April. It will be in Stuart’s words as he’s the one getting up at the crack of dawn in all weathers to get the miles in!

If you would like to support Stuart and sponsor him, you can do so here. Whether it is as little as 1p or as much as £100, it will all go towards helping our students and enhancing their experience. 

 

Week One – New Year, let’s do this!

Sunday 5th Jan…  fuelled by a extra minced pies, managed to do a 15 mile run today and in the spirit of being New Year opted for a different route to shake things up a little bit! Great fun and managed 1hr 51 minutes (average 7 ½ minute mile ) and with a average heart rate of 135 bpm per min) – not bad post Christmas really!

70 miles done in total this week, time to step the training up a bit with only a few months to go until run day!

Stuart's Week 1 run map and stats

 

Week Two – Back to It!

Sunday 12th Jan… Good to get back in to the running properly after the Christmas break – added bonus of working off all the Christmas treats eaten!

Fairly mild weather so great running conditions, apart from the dark that is! It’s good having a coach to get me marathon ready this time, giving tips and targets to aim for, so a, looking forward to the running prep over the next few months.

 

Week Three – Chilly Run!

Sunday 19th Jan… the early morning frost joined me for a very chilly run this morning. Today’s run was more about boosting my confidence again after pulling up last Sunday with a sharp pain from my Achilles! Thankfully it felt good all the way round and I struggled to hold back on my pace, which was supposed to be 7.45/min mile!

Despite the chill, it was beautiful morning and lovely to see the sunrise as I got into Knowle. No injury niggles (just the usual aches!) and a heart rate was good, so a strong run taking me to 35 miles this week. Less than normal, but don't want to overdo it! 

Stuart's Week 3 run map and stats

 

Week Four - Here come the blisters!

Sunday 26th Jan… After getting over my Achilles problem this was a much better week, with 75 miles on the clock, including a 7 mile run with the Knowle & Dorridge lads in the Midlands XC Championship in Loughborough on Saturday, which was great fun! Sunday was a more local 20 miles, but a strong pace and heart rate. 

A good week of runs and mileage but the lowest point was getting my first blister on my toe! On the flip side, my highlight this week was my wonderful wife buying my new racers for the main marathon event – can’t wait to start breaking them in (hopefully without any more blisters!)

Stuart's Week 4 run map and stats

 

Week Five – Fancy a Run?

With only eight weeks until Stuart starts his tailored mileage training, it was 75 miles on the running clock this week. Sunday say him complete 20 miles, finishing strong after a hard time for the first half of the run – the thought of getting home and fee up must have spurred him on!

 

Week Six – Stuart 1 - Storm Ciara 0

Stuart enjoyed a good week training getting some consistent miles in throughout the week.

Saturday saw him take on the last division 1 cross-country race in Leamington spa. Sunny, but cold, there was plenty of wind and mud to battle, but he fought hard, putting in a solid performance to finish 179 out of 450.

Storm Ciara was out in force on Sunday morning, and whilst most people stayed in the warm enjoying Netflix and hot drinks, Stuart was out running 21 miles, taking his week’s total up to 82 miles!

Stuart's Week 6 run map and stats  A photo of Stuart during one of his runs

 

Week Seven – Another Week, Another Storm!

A great week training for Stuart, mixing long and short early morning runs and even a couple of well deserved ‘rest days’, with 81 miles covered in total.

After battling against Storm Ciara last week, Storm Dennis tried to throw Stuart off course this weekend. However, Stuart being the person that he is was not going to let a ‘bit’ of wind and rain put him off!  Instead, Sunday morning saw him complete a 22 mile tempo/marathon pace run on Sunday morning, completing the first 15 miles with an average 6.38/min mile – before getting back to a telling off from his coach for going too fast!

With only ten weeks to go until race day, Stuart’s legs are definitely in gear and his head focused! A few more weeks of hard slog training before his tailored training really begins.

Picture of Stuart in his running kit prior to a training run Run map and stats from one of Stuart's training runs

 

Week Eight – On Track!

Stuart had a steady week training, including a track session on Thursday, which despite the wind covered just over six miles.

Saturday brought even more wind (no surprise there!) but Stuart was determined to continue his planned training so it was a (VERY) early start covering 21 miles – which would have been enjoyable if it wasn’t for the weather and the fact it was six laps of the same route!

72 miles covered this week, with next week’s training gearing up to a 5 mile road race on Sunday. Bring it on!

A run map and stats from one of Stuart's training runs  A map and stats of one of Stuart's track running sessions in preparation for the London Marathon.

 

Week Nine – Injury Hits!

So Stuart’s plan was to cover 70+ miles last week, but his right knee decided otherwise, with ‘only’ 58 miles getting done.

Wednesday’s training went well with a strong 15 miles under his belt but during Friday’s 22 miles the pain got a bit too much. Rather than risk further injury to take him out of training and running the big race itself, Stuart decided to call it a day and has also been given a ‘free week’ to make sure he’s ready to compete in the Gloucester 20 mile race in a couple of weeks.

Not one to be put off though, Stuart is still feeling positive and fit, and also lucky to have avoided injury up until now!

Picture of Stuart in his running kit prior to a training run A map and stats of one of Stuart's training runs in preparation for the London Marathon.

Week Ten – Easing Back In!

Well after last week’s injury it was another week of rest for Stuart, so that his knee could fully recuperate. But after a week’s rest and limping, and thanks to a brainwave from his wife, Stuart strapped his knee in KT Tape (a must have for every runner!) and was able to enjoy a lovely sunny 10 mile run to finish off a miserable week!

The week ahead will be gearing up to competing in the Gloucester 20 mile road race on Sunday, with 50 miles training on the schedule! Good luck Stuart!

Stuart poses for a photo in his running gear before a training run Map and stats from one of Stuart's training runs

 

Week 11 – Bath Half Marathon

Although the original plan was Gloucester, due to it being cancelled Bath was Sunday’s destination. And after a week back in the training routine, Stuart was up early on Sunday for breakfast at 5.30am before leaving for Bath at 7am.

The weather wasn’t kind, with rain until the third mile. Despite the very wet start, Stuart felt strong and kept pushing until the end, although the last mile was a tough one. His determination paid off though, achieving a season’s best and finishing 203rd out of nearly 7000 runners! 

With the disappointing news that next month’s London Marathon has been postponed until October, it was a great way for Stuart to finish his current training plan. He’ll be taking a break now until May, before he picks it up again and builds up to October. We’ll join him on his training journey again as he works towards his 2020 marathon goal!


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