With a number of my athletes racing this week, there have been smiles all around, with success at the Alsager 5, the Centurion Grand Prix 5 mile race and the Grizedale marathon!

First up was Rachel, who ventured out of the area to tackle a tough muddy 5 mile race, apparently, because “I made her” although I can’t quite remember that!!  I think it’s a good idea at this stage of her marathon training to see how she fares with a fast short race; she’s made enormous progress with her endurance, but we also need to see how her speed compares and how she can combine the two.

I’m pleased, in fact delighted with how she performed!!  I’d given her instructions over the course of the last week, on how to warm up, cool down, what to do post race, and more importantly, how to tackle the actual race, mile by mile.

Tackle it she did!

With what she describes as a “massive PB” and an amazing 4th place prize, this early into the season and with the progress she’s starting to make shows that she’s going to be a formidable opponent later in the year, especially on longer races which suit her better.  Her average pace was a vastly improved 7:09 per mile!

As her heart rate graph shows, her warm up enabled her to go straight into the race racing, avoiding that horrible first few miles that people sometimes experience!

Here she ran 5 miles at 93% of her maximum heart rate, no mean feat, but something that she’s worked hard to be able to achieve!


Next up we had the Alsager 5 road race, first of a series of 12 races in the North Staffs Road Runners Association series of races and a lung buster of a race to start the year!

In this race were Julia, Louise & Tracy.  With mixed goals and objectives from their training, there were different approaches.

Julia crossed the line first in 37:44 gun time with an average pace of 7:33 per mile in 12th position for her age group, which, in a race that draws runners of a very high calibre, shows her quality already!

We’re only a few weeks into working together, and so the most important thing that has helped her today has been the tactics that we worked on over the prior week.



Her mile splits were mega consistent, deviating by only 13 seconds between fastest and slowest mile.  Once we’ve improved her raw speed and increased her capacity to run for longer at a higher speed, she’s going to start surprising herself I’m sure!

Nicely photo bombed by Rob!

Next across the line was Louise, who after a major injury last year (she doesn’t like to talk about it…honest!!), we have been going back to basics working on rehab, perfecting running technique, and now at this stage, working towards improving her endurance capabilities.

I decided to leave Lou alone with this race, so didn’t talk tactics or strategy before hand and left her to see what she could come up with!

It must be good coaching or something, because left to her own devices she produced perfect negative splits which obviously led to her getting a PB and leaving her with a massive sense of accomplishment, and the pride that she should be feeling.

For me, this is what effective coaching should be about; teaching people and giving the ability to manage themselves, so that they can plan, evaluate and produce the goods, rather than taking money from people and dictating to them how and when to run!

Average pace was 9:54 …and she didn’t wear her heart rate monitor!! She’s getting reps as punishment!!

Next over the line was Tracy!  We are working together as Tracy has a serious medical condition and after a few discussions I felt that I could help her out.

The goal for me isn’t to improve her running, but to improve her health, and a bi-product of that would hopefully be an improvement in her running.


Tracy sticks meticulously to her plans, and after a few cycles is starting to see some fantastic improvements!

She started her race with a ‘dodgy ticker’ as she calls it, which took a few miles and a bit of frustration to sort itself out, and once it did, she was well on form.

We’d discussed plans on how and where to pick up the intensity, which would enable her to finish the race faster than she started, without putting her body under too much stress for too long.


It wasn’t long ago that Tracy could get anywhere near a 9:16 minute mile on it’s own, never mind at the end of a tough intense race.  This is testimony to the effort and concentration that she puts in to each of her runs!  I ran the last 3/4 mile with Tracy, and it was brilliant to witness her taking over every single runner in front over her, one at a time, methodically and strongly, and then when it came to the finishing straight, she hit 5:55 minute mile pace!!!

The focus of her 8 week training cycle is to reduce her resting heart rate, and once she’s done that, which somebody with her work ethics no doubt will, we’ll work on racing faster for longer, and she’s soon going to start seeing even more fruits of her labour!

We also had a different Tracy give up her morning to be tail runner at the Alsager 5, which apparently was a brilliant day, and very inspiring, watching the final runner, a visual impaired runner and her guide, who had only ever ran on a treadmill cross the line.

Up North we had Lee from LW sports therapy in the Grizedale marathon – yikes!!

Being so busy with his sports therapy over Christmas he had to put his training on hold for a month, and so in January I decided that rather than pick up with my training plan, he’d be better of training by himself for this one.  My training is more conservative than most and if he’d followed mine, I wouldn’t like to give him too many hard runs; my vision is for the long term benefit of my athletes, and I know that Lee is capable of good things on his own.

I wasn’t wrong, with a top 20 finish in a time of 4:15, which is incredible for a trail marathon, once we start back into my plans from tomorrow, he’s only going to go from strength to strength!

We also had loads of my local athletes (Lyndsey, Gemma, Dan, Laura meet up at Westport lake to run to the Alsager 5 race to support, before running back home again to get their runs in for the day!

Well done all, what a great day for running!

Alsager 5 results

Centurion 5 mile results

Grizedale 26 results


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