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2014 London Marathon Training

For the 2013 Marathon the British Airways Athletics Club provided a huge team of people to help with the running of the marathon.  149 sector managers, deputies, team leaders and helpers were rostered on marathon day. In return, we received a score of places from the organisers.  Here are the training stories of some of our runners this year…..

Steve Taylor

Late January

Hi everyone,

This is my marathon training report for January:

I started the month coming off the back of a cold that wouldn't shift and hadn't run much for a week and a half, my first weekend run wasn't until the 11th, I headed to Richmond park, which is my favourite long run location, and did a 15 mile run. It felt quite comfortable. I'd already been running 13 miles for a couple of months on the run up to Christmas so I wanted to build on that...

Following the 15 miler though the mid week tempo and interval runs felt harder and slower. When it came to the next weeks 16 mile run it felt five times as hard as the previous weeks long run. Each week has been a similar feel, with the mid week runs feeling slow with my legs feeling like they haven't got much energy, and the long runs being a struggle. I ran the 'round the block' 5k at the Concorde Centre and it took me a while to get going, I was trailing near the back for the first couple of K before I managed to get into my stride.

I'm planning to run a shorter run this weekend and maybe a parkrun. Hopefully next week I'll feel like I have a bit more energy. I know I'm up on the miles of the long run so from here I'll alternate longer and shorter weekend runs so that I don't wear out completely. I've been adding in a few swim sessions and a bit of time on the bike and trying to get to the gym once a week for some leg and core work. I hope it all helps. I'm working out in Texas for three days this week so no doubt the time zone difference and lack of spare time will muck it all up.

Happy training.


Marzia Coltelli

Early February

Hello everybody,

This might make the experienced runners smile..but...I am over the moon, as -with three runs under my belt this week- I am now back on track on my beginners programme! :0) despite a trip to the dentist, anesthetic, and lots more ibuprofen....... 

And I run under painful hailstones!!!! Oh go on I must be getting some brownie points at this stage!!

Managed the scheduled long run today, fairly easily I.e.  I didn't collapse on the doorstep of my house and I could have lasted for AT LEAST another full 5 minutes more.....!!!!! Right after 5k, both my GPS stopped working, which I thought was a sign I should just forget the pace, forget the time and enjoy more or less where 24k, or 14.8ish miles.....and managed to wash the wooden floors in the house and wax the table in the dining room after......:0) ...I would say: result!!!

For the beginners like me I just want to finish with this thought:

"If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you have been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run." (John Bingham)

Happy running everybody...stay dry and safe, and roll on 13 April!!!!




Catherine I have loved reading your email. Thank you!

Like you I'm a marathon novice. I have done 10ks, half marathons but London will be my first full you, I am not anywhere near the training regime of the other gentlemen.  Last week it was a good week, finished on a 20k run( sorry chaps I run in km and not in miles :0( ) in 2hours which was good apparently even to sir Mike Thorn' standards. 

From Monday though I have been lapping from the couch to the armchair with ice packs and ibuprofen gel due to a worrying pain on the plant of my right foot.

Rest must have done the trick as this week end in I have happily completed a very very easy 5k on Saturday and 10k on the cosy warmth of my local health club!

So back on track from tomorrow, ditching the intermediate programme and swapping it for the beginners one!!!

I have decide my pacer will be the guy dressed up in Pudsy outfit-bound to be one!!!!!! And as long as I finish before him I will be fine!

In the end..... I have waited so long to run the London marathon that I wouldn't want it to be over too quickly, would I????

Well, at least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

Happy running......!!!


P.s on a serious note...if anybody has advices for us nervous beginners ...please pass it on!!!! Eager to hear.

Catherine Sole

Early February

Evening all,

My update so far...

As you all are aware I am new to marathons so have printed off the the training programme from the London Marathon website as I thought they would know best!!  I printed off both the beginners and the intermediate as I wasn't sure where I would fit in.

My issue was that I have a very weak core, and everyone I have spoken to has mentioned how important it is when running long distances. 

I fortunately joined a gym at the beginning of December so spent that month building up the weaker area of my body, I practically look like Jessica Ennis now (Well almost!!!)

I started running 6 miles and was ok so the next week I increased by 2 and this continued for 2 weeks. Then a colleague of mine thought it would be a brilliant idea to run home from work which I did 14.6 miles. I felt amazing I have never run this far in my life and I could walk the next day, (bonus)!!

After this I have been following the intermediate programme for the long runs.  So this weekend I did 14 again.  I tend to do a couple of 6 milers and a couple of H.I.T classes during the week, with my long run to vary the training. I am happy with the progress so far and love the amount of chocolate and crisps I can eat and keep my Jessica Ennis body with the training.

I have booked to do Berkhamsted half in March but apart from that I'm sticking to my own roads (when they are not closed for flooding) dreading catching any colds of getting injuries, as my soleus is killing tonight, but I do have a fab partner who not only cycles next to me with my fluids and jelly babies, but offers massages.  I think I need to always be in training for these events!! 

Enjoying it though, come on team!



Also reading all your updates is making me concerned!

I am new to marathon training, and London 2014 will be my first Marathon. I have completed both 10ks and half marathons before but nothing to this level.  Currently my furthest run was from work to home which was 14.6 miles. This I found fine with the exception of a blister but ran through the pain as everything else felt fab!! 

I tend to spend most days doing core and strengthening work and run 3 times a week.  My mileage does not get anywhere near what you are doing.  For example this week I have only done 20!!  Should I be doing more?  Any advice on anything from you more experienced runners would be much appreciated.

Keep up the good work.


Kerstin Luksch

Early February

Hello Steve,

today I want to give an update of my runs and the preparation for the big day in April. My weekly runs are getting on well despite the cold, the rain and the wind. Everyday I motivate myself to get ready for a run or a cycle tour. 

My longest competitive race was so far the Watford Half Marathon last Sunday. It was a beautiful run. I enjoyed every Mile because it didn't go through Mud or terrible slippery grass parts. After a very rainy and windy week was the last Sunday a fantastic sunny and nice day. Beautiful for a long run. I had a lovely run without any stops between or walking up the quiet hilly parts. 

Otherwise I have every week my midweek runs in the evening. Parkrun on Saturdays and my long runs on Sunday morning. On Saturday afternoon swimming for 30-40 minutes and on Sunday afternoon a cycle tour. If the weather looks good I always try to cycle to church and not to take the Tube. 

In the coming weeks I am looking forward to one or two more Half Marathons and the 20-miler in March. A few 10k runs are for the Sundays on my plan. 

I feel good and enjoy the runs and really looking forward to the Marathon. 

I wish everybody enjoyable training runs and and a great preparation. 

All the best,

Kerstin Luksch


My running goes well. I've my weekly runs, parkrun and swimming at the weekend. Hopefully next Sunday I'm running the Watford Half. I'm looking forward to it.
I'm about to enter the 20miler.
THANKS a lot for giving me this chance!
All the best,

Francis Mussai

I've set up a Virgin Giving page. I am sure lots of people are raising money for very worthy charities but if you know anyone generous who is looking for a charity here is the one I am supporting. It supports research into leukemia in children:

Dr Francis Mussai

Clinical Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Oncology
Birmingham Children's Hospital
Steelhouse Lane
B4 6NH

Piers Keenleyside


Piers Ks Training Update #1:

As I did 21 marathons and ultras over the course of 2013 I have not really been out of marathon training mode over the last 12 months. My best time last year was in the London Marathon where I did 3:26 – in the 8 road marathons I did after this I tried to better it but in 8 attempts clocked times of between 3:27 and 3:35. Hopefully I will have better luck this year.

My weekly plan has me running on 6 days doing around 50 miles. In addition I do 3 sessions of swimming and 2 return cycle rides to work:

M – half hour swim, 9.5 mile cycle to work, 5 mile club run at 7 mins/mile
T – 9.5 mile run home from work – 8 mins/mile
W – half hour swim, 9.5 mile cycle from work, 5 mile club run at 7 mins/mile
T - 9.5 mile cycle to work, 9.5 mile run home from work – 8 mins/mile
F - half hour swim, 9.5 mile cycle from work
Sa – 5K parkrun – sub 21 on a good day
Su – marathon/ultra race or 15/20 mile training run 8/9 mins/mile

Things do not always go to plan, due to work, family or the odd extra rest day after a long race etc but I usually stick to the plan 50% of the time.

Over the next 3 months I want to fit in some hill training and some intervals – not sure to do this in addition to the above or in place of the existing sessions.

A couple of weeks ago I ran the Capital to Country 45 mile ultra from Wendover to Little Venice in just over 8 hours and this weekend, on 26th January, I will be in Morocco to run the Marrakech Marathon. I should hopefully beat the I did their last year of 3:37 and perhaps even get under 3:25.

Regards Piers

PRA Programme - Solution Architect
Team Space 2
Orient 2A

Ian Haylock


Hi All,

Interesting you say about eating pattern Steve. I keep reading about people who say I’m on a high carb or high protein diet etc. Then its about 70g of this, 40g of that and I think it all sounds too complicated but would be pleased to hear if anyone can give me some basic improvement on what I have already. 

  • Breakfast: Cereal /Toast and Tea.
  • Mid Morning: Snack bar
  • Lunch: Sandwich, crisps, coffee, Chocolate
  • Dinner: Anything from Spaghetti Bol to Meat and veg etc…
  • Also have water during the day
  • Don’t have any of these protein shakes, energy replacements etc…

I have absolutely no idea if we need this extra stuff… basically I eat anything and everything even a McDs  J but would welcome any easy improvements to diet….





Hi  All,

Firstly thanks for this opportunity Steve….

I roughly try to do 3-4 fairly good quality sessions a week.

Tuesdays: Intervals  usually 6x800 off a 90 second recovery  at 6 min mile pace ( so 3 mins for the 2 laps ). I’ve upped the recovery from 60 seconds to ensure I complete the set. I’ll add another rep each week to maximum 8x800m off 90 secs.  Once I complete that I plan on doing 5x 1km in 4 min/km  pace off 120 sec recovery. ( So slightly slower than 6 min mile pace ). Adding 1 rep each weeks takes the session up to 8 x 1km off 2 min recovery. If I complete the set , then cardio wise I’m fit and will probably translate to a sub 20 min 5k.  The session incorporates 1m warm up and cool down at 8 min.  I did try doing longer intervals  ( 4 x 2.5k ) at 4 min/k but my body couldn’t hold form so will revisit  that later.

Thursdays: Hill session. 4 miles easy to Richmond from Teddington. Then 5x hill reps on Nightingale Lane. Add 1 rep every week. Last night I’m up to 9.  Builds leg strength. Trick is to work the hill at a pace to complete the set and almost walk down the hill, very light jog, to protect the knees. Running down hills quickly can trash the knees and it takes ages to heal, so I restrain to a very easy jog. Then 5m return home. About 11-12m work.

Saturdays: Bushy 5k. 2k warm up, 3k warm down. I'm about 20 min 30 at the moment but that’s with muddy conditions and fairly high weekly mileage so would think 20 min 10-15 roughly  is where I’m at.

Sunday: Long run.  Last week was a tempo 10 miler to see where I'm at. Did it at 7 min mile pace and I forgotten how hard it is. Its too quick and injury is around the corner so don’t plan to do the fast tempo runs that much. The long runs get done at 8 min/mile. Its all about time on the feet and it’s a catch 22. If you don’t get the long runs in , you struggle. Run too much mileage, you get injured.  I plan to do 4 x 20 m before VLM 14. But I  plan to space these out  2-3 weeks apart and in the interim weekends do shorter long runs of say 13m. I started long runs about a month ago so as to not have to pile them all up in March. So far did 15m at 8 mins and 17m at 8 mins. I learnt a lot from them as I didn’t take fuel or water and come 13m if you haven’t fuelled by then you’ll be stacking it by 16m J.

Anyway that’s the rough plan on what I do. Time on your feet is the main thing but I want to do the very long runs 2-3 weeks apart to save the body. Cardio wise I can handle 8 min mileing if not quicker but its about the body holding up , so injury prevention and refueling.

Cheers, All the best everyone, Happy Running


Joe Nolan


Phew, just done a steady slower parkrun this morning to protect a calf muscle twinge but think I need a lie down to rest now after reading Ian and Piers high performance reports !  Think I need to 'up my game plan' ...somehow !

January Update...

Firstly, I must thank the club for the fantastic opportunity to have another crack at the VLM - I still have my big target of both running every step of the way and at last going sub-4 !
Well, most importantly (and I’m touching my wooden head…) I have been injury-free over the winter which is better than the last few years.  I have only managed to get the proper training underway this last w/e with a tame 10miler around Windsor Park – this is behind schedule because of the bad flooding around Wraysbury over the last couple of weeks – I’ve been OK but many of my local friends have had their houses under water so it has been all hands on deck helping in every spare moment wearing wellies rather than trainers !  I haven’t managed to get myself organised into a training group this year so have booked up a number of formal events worth mentioning as these may be of interest to others:
Date Event Mileage
26 Jan Gade Valley mara trainer 1 12.7
9 Feb Wokingham half mara 13.1
16 Feb Bramley 20 20
23 Feb Gade Valley mara trainer 2 17
2 Mar Reading half mara 13.1
9 Mar Datchet Dashers mara trainer 20
23 Mar Gade Valley mara trainer 2 20
I had already booked the Reading half before Clapham Chasers announced their excellent Thameside 20 mile mara trainer on 2 March but can recommend that from previous years.  I’m trying to get at least 2 sessions of some sort during weekdays, continue parkrunning every Saturday and probably some long mileages through Windsor Park on the Sundays not planned above, with the overall plan of >40 miles per week.
Joe Nolan (new email address:  for any info on above events or any advice you can give me !)

Joe Nolan

Richard Ruffell

Like Joe I to have managed a few consecutive months without injury, but then I said the same thing this time last year only for disaster to strike in March, so I am certainly not counting any chickens just yet! Living up a hill in Berkhamsted we are very unlikely to see any floods near us, but the weather has made the canal very muddy, which means I have choice, flat runs on a muddy canal, or hilly runs on dry roads. Some choice. I have been slowly building up the weekend runs to the point they can almost be called long! Up to about 12 so far and these do feel long, which is a bit of a worry. I will look out for Joe on Sunday at the Gade Valley training run, a nice run with several hills added in for extra bonus points, then next week it is the Watford half which I will be running with my daughter...well when I say running with, what I mean is I will see her at the start and then again at the end but I suspect I won't see a lot of her on the bit in between. She is training for London as well, using her good for age entry. My training plans will be based around one long run at the weekend, occasionally supplemented by a parkrun on the Saturday to try and keep some pace in the legs, with various shorter runs during the week around the parklands at work. Having run 8 marathons before my plans are now tempered by my experience over the last few years with injury. I know if I try and do much more the injuries will hit again, so it is a case of trying to balance the required training while not over doing it. The years of 70-80 mile weeks are long gone, I'll be happy with half that now!




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