Training for the Manchester Marathon.

I met Matt in the gym one day while attending one of his classes. I enjoyed it and got chatting to him afterwards as I’d seen him doing pad work with clients in the gym and I used to really enjoy it when I was competing in MMA & kickboxing.

I’ve never had a PT before. I’ve always been put off as I’m not really a “people person” and I like to try and do everything on my own. However, I’ve never been able to incorporate weights into my running or triathlon training over the last few years so clearly I don’t know everything. I explained this to Matt and told him exactly what I felt I needed to be a better runner. He completely understood where I was coming from and he assured me he could help. I gave him a fair shot as I didn’t feel I had anything to lose and he seemed a nice person.

I worked with Matt throughout the 16 weeks of my training for Manchester Marathon. I did his boxing class once a week and a personal training session with him every Saturday morning. These sessions all involved strength and conditioning exercises such as dumbell clean and presses, burpees, battleropes, skill mill sprints and lots of boxing/pad work. I enjoyed all these sessions even though I was left in pieces by the end of most of them.

My actual run training for the marathon was seriously below par. Due to extremely poor weather and shoe issues I only managed 4 runs that were over 10 miles, the longest of which was 15. I’d also ran about 100 miles less than I’d ran in my training for my first marathon. This really worried me leading up to the event itself but due to the work I’d put in with Matt I believed I was fitter than I’d ever been in my life. This was confirmed at the Manchester Marathon as I finished with a new PB of 4 hours 42 minutes and 7 seconds. My previous attempt was over 5 hours and 4 minutes. Which meant I’d knocked over 22 minutes off my previous time with a hell of a lot less running. I’ve also been able to drop 20 pounds This year which I couldn’t be happier with.

Needless to say I will be sticking with Matt for the foreseeable future. I plan on dropping a lot more weight as we are doing an extra session per week together. I have physique goals and more running goals for this year and I know these are all very attainable with Matt’s help and guidance as he genuinely cares about his clients progress.

I couldn’t he happier with my results through working with Matt. We’ve become good friends over our time together and I look forward to every session I do with him.

21 weeks out.Β 

Not bad but not great. Think the dark nights and cold weather is interfering with my mindset.

Monday – off 

Tuesday – box/s&c class. Really starting to enjoy this and I look forward to it every week. Forgot to do push ups after though.

Wednesday – Ran 3 miles. 50 push ups.

Thursday – 50 push ups 

Friday – Ran 3 miles. 50 push ups.

Saturday – 50 push ups 

Sunday – 20 mile bike ride. Pretty tough. 50 push ups 

Today’s bike ride probably saved the week. It was cold and hard. Few things get your legs and lungs going like cycling up hills. All I can do is try to get better next week. The two runs I’ve done this week were both faster and I felt better during them which is positive. 

I will go again tomorrow. 

Chris Brown 

22 weeks out.

Fantastic week. Got a lot done and managed to train every day with the inclusion of 30 push ups each day at the end of every session. Looking to build thsee up by 5 or 10 per week until I’m at 100 a day. 

Monday – Ran 3 miles + 30 push ups 

Tuesday – box/strength and conditioning class + 30 push ups 

Wednesday – Ran 6 miles + 30 push ups. This was supposed to be 4.5 on Wednesday and Thursday but I entered a virtual race with the title of winter is running where I was required to run 6 miles so I split it into a 6 mile run and a 3 mile run. 

Thursday – Ran 3 miles + 30 push ups 

Friday – Box/circuit class + 30 push ups

Saturday – Ran 6.5 miles + 30 push ups 

Sunday – HIIT class + 30 push ups. PT who took the class hasn’t seen me for 2 weeks and says I’ve lost weight in that time. This has made me not want a beer this afternoon which is a good/bad thing. I’ll take her word for it. 

Pretty knackered at this point but extremely pleased with such a high volume of work for the week. Also looking forward to receiving my winter is running medal. 

Current weight 16 stone 8 + 3/4lbs 

Not much else to report. As always feel free to comment or give some feedback. It’s nice to know if someone actually reads these. 

Have a great week.

Chris Brown 

23 weeks out.Β 

I’m not as tired as I should be today. On paper, yesterday looked like it was going to be rough. With Survival of the fittest (A 10km urban obstacle course race) in the morning and a Metallica concert in the evening as I was a bit worried about nodding off during the show. However, I can happily report that the show was superb and very loud. The only thing that could have made me nod off was the large amount of alcohol my Fiancee and I went through but I remained conscious until we were safely home where I may have fallen asleep as soon as I closed my eyes. Winner!

This was a really good week for training I feel. I’m having to move things around slightly but I’ll get it right eventually. This is what the week looked like; 

Monday – Ran 3 miles 

Tuesday – 30 minute box/circuit training

Wednesday – Ran 4.5 miles 

Thursday – Ran 3 miles instead of 4.5 because I was doing more miles at survival on Saturday 

Friday – Rest day as I had trained for 7 days consecutively at this point although if it wasn’t for survival I feel I could have done something 

Saturday – Survival of the fittest which was 6.5 miles in total. More on this shortly 

Sunday – off. Slightly hungover. Eating all the food.

I was really disappointed with Survival this year. I’ve said many times how much this race means to me. For anyone that doesn’t know this race really changed my life. It’s what got me on a journey of achieving things I never would have thought possible. I’ve done it 5 times now and every year it’s been bigger than the last. This year, However, it was totally different. Just one look at the finish area revealed the total lack of effort/funds that had gone into it this year. There were none of the big obstacles at all this year. It was poor from start to finish. It doesn’t look like it will be on next year and I’m quite saddened by that as I’ve always looked forward to it and had planned to do it every year for as long as it’s on. 

If it is on next year I’ll do it but I’m not optimistic. Really is a shame. 

As always feel free to comment or give some feedback. It’s nice to know if people read these. 

Have a great week. 

Chris Brown
This is from last year. Was an absolutely fantastic day. 

24 weeks out.

Always seems to be the case for me that a very good training week usually ends up being followed by a crap one. Low and behold this was absolutely the case this week. Got off to a bad start but tried to salvage it as best I could. Here it is;

Monday – The ride home from work was a nightmare. Very strong winds made it tough just to stay upright. Legs were fried after this. Didn’t run.

Tuesday – my plan was to get a run in and then go straight to a boxing/strength and conditioning class but due to circumstances beyond my control I only had time to run 2.5 miles on the treadmill at the gym right before the class. Said class was brilliant but brutal and my arms wouldn’t stop shaking all evening.

Wednesday – shattered. Didn’t train

Thursday – same again 

Friday – managed a circuit class at the gym but that’s all.

Saturday – ran 6 miles! Very glad I made it out for this with one of my friends. 

Sunday – Not much chance of cycling today due to more shitty weather but I did a 30 minute HIIT class at the gym. 

I consider this a pretty crap week due to doing so little running. Realistically I should be able to do at least 30 minutes of work almost every day as long as I take the recovery seriously.  I’m still hoping to fit as many classes as possible into my training, especially during this adaptation stage. 

As always feel free to leave a comment or any thoughts you want to share with me. 

Have a good week.

25 weeks out.

Was almost a perfect training week. They’re as rare as rocking horse shit and up until this morning I was on the way to one until I woke up with a trapped/pinched nerve which has stopped me being able to move my neck properly so this week’s long bike ride didn’t happen. 

Fucking wonderful.

On the bright side, however, my knee hasn’t bothered me and I managed to do all four planned runs plus a circuit training class.  This is what my week looked like;

Monday – 3 miles

Tuesday – 4.5 miles 

Wednesday – off

Thursday – 3 miles 

Friday – circuit training class (45 minutes)

Saturday – 5 miles 

Sunday – off 😑

Nothing too difficult here but sometimes the time the hardest part is just getting out the door. I really should be happy about this week. I’m glad to have got the circuit class in and I’m going to be trying to fit more of that Sort of thing into my training while still making the 4 runs per week a priority. 

That’s all for this week. Feel free to comment or give any feedback.


It’s been a while…

So I haven’t written anything for ages. I meant to write regular updates regarding Ironman but didn’t bother. I meant to write a big race report for Ironman and also didn’t bother with that either…

Did I mention I’ve done an Ironman?

Right then, I’m back and I’m currently 26 weeks out from Manchester Marathon. I really want to have a decent crack at this as my previous time of 5 hours and 4 minutes bothers me a little and I believe I can do better. My ultimate marathon goal would probably be sub 4 hours but realistically only 25% of people who run a marathon ever achieve that so maybe it’s beyond my capabilities but if I do my best on the 8th of April then we’ll see what happens. 

I plan to run 4 times a week while fitting in some core work and my weekly Sunday ride with my mates. Currently have no plans to swim again so maybe I won’t do a Triathlon next year. At this point I’m okay with that. 

My aim is to do a short weekly blog post on how the week has gone. These will be short and to the point but I’ll try to make them as interesting as possible. 

Training begins tomorrow, Monday the 9th of October, even though I’m having problems with my knee. 

Feel free to comment/ give input/ or just talk to me.

Have a good week πŸ€˜πŸΊπŸ‡²πŸ‡½πŸ±πŸ˜±

It’s not a choice.

If there’s one thing I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing it’s “well it’s your choice” or “you don’t have to do it”.

I’ve heard this for years now and it’s the biggest load of bullshit there is and it frustrates the shit out of me whenever I hear it.

Most people know that I’m currently training for An ironman Triathlon. Possibly the toughest one day event there is. I’m training 6 days a week over a 3o week period just to prepare myself for it. Two swims, two bike sessions and two runs. It’s as hard as it sounds. Every day after work I train then at the weekend it’s a long run Saturday and then a long bike ride Sunday. Exhausting. 

I’ve previously trained for and ran marathons, obstacle/ adventure races and I even spent a few years fighting as well. 

Guess what? At no point has this been a choice. Never. Not once.

The idea that we are all born equal is complete nonsense.

No two people’s circumstances are ever the same as we are all born completely different. With different abilities, strengths, weaknesses etc. 

For some people coming home from work in the evening and sitting in front of the TV is all they want to do and that’s fine. Some people grow up with the desire to get married and have a family, that’s enough for them and that’s all they want from life. Again, fine.

Some people, however, need more. Some people need challenges, need to set out and achieve goals, need to push themselves beyond their own limits and do things that other people feel is simply impossible. 

Some people are driven. Some people need an escape and a way to deal with their own demons and problems because it fends off depression, sadness and a crushing sense of worthlessness.

Doing what makes you happy isn’t a choice.

Doing things that make you a better human being isn’t a choice. 

It’s never, ever been a fucking choice.

My First Triathlon

I honestly can’t remember the point when I decided I wanted to get into triathlon. I always thought they looked difficult but awesome because Nick Diaz (one of my favourite MMA fighters) does them. I ended up reading Accidental Ironman by Martyn Brunt and absolutely loved it but it still escapes as to how this happened. 

For the last couple of years I’ve taken part in various obstacle races and not really enjoyed them. My philosophy has since changed dramatically but at the time they were weren’t something I enjoyed. At the end of 2015 I had one of my shittest ideas to date, I decided to run marathons in 2016. I originally picked 4 but dropped this down to 2 as I was injured for one and ditched the other completely as I didn’t want to train for a marathon during the summer months.

Around March I found a suitable triathlon to take part in as it wasn’t that far away, didn’t require open water swimming and was the shortest distance. As sad as it sounds I didn’t sleep at all the night before booking it as I was very excited. After booking it is thought about little else for the next 6 months. I completed both marathons but this was the race I was most excited for.

On The Day.

I got to bed nice and early the night before and was clever enough to sort out all my gear the day before as well (or so I thought) after some cereal and last minute pissing around we were on our way!

Then we nearly didn’t make it!

On the morning of a race I’m generally a nightmare. Full of anxiety and worry about anything and everything. This wasn’t helped at all by large parts of the Stockport motorway being closed due to someone wanting to commit suicide. I don’t know anything else beyond that but I hope whoever it was is okay and getting the help they need.

We arrived late due to no fault of our own which lead to the race organiser taking the piss out of me at the side of the pool (tosser). I then had to wait anxiously for about 5 minutes until they found a gap for me. Then all of a sudden my number was called and off I went. 

The Swim.

So, this was it! The 30m pool was split into 4 sections. Meaning you did 4 laps in each section to make 500m. Simple enough. I pushed off and after two or three metres was stuck behind someone doing Breaststroke. That’s right. Breaststroke. I’ve made my opinion on breaststroke very clear in recent rants about public swimming pools. To be doing them in a race like this is just fucking stupid. I ended up smashing past him and anyone else that was silly enough to be doing that. This absolutely enraged me and I ended up swimming harder than I ever have and struggling a bit. Swallowing brine water didn’t help either. This part took around 14 minutes. Bad start, shit mood. On we go!

The Bike.

If there’s any of these three disciplines I could claim to be my strongest area I would have to say it’s cycling. I enjoy it the most and my plan for these races is to simply ride as hard and as fast as I can. 

After a soggy trot to T1 I started to get my things together. Socks, shoes, helmet, race belt. Like a true novice I didn’t realise my race belt was missing a clip the day before which meant Tina had to pin my race number to my belt which of course came apart as I put it on and had to be fixed again by Tina. Spent 5 minutes in T1 which is far too long and then off I went.

The course was actually quite lovely. The roads weren’t closed but it was a quiet day and even though I was putting the hammer down I was able to start enjoying myself and living in the moment. I completed the 12 miles in about 45 minutes which I was very pleased with. No punctures either which was a bonus!

The Run.

After launching my bike into the rack at T2 and running straight out of the there as quickly as possible. I started on the 4 laps 3 mile run course. My legs felt dead at this point. I stupidly cycled 17 miles the day before and I won’t be doing it the day before a race ever again. Thankfully the course was all on grass and the Marshalls were handing out energy drinks at the start of every lap. What helped me out massively was passing Tina at the same point on each lap and double checking which lap I was actually on. I did stop at one point to help a bloke who was struggling  (I’m not competitive enough I know) but besides that I generally trotted this at a crap pace. For all the running I’ve done recently this could well be my shittest discipline. Oh well…

My time in the end was 1.31.17. I aimed for 1 hrs 30 as I’d read it was a good time so I was very pleased with myself. Especially knowing I wasted time in certain areas. 

The Finish Line

I won’t lie. I was absolutely ecstatic to finish this race. I’d waited six months to get that medal and more importantly, be able to call myself  A triathlete. I was also ecstatic my suit actually fit me as it definitely didn’t when it arrived a few months ago! The lady who presented me with my medal couldn’t have been nicer. Asking if it was my first triathlon and giving me a big hug and congratulating me. All the Marshalls at this race were excellent and I made it a point to thank as many as possible at every event I do. 

This ended up being a great experience for me. I’m extremely thankful I get to do things like this. I can’t wait to race again and I hope to do many, many more.

All round better, easier running.

As it was requested last time by someone who read my blog, I have put together a list of a few things that made the life of someone who runs a lot slightly easier.

Strong Legs.

After a strong mindset (not going to get into that this time) this is absolutely vital as far as I’m concerned. This may be the reason I’ve done as well as I have this year in terms of volume and I’d say it’s the main reason I don’t really get injured.

At around mile 20 of the Manchester Marathon my legs were in bits. I’d only ran twenty miles once in the 16 weeks of training I did and it was seriously horrid. My hamstrings and calves were screaming throughout the next 6.2 miles but I managed it purely through how strong the muscles were from years of squatting, spinning/cycling and playing football on hard surfaces. 

If you aren’t adding these things in somewhere then you probably should be. There’s a lot to be said for miles in legs but running alone doesn’t do enough in my opinion. 

Proper Rest.

This should be a no brainer but just in case I’ll cover it anyway.

Most evenings at around 9pm (8pm on fridays) I start shutting down and falling asleep really fast. I used to fight this and try to stay awake longer due to how ridiculously early I was going to bed until at one point I just thought “why fight it?”

Me and my very good friend Mike at a Marilyn Manson show. Had a top night but drank a lot and had to work the next day then train straight after. Was worth it but fucking hell that was a hard day.

Anybody that trains hard in any sport needs sleep it’s that simple. If you’re the type that stays up late or has nights out on the weekends then be honest with yourself and make a decision. You’re not going to get up for early morning runs and if you do then odds are you’ll perform poorly and hate it. Which leads directly to my next point.
Time management. 

If you’re going to challenge yourself to a 10km race or a half/full distance marathon then managing your time adequately to fit training around life’s responsibilities is vital. 

I’m in full time employment, working at least 37 hours per week and if you’re reading this then you probably are as well. I don’t have children so I won’t tell people what to do with them. 

From my own experience of fitting training around these things it takes a lot of forward planning as each week begins. When are you in work? What type of run mileage are you doing this week? What are you doing on the weekends with significant others/friends etc? The list goes on and somehow you’ve still got to find the time (it WILL show come the day of the race). To fit everything in you will sometimes have to work, get home and immediately head out for up 10 miles and end up sitting down to eat between 8 and 9, before the inevitable crash. Or, option B getting up while it’s still dark and cold to get those miles in before a shift so you can have the evening for other things. I’ve done both. Both are difficult. On the weekends you may have to get up early and get these runs in while others are still sleeping so time with them is not affected. This may be very early if you have a long distance that needs covering (I once had to do a 17 miler like this) you probably won’t get to eat first and if you’ve had a late night then this is going to be serious misery. This is when you’ll become an expert at fitting things in and you’ll soon realise how much time you’ve wasted doing in the past. The TV is not a responsibility or priority. 

A supportive partner. 

If you currently share your life with someone who doesn’t believe in you or want to support you in your quest to achieve then you need to seriously reevaluate your situation. 

I would go as far as to say don’t bother signing up for anything in this situation. 

I will freely admit to being one of the lucky ones. Fortunate enough to be with somebody that absolutely believes in me, supports me and most importantly understands why I just have to keep going for things no matter what they are (we’ll be spending a romantic weekend in snowdonia next September which will involve me pissing off up the mountain and leaving her to it for around 6 hours). Just bear in mind that you may inspire them to the point where they too want to sign up for something and at that point it’s your turn to support them in whatever it is and pick up the slack while they put the work in. Don’t be a selfish arsehole. I cannot stress enough how much strength I take from my wonderful other half’s belief in me nor how much it means when I’m forgiven for not doing my bit round the house or just generally being an exhausted, moody, pain in the arse to be around.

Tina I can do anything with you beside me x

I’m fully aware of how negative a lot of this blog sounded. My goal is to always be realistic but I’ll try and write a very positive one next time just to balance things out.
Feel free to comment/message/ask questions. I welcome them all.

Now go and run.