Category Archives: Coaches Corner

Woodbridge Shufflers Marathon Report

April was a bumper marathon month for the Woodbridge Shufflers with no less than 16 club members participating in three fantastic events.

Brighton Marathon ‘scorcher’ – 9th April 2017

In Brighton, the following seven Shufflers completed the 26.2 mile route on the hottest day of the year with temperatures hitting 20C!

  • Paul Wright
  • Nancy Wright
  • Alastair Bartlett
  • Gemma Gilbert
  • Melanie Roberts
  • Benjamin Solway
  • Steve Whittaker

London Marathon – 23rd April 2017

The Woodbridge Shufflers at London were:

  • Dave Alley
  • Sarah Cousins
  • Ian Coxall
  • Richard Dempsey
  • Matthew Hunt
  • Paul Nickells
  • Sam Chater

This group was a mix of first-time marathoners and seasoned long distance runners. There was also some impressive fundraising going on, with Dave, Sarah, Richard and Sam running for Mind & The Teenage Cancer Trust, the Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, Woodbridge Primary School and Ormiston Families respectively.

Richard Dempsey on his post-run experience:

“Physically I’m a wreck in this but just wanted say that the crowd and the thought of letting everyone down especially after all the support I had drove me to the end.
A hug from my sister with 600m to go actually made me cry a little!”

Thanks to Richard’s fundraising efforts, local primary Woodbridge Primary will be able to continue to offer ‘Bikeability’ for Years 5 and 6 and swimming lessons for Y6 in 2017 – well done Rich!

Ian Coxall reports back:

“Really pleased to be back following my foot operation in November. It was my 4th London and probably my proudest. Only having completed one 20m run after a 6-week programme I’m delighted to run 3:19. It was my 18th Marathon in all and it gave me a really good benchmark for Chicago in October.”

Dave Alley, an ultra runner but first time London Marathoner, sums it all up…

“Amazing!  The sights, the sounds and the supportive crowds made it a race to remember.  The spectators made it a fantastic experience, and made every runner feel like they were an Olympic champion.  It really felt like being at the centre of a major sporting event – which I guess it was.”

With his dedicated training regime, Dave completed the course in the exact time he’d planned – spurred on by an unlikely pal…

“For me the event went to plan, and I managed to sustain a fairly even pace of around 8:10 per mile.  It was great to have my family racing around London to shout encouragement when they spotted me.  Unfortunately a guy in a lobster suit outran me, but this gave my family advanced warning that I was about to appear.  If they saw the lobster, I would be close behind.  It was a huge boost to see them cheering me on, despite playing second fiddle to an outsized Crayfish.  In fact, the whole crowd was fantastic, with cheers of “go for it Dave” every 100 metres or so.   It really gave me a massive lift to my running mojo.”


Matt Hunt on his fourth London marathon – and second as a Shuffler:

“After suffering from a hamstring injury last September through to early February this year I was ecstatic to run down the mall and achieve another sub 2:45 finish after a 10 week training program. Perfect conditions and amazing support as usual. Well done to all the other Shufflers who ran.”

Suffolk Heritage Coastal – 30th April 2017

And finally: Carina Sewell and Frank Holmes completed the Heritage Coastal Marathon, taking on a beautiful but challenging route featured pebbled beach, shaded woods and gorse-filled paths.

To sum it up, a few words from Shufflers team captain and former London Marathon entrant, Kathryn Gerry:

Well done everyone.  Running a marathon is not easy.  It takes training, dedication, sacrifice, determination and a certain level of craziness!




Progressive Running

This weekend includes the first progressive run of the sixteen week marathon training programme.

What is progressive running?

Progressive running, in its simplest terms, means gradually increasing the pace of a continuous training run. This can be done in increments of time or distance.

How will progressive running help me with my marathon training?

By gradually increasing your pace during a run you are giving yourself the best possible opportunity of achieving a negative split (running the second half of the race quicker than the first). It also helps you maintain a good pace when you are starting to feel fatigued (in scientific terms it can help raise your lactate turn point).

What evidence is there of the benefits of progressive training?

The marathon world record is getting ever closer to the two hour mark. In fact, the improvements in marathon times in recent years are quite remarkable. This is largely due to the amount of speed and strength endurance training the top athletes are putting in. Many marathon victors and world record holders have had to run negative splits to achieve their titles. Hence, running progressively coupled with the ability to utilise speed endurance in the final stages of the race are key components to being successful at this distance.

The Virgin London Marathon site provided me with my own personal favourite statistic following my run last year. From the 35K mark to the finish, the electronic chip system was able to tell me that I overtook 770 other runners in this final part of the race, whilst only 4 runners overtook me! Believe me, it was great to be feeling that good towards the end of such a tough distance. I attribute this to the progressive runs I do on the weekend that build on the interval work from the mid week sessions.

Some of the top runners refer to the marathon as a 20 mile run followed by a six mile race. I think this describes it pretty well.

Enjoy your training.


Are you running the London Marathon in 2015?

If you are, it is time to step up your training, as from tomorrow (5th January), there are only 16 full weeks to the big day.

To help club members with their preparation I am publishing the 16 week training plan I will be following, as I build up to the Stockholm Marathon in May.

This plan is designed for experienced runners who already have good strength endurance and a well developed aerobic base. I will be blogging updates, hints and tips over the weeks ahead as race day gets ever closer, as well as reflecting on the club coaching sessions Jean and I take on Tuesday evenings.

I look forward to coaching the Woodbridge Shufflers, London Marathon 2015 runners, towards achieving their personal goals over the next few weeks.

See you at club night.