Reducing my Running Load

6 – 12 August 2018

Week 9 of my training block for the Clacton Half Marathon.


Easy Miles – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Slower than 7:10 per mile pace

Rest Days – Thursday, Saturday and Sunday


With one eye on my upcoming race I reduced my pace and mileage this week. I enjoyed three rest days (including a visit to the location of my race), lead another four coaching sessions (helping one runner achieve a new 5km personal best) and complimented my training with recreational cycling of over 11 miles.

I accumulated almost 17.8 miles (over 2 hours) in four days. Although not a lot compared to previous weeks I wanted to ensure I am fully fit for my race next Sunday.

Running Longer

30 July – 5 August 2018

Week 8 of my training block for the Clacton Half Marathon based on Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.


Easy Miles – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday

Slower than 6:55 per mile pace

Fast Intervals – Friday

5:25-5:30 per mile pace

Rest Days – Tuesday and Saturday


After a relatively slow start to the week, I made sure I focused on running longer and furtherI enjoyed two rest days, lead four coaching sessions and complimented my training with recreational cycling of over 4 miles and walking (accumulating over 16,000 steps each day).

Another positive aspect of my training week was that I was able to run comfortably faster than my half marathon pace Friday evening.

I accumulated almost 30 miles (over 3.5 hours) in five days, recovering quickly. This has made me feel stronger and better prepared for my upcoming race.


Returning to my Running Club

23-29 July 2018

Week 7 of my training block for the Clacton Half Marathon based on Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.


Easy Miles – Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Slower than 7:25 per mile pace

Interval Club RunThursday

4:50-5:45 per mile pace

Rest Days – Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday


After three weeks of increasing mileage, I made a conscious effort to reduce my running load this week. I enjoyed three rest days, lead two group coaching sessions and complimented my training with recreational cycling of over 10.5 miles across three days, just as I did last week.

My weekly goal was to return to my running club and complete a tough interval workout, which I did on Thursday. My calf muscles were sore afterwards but consuming my homemade protein smoothies helped me recover.

I accumulated 19 miles with still no signs of my recent injury, which has set me up for a ‘heavier’ week of training to come.


Week of Building Endurance

16-22 July 2018

Week 6 of my training block for the Clacton Half Marathon based on Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.


Easy Miles – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday

Slower than 7:15 per mile pace

Tempo RunSaturday

Faster than 7:15 per mile pace

Rest Days – Thursday and Sunday


I stepped up the quantity of my running this week. Almost all my workouts were easy-paced, long runs. This took more time and energy, and therefore I didn’t feel it appropriate to run any miles at my intended half marathon race pace. 

My weekly goal was to run continuously for at least an hour, which I did on Friday. I also cycled over 10.5 miles across three days. Although simply recreational, the exercise supplements my training.

I also enjoyed coaching my first two-day running assessment on one of my runners.

I accumulated over 29 miles with no signs of my recent injury, which built my confidence that my body is adapting well for ‘longer distances’.


Quality Running, Injury-Free

9-15 July 2018

Week 5 of my training block for the Clacton Half Marathon based on Jack Daniels’ Running Formula.


Easy Miles – Wednesday and Thursday

Slower than 6:45 per mile pace

‘Quality Workouts’ – Monday, Tuesday and Saturday

Fartlek run (whilst coaching)

Intervals faster than 6:05 per mile pace

Rest Days – Friday and Sunday


I’m pleased I’m still injury-free after my shin pain. I was therefore able to run several tougher workouts, replicating my intended race pace of 6:00 per mile. The high local temperatures and tiring workload this week were factors affecting my performances but I enjoyed the challenge.

My strategy for the remaining five weeks of training for the Clacton Half Marathon is to focus on tempo intervals at race pace and progressively building my endurance with longer runs.

I accumulated over 21 miles, and ensured I primed myself for a heavier mileage week next week.



Coping with Postponed Events

There will always be factors outside of a runner’s control.

One of them is the weather.

Unfortunately races get cancelled or postponed when the weather is deemed by the organisers as too treacherous.

It happened this weekend with the occurrence of more snow in the United Kingdom. The Roger One Mile time-trial scheduled for this afternoon (which I intended to race) and a local half marathon tomorrow (which two runners I coach had entered) have been postponed.

It is the first time this has affected my running.

Despite the initial disappointment, the calling off of an event should be no reason to prevent mine or anyone else’s progress. This relies on always having an alternative plan.

For example, for my One Mile Challenge, I always intended to attempt my goal at least three times, with adequate rest in between attempts. This meant I didn’t have to rely on only one occasion, with certain conditions and preparations. It also allows me to experiment, using experience to guide me.

The Roger One Mile time-trial would be on a local track ‘racing’ with others, and my other two attempts would be run alone along self-devised routes on flat surfaces such as pavement and road.

Even for longer distances you can easily research another race ahead of time that you would be available to race if required. Likewise, a self-organised race (in the form of a virtual race) can provide the necessary motivation to meet your goal. Although the crowds or traffic-free route may not be present, I believe this is one way to build self-confidence and mitigate the inevitable issues of externally-organised events.

My advice also applies when illnesses, injuries or emergencies stop you from participating in a running race. If you prepare well in advance for any potential problems you’ll have an effective psychological technique to cope with other setbacks that occur in training and in the off-season.

This can easily be incorporated into your racing strategy long before you travel to the start line. 

You’ll then become a more resilient runner that has, paradoxically, greater control over your running.

Lessons from an Elite Tennis Coach

The Coach (2017) by Patrick Mouratoglou


From Sickly Child to Grand Slam Winning Coach

He was an ill child who was bullied. He started playing tennis at the age of sixHe became an unruly teenager, ruining his formal education.

He had therapy to correct his behaviour and worked for his father, who mentored himHe discovered the discipline and motivation necessary to develop his tennis academy in the mid-1990s.

He began coaching famous and successful tennis players such as Marcos Baghdatis and Grigor Dimitrov, and since 2012 has coached one of the greatest female tennis players of all-time, Serena Williams. Williams has won a tremendous amount of tennis titles, including ten grand slams and an Olympic gold medal, since being coached by Mouratoglou.

Top Coaching Advice

With the enthusiasm of wanting to be the best tennis coach in the world, Mouratoglou sought the necessary advice from the top tennis coach of the 1990s, Australia’s Bob Brett. 

He eventually became an independent coach after learning that to become the best tennis player, one must acknowledge their potential, be open-minded and trust the coach’s methods.

In return, Mouratoglou became obsessed with analysing opponents’ games by viewing countless matches and compiling extensive statistics. The use of notebooks was fundamental to his growth.

He is honest in why relationships with former players broke down, such as experiencing too greater emotional involvement, not sharing the same long-term ambitions, and clashing in personalities.

When he found Serena to have the same desire to dominate the sport of tennis, he used the following coaching principles to achieve outstanding success:

  • Listen intently and think carefully before speaking.
  • Research tactics and experiment endlessly.
  • Focus on psychological conditioning (such as self-esteem and self-image), eliminating unnecessary stress in the athlete.

He is today the founder and president of one of the world’s largest tennis training facilities Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, and a well-respected sports commentator and author.

He has found his greatest achievement through pairing with Serena Williams, arguably the most driven and decorated female athlete in the world.

Two Voices in My Running

As a running coach I better appreciate the role of runners and the importance of coaches.

The coaching principles I have learnt and the personal experiences I have enjoyed has given me valuable and new insights into my own running.

As a runner I am responsible for the following:

  • Understanding my body (and being honest when it is not feeling right)
  • Taking ownership of my performance (and reacting in a constructive way for the future)
  • Enjoying my running (and remembering it should never be a cause of stress in my life)
  • Exhibiting a passion for running (and being willing to push my limits to improve)

As a coach I am responsible for the following:

  • Understanding my technique (and being aware of any aspects that are not optimal for performance)
  • Suggesting adjustments in my training (and evaluating the impact and measuring progress)
  • Reminding myself of the reasons I run (and explaining methods of relaxation wherever necessary)
  • Exhibiting an objective viewpoint for my running (and remaining positive about my future prospects)

The two methods I use to make the most of my ‘running’ and ‘coaching’ selves are writing in my running diary daily and holding short internal conversations.

These two ‘personalities’ balance one another, so that I feel confident and assured about myself as a runner, but also stay realistic and humble because I know there is more I want to achieve.