The Wales Marathon 2014

Any one else signed up for this or run it previously ?



  • Probably not this year, although I would really like to run this one again now that I am a bit more clued up . I ran it in 2012 as my first marathon and really enjoyed everything about the weekend, even the steep hills. I particularly liked seeing the Road Warning sign - 12% gradient  - on the first climb. It nicely set the expectations for the rest of the run

  • wow it sounds like a real tough one!! Ive seen the profile and it looks bad, but 12% gradient really paints a picture!! Thanks , it helps to know kind of thing for my training.

    If all goes well this will be marathon number five for me, following on from Edinburgh, London, Preston Guild Marathon and Dublin. If you want to know about any of them feel free to ask or see my blog 'About' page. Saying that the Preston one wont be run again for another twenty years, plenty of prep time mind!!


  • Ha ! - that brought back some memories from the 2012 race. I do think he set off a little too fast round the town. I took it steady from the off and let quite a few charge off into the distance, only to pass them on the hills. I would say it was my first and best race, and definitelty my favorite!

  • Yes I'd agree I was surprised at the six minute mile start esp as he didn't seem to have taken much fuel on board. But I guess you learn more when it goes wrong than when you get a PB. I hope to never to go through what he did mind!!


    The race and the area does seem well worth it

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Hi All - Hoping you're all on good form - I'm going for this one - Just ran Liverpool last Sunday and hit the training trail again today; 12 miler and everything stll works! Hills aren't a problem to me - done Buxton half and a fell run called Foel Fras in times past. Not too obvious from the published map and profile how steep and long the main rises are? Even after reading Mr chuck-ups odyssey not really any wiser. Can anyone shed any light?

    Currently thinking of driving down from The Wirral on the day - where would be good to park up so I can swiftly get to the start activity - I don't mind coughing up a few quid for convenience.

  • Hi lowrez , training not going great for me been suffering with a calf strain these past five weeks. But have completed 100% of my last two training weeks so fingers crossed.


    Don't know the area but have found this more detailed course profile :

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    SJ - You need that calf nicely settled for an undualting route like this - has it been perfect these last 2 weeks? I hope so.

    That link is brilliant thanks - bit of a rollercoaster from 25k onwards!

    In two minds about booking accommodation; slowly warming to the idea; a 4hr drive commencing 4am is probably not good prep for a marathon, Then again I never sleep that well the night before a big day, even at home.

    I've not had Accellerade before; is that a drink or are they handing out gels at those points?  

  • Dont know anything about Accellerade either, where have you seen that ?

    Calf isnt brilliant but its a lot a better , when it started i couldnt walk without pain , not i can run with some discomfort and occasional pain. So its a big improvement and there is six weeks to go so fingers crossed i will be 100% by then.

    Its going to be a very tough race indeed. Ive been keeping big hills to my midweek runs but now we are getting closer to the big day i'm starting to throw them into the long runs too.

    I always like to stay over for a marathon, less to stress about on the day and more time to prepare.

  • the website lists GU gels as a sponsor....well the page about the new medal design does any way.


  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Its on the route map here: along with Princes Gate water. Maybe they've forgotten to drop it if they've switched sponsors; no mention of either in their "Partners" blurb. I'm not too bothered as I've found over time that if I "carb up" properly in prep and guzzle something I know before kick-off then a few of my own trusted penny chews and on-course water will be enough to power me round. 

    Taper isn't far off so your calf will love that; hope it settles down completely.

    Course certainly will be the toughest I've run for a while. Did you see the video: not too much indication of how tough but a nice watch. Thought there would be some times on it. I'll look a bit further to see what we can expect. Does look a nice place to stop over!

  • Cool thanks for the video. Will check it out. 

    It's going to be the hardest marathon I've ever done! I'm in a race preparation period now, so thinking of throwing in all the tough hills I can. Also will be doing plenty of walking esp. up and down stairs. 

    I've got a half in three weeks then as you say it's taper time and everything is about the race day. 

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I ran the Coniston trail marathon a couple of years ago which elevation wise looks on a par with this, that was, unexpectedly for me, over some pretty tough terrain which really brought my time right down. Good to know this one is all on road. I have a few hills in my training runs, nothing as big as 250ft over the course of a mile though - hope your stairs are long! image

    Where is your half? Was going to say hope it's Buxton but I think that was run a couple of weeks ago. 

  • Coniston, i bet that was nice but tough.

    I am in South Ribble Lancashire and there are plenty of hills i can through it, but have mostly avoided them on the very long runs to improve my endurance.

    Stairs wise, im on the second floor at work, but its an old 1920s hotel so its four flights of stairs to get to the second floor, tall ceilings and all that. Plus i have been walking into work through a park and to get to the building, ive been using some stairs in the park rather than a long slope which most people use. So i am hoping little things like those will help.

    My half is the freckleton hm, its the 50th one, so i couldnt miss it.

    Based on the terrain of this marathon i am thinking, despite increasing my mileage equaling my PB might be an achievement.

    Have you been following a training plan ?


  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Very scenic; official name is the Lakeland Trail Marathon; it had been a very wet spring/summer though and nearly all the paths were sodden or in fact small streams. Plus I was wearing "city runner gear" versus the secialist clobber the fell runner types had; whilst they cavorted like gazelles across the terrain I stumbled and tripped as my ankles kept turning over and slid or sank along. It didn't get my spirits down though, just taught me a lesson about being properly prepared; put me off doing another trail marathon for a good while though!

    Ribble! I went to Preston Poly for 3 years so know the area a bit; in fact I think a bloke at work is running Freckleton; I will double check with him. How is that for hills? I had a look at the website but can't see an elevation profile.

    Your work building sounds great; I'm on the ground floor but our office is 3 floors and I always take the stairs too. I'm a 20 minute drive away from work a bit too far to walk - 16 miles I think - I have looked at a running route off and on but don't fancy the hassle involved. I do like morning running but lately have taken to running after work. I find walking very theraputic; don't think it adds much to stamina but it certainly helps keep you supple.

    I have always used Hal Higdon's schedules, nowadays a lot of info is locked away in his website and you have to fork out cash to get at it; I have most of it saved from a few years back when he was publishing quite a bit for free. I am currently following plan "Advanced 2" which is the only one with speedwork sessions; these next 2 weeks though I am changing things a bit because I'm running a 10k a week on Sunday. On Tuesdays I would normally do some 800m repeats but today I did 8x400m with 200m recovery inbetween each. Are you following a specific plan?

    A pb at Tenby would be quite an achievement! The hills don't put me off at all, but I know they will slow me down. My form is improving quite well this year so I too am hoping for a good time despite the hills. What is your pb? Mine is 3:47 set in Belfast 2 years ago; that has quite a big steady climb in it, so not really a record breaking course. 


  • My PB is 3:31 but if I equal that. I'll be pleased it's going to be a tough day. I have have tried harder for this one in preparation doing the Advanced Marathoning up to 70 miles per week programme, it features quite a bit of speed work but no specific hill work instead it just says plan your routes based on the race course......Which isn't much help for wales!. In some ways it is annoying that the extra work probably won't get me a pb but well you've seen the route getting round will be an achievement lol

    Freckleton features a long gradual incline at one point but other than that it's not too challenging but it's the big one round here so couldn't miss the 50th birthday run. 

    I've heard a lot about Hal recently, seems more and more runners are giving his stuff a go.

    My building is a nice one to work at and just over 2 miles from were so I walk in , through a woods then along a river then finally through the park it backs onto. Best commute I've ever had lol sadly they are going to close the building and sell it off and we're moving to a grey block with views of a road...... ah well, it's still walkable mind.

    That lake land marathon sounds really nice if not challenging. I probably would of done the same thing you did and run it in road shoes. But sometimes it's good when it goes wrong as you learn a little. 

  • P.s i mapped out the route in RunningAhead as i think its a little better than mapmyrun :

    It certainly gives a clear indication of what we are to face!!





  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    OMG! There are no flat pieces at all on that profile image. I've been looking at the one on their website and thinking it would be plain sailing after the first big rise for a while.

    3:31 is a marvellous time; depending on your age you might qualify to run in Boston with that - I'm trying to achive 3:30 to get there. What marathon did you achieve that on?

    Shame about your office, but good that you still get to walk; pre 1998 I walked to work as well, but then I moved to the Wirral and have driven ever since, I would probably be a lot lighter if I walked a couple of miles twice per day, it all counts. Currently I am mangaing to drop a couple of pounds per week by eating sensibly, absolutely no "rubbish" in my diet like cakes, chocolate, crisps etc, its working well. If I can lose a stone or 2 then I will be covering the ground faster I am sure. 

    Is your training schedule available on line? I was doing similar with Hal's "Advanced 1"; I was shocked at the drop in mileage on "Advanced 2" but its because he substitutes 2 mid to long runs with a combination of speed, hill and tempo sessions. Have to admit I can't really figure tempo sessions so I only tend to do hill and 800m repeats - its working well though.

    My hamstring is complaining a bit after those repeats yesterday but I'm doing well forcing it back into some flexibility with a tennis ball, amazing how you can work out the tightness - a lot cheaper than a physio. Need to get a 5 miler in tonight.

    What's on your schedule for today? Are you tapering down a bit prior to the half (bloke at work has never heard of it by the way; sounded like something he would say though; he has the accent to match)?

  • lol i guess between all three profiles we should have a good idea of what we are facing. Good job we didn't just go off the official one, as compared to the mapmyrun and RunnignAhead profiles that one looks fairly easy.

    Thanks, i got my 3:31 in Dublin following the Advanced Marathoning up to 55 miles per week programme.Its a great book, worth buying and it explains all the different types of running like tempo runs, provides several training programmes and gives tips on injury and pacing etc etc .

    I get tight hamstrings, so i bought a roller and it seems to help and like your tennis ball, cheaper than physio.

    Ha ha Freckleton is big (kind of), it made it in the Runners World top 20 races of the past 20 years and is the UKs oldest running (excuse the pun) half marathon. I am just going to fit into my training rather than taper off. I figure the marathon is the main event, so it wont matter too much if it goes wrong.

    That said, on the week of the race i am going to re-jig things and have all the longer runs at the start of the week , so i guess thats a sort of taper......

    Doing 15 miles today. What about you ?



  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    My schedule maxes at 40 miles, but that doesn't count the reps; I guess I run a 2 mile out and 2 mile back on those days as well as doing the reps so I probably do approach 55 miles peak...the schedule is meant for "seasoned marathoners" who have reached a good level of fitness and want to improve their times; think I am a gate crasher to that programme then image

    Tonight is just 5 miles at average run pace; Hal knows his stuff; I definitely shouldn't attmept any more than that given the exertions of yesterday.

    You need to take care (but you probably know it anyway) with your half, me too with my 10k. Hal recommends not entering any other events during a marthon build-up because more often than not people end up getting injured. I've done it in the past; you get too carried away on your minor event, maybe not injuring yourself on the day, but then carry on regardless with your marathon training, very likely running the day after the exertions of your race and end up over-stressing something resulting in a strain etc. So I recommend you take a couple of days off at least after your half if you really go for it. Of course no need to take such precautions if you are just breezing it like a normal training run.  

    Dublin is on my list to do as well; is it a good course?

  • lol im sure your do fine, 55 miles go me my 3:31 time after all.

    I know what you mean about avoiding races but the programmes in Advanced Marathoning always include 'tune up' races in the race preparation section of the plans. Im not doing any more ParkRun events until after the big day now and i did do a couple of races early on but none since Feb. I might end up going for it on the day, it depends on how my leg feels. I usually have Monday off but might take your advice about easing off for a few days.

    Dublin is nice, there is a bit of up and down but your only talking about 100-120ft i think......

    You get loads of people coming out to watch and its held on a bank holiday so there is quite a bit going on. Its certainly worth the weekend away. When i went i accidentally ended up booking a hotel that, when you stepped out the front door you were in side the green start zone, so very handy for race day.


  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    How did your 15 miler go last night? I did nothing; hamstrings felt too tight; didn't think I'd ease it out with a run; not up for risking an injury this close to the 10k. I've not run 400s in ages so I must've really woken them up! Feeling much better today; schedule says hill repeats today but I think I'll do the 5 miler instead; hams have had enough pressure this week.

    Friday is a rest day and then Saturday is a marathon pace run; I'm planning to do the last 6 at 10k pace; don't know what that is though; think I'll try for 7 minute miles; last marathon I approached 8mins without much bother and I recall on a half I clicked a few 7:30s in then dropped back to 8s as I didn't want the wheels to drop off.Looking at 10k training guides they tell you to try and push it a bit lower than "comfortable" to find your optimum speed.

    Whats on your schedule for today?

  • it was tough, i picked a route in the which the first 8 miles were all pretty much up hill taking me up nearly 500ft.

    It was really tough, but that said i am hoping things like this will prepare me for hte big day better.

    I skipped this mornings run as it was pouring down and i got drenched last night. Will run 6 miles tonight. I was down for a 6 and a 4 today you see, ive moved the 4 to Saturday instead.

    Well done on being sensible, if your hams go, i think they take a while to fully heel. Well going off what happens in football.

    How far you going to run on Saturday ?

    Runners world have a good training pace calculator have you tried it ?

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Hadn't tried a pace calculator until now; thanks! It confirms 7mins. So I'll try 3 at 8 and then 6 at 7; will have to study where the mile markers are on my 9 miler. The calculator had a pretty high number for 800m? Closer to 4 minutes than the 3:15 to 3:20 range I'm currently churning out? And I'm aiming to reduce that too. I suppose its calculating a very broad range of speeds though so some are bound to be a bit off. I am hpoing to go better than 7s on the day, but I'll find out Saturday what's reslistic for me.  

    Well done on the 15 and the big climb! I did the 5 tonight; left hamstring still a bit tight but settled down after a while. Then I remembered something I read about 10k training; hills, hills and more hills, always blast up 'em. So did that on the one hill 1 mile from home and felt great on the final run in; maybe I should always blast up that hill no matter what the session is? Mind you, if you applied that rule to your 15 miler you'd be blasting up hill for 8 miles!

    Dublin sounds like a great run; I've been to the city for a weekend break and really emjoyed it. Will have to look at the diary and work it in one year. 

    Are you running Friday or is it a rest day?

  • Yes it's a good tool, I think it tries to ensure your not pushing too hard and over do it. So risking injury and fatigue. Yes you do have to try and remember mile points esp if like me you've no gps watch. I sometimes take maps out with me as reminders.

    Interesting tip about hills, I'll have to give that ago. But as you say not on crazy runs like I did the other day. 


    Well done on getting out there , sounds like your managing your ham well. My rest day is Monday and I'm down for 12 today, I don't think I'll make it as hill as my 15!! Did a hilly 6 last night and my muscles were pretty sore. 

    Definitely recommend Dublin , the atmosphere makes it worth while and as you know it's a nice city to visit. 

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I don't have gps either, although I have used it in an iphone a few years back and it was not very accurate, but maybe that was the "runkeeper" app's fault; had me running through back gardens and church walls and cutting massive corners; all my runs were well under the true mileage.So I havent bothered since, but, just today I heard a farmer on the radio saying he could steer a combined harvester within 15 millimetres of the required track using gps, so maybe it has improved. That bloke at work has a Nike gps watch and swears by it.

    Hope your 12 went well today; I have kept working on my hams; left one is still a bit sore, but it will be OK for the speedtest tomorrow I am sure.

  • That's impressive about the farmer. I do want to get one, one days. But making do with the stop watch and online mapping for now.


    The 12 went ok, it was pretty warm and I had a few hills but as planned nothing like Wednesday.


    You should try a roller, it could help you.

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    Yeah, they're not cheap but I imagine all the stats and history graphs etc, if you upload the stuff to the web, would be great for understanding improvement - if they are accurate - I'm still suspicious of them - phone evidence again - two people run the same route with different phones - comes up with different results - over half a mile on an 8 mile run; one was running slower than the other, but that shouldn't make much difference. I suppose if I just gave in and "trusted" the tech and did not check with map and stop watch it probably wouldn't make any difference - but the over analytical nerd inside me wants it to be spot on accurate. I used to write down times and keep a bit of a log about how I felt etc; but can't be bothered these days.

    A massive thunderstorm just passed by here; checked the forecast and it might clear up by 5pm so I think I will wait to run that 9 miler.

    I am actually using a "back buddy" - the one with lots more knobs than in this video: which is crazy - his hamstrings are talking in the subtitles! There is a voice over too so you need the sound on. I have had big problems with my hams - they are not very flexible and I have not treated them well at times - in fact my pb at Belfast would probably have been sub 3:30 if I had found this video before then - first half was superb at 1:47 - second half my hams tied up something rotten and I slumped to 2hrs - was aiming on a negative split. Still coming back from historic hamstring overload - the techniques in that video keep me on the road. Current problem is only a glitch caused by that speed work - feeling pretty good today.

    I think I could do with a roller too - have you got one? If so what type and what do you use it for?

  • Interesting video. I just bought cheap basic foam roller I figured there couldn't be much difference between expensive and cheap one. The are just a roll for massage really, but it seems to work, if you use it for a few days then go a few days without using it, you notice the difference.

    I got out on the four skipped on Thursday this morning in between the rain and it just chucked it down here. Will get my scheduled 5 in later when it's predicted to be dry. I don't mind getting wet, but if you can avoid it you might as well.


    Besides I believe it's going to rain all day tomorrow and I've a 22 planned so I'll get pretty wet then. 


    What's Belfast like? I'm planning on doing it next year and completing my marathon tour of the UK and Ireland with it. 

  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I've got one too, no handles or anything, just a 2ft fat foam tube, don't use it much, I got it for IT band originally but ended up getting pressure bruises, actully just chucked it under my ham and swinging my foot - is having a positive effect! Not tried that before.

    Think I do need to get some good gps; made a real hash of measuring my pace run. Summer seems to have arrived in a mojor way on the bridleways this last week too; I should have taken a machete. Been nettled, brambled, drenched several times by overgrowth etc, last week all those paths were clear; lot of water about too, many spots where you put your foot down and it glides in mud for a second until it grips; most disconcerting. All par for the course I suppose though for a marathoner!

    So I attempted to apply myself to the task of running out of my comfort zone for 6 miles, best I hit was a 7:32 on an all road section, worst 8:45 through amazonia, I should have chosen an all road route really - but they aren't that perfect either. Satisfied that it was a reasonable attempt given the conditions. I think gps would have given me more accurate mile points and times - can it work through trees? Additional factor is my eyesight is going - need reading glasses to see splits on my watch - I think some gps displays are programmable which may help - so I was using the main display to figure my pace and having to work out the time from the last split minus the current - not really difficult, but I kept forgetting the last split time! All I had left for judging was how hard I thought I was pushing the pace - not perfect.

    23? Thats a big run? Hal doesn't take you further than 20 on any of his schedules; which is what I'm doing tomorrow.

    Belfast is a great run. Starts in the city centre ends in a park; org at the end isn't great queueing for bags. Towards the end of the first half there is a major rise; not too steep but it goes on for a while; you lose all that height very rapidly on the other side and the route back to the finish is relatively flat. What others have you done on your tour? 

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