Blog 5/6 - Double blog

David Carlin – VLM Blog No.5 – Target time 3:59:59

Four weeks not two!! Sorry I’ve been out…running or cross training when I can!

Week 10 – 31.1 miles 🏃‍♂️ 18th March – 24th March

A busy week at work means I don’t get to run until Thursday!!  A 3 mile route home is extended to 10.6 miles and takes in running with Grange Primary School staff as they are gearing up from 0-5k. Then the weekend appears out of nowhere and its time to run Angela’s 3 park run parks 20 miler on Sunday.  I arrive at 9am to find a group of around 40 Eagles running off on various distances from 6 miles (I think) to 20. It was great to be with such a big group of Eagles, it gave you time to run alongside lots of Eagles and have a chat and hear which marathons or half marathons they were training for and how their plans were developing.

My Marathon training pace is set at 10 minute miles and I finish the 20 miles with an average of 10.03. Job well done!! This was my first drop in weekly mileage for some weeks, however, taking into account a fast half last week and finishing a 20 mile run in reasonably good shape …I am happy man!

Week 11 – 30.6 miles 🏃‍♂️ 25th March – 31st March

My strategy is now to run two shortish runs in the week and keep my legs ready for the long weekend run! A slowish club run on Monday to get the legs moving after the 20 the day before followed by some short sprints on Thursday lead me into the weekend.

I leave home on Saturday at 6:10 am and Trisha, Darren and I head out to Canary Wharf to run from 7:20am. The planned last 11 miles of the VLM course takes 12 miles, due to the fact we got lost in Canary Wharf! However, we run a steady 10 minute mile pace and now have the last part of the course in our heads. We paused at the actual mile 23.5 distance to take stock of the VLM day when we will find 100+ Eagles here waiting to cheer us on! Goosebumps time! I have been here supporting our club runners for the past three years and it was quite emotional knowing what this means to our club members on the day and this year I’ll be on the receiving end of your cheering and high fives. ☺   We finish at The Mall (see photo below) and meet Terena has tubed out to support us all back home.

The run from The Mall to home stopped in Chiswick due to the extra mile at the start! Sunday is a a short 3 mile run to shake out the legs!


Week 12 –  37.3 miles 🏃‍♂️1st April – 7th April

An idea enters my brain, due to not being able to make any track training, I’ll use the short runs to build a little speed work! I have a steady Monday to move from 10 to 9.5 minute miles to and from club run gave me 6.5 miles at a slightly faster pace. Another similar effort on Wednesday.  Last weekend ahead for a 20 miler with Trisha! This was a painful run, not only having to talk to Trisha for 20 miles! 😂 but we both found the going tough from mile 1 to mile 20! We ran to Putney Bridge and back. We both felt that we would had stopped between 6 and 10 miles if we were running this alone.  The power of running with an Eagle showed how much the club does support you, whether a 5k or marathon, the club is both inclusive and supportive. 🦅🦅

On Sunday a 5 mile run with the wives resets my Saturday blues ‘I cant do this!’ and I’m left reflecting on 6 weeks of nigh on 5 x 20 milers and a fast half marathon! I feel this has been my best training schedule but I’ll have to wait to see what Sunday 28th at 10:10 am brings!

Week 13 – 23.9 miles 🏃‍♂️ 8th April to 14th April

Tapering (reduction in weekly miles) starts and it feels really odd not running so far on each run! Club run 4.65 miles at av 8:40 gives me a good speed workout and followed by the same on Wednesday. Wednesday was a grumpy old men club run as I start off with Jurek, David Bone, John, Ranjan, Baljit and myself. We are all motoring along, chatting about the good olde days and soon we are back at Ealing Green. 2 x runs at 8:40 felt very quick after so many weeks at 10 minute miles. Thursday I do a short speed session and I feel I’ve crammed 16 weeks speed work into one week! Maybe not my best idea but I’m pleased I had an idea!!

Sunday is Club Champs at the Towpath 10. A concoction of Eagles started out at 10 minute miles which over the 10 miles reduced in number with most moving faster at certain points along the way.  We seemed to have as many supporting and taking photos as runners. But c85 Eagles out of a filed of c580 was a very good turn out for the club with numerous PBs and high placed Eagles in the event itself.  I was back to 10 minute miles and finished on an average of 9:48.


The marathon fever is growing with the club feeding back results from Manchester, Paris and Brighton this week and Manchester the week before. It feels like London is now looming and of course it would be as its now only 2 weeks away!!

Now two weeks of low activity running wise, I hope to be cross training though and resting and resting and resting…for the next 2 weeks!

I’ll try and make some mental notes of the VLM day and how the run goes but what I do know is that if I make it to the mile 23 support team…I’ll be a happy Eagle and may spend a little time there for a photo or two! 🏃‍♂️👑🦅

David Carlin 🏃‍♂️🍊🦅

David Carlin – VLM Blog No.5 – Target time 3:59:59

Week 8 – 42.2  miles 🏃‍♂️ 4th March – 10th March

Weekly miles increased by 3.5 miles.  Monday Club run plus a bit feels hard after running 15 and 5 miles at the weekend. It’s good to see others Strava runs which keeps me focused on getting out on the road, rather than staying in and missing storm Eric! Running into the wind use to be a bug bare of mine. Then I learnt that putting head down restricted my air intake, which means less oxygen in the blood stream and therefore the science bit doesn’t happen and your body doesn’t cope as well. I had to keep telling myself “keep your head up!” Which after a while become a unconscious act and I now feel comfortable running into the wind. As an ex-asthmatic this seems unreal!

Tuesday. Forgetting my bus pass (not a free one…I’m not that old…yet!) gave me an extra 0.5 mile this week as I ran home  to get it as I had a an early meeting that day! 🏃‍♂️

Wednesday is the club social and a talk about the Green Belt Relay. I arrange the weekend run with other Eagles.

Thursday I ran to Ealing Common, to run alongside the common on the South side (dead end road) with Terena and Rob and ran 8x 0.1 mile reps full pelt with a walk back to recover. My first spell of speed work and possibly my last at the rep pace as my back wasn’t happy about it!

Saturday starts at 6 a.m. to have breakfast and I leave home at 7:15 to meet up with Rob. We run 4.5 miles including Greenford hills and we head back to Hanwell to meet Caroline. We run a few miles and Rob detours home as Caroline and I head from Three Bridges along the canal to Brentford, Chiswick and finally reach Hammersmith. There we pick up Kelli and Terena and head back along the river to Dukes Meadows, Kew Bridge and to Gunnersbury Park. Caroline now up to 12 miles runs 2 more in GP before getting her free coffee, food etc and the three of us head to Lammas until I hit 19.3 miles.  Having such a great group of people to run with made this my best ever long run. I finished and felt good, legs felt like I could have continued and I had no thoughts of “when will this be over!” Sunday I run a short circuit to get the lactic acid moving. ☺

Week 9 – 29.9 miles 🏃‍♂️ 11th March – 17th March

This week will be a drop in mileage due to the great news we have a Vets team entered into ‘Welsh Castles Relay’ which means I need to try and run a good time at the Fleet Half Marathon on Sunday to attempt to get my name on the coach!

9 miles on Monday and 7.5 on Thursday all at marathon pace to try and keep a faster pace in my legs for Sunday. It’s going to be a tough run but I’m hoping for 1:45-1:47 and then I can focus once more on my training plan. Its been a very stressful and long week so I’m looking forward to Sundays half.

Sunday is Fleet half. A bright sunny morning and near perfect running conditions. I start off at 1:45 pace and find the course very undulating! I run quickly down the hills and after 5 miles I’ve made up a couple of minutes and join the back of the 1:40 pacer crew. I held my pace and finish in a surprising 1:38:53. Also, I bump into Susie Chan, Endurance runner and steal a selfie!

A good week, and now long weekend runs to look forward to over the next couple of weeks. Angela’s three park runs 20 miler being the first!


David Carlin 🏃‍♂️🍊🦅

VLM Blog No.4 – Target time 3:59:59

Week 6 – 32.1  miles 🏃‍♂️ 17th Feb – 24th Feb

It’s half term week! So in addition to Wednesday Beginners I also supported the Thursday morning  Beginners group. Last week I decided to move my Strength and Conditioning session to a Tuesday and this seems to have paid off as my body felt better and so Thursday was a 10 miler, first a solo run then beginners, then home and no back pain! ☺

For the first time in this training plan I feel good and confident about my running! So what could be better than going to the top of West walk as assistant coach and encourage others to run up hills. It was a gruelling, hard but great Mirka hill session, with star jumps at the top of each hill rep!

Sunday was the Brighton half marathon at MTP. It’s my 4th consecutive year running this event. I love it! MTP for me at my current VLM target is 10:08 per mile (p/m) and I ran an average of 10:09 p/m. So all in all a good week…no my best week. Mileage increased by 3.5 miles, just under 10%, which is the usual guide for most marathon plans.

Week 7 – 38.8 miles 🏃‍♂️ 25th Feb – 3rd March

The good news is I’m running without any back pain! ☺ I set of for the Monday Club run (day after Brighton Half) and feel good, I ran with a few Eagles then with a new eagle Simon Brooks. My claim to fame, for an old Eagle, was that I caught and passed Andy Guy! I later find he’s running to a 130 heart beat, so he was only running at walking pace for him!! But I feel good and ran a total of 8.3 miles @ 8:35 average pace… I’m happy.

If you recall or maybe if you stayed awake reading my last rambling blog, I switched my long core strength session to Tuesdays. I found stretching later in the week meant the weekend long run was painful around my lower back (L4/5).  The change seems to have worked as by the weekend the back ache had gone.

Time to start long weekend runs and find running buddies, an easy thing to achieve when you’re an Eagle 🦅. I run 15 miles, with Trisha running 2 metres in front of me so I couldn’t get lost then we were joined by my running wives for the last 5 miles. Average pace 9:35 against a planned pace of 10:00! After a run of 12 miles or more I like to get out the next day for a short run to get the lactic acid moving! So Sunday was a short dash around the block (3 miles) making this my 5th week of increased mileage and on track. The plan is 57 days from completion.

David Carlin 🏃‍♂️🍊🦅

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VLM Blog 3

Week 4 – 24.3  miles 🏃‍♂️ 4th Feb – 10th Feb

The weeks running started with Monday nights Long Club Run at Marathon Training Pace

(MTP). For me, looking at a marathon personal best of 3:59:59, this means my MTP should be 10:08 per mile or  6:18 per Km. My race pace will be a minute a mile faster or 37 seconds faster per Km on the day.

My plan has about 85% of the allotted miles per week at MTP, 10% at Marathon pace (MP) or slightly faster and 5% hills. If time becomes a precious commodity the MP and/or hills will be wrapped up into my long runs.

Volunteering with the 0-5k beginners group is a sure way to run slower and get a few easier miles in, then straight into LCR. Also, as the beginners group run longer intervals, this increases my mileage a bit, every mile counts when you’re training!! So 3.2 miles with beginners then 4.9 on LCR. Running and chatting to Eagles about both their running and my own is a great way to run but forget the miles are adding up! Tail running is also a great method to run miles and keeping the pace down. To often we go into auto pilot and run at our natural pace. Whatever race your looking to take part in, tailing a SCR/LCR is a good way of reducing the risk of injury and spending a longer time on your legs than maybe you normally would over the same distance, then when running on race day at race pace will benefit you.  Tail runner sales pitch over!! ☺

My faster miles this week were with the incredible David Bone! Returning to running from a horrible knee injury incurred whilst jumping from the 100 metre ski slope! Oh … not quite right! by jumping 2 inches high and demonstrating how to land in snow on skis! ☹ I joined David for Gunnersbury Park run, we had a good catch up and  talked like Les Dawson and Roy Barraclough (see photo below) and the pace was a very respectable 8:23 per mile (26.20 park run). Weekends are now back to back runs for me, which was a training plan thing for my ultra in April 2018. Running on a Sunday with tired legs at MTP improved my stamina over long distances. Sundays run along the Thames was beautiful. I was met by great weather, views and was passed by many Eagles at Richmond Weir. Ken Kenny had been involved in a accident en route with a bicycle, thank fully he was ok!  A small step up in miles this week from last week and my focus on my plan has been good!!

Week 5 – 28.6 miles 🏃‍♂️ 11th Feb – 17th Feb

A four mile increase this week so heading in the right direction! It was a hard week as my back still isn’t 100%. The week was similar to last week, including running on Saturday with David Bone, followed an additional park run on my own to make up the 6 mile planned distance.  This weeks hard run was Sundays 10 miler, after 6 on my double Park run on Saturday. I ran 4.5 solo and met the running wives at Kew for a sunny 6 miles along from Kew to Dukes meadows and back. My back was becoming a little sore towards the end! Some training runs will feel hard when you train for a marathon, so I’ve been reflecting on my Ultra training plan where I was running 10 hours a week at my training peak (60 miles a week). Its just a case of believing in the plan and preparing your mind for the inevitable hard run that will pop up now an again. Even on a good run there maybe a hard mile/Km, so you I mentally prepare for them and welcome them in my head and as you go through the next mile/km wave the pain good bye and focus on the next segment of my run.

My reflection point of the week is that in my plan, but not mentioned thus far, are my twice weekly Core stretching session at home. I find that being the most un-supple man in the world means that an hour of stretches equals my body feels beaten up! My upper body seems to be coping but my back and glutes feel differently! I usually stretch on Tuesdays and Thursdays so I have decided that I’ll move them back a day so I’ll have the extra day to  recover before the weekend longer runs. Hopefully this will help, together with another physio appointment and an Abiyoga session! Could be an interesting photo in my next update! I may have managed to get my hands past my knees on a stretch!

It’s also been great to see Hayley and Angela out and about running. I looks like your running is going well, just Massimo to catch up with! I know lots of Eagles are also out there training for their marathons all other the UK and abroad…keep believing, use the club members to support your runs and listen to your body as your mileage creeps up!  

David Carlin 🏃‍♂️🍊🦅


David Carlin – VLM Blog No.2

Week 1 – 14.5 miles 🏃‍♂️

So my VLM plan started on Saturday 12th January with a XC run at Wormwood Scrubs. A trip down memory lane for me as my high school backed onto the Scrubs and so this was a school XC event for me! I use to leave the school site, sit in the flats opposite and wait for the runners to come back, then join in at the end…I’ve never liked running!!!  A sore back from a run late December hampered my XC run but enjoyable all the same.

Monday Club run, Wednesday volunteer for the beginners 0-5km programme followed by club run, Thursday hills with Mirka and 30+ Eagles! The warm up itself always knackers me, let alone running up and down West Walk.

Week 2 – 18.6 miles 🏃‍♂️

So my running routine will be the following as far as possible, Monday/Wednesday club runs, Thursday hills and a weekend run, building to two weekend runs until I hit the 20 milers. With a sore back, I am happy to run slower than I need to and also decide to visit the physio. Greg has looked after my back for many years due to my lingering slipped disc!  He says the back is ok and gives me a back massage! I leave and go to Thursday hills and take it easy as I could still feel the pressure from the massage on my lower back! 😱 I’m focusing on my running style…it’s usually orange but I’ve mixed in leggings this week as its sooooooooooooooo cold!

Week 3 – 23.1 miles

Yes I know this should be a two week blog, but I thought it was a monthly blog thing … so I’ve been chased by the committee to get this written!!

One of my shorter training runs is logged on Strava as the ‘Pineapple’ run. From Northfields to the Uxbridge Road, head to Acton and turn right at the the Red Lion and Pineapple pub, an old work haunt, all the way back to South Ealing Road and then stop at Lammas’ish. I’m always amazed that at 9:00 a.m how many people are in the Pineapple drinking. It’s very sad and reminds me that when I get depressed to steer clear of pubs! Running, as well as a fitness regime for me, also gives me hours of quiet thinking time and/or great conversation to forget about the stress I feel at work. I had Wednesday off work  and ventured out for a solo run! My back said no to 10 miles, which was probably a bad idea anyway, so I turned around at Kew Bridge for a 6 miler.

Next week will be a juggling act with a 🦅 Committee meeting, 🦅 Beginners programme, 🦅 club social and a Year 13 Parents evening👨‍👦. Fitting in my running around these events is what a running plan is all about! Running plans need to be flexible!! I look at my plan every Sunday and start to move my runs around my diary and my ‘friendly advice’ runs with my running wives Kelli and Terena. Next week I need to start running longer and at Marathon Training Pace (MTP)…Trish a text is in the post!


Wormwood Scrubs XC finish with a 20 metre sprint! Every point counts!!

London VLM ...Xmas party to start of my training plan

Hopefully most of you will know me as Chair of Ealing Eagles Running Club from my many club runs,  appearances at club events such as Cross country, Club champs and Summer league meets.

I’ve applied to enter the London marathon through the VLM ballot for three years (since becoming a runner and Ealing Eagle!) winning a losers track top x3 and this was my second attempt at the club ballot.  

I have run six marathons now, best time 4:00:43 in Dublin and one Ultra marathon, Liverpool to Manchester 50 mile in 10:55 (10 hours 55 minutes!) coming in 122nd out 200 starters!!!

All that said I have had suffered ITB and hit the wall in many of the marathons! 

I’ve been overwhelmed by the number of ‘congratulation’ comments from Eagles since the ballot, with one particular supportive arm around me sticking in my mind   “there is expectation in the club ballot on ballot runners and with the added position of club chair, there will be a weight on your shoulders to perform well! Don’t let the club down!” Thank you Kieran Santry:-) pressure then!  Winning a ballot place is like winning a gold chocolate bar from the Wonka chocolate factory! Congratulations to the other ballot winners and of course commiserations to those that were not successful this year. 

I have thought long and hard over the last few weeks about how I will approach this event and I’ve decided to set three goals leading up to marathon day.

  1. Set a 5k park run PB sub 22 minutes to get my runners ambition to be speedy out of my system! My Park run PB was set in December 2018 of 22:05. I’ve only run 22 Park runs! I’ll go for this time late January/early February. 

  2. Run a sub 1:50 half marathon time in my marathon training to qualify for the Welsh Castles Vets team. This should be achievable as my half PB is well within this target time, so I am thinking a 1:45-1:50 target in February/early March.

  3. Up the core strength work from once a week to every other day as a minimum and try and incorporate small core training elements into my day to day schedule. Abi... some yoga too!! 

I’ve put together a training plan starting 14th January with a focus on weekend long runs, some of which will be back to back (Saturday and Sundays) with much shorter runs in the week plus track/hills of course. Richard/Mirka...I am looking forward to being back on West walk on the 17th January and for many weeks thereafter! :-0

I’ll be entering some organised events to help my training and running some of my own preferred routes from Tower Hill station to Ealing and Regents Park to Ealing along the canal.  I believe the clubs coaching team are going to organise some VLM recce runs again this year, so these will help all the VLM club runners learn the course which is extremely important when running a marathon.  The setting of my VLM marathon goals will be made once I’ve progressed through the first four weeks training schedule. However, the main goal will be a sub 4 hour time!  I’ll also lean on Eagle friends to motivate me out of then house to train with coffee or wine rewards post run! 

The big focus on marathon day will be Mile 23! Having helped manage the Ealing Eagles extraordinary expedition to Monument for the past two years, I can say that it is a special day out.  If you haven’t attended the annual Eagle migration from Ealing Broadway station to Monument before, please volunteer! You’ll be both supporting our club runners and the whole running community, including witnessing Mo Farah and Eagles pass you, all looking as fresh as a daisy due to the Adrenalin rush your support will give us.  Link: a video of mile 23 can be found here.

Kit choice for me is straight forward of course!