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:-) ...no 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!