Dorchester Marathon training


The “big” Spring road Marathons season has come and gone …… Brighton, Manchester and London. These mass participation marathons are great to watch but I think I’d find them a bit claustrophobic. As a temporary distraction from trail running I saw a 6 week window that would lead to the Dorchester “road” marathon so three runs in I thought I’d blog my progress so far.

After studying my friend Mel’s Strava post from last years race there would appear to be 1,200 feet of elevation over the 26.2 miles with a pleasant downhill section from 24 miles onwards. I’ve tailored my training runs to try and mimic the general profile with a number of undulations and a downhill finish.

Week 1 was 13.1 miles in 2 hours as a general reminder to road running.


The vast majority of my recent running have been offroad i.e. beach, countryside and coastal paths. Running on tarmac is a different proposition to the more forgiving mud and sand. Off road there’s certainly less impact on your joints but then again it’s harder work negotiating a less firm surface.

I’ve dug out my Wave Inspire 12 Mizuno trainers that are a slightly wider fit, which I find helpful after a few hours of road running. I’m still using my Ultimate Direction vest because it’s great to carry 1.5 litres of fluid even if I do run past garages and public toilets were I could refill my soft flasks.

Week 2’s training had an added dimension …. “heat”, I wasn’t planning on a mini heat wave. Suntan lotion in April isn’t a phrase I’d usually use but as I left the house in 18 degrees I even took some with me. The 2 & 3/4 of an hour that I was out amounted to 17.1 miles which was a positive step both in time and miles. Here’s the Strava link.


I’ve always based my long runs around “time on my feet” as much as mileage so I decided to consolidate this week with about 18 miles.

The first 5.5 miles included a gradual incline up and down the Avenue, as well as up and down Titchfield Hill. Next, a gradual incline up Gudge Heath Lane across Northern Fareham and then down North Hill, and out towards Wickham. I’d reckoned on about 950 feet of climbs today so I intended to set off slower and spread out my efforts.

During my last two runs I was aware of checking my garmin quite often which isn’t something that I’d usually do. Yes I’m keen to run well but I decided to leave my gps at home and trust to running how I feel.

Local running also gives you the bonus of bumping into friends. Within a 15 minutes spell I’d seen John Ellard cycling and Gerry Perrier running.


By eleven miles I’d turned for home and everything was going to plan both in terms of time and hills. I take a gel every 3/4’s of an hour and work on drinking 500ml of electrolyte mix every hour. The nature of road running does mean the noise from the traffic has replaced the birds song but my route was fairly rural so it wasn’t that bad.

I took a couple of salt tablets after two hours because even though it was 10 degrees cooler than last week I was aware that over a period of time I was sweating.

The photo at the beginning of my blog shows the route and as I didn’t wear my garmin I only had the actual time as a guide. Three hours had passed so if anything I’d run slightly slower than I may have with gps for the 17.75 miles I’d planned.

I’ve made a point of training on my own because unlike London etc. I suspect there’ll be quite a few quiet miles, however, after watching the race video there’s a good amount of supporters out on the course. Long distance running is a calming, almost meditational experience with just your breathing and your thoughts to contemplate and that’s why I love it. Run for fun, run to improve and run for mindfulness.

This week coming will be 21 miles and the full 1,200 feet that the race includes. It will be interesting to see what time I get in Dorchester but I won’t be pressurising myself.

Just as an aside it’s almost 3 months since I joined Instagram and I’m pleased how well its going. I’m irunoffroad on there too 🙂 It has meant I’ve talked to different runners and it has widened my running circles.

Ok, so I didn’t run through fields of light blue bluebells or yellow rapeseed but I’m excited to be running a road marathon for a change.

Dorchester “road” Marathon

Ok, I know what you’re thinking, a road marathon ????? Where does the irunoffroad angle come into this. Well, over the years I’ve driven through Dorchester numerous times and quite simply, I like its character.

After watching film my runs video I also spotted three of my running club friends. Mel, Paula and Sarah ran last years inaugural race. Personal recommendations go along way in my book so when our ladies heartily approved the run, then that was good enough for me, even if it’s only six weeks away 🙂

In summary, White Star Running’s 26.2 miles of country lanes, combined with a section of the high street, meant “resistance was futile” !!

I’m looking forward to a different kind of running experience. The combination of a race village, spectators, history and the Dorset countryside means I’ll be running the tarmac !!

Parkruns : Something for everyone


As I left Fareham parkrun the one thought that struck me was just how many people it had catered for. In essence a parkrun is a timed 5K, marshalled and organised by volunteers and open to anyone that has registered. We all had our barcodes and we’d all be running but there can be so many motivators for attending.

I thought I’d share my observations on just how well parkrun serves it’s loyal members, without necessarily naming all the people involved !!

Naturally this applies up and down the country and for that matter, across the world.

  1. Family runners. These are such positive scenes with mums & dads encouraging their kids to run. It’s a shared interest, it’s healthy and it’s a great confidence builder.
  2. The first timers. An officially organised race can often be a step too far for people who are working through their walk/jog/run phases. Parkrun is the perfect starting point to chart distances walked, jogged and run. It also offers countless encouraging voices.
  3. The returning from injury runners. Testing your progress outside of a more pressurised race environment can be invaluable.
  4. The returning to fitness runners. Not having run for a while doesn’t always follow on from an injury. Discovering your lost “mojo” in a friendly 5K can make all the difference.
  5. Speed, whether it’s “out and out running speed”, running to complement another sport or like me, it’s good to throw in some lung busting as an alternative to my long steady runs and,
  6. My final observation was simply the communal parkrun spirit that the returning weekly parkrunners share. I don’t parkrun that often as marathons are my distance but “I’ll be back”.

The speed of the results and the fantastic free photos, that are invariably available too, make the experience one to repeat.

Thanks very much to Fareham parkrun, Julie Salt and her team. I enjoyed my run, I loved my photo and I’ll also be back to volunteer at some stage.


#flying #fareham 🙂